About this Archive
(1913-2008) co-operative activist and educationalist
Robert Leckie Marshall was born in 1913, into a Lancastrian mining community. Marshall flourished at school and went on to study English Literature at the University of St. Andrews. His education was supported by the Carnegie Foundation grant, a miners’ scholarship and a university bursary. After graduating in 1935, Marshall travelled to America and gained a Masters in Politics from Yale University.
Returning to England in 1937, Marshall was commissioned to the Royal Army Services Corps after the outbreak of the Second World War. In May 1940, Marshall was injured at Dunkirk. After returning home, he joined the Royal Army Education Corps. During his posting at the Home Office, Marshall produced a series of booklets named ‘The British Way and Purpose: an Army handbook of elementary citizenship’. This led to his appointment to Commandant at the Army School of Education with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel and was appointed OBE (Military) in 1945.
Marshall’s successes within the education system continued when he was headhunted for the position of principal of the Co-operative and Chief Education Officer of the Co-operative Union. Marshall built partnerships with Nottingham University and other educational institutions to expand the college’s curriculum and provide accreditation for the college awards. Marshall became heavily involved in the Co-operative movement, regularly giving speeches and looked to promote co-operative ideals aboard. Marshall went on several Co-operative missions, including those to Tanganyika, Nigeria, India, Kenya, and Thailand. Marshall’s enthusiasm and commitment brought him respect and admiration from the over 3,000 students that passed through the Co-operative College during the 30 years he was principal.
Marshall’s association with the Co-operative extended much further than his work with the college; he was elected president of the Co-operative Congress in 1976 and served as editor of Journal of Society for Co-operative Studies from 1967 to 1995. Marshall went on to serve on many public bodies, including the advisory council (1973-77), and the Monopolies and Mergers Commission (1976-82).
Scope and content
Papers of co-operative activist and educationalist Robert Leckie Marshall, including:
- Drafts of articles written by Marshall, 1946-1968
- Press cuttings on various topics, including politics, education, religion and the Labour Party, n.d.
- Speech notes, 1946-1987
- Miscellaneous papers and correspondence regarding co-operation and the Co-operative College, c1950-1988.