About this Archive
(1933-2011) writer and political activist
Jean Sargeant arrived in London from Antigua in 1950, at the age of 17, never to return. While taking a secretarial course, and living with her aunt, she began to explore London. Within a year she had met and married her husband and, for a few years, lived in Newcastle upon Tyne and Inverness. By the early 1960s Jean was back in London and, although the marriage was over, she remained good friends with her ex-husband for the rest of her life. She began work as a secretary at The Sunday Times and rose to become an editorial researcher in the travel section where she wrote many articles. She stayed at the Sunday Times until 1986 when she lost her job in the Wapping dispute.
Despite a colonial upbringing which might have led her to different politics, Jean joined the Labour Party and actively campaigned in the 1964 general election and all subsequent elections, general and local, until the last few months of her life. She was a committed Anglican, a Christian Socialist and an active member of the Jubilee Group. A regular visitor to Lords, especially when the West Indies were playing, she was enormously proud that her grandfather, Percy Goodman, was a member of the first West Indies cricket team to tour Britain in 1900 and again in 1906 – a multi-racial team, she was pleased to point out. When the anti-apartheid Stop the Seventy Tour campaign sought to disrupt tours by the all-white South African cricket team in the late 1960s, Jean became actively involved. The campaign succeeded in stopping the 1970 South African cricket tour of Britain.
After Jean lost her job in Wapping, she joined the Guardian as a secretary where she worked until her retirement.
Scope and Content
Papers of writer and political activist Jean Sargeant (1933-2011), including:
- correspondence, papers and cuttings regarding involvement with various political campaigns, including the Stop the Seventy Tour, Labour Party and anti-fascist activities, 1964-2008.
- typescripts and papers regarding Sargeant’s publications ‘Sign of the times - Woman in the Wapping Dispute’ and 'Liberation Christianity on the Wapping Picket Line', including transcripts of interviews, 1986-1992.
- publications by Sargeant, including typescript of autobiography ‘The Turning Point’, cuttings of published journalism and various press cuttings, 1970-2003.
- personal papers, including scrapbook from a visit to London, photograph albums, correspondence with Ray Fletcher MP and order or service for Sargeant’s funeral, 1950-2011.