About this Archive
(1939-2012) socialist and activist
Alan Woodward was born in London but was evacuated during the second world war. His extended family eventually settled in Broadstairs, Kent. He began to rebel during his national service, joining the tiny Socialist Review Group (later the Socialist Workers party) while training to be a teacher and remained a member for 40 years. While living in Tottenham, north London, in 1964, Woodward was the driving force in a campaign which set up tenants' associations across the borough to combat rent increases. He later moved to Coventry, where he took an MA at Warwick University and became a trade-union studies tutor, a role he continued until retirement, training hundreds of shop stewards.In the 1980s he returned to Tottenham and remained there for the rest of his life. In the early 1990s he was involved in protests against the British National Party and in 2002 he stood for Haringey council as a Socialist Alliance candidate.
After leaving the SWP and reconsidering his political outlook, Woodward became a "libertarian socialist", drawing on Marxism and anarchism. He was the industrial organiser of Haringey Trade Union Council, for which he edited news bulletins and three small volumes called Fragments, containing life stories of local militants. He was involved with numerous local organisations, was the convenor of the Radical History Network of North-East London, and wrote a number of self-published pamphlets on working-class history and an autobiography. In 2009, workers at the Visteon car parts factory in Enfield occupied the plant after being summarily dismissed. Woodward was there from the beginning and spent a week in the factory, sleeping on the floor.
Scope and content
Papers of socialist, writer and activist Alan Woodward (1939-2012), including:
- Minutes, papers, accounts, annual reports and papers of Haringey Trades Council, 1969-2011
- Engagement diaries, letters, photographs and papers collected for the writing of Woodward's autobiography 'An Actor for Freedom', with drafts of the finished work, 1958-2007
- Drafts, research materials and papers gathered for writings on workers' socialism, the International Shop Steward Movement, anarchism, Joe Thomas, workers' councils, Joe Jacobs, 1921-2011
- Papers, minutes, ephemera and promotional material of the Radical History Network of NE London (RaHn), 1982-2010
- Minutes, papers and other records of Haringey Solidarity Group, 2000-2010
- Papers and records of Defend Council Housing and local activities in Haringey, 1995-2008
- Papers, minutes and other records concerning Woodward's involvement with the International Socialists, 1967-1971
- Papers and ephemera regarding miscellaneous strikes and campaigns, including anti-Poll Tax, the Wapping dispute, rail, postal, fire fighters and dock strikes, anti-terror legislation, anti trade union legislation, the Liverpool Dock Strike, the Arnaouti Bakery Workers' Strike, health and safety at work, LGBT rights, 1948-2011
- Papers, records and minutes of Haringey Against Privatisation, 1998-2004
- Papers and ephemera of the London Socialist Historians Group, 1996-2009
- Papers, minutes and records regarding local and radical history in Haringey, including papers of the Haringey Local History Forum, 2001-2006
- Papers and records regarding the Red Readers' Project, 1989-1990
- Papers and records of the Socialist Workers' League, 1937-1956.