While much of the most regularly consulted material in our Spanish Collection is from the period of the Civil War and the years immediately following it, the collection also includes much more recent material. Among this material are papers relating to the creation of some of the many memorials around the United Kingdom which commemorate the sacrifice of the International Brigades. These include the papers of the International Brigade Memorial Appeal committee which was formed in 1983 to work towards establishing a national memorial to the International Brigades in time for the 50th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War in 1986.
Uncatalogued papers of the IBMA - Letter from Bill Alexander, December 1983
The minutes of the newly formed International Brigade Memorial Appeal committee show how their work focused on three areas: fundraising to meet the cost of the memorial, identifying a suitable location for it to be erected and selecting a sculptor undertake the work. Twelve interested sculptors were requested to submit a maquette of their proposed design and, after deliberations, Ian Walters was selected to undertake the work.
Uncatalogued papers of the IBMA - Members of the committee viewing the partially completed sculpture in Ian Walters' studio, c.1985
Extensive correspondence of the IBMA committee charts the progression of the sculpture and fundraising and preparations for the unveiling ceremony in Jubilee Gardens on London's Southbank on 5th October 1985. A band was found to perform at the ceremony and arrangements were made for former Labour leader Michael Foot to unveil the sculpture.
Uncatalogued papers of the IBMA - Letter from Michael Foot, January 1985
The archive collection also includes many newspaper cuttings about the unveiling ceremony as well as photographs of the event - people who have visited the Library might recognise several of the Spanish Civil War Banners in our collection were also in attendance on the day.
Box A-14 A/1a - unveiling of the Southbank memorial, 5 October 1985
The Marx Memorial Library is proud to announce that the new website on the Russian Revolution 1917-1922 and its impact on World War 1 and the European Labour Movement, is now live.
The website is part of a larger project marking the centenary of the Russian Revolution hosted by MML and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. In addition to this website, we have created a travelling exhibition (designed by Angus Reid) and an accompanying brochure. The entire project has been researched, written and co-ordinated by Professor Mary Davis and Tommy Hodgson.
Check the website out for yourself:
The Marx Memorial Library have recently launched our exciting new project 'Volunteers for Liberty: The Archives of the International Brigades'. The project, funded by The National Archives Cataloguing Grants Programme and in partnership with the International Brigade Memorial Trust will ensure that our unique Spanish Collection is preserved and made available to new generations of researchers.
A-2 A/46 - Sam Wild addressing the British Battalion in Spain, c.1938
The Spanish Collection spans nearly 70 years of material relating to the Spanish Civil War; from letters, diaries and photographs of the men and women who volunteered to assist the Spanish Republic to the papers of the International Brigade Association and other organisations which continued the campaign for a democratic Spanish Government after Franco's victory in 1939. As well as many boxes of correspondence, leaflets, press cuttings and photographs, the collection also includes banners and other artefacts.
50 GC/7 - International Brigades membership card of Alan Gilchrist
Previous visitors will be familiar with the current paper catalogues which include descriptions for a large part of the collection. Thanks to this project we will also be able to make more recent acquisitions, including the personal papers of some members of the International Brigades and the archives of the International Brigade Memorial Trust, available to researchers for the first time.
A-1 G/72 - Spanish Republican postcard 'Culture will destroy Facism', 1937
Last month we started work to repackage and catalogue the entire collection to ensure its safety and accessibility for the future. We look forward to sharing the new catalogue with you in Spring 2018 when it will be available to search through our website.
In the meantime, keep an eye on this page for updates on our progress and some of the exciting discoveries we've made.
this article first appeared in the Morning Star, on 11 March 1917.
CHRISTINE LINDEY takes issue with the reactionary agenda of an exhibition of marvellous Russian revolutionary art