Posted by: alison-cullingford | October 22, 2013

94. Pioneering Pacifist Journalism: the Peace News Story

100 Objects

This week, two little pamphlets which tell the story of a unique newspaper: Peace News.  The history of  Peace News is that of the peace movement in Britain.  Written, edited and read by activists, it reflected and shaped campaigns and debates.

Cover of The Peace News Story by Harry MisterThe Peace News Story was written by Harry Mister.  This particular issue dates from around 1951 or 1952, just after Allen Skinner became editor.  It begins with a potted and very positive account of the early years of the paper.

Half-title page of The Peace News Story by Harry Mister, image of paper's founder Humphrey S. MooreThe paper’s first editor, Humphrey S. Moore, a young Quaker journalist, believed that existing peace publications did not reach out to ordinary people.   A popular newspaper-style weekly could explain and promote pacifism more effectively.  On 6 June 1936, with the support of the Wood Green Study Group (who became the Peace News Group), the first issue was published.

The Peace Pledge Union quickly saw the potential of…

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Posted by: alison-cullingford | October 7, 2013

Remembering Professor James O’Connell

James O’Connell, Emeritus Professor of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford, died on 8 September 2013 after a short illness, at the age of 87.  Professor O’Connell was appointed chair of Peace Studies in 1978.  He faced a difficult task: how to manage the activism and interdisciplinary nature of  Peace Studies within a University setting, not to mention the threat posed by the Thatcher government.  Professor O’Connell played a vital role in saving the department and in building its considerable reputation worldwide.

Find out more:

The University’s announcement of Professor O’Connell’s death.

Obituary in the Guardian by his colleague Professor Paul Rogers, 19 September.

James O’Connell and Peace Studies also by Paul Rogers, on

Obituary on the BASIC website by Paul Ingram – Prof O’Connell was Board member and Chair of BASIC.

Piece in the Hackney Gazette (Prof O’Connell moved there towards the end of his life).

My Dad: James O’Connell by his daughter, author Sanjida O’Connell.



Posted by: alison-cullingford | July 29, 2013

Bradford Voices of Peace

Coming very soon, Bradford Voices of Peace, an exhibition and events celebrating the city’s radical heritage and looking at projects happening right now.  Voices is on from 6-14 August at Fabric on Broadway.  The programme brings together activists, academics and organisations, including Yorkshire CND,  Special Collections, the Peace Museum, Peace Studies department, and Commonweal Library.

Here’s a little bit of that heritage, a poster for a 1979 lecture by Adam Curle, first professor of Peace Studies at the University.

Poster for lecture by Adam Curle "Peaceful people, unpeaceful societies" at Bradford University 1979 (ref E63)

Poster for lecture by Adam Curle “Peaceful people, unpeaceful societies” at Bradford University 26 April 1979 (ref E63)

Posted by: alison-cullingford | June 28, 2013

The Routes to Peace Finale 2013

Routes to Peace

When is a finale not the end? Routes to Peace 2013!

The Routes to Peace season came to an end with the ‘Big Sing’ for peace in Centenary Square and a range of workshops held at partner venues across the city. The sun shone, the people came and everyone had an amazing time. Why was it not the end because we are going to do it all again next year bigger and better and because it was the first day that the community, children and young people got to try out the new Routes to Peace Heritage Trail and App, now live!

So many people to thank  including the Lord Mayor Councillor Khadim Hussain, Tony Reeves, Bradford Metropolitan District Council, Schools Linking Network, the Peace Museum, Kala Sangam, the Alhambra Studios, Bradford 1 Gallery, Culture Fusion, University of Bradford – Peace Studies, Rachel Ward, Maureen Singh, Helen Richmond, Roger Davies, Bella…

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100 Objects

This week, we explore the work of a remarkable scientist and humanitarian who turned away from work on the atom bomb: Professor Joseph Rotblat (1908-2005).

A pioneer of atomic physics at the Free University of Poland, Jo Rotblat came to Liverpool University in 1939, drawn by the opportunity to work with James Chadwick and his new cyclotron.  Rotblat caught what was to be the last train out of Poland; his wife, Tola, sick with appendicitis, was due to follow, but was unable to leave in time – she later died in a concentration camp.  Chadwick took Rotblat to Los Alamos in 1944 as part of the team working on the Manhattan Project: developing a workable atomic weapon.

However, Joseph Rotblat took the difficult decision to leave the Project later that year.  He had agreed to work on the weapon because of the fear that Nazi Germany would develop theirs first…

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Posted by: alison-cullingford | May 21, 2013

Now online! Routes to Peace Bradford Heritage Trail

A new heritage trail will enable young people (and everyone) to explore Bradford’s amazing history of campaigning for peace and social justice: William Forster, Norman Angell,Margaret McMillan, J.B. Priestley, not to mention the Independent Labour Party, celebrated in the mural below …

"There is no weal save Commonweal" Mural in Bradford's Little Germany, celebrating the centenary of the founding of the Independent Labour Party in the city in 1893.

“There is no weal save Commonweal” Mural in Bradford’s Little Germany, celebrating the centenary of the founding of the Independent Labour Party in the city in 1893.

Produced by the Peace Museum and local young people as part of the Routes to Peace season, the trail highlights interesting sites and stories around the city centre, with more ideas for longer walks and links to follow up.  The trail is available now as a downloadable pocket guide, with an app available in June.


Posted by: alison-cullingford | May 17, 2013

Just catalogued! New archives at the University of Bradford

NEW on the Special Collections website:

The Archive of the UK Campaign to Free Vanunu.  This large archive, received in 2012, tells the story of UK campaigners  for the release of Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli nuclear whistle-blower, and for a nuclear-free Middle East.  It’s a fantastically rich collection featuring newsletters, photographs and press coverage alongside the usual minutes and records – plus a great deal of correspondence.  This is the first major campaign archive from the 1990s that we have received; the campaign’s use of celebrity musicians, comedians and actors in benefit events is particularly interesting.

We are also working on the many archives large and small which we did not have time to catalogue as part of the original PaxCat project.  For instance, the Archive of the Community Projects Charitable Trust is now available.  This covers work with communities in Northern Ireland during the 1970s.  As with the Vanunu archive, we have catalogued this in a very basic way in order to publicise it quickly.

We will do more detailed work on these collections in response to demand from researchers, so do contact Special Collections if you’re interested in either of these.

Posted by: alison-cullingford | May 9, 2013

New Archive tells story of campaign to free Vanunu

Here’s a piece in the Bradford Telegraph and Argus introducing the latest Archive to join the special collections at the University of Bradford.  It’s a collection of papers concerning the UK campaign to free Israeli nuclear whistle-blower Mordecai Vanunu.  As with all the Commonweal Archives, the papers can shed light on all kinds of research interests, including nuclear issues, campaigning methods and society/culture in the 1980s.  The Archive isn’t fully catalogued yet, but if you are interested in using it, do get in touch and we will do our best to help.   We’ll be putting more detail about it on our webpages very soon.

A fascinating part of the history of radical progressive Bradford.

100 Objects

This photograph shows  Jonathan Priestley, father of the writer J.B. Priestley, serving school dinners to children at the White Abbey Dining Room, Bradford, in 1907.  Jonathan was Headmaster of Green Lane School, which hosted a new central depot which made meals for children across the city.

The introduction of “school-feeding” is an example of Bradford innovation in social welfare.  From its earliest days as a booming wool town through the 1890s and 1900s, the fast-growing city saw great poverty among its industrial workers and their families.  It became a centre of radical ideas and practice in alleviating these conditions, often strongly influenced by Nonconformism: social obligations and the value of education.   Witness the fight of Oastler and Forster against “Yorkshire slavery”- cruel conditions in factories – and later the Manningham Mills strike, which led to the founding of the Independent Labour Party (ILP).

The photograph is taken from Socialism…

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Gallery II at the University of Bradford is hosting an exhibition which will explore the life and work of three peace-builders (Gandhi, King and Ikeda) 7-28 March 2013.

Postcard of Gandhi's 1931 visit to England

Postcard of Gandhi’s 1931 visit to England

The exhibition is part of Routes to Peace, a season of peace related events to be held in Bradford between March and July 2013 and which aims to share and celebrate Bradford’s peace heritage and future.  It will be accompanied by workshops and lectures, including the Commonweal lecture, which takes place on the 7 March just after the exhibition launch, and Moving Mountains, a talk by Dame Claire Bertschinger on the 14 March.  The latter is free though you do need to book a place.

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