Tribute to Nigel Todd, Socialist historian & Newcastle Labour Councillor

In Uncategorized on March 27, 2021 by kmflett

Tribute to Nigel Todd, Socialist historian & Labour Councillor

I was sorry to read today of the death of Nigel Todd, the north-east socialist historian and Labour Councillor. There are some reports and tributes below.

I’d known Nigel and discussed socialist history with him for more years than I can now recall (a warning about relying on memory as an historical source without other information!)

The tributes so far refer to his 40 years as a Newcastle Labour Councillor, some record in itself, and his work with the WEA and the Co-Operative movement. He was also a staunch anti-racist.

However his work as a socialist historian should not be forgotten.

His 1991 book, Joseph Cowen, the Militant Democracy and Victorian Radicalism, argued that Cowen who became a radical (and eventually not so radical) MP for Newcastle in the late nineteenth century should also be understood as someone who played a significant role in the development of the Victorian labour movement.

Nigel tweeted last summer that the statue of Cowen in Westgate St, central Newcastle, was definitely one that should remain in place!

The book on Joseph Cowen was published by Bewick Press, which had been founded by socialist and historian Ray Challinor. Ray died in 2011 and his Guardian obituary was written by Stan Newens who himself passed away a few weeks ago.

It’s difficult to avoid thinking that with the death of Nigel Todd at 73, another link with not only the history of the left and the labour movement but how it was rescued for new generations after 1968 has gone.

His work will no doubt be continued by others with the North East Labour History Society, the Labour Party, WEA and Co-operative Movement. It’s sad though that he will no longer be one of those involved. He leaves however an impressive record of activism and historical scholarship

One Response to “Tribute to Nigel Todd, Socialist historian & Newcastle Labour Councillor”

  1. […] See also these tributes from: Keith Hodgson, North East WEA Regional Chair Jamie Driscoll, North of Tyne Mayor The Co-operative Heritage Trust Workers Educational Association: WEA Greening Wingrove and Arthur’s Hill Co-operative News Joan Allen: The Society for the Study of Labour History Keith Flett […]

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