Classics Subscription

July 2021

Originally published by Merlin Press

The Town that was Murdered

The Life Story of Jarrow

Ellen Wilkinson

Foreword by Gargi Bhattacharyya


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'Labour history matters most of all as a resource for our collective resistance and survival. ... When we turn our collective intellectual resources to excavating the histories of place that constitute class struggle in our neighbourhoods, another history can become visible' – Gargi Bhattacharyya, from the Foreword

This classic of labour history was originally published by the Left Book Club in 1939, just three years after the famous Jarrow March. Written by Jarrow's firebrand Labour MP Ellen Wilkinson, The Town That Was Murdered is a social history which starkly conveys the joblessness and poverty that were caused when large banking and finance firms drove local shipbuilding firms to bankruptcy and destroyed jobs: "Jarrow's plight", she writes, "is not a local problem. It is the symptom of a national evil".

Along with the Jarrow March, the book helped the drive for a Welfare State, by planting the idea of social justice in the minds of the middle classes, and helped to usher in the Labour government of 1945.

This special edition has a new introduction by Gargi Bhattacharyya which explains how it can be used in practical ways to address our own struggles with precarious work and unemployment under capitalism today.




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