Independent Labour Party Records, 1893-1960

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Independent Labour Party: Formation and Development

Independent Labour Party: Formation and Development

Mr. Keir Hardie, M.P., and Mr. W. H. Drew, President of the Bradford Labour Union, were nominated for the post of Chairman of the Conference. Mr. Shaw Maxwell was also nominated, but declined to stand
The Independent Labour Party, Report of the First general Conference.Annual reports of the ILP, 1893-1899; img 2

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Independent Labour Party history, from forming the Labour Party to the Cold War

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These records cover the formation and early years of the Independent Labour Party in some detail. They include iconic moments, such as the first Conference in Bradford and the formation of the Labour Representation Committee in 1906. They also reveal the changing aspirations of the Party as it moved from being a hopeful form of protest, to working within a Labour Party that could run the country. One of the more striking elements of these reports is the fact that it was felt necessary to have an Intelligence Department prior to 1905;" embryonic as the venture was then, it was evidently felt that information would be key to its success. War was one of the societal aberrations that the Independent Labour Party found to be the most deplorable; the Boer War and World War One were seen as both needless sources of death for the young and weapons by which the Government could sweep aside labour reforms that Party Members had fought for throughout many previous years. The I.L.P.'s objections to war would, in time, bring it into contact with the No Conscription Fellowship, to the extent that it sent a delegate to at least one of their meetings. These papers also cover the foundation of the I.L.P. Press and details of its growing range of publications including their authors and dates. In the latter 1920's and early 1930's, growing tensions between the I.L.P and the Labour Party it helped to form, would lead to an irreparable split. This split pitted the Independent Labour Party against the Labour Party, but the latter was so well established at this point as to continue without the former. The I.L.P. lost a great deal of its Membership in the split and went into a decline from which it has never truly recovered. It has continued to campaign though and does still, for more tolerance and a questioning of the perceived political dogma of the time. The original papers, which have been published here, are currently held at the London School of Economics and Political Science.


Independent Labour Party Records, 1893-1960...

Containing 7,118 pages belonging to 20 documents housed in 4 volumes...

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Annual Reports of the Independent Labour Party, 1893-1932

Featuring the names of Delegates attending the Conferences and the Branches that sent them, minutes of international conferences, Party policies...

ILP Minute Books, 1893-1909

These minutes from the National Administrative Council reveal the changing nature of the Party, as its focus shifts from the...

Committee Reports and Conference Resolutions, 1914-1960

The majority of these reports focus on the period from 1914 until 1926, addressing a range of issues including the...

Weekly Notes for Speakers, 1926-1931

These notes each focus upon one core theme, whether it is child health or the failure of reparations policy to...


  • The Annual Reports of the Independent Labour Party include National Administrative Council reports. The NAC Report for 1900 describes the Party's opposition to the Boer War.
  • The ILP Minute Books feature Emmeline Pankhurst as she attended Party meetings between July 1898 and July 1904. When her husband died in 1898, she refused donations in order to support her family herself.
  • Resolutions with amendments respond to World War One and Two directly. The subjects of soldiers' rights and increasing the food supply through co-operative farms were a priority during World War One.
  • The weekly notes for speakers from 1930 discuss the developing situation in India. The findings of the Simon Commission are also explored in these notes.
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