This copy of the Daily Worker newspaper, dated 2nd July 1959, was presumably stuffed behind the hardboard panel of the bathroom door by Dad when he fitted it. This was probably just to line it or plug a gap, rather than with the intention of surprising and delighting someone 52 years later, but it seemed like buried treasure to me. Mum and Dad subscribed to the Daily Worker (later to become the Morning Star) and this copy has “21 L” (our house number and street initial) scrawled on the top right hand corner by the newsagent who delivered it. It makes fascinating reading today. The lead story covers a strike by workers in the ink manufacturing industry, campaigning for a 40-hour week. The editorial on the left explains how the Daily Worker is able to come out without undermining the strike, even though many of the the major papers were shutting down due to lack of ink: the comparatively low circulation of the DW meant their ink supplies lasted longer!
My parents remained committed members of the Communist Party until the split in the late 1980s, when they went with the breakaway Democratic Left and its short-lived weekly newsletter, Seven Days. But the Morning Star (as the DW became) was a constant presence in our family home. Dad sometimes contributed content, including an eloquent and prescient piece calling for a “green socialism” movement in the 1970s. I had some truly terrible teenage poetry printed in its “Discoverers” children’s corner (and I have to agree with Alexei Sayle: the cartoon, “Pif“, was rubbish). Every year in the weeks running up to Christmas our house would be a hive of activity as everyone made things (soft toys by Mum; wooden toys and footstools by Dad; gift tags by us kids from old Christmas cards) to sell at the annual fundraising Morning Star Bazaar. It was a newspaper owned and funded by its subscribers – I recently gave a friend the wrong idea when I casually mentioned that my parents had “owned” a newspaper!
Dad once narrowly escaped a jail sentence for the Daily Worker. As a young communist in Glasgow he was caught and arrested for scrawling “Read the Daily Worker!” on a wall. He was unable to take time off work for the court appearance, but luckily his brother could appear in his place, and take the option of a 5 shilling fine rather than 5 days in jail.
I still find it hard to imagine: my quiet Dad, outlaw graffiti artist!
- "Auntie" (Mabel Zoe Watson, Grandad Lane's cousin)
- 14th century
- 18th century
- 19th century
- 20th Century
- Glasgow family
- Grandad Lane's cousin)
- Hebridean family
- Lane family
- Our House
- The objects: