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Conference marks the 50th anniversary of E.P. Thompson's 'The Making of the English Working Class'

16 November 2013 — 16 November 2013 Huddersfield, The University of

The UK's Society for the Study of Labour history will meet in Halifax to commemorate one of the most influential books of the past half century

One of the most celebrated works of social and political history ever written – The Making of the English Working Class, by E. P. Thompson – was published 50 years ago, in November 1963.  Its half-century is to be commemorated at a special conference held in Halifax and organised by the Society for the Study of Labour History, whose President is the University of Huddersfield’s Professor Keith Laybourn.

The SSLH event will be held on Saturday, 16 November, 2013 at Square Chapel, in the town, Halifax, where E. P. Thompson lived and worked as a lecturer when he researched and wrote his epic work, which has sold hundreds of thousands of copies.

The conference, which begins at 10am, is open and free to all.  It features lectures and round-table talks involving leading figures in the field of labour history. The keynote address is by Professor Bryan Palmer, of Trent University, Ontario.

During the afternoon, Dr John Hargreaves – author of the standard work on the history of Halifax – will lead a walk to the house at Whitegates, Siddal, where Thompson and his historian wife Dorothy lived between 1948 and 1965.  A commemorative blue plaque is to be erected at the house by Halifax Civic Trust, with the support of the Society for the Study of Labour History and the Lipman-Miliband Trust.  It will be dedicated at 3.30 pm on 16 November, at a ceremony attended by the Mayor of Calderdale.

Professor Laybourn – president of the SSLH – said that The Making of the English Working Class was still “a hallmark for scholarship and original research”.

“E. P. Thompson wanted to show that there was a strong radical tradition in England and that up to the 1830s there was as much revolutionary potential as in France and the rest of the Continent.”

  • For details of the E. P. Thompson conference to commemorate the 50th anniversary of The Making of the English Working Class and to reserve a free place, contact Dr Charlotte Alston at

Attached files

  • Classic cover of E.P.Thompson's seminal book

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