Socialist Worker

Bill Moore

by Phil Turner
Issue No. 2115

Socialist historian, peace campaigner and Communist Party (CP) member Bill Moore died last month aged 97 after a lifetime of activity on the left.

An inspirational figure to many in the movement, Sheffield-born Bill made a significant contribution to promoting the history of ordinary people and the working class movement.

Bill, whose works included a pamphlet on the General Strike in Sheffield, shared a platform with founder member of the Socialist Workers Party Tony Cliff at a packed meeting in his home city to mark the strike’s 70th anniversary in 1996.

He grew up with his grandparents after his mother died in childbirth and his father was killed in Ypres during the First World War.

He went to Oxford University where he took part in the famous Oxford students’ debate in 1933 that declared, “In no circumstances would we fight for king and country.”

He later drummed up support for the Republican forces fighting Franco in the Spanish Civil War.

He welcomed Picasso to Sheffield for a 1950 peace conference and worked with major historians such as EP Thompson and Christopher Hill in the early days of the Communist Party History Group.

He had joined the Communist Party in 1935 after taking a diploma in education at London University.

His first piece of political writing was for an election pamphlet on behalf of the Labour candidate for the Sheffield Ecclesall ward in the 1935 general election.

He served as secretary of the Sheffield Peace Committee for two years.

During the war, he was called up to the Royal Armoured Corps before being accepted into the Royal Artillery.

In 1944 he became an education officer teaching English in Nigeria.

In 1946 he was demobbed and returned to Sheffield. He worked in two teaching posts in South Yorkshire. In 1950 he stood in a parliamentary by-election.

In 1952 he stopped teaching to work full time for the CP, holding various posts in Yorkshire and standing as a candidate in elections.

He retired in 1976 but rejoined the history group a year later.

Projects he was involved with included collating memories of the Sheffield Labour Group and founding the Holberry Society for the Study of Sheffield Labour History.

He completed ten publications on Sheffield’s social history.

Three years ago his life’s work was celebrated by a conference at the Salford‑based Working Class Movement Library organised by the Socialist History Society on his retirement from the society’s national committee.

Article information

Tue 19 Aug 2008, 18:36 BST
Issue No. 2115
Share this article

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.