Jessica Kumar (Liverpool John Moores) on exploring the League of Nations Union in the North-West of England

A generous bursary from the Society for the Study of Labour History enabled me to gather invaluable material for my master’s dissertation on the League of Nations Union (LNU) in the North-West of England, a project I am undertaking at Liverpool John Moores University.

Labour and The League, August 1925, Headway, The British Library, p.192

The dissertation investigates a variety of themes that will recognise the types of people/groups involved in the LNU and the types of activities they took part in. For example, it will explore the role of the Labour Party and trade unions, educational and religious institutions within the LNU. This bursary gave me the chance to visit the British Library, where I looked at Headway, a monthly magazine published by the LNU.

As a result, this magazine allowed me to research the links of the Labour Party to the League, particularly the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and trade unions. In the selection of magazines I viewed, connections between Labour and the League were mentioned several times, which suggests the importance with which the LNU viewed these connections. This is very important to my research as, although not completely focused on the North-West, it mentioned some events that took place within this region as well as general context on the broader political implications surrounding the League. This is vital to understand more localised activities. One magazine alluded to a conference held in Liverpool in September 1925 where the British Labour Party discussed important resolutions on security, disarmament, and the Geneva Protocol.

International Labour, November 1921, Headway, The British Library, p.25

Furthermore, the ILO, established under the League of Nations (LON), is highlighted by Headway as playing an essential role in the fight for legitimate internationalism and necessary during wartime. For example, in a Headway magazine from November 1921, it was suggested that the ILO stood side by side with the LON fighting ‘between democracy and reaction, between justice and force,’ and that this was to be fought on a world stage.

Overall, this material allowed me to understand the role of Labour in the League, providing both general context and information on certain conferences held in the North-West. I am extremely grateful for this bursary as it enabled me to gather vital information for my research.

Find out more about SSLH bursaries.