The Festival of Labour, 1962

The Festival of Labour, 1962

The archives at the People’s History Museum holds 6 boxes of material pertaining to the 1962 Festival of Labour.[i] I discovered these when working in what was then the Princess Street archive and Stephen Bird asked “Do you know anything about the Festival of Labour”? I confessed not and soon 6 uncatalogued, unsorted boxes of photos, pamphlets, handbills, newspapers, memos and all sorts of other detritus arrived on my desk. I’m not sure Stephen knew that much either, since the Festival is a rather forgotten event and has not attracted much attention from historians. In fact the silence and absence is itself revealing of some of the preconceptions and priorities in writing about Labour’s past.

I’ve written about the Festival elsewhere in more detail.[ii] Here I’ll offer a brief reconstruction of events and some of their meanings and historiographical interest. The point is to encourage more research – both at the national and local level[iii], and to nudge and hint at some of the aspects political historians have brushed over in Labour’s past and which might rearrange the conventional record. Part of that is to suggest that Labour could often act as a broad church movement, working together across a variety of activities – politics, trade unions, co-ops, regional, local, sports, high culture, jam-making, float designing, town planning and much more. All very “Blue Labour” in the range of communities this spoke to and sprang from, but let’s not get nostalgic, because the Festival also had a measurably limited impact and the purpose here is not to suggest some seismic importance for the event has been overlooked. It was not a fractious event – it had its tensions for sure, but they were contained. Historians looking for Labour Pains might be best off looking away from the Festival. But therein lies its historiographical controversy. It offers insights into a world of labour that was not wracked with competing factions or ideological controversy or personal quarrels – its innocuousness is its controversy. But with an eye on current debates it also pretty categorically shows a movement that thinks of itself as parliamentary and extra-parliamentary, a social movement and an electoral machine, in tandem. Historians of both current Labour persuasions – Momentum’s desire to develop a social movement and Corbyn’s critics asserting the primacy of Labour’s parliamentary legislative role – will not find an easy friend to co-opt in the Festival. Indeed I suppose implicitly what I’m suggesting here is that a history that chiefly serves the present might not make for very good history – although it can make for good politics – or that there is more to Labour’s history than current concerns can highlight.

The Festival

On the weekend of 16-17 June 1962, 150,000 Labour Party people visited London for the Festival of Labour. The omens were promising when 2 days before, Tam Dalyell won the West Lothian by-election. Labour spent £12,000 on the Festival (as much as £3/4 million in present-day value).[iv] The Festival organiser was Merlyn Rees – later Northern Ireland and Home Secretary in the 1970s’ Labour governments – and whose efforts at the Festival helped him succeed Hugh Gaitskell as MP for Leeds South, when Gaitskell died in 1963. For Rees the Festival’s aim was to ‘show that socialism is not only concerned with material welfare.’


                                                                  The West Midlands Region Float

The Festival featured a parade of 42 Labour, union and Co-op tableaux floats. This departed Baths Hall on East India Dock Road at 10.30 am and proceeded via Islington, Westminster, Battersea Park (the main festival site and where Tony Benn delivered a commentary on the passing tableaux) to Myatt’s Fields in Camberwell, at 5.15pm. Classical music (Stravinsky, Tchikovsky, Mozart and Haydn) and jazz concerts (Johnnie Dankworth and Chris Barber) were staged at the Royal Festival Hall. Jazz was much more the flavour of the month than the Rolling Stones, who played their first gig at London’s Marquee a month later. “No bands anywhere make a living from making gramphone records alone” the Musicians’ Union float trumpeted, but the “Keep Music Live” mantra clashed with the Co-op’s desire to use recorded music to support its fashion show. On the Musicians Union float, the Harry Gold and Terry Lightfoot bands offered “trad” versions of the Red Flag. The National Film theatre showed film versions of the A. J. Cronin Durham mining novel, The Stars Look Down, John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger and the Peter Sellers’ Trade Union comedy (not terribly popular with trade unionists, but a critical success), I’m Alright Jack. The British Film Institute asked festival goers (in the Festival brochure) whether they were “the sort of cinemagoer who prefers La Notte to Carry on?”

musiciansunionMusicians Union Float

TV writer (and later Labour Lord) Ted Willis commissioned a play from Elaine Morgan, who would later become a successful TV playwright Willis knew Morgan could be kept away from topics like unilateral disarmament that did animate contributors to the Young Socialists Essay competition (Paul Foot of Glasgow Woodside YS won 2nd prize). Pro-nuclear uses (for energy and space exploration) were to be found on the West Midlands and Eastern Region Labour Party floats as much as CND activists heckled Gaitskell’s speech in Battersea Park. Morgan’s play, Nothing Personal, was finished too late to be performed at the Festival.[v]

There were two art exhibitions. “Prints of the world” displayed Thai, Eskimo and Argentinian works and those of 15 other nations at the South London Gallery. The TUC’s Congress House was a fittingly modern – designed by David du Rieu Aberdeen and with Epstein and Bernard Meadows sculptures and finished in 1958 – location for an exhibition of modern art (including work by Peter Blake, David Hockney, Frank Auerbach, Patrick Heron, Henry Moore, and Eduardo Paolozzi). The exhibition was opened by Sir Kenneth Clark.[vi]

Battersea Park hosted Labour women’s handicrafts (knitting, preserves and dress-making), Co-op fashion displays, country dancing by the Woodcraft Folk, music from Colliery bands and Captain Strelsky’s Cossack Orchestra, and punch and judy for children. There were stalls on town planning and community enterprise, and from the the Socialist Medical Association, National Council of Labour Colleges, National Coal Board and Fabian Society. A variety concert was organised by impresario Jack Hylton (who also took out a page ad in the festival brochure) and hosted by the presenters of BBC’s current affairs show, Tonight, Robin Hall and Jimmy McGregor. Sports included keep-fit, the British Gymnastics Association, YS netball and soccer tournaments and an athletics meeting that starred the reigning European Shot Put champion, Arthur Rowe and saw Gordon Miller achieve a new UK high jump record. There was something for everyone here: on the Sunday Tony Greenwood and Donald Soper led a Christian socialist service – although London County Council regulations prevented a collection being made, as they also prevented a proposed art sale.

feetonthegroundNational Union of Boot and Shoe Operatives’ Float

All this saw Labour tap into a range of networks in civil society and contacts. In entertainment (Hylton, BBC and ITV), the arts (Clark and the various artists, plus Michael Ayrton, the son of Labour MP Barbara Ayrton Gould and Tom Driberg who were behind the exhibition initiatives), sports (future Sports Minister Denis Howell was at that time an FA referee, Philip Noel-Baker’s Olympic track record and Dave Curtis of the British Workers Sports Association, which had dissolved itself in 1960). On the design front, in addition to the Co-operative Wholesale Society shopfitting department, Mountain and Molehill, who were ex-communist professional graphic designers Ken Sprague and Ray Bernard, offered tableaux design. Misha Black, architect of the Festival of Britain’s Regatta Restaurant, advised on and judged the party’s Brighter Premises competition.

brighterpartyThe Brighter Premises Brochure

The Brighter Premises competition was an integral part of Labour’s spruce up and self-presentation. The Brighter Party Premises pamphlet came complete with Co-operative wholesale society colour charts of emulsion and gloss finishes for internal and external walls, supplied by the CWS paint works in Derby. The “expert knowledge” of the Council of Industrial Design, British Lighting Council, Civic Trust supplied advice on buildings, gardens from minutiae of notice boards, typefaces and paintwork to the broader marketing impact this could make; and with the over-rising aim of “overcoming the drabness of nineteenth century architecture.” West Lewisham’s Labour HQ was used as a dummy, renovated to Black’s specification at the NEC’s expense.

London was the focus, but there was also an event at the Belle Vue stadium in Manchester. Harold Wilson, comedian Ken Dodd and two ITV Coronation Street stars (the actors who played Harry and Concepta Hewitt) judged a festival Princess contest. An evening dinner dance featured Corrie’s biggest star, Pat Phoenix. Other regional initiatives involving Theatre Workshop and Unity theatre did not come off – in part falling foul of Rees’ middling tastes, as did A.L.Lloyd’s idea for a folk music tour.

doddwilsonKen Dodd, the North West Festival of Labour Princess 1962 and Harold Wilson at Belle Vue Stadium, Manchester.

Meanings, Reception and Contexts

The Festival’s reception suggested the limits not extent of its reach and networks in civil society. The conceptual art at Congress House attracted barely one hundred festival-goers a day over its two week run and ‘for many… the paintings and sculptures on view were too advanced.’ Tom Driberg, the Festival’s arts consultant, noted a certain ‘philistinism’. Several institutions spurned Labour on the basis they might suffer through association. Though a popular venue with the New Left, the Whitechapel Gallery Director Bryan Robertson told Rees it was, ‘impossible for us to hold an exhibition of any kind with political sponsorship’. The British Film Institute, National School of Opera, Daily Mirror and Caravan Club (touted as an accommodation solution for the influx of Labour members) expressed similar anxieties. Road hauliers in the British Road Services were reluctant to hire vehicles to Labour, Rees assumed because of political antagonism to Labour’s nationalisation plans. Outright hostility was rare, and some distinction should also be drawn between association with Labour and the left and with politics per se. But that Rees told Labour’s Scottish Organizer, ‘we have to avoid being too aggressively political’, said much about the comparatively cold climate in which politics was practiced and by which it was delimited.[vii]

As at the 1951 Festival of Britain, there was a spatial divide between the more uplifting and more populist, entertaining elements.[viii] The Festival was as useful a marker of Labour’s cultural tastes as the 1951 Festival was of its national vision. And as such it bears interrogating for the cultural mentalities it discloses, because these did endure as much as the Festival was a fleeting endeavour. Unconsciously it tells much about Labour’s gendering; although contemporaries were not struck by the preponderance of male acts / performers and the role of women as jam-makers and beauty queens. There was little evidence of empire, immigration or multi-culturalism, the tone was quietly British, with little American presence (jazz – not pop – and shunning Hollywood). And I say quietly because there’s little evident emoting on behalf of culture, but a close reading may find otherwise. The Festival’s own cultural agenda was modern, but also at times conventionally elite. One festival slogan ran: “Are you not prepared to spend the price of a packet of cigarettes once a year on the visual arts?”

A fuller history of the festival would have to situate it in terms of Labour’s cultural thinking – which had a long and myriad history. Rees stressed the Festival initiative was to show that socialism – in Labour practice and lifestyle as well as theory and policy – was about more than material well-being, as if that strain had been lost in the immediate post-war. This was not entirely fair as the 1948 Local Government Act had enabled local councils to levy for the arts, though few took this up. Labour’s growing consciousness of culture was summarised at the time in its 1959 Leisure for Living pamphlet. Like the festival this took a fairly orthodox elite view of culture, but did view culture as a political matter. So too did Conservatism – there was an element of political competition at play here, as much as post-material interests, policies, languages and forms were infusing politics. The Bow Group were particularly interested in the arts and leisure in a post-industrial society around this time and a recurring refrain of Conservative attacks on Labour was that they were too materialistic, too concerned with wages, not the spiritual quality of life. Labour revisionists like Tony Crosland sounded a similar note from the mid-1950s. And a not dissimilar charge was levelled by Arnold Wesker’s Centre 42 project to get the trade unions involved in arts and culture and launched at the 1960 TUC annual congress. In 1962 Wesker ran 7 local festivals in cities like Nottingham and Bristol with cultural fare a little more political and folksy than the Festival, but also aiming to uplift cultural standards. No doubt in 1962 Labour saw Wesker’s project as dynamic and emulated it. Centre 42 ended up trapped in the dream of transforming London’s Roundhouse into a red cultural base – and whilst it hosed a deal of counter-cultural happenings – the project folded in 1970. In a sense Wesker was the cultural wing of the New Left, formed in 1956 and which espoused a more cultural style of politics and promoted key thinkers like Raymond Williams and Stuart Hall, but without ever indulging in it too much and decidedly less after the focus became the journal New Left Review and Marxist theory after 1962. In Edinburgh, there was the festival and burgeoning fringe that challenged cultural barriers and a range of others factors politicized culture – feminism, satire, pop music, mass TV and more.[ix] In short, the Festival of Labour was a minor cultural player, picking up on a range of emergent cultural and political activities.

More than a signal of the cultural bright lights of the “1960s”, the Festival was redolent of the traditional working-class culture celebrated in Hoggart’s The Uses of Literacy, and the 3 parts of the labour movement extolled in Raymond Williams’ work (Labour, unions and co-op). What it was not was a realisation of Williams idea of common culture – the conception of culture here was quite hierarchical not popular, common or shared; indeed a defence of the former from the advances of the latter, particularly American popular culture. There were not two cultures so much as good, civilizing culture divided from popular activities from which folk needed rescuing.

The Festival was not repeated – it was more a moment than a movement – if a moment of transition in the left’s longer cultural traditions. Labour’s more post-material agendas were taken up in a different form by Jennie Lee’s Arts Ministry in the Wilson governments – supporting and enabling access to existing forms of culture rather than cultural self-endeavour or more experimental forms. Regional development was key and free access to museums was a point of principle. Lee quadrupled arts spending which dovetailed with a flourishing pop culture, but Labour’s remained a quite orthodox vision of public works for the social good. Only in the 1980s did it start to engage with the private sector and youth and popular culture as a progressive and creative force in its own right; and by the Blair era more at ease with commercial culture and promoting the idea of the cultural industries.[x]

A key context for the Festival was the form politics took: as CND revived street politics and reinvented marches and banners and the political carnivalesque, so professional TV campaigns and opinion polling became more central to party election strategies. The dichotomy was not so clear – in fact CND had the support of professional designers like Ken Garland and were quite modern in their use of personalities and media savvy in their eye for the theatrical. As interesting is historians’ lack of interest in the Festival. CND has (rightly) been subject to numerous studies, but party politics has been assumed to have become more centralized, staid, discrete or to have lost its street cred in this era. The idea of the Festival was to refute this and its very existence does, even if its execution and reception rather confirmed it. The Festival was by-passed by more exciting cultural developments in the 1960s. But it was not for lack of trying or interest on Labour’s part. Historians should not turn a blind eye to it – as Jon Lawrence has asserted it is too easy to see politics as a media plaything – even if historians also have to account for the Festival’s limited popular impact or traction.[xi] Another way of thinking about the Festival would be as a party political variant of civic pageants – now a lost or much diminished mode of cultural activity, in 1962 much more the norm. A deep, anthropological, micro-history of its content, form and reception could make the festival a sort of Colchester oyster feast of mid-century left political culture.[xii] You don’t have to swallow this proposal wholesale, but in that it was as much a moment as movement, the Festival is ripe for such an approach and interrogation.

Morgan Phillips proposed a ‘Pageant of Labour’ in 1960, telling Labour’s NEC: ‘our demonstrations are regarded by the general public as demonstrations against them rather than something worthwhile’. Phillips had received complaints about being held up in traffic as a Labour demonstration processed into Hyde Park. CND was the reference point for this initiative in reclaiming the streets as an effective political site. ‘Why shouldn’t we take a leaf from their book?’, Finchley Labour Party asked Rees. CND’s annual meeting, the same weekend as the Festival, discussed this. One activist described demos as ‘old hat’ and how CND were regarded as ‘anti-social nuisances.’ Protest styles were an issue between CND and the radical sit-down tactics of the Committee of 100.[xiii]

The aim was to forge a popular image for Labour that reached beyond formal politics – traditional in form, but modern in content. Besides a cultural agenda to present Labour, as the Guardian put it, as ‘with it – or, where the cloth cap is concerned, without it’ and shed what even supporters admitted was the party’s rather ‘musty atmosphere’, this was an agenda for the culture of politics. It was designed by contrast with how, Rees argued, ‘now two years before [an election] the electorate is softened up with a million pound scheme of advertising’, but Labour ‘cannot spend huge sums like the Tories.’ Tony Benn, although a pioneer of Labour’s use of TV, likewise felt the Festival was a rejection of the ‘nonsense’ that was ‘the language (and thinking) of the ad-men’ and ‘clever packaging’. Rather it showed what Labour was ‘really like’ and renewed a sense of a movement that had been questioned after the 1959 election by revisionists. Writing in Tribune, Benn wanted to ‘repeat the festival every year.’ Confirming this return of old-style boisterous politics were scuffles with CND hecklers of Gaitskell and festival-goers’ cars (and the police) being pelted with water by local students.[xiv]

In other ways it was consciously modern. Floats and tableaux were traditional, but their content included science, space travel and, controversially, the merits of nuclear energy in the Sizewell and Bradwell plants. Rees stressed the use of professional experts ranging from artists, sports stars and the BFI, to the architects and designers consulted for the Brighter premises competition. The ambition to enlist celebrities was a nod to the future too and the style Wilson would fashion as Labour leader. Although Jack Hylton reported ‘“sympathetic” stars’ were ‘conspicuous by their absence’ in London, but several from Coronation Street graced the Manchester event.[xv]

intonewageDesign for the West Midlands Region Float

If Labour battled a dated reputation – politics more generally suffered because of its personal appearance. A 1960 Guardian report noted how dingy London Co-op and Labour halls were and how Conservative rooms were ‘not very seductive.’ The 1958 Gaitskell Commission had noted the shabby décor of many Co-op stores. The agedness, conservatism and decrepitude of many Labour constituencies had been remarked upon since at least Wilson’s 1955 organisational review.[xvi] The “brighter premises” contest that ran as part of the Festival initiative exhibited similar tropes and concerns. The smallest detail was worth sprucing up on the grounds that ‘an impression of the party is gained by new recruits from the appearance of the premises’ and ‘if they look uncared-for they will create an impression of inefficiency.’ Tips included suggestions for colour co-ordination; to avoid typefaces that might ‘be out of fashion’; to check paving to save high heels – ‘the ladies will be happier’; and even ‘some hints for the home too!’ There was encouragement to ‘enlist the help of an architect or designer’ since ‘the professional is usually more able and imaginative than even the most… enthusiastic amateur.’ Political interiors and domesticity were considered public, professional matters.

The Festival and Premises contest were exercises in local initiative, if at national prompting, showing that modern, image-conscious strategies were not necessarily corrosive of local politics. Len Williams held Labour ‘deserves modern premises – many of which at presently undoubtedly give the wrong impression to the public’, but that ‘only local parties can put this right.’[xvii] Conservatives – to repeat the point made earlier about political culture – identified similar problems. ‘The typical local office’ James Douglas from the Conservative Party Research Department reflected in 1959 was ‘an ancient slum house’, with ‘a dirty plate glass window’. Given this ‘scene of dinginess’, Douglas found it ‘difficult to persuade myself that ‘tomorrow is ours’ and felt that ‘in terms of propaganda… a bit of money spent on paint might be a sound investment in many a constituency.’ Besides (and often housing) constituency offices, there were some 1500 Conservative Clubs in 1960, but many had a ‘Victorian’ air of decaying glories or were ‘bare’ with ‘outdated posters.’[xviii] Some survived by distancing themselves from politics, not just subordinating it to social activities. Enoch Powell in 1965 saw local party’s ‘dowdy rooms and an ill-paid agent’ as a ‘paradox’ for a party of business and enterprise and inadequate to attract ‘people of top ability.’ The ‘antiquated, dilapidated, ill-furnished and ill-equipped’ Conservative constituency offices were an external problem too since ‘people today expect salesmanship… efficient presentation, and modern packaging… How can a party with its paint peeling off persuade people that it is selling them a prosperous future?’[xix]

thinkplanactGuidance for Brighter Party Premises

Who then would want to go to a party political festival in 1960s Britain? The answer to that – given the popularity of festivals (with a thinly veiled political subtext), and the 1960s’ associations with partying – tells us a lot.[xx] Not least about a popular cultural shift in the 1960s. The 1962 Festival of Labour was a victim of this cultural shift, but also hinted at it.

What is historically interesting about the Festival is its understanding of culture and what it reveals about the extent and limits of Labour’s civil society status. Historians like Ross McKibbin have argued that Conservatism was much more embedded in civil networks in the inter-war period and that the post-war Attlee governments scarcely scratched at such power and influence. If it questioned these norms it was felt too “political” and there is some evidence for such attitudes persisting in the 1950s and 1960s. Historians like Helen McCarthy have questioned this view of the inter-war, but the irony is that the abiding post-war critique has often been that Labour was insufficiently “political” or ideological. Historiographically, the Festival can make Labour sound more like mainstream European social democracy, with a more paternalistic air, a broader remit than just the parliamentary. Likewise Miliband’s Parliamentary Socialism, a damning critique of parliamentarism as Labour’s (mis)guiding force which appeared in 1961 and the more widespread New Left concept of “Labourism” (that Labour lacked the ideological nous to establish a counter-presence in civil society, a nous that not un-coincidentally the New Left had aplenty, if with scarcer resources on the ground) are subtly questioned by the Festival. Supporters of such theories would rightly point out that the Festival hardly embedded social democratic values and practices into culture and the wider society (critics of the New Left might note neither did the New Left for all the theoretical insights it offered into the power of culture and its everyday not select qualities). But the point is it was not simply for lack of trying on Labour’s part. It was evidently the case that Labour did have an interest in or agenda for culture and for approaching civil society, but equally evident that said approach came up short. This means historians have to explain popular attitudes as well as political offerings – supply and demand. No doubt, as Geoff Eley has forcibly argued, across Europe the cultural orthodoxies and limitations of the mainstream left were exposed in 1968 and new radicalisms sprang up.[xxi] There was no shortage of supply of popular culture elsewhere and changing popular tastes and antipathy towards politics per se as a key aspect of political culture, as much as the ideological deficiencies or lack of ambition or interest on the part of the left account for the left’s limited traction in civil society.

[i] People’s History Museum, LP/NAD/FOL

[ii] Lawrence Black, Redefining British Politics: culture, consumerism and participation, 1954-70 (Basingstoke, 2010), esp. chs. 6-7; idem., ‘‘Making Britain a gayer and more cultivated country’: Jennie Lee, the creative economy and 1960s’ cultural revolution’, Contemporary British History 20:3 (2006); idem., ‘Arts and Crafts: Social Democracy’s cultural resources and repertoire in 1960s Britain’ in Ilaria Favretto, John Callaghan (eds.), Transitions in Social Democracy: Cultural and Ideological problems of the golden age (Manchester, 2007), pp.139-152. There is a Cambridge BA undergraduate dissertation (2006) by Emma Sharples about the festival, but a search of the History and Politics libraries has not located it.

[iii] There were some smaller regional events, as at the Festival of Britain. For example, see Coventry Borough Labour Party’s in Warwick University Modern Records Centre, MSS.11/3/58/1-40



[vi] TUC, Congress House at Fifty (2008)

[vii] Ron Dallas, ‘Festival was Outstanding Success’, Labour Organiser (July 1962); Tom Driberg, ‘Festival of Labour’, Tribune (15 June 1962) p.7; Robertson to Rees (10 January 1961), File ‘Art Exhibition’; Rees to Marshall (26 January 1962), File ‘Art Exhibition’, FOL Box 2.

[viii] Becky Conekin, An autobiography of the nation (Manchester, 2003).

[ix] Angela Bartie, The Edinburgh Festivals (Edinburgh, 2013)

[x] Geoff Mulgan, Ken Worpole, Saturday night or Sunday Morning? From Arts to Industry, new forms of cultural policy (London, 1986).

[xi] Jon Lawrence, Electing our Masters (Oxford, 2009)

[xii] I’m thinking in part here of the AHRC Historical pageants project, see; D.Cannadine, “The transformation of civic ritual in Modern Britain: the Colchester Oyster feast”, Past & Present 94:1 (1982)

[xiii] Labour NEC minutes (22 June 1960); A.W. Mason to Morgan Phillips (5 May 1958); General Secretary’s papers Box 21, GS/Pers/221; A.E.Tomlinson (Pres. Finchley CLP) to Rees (2 July 1962), File ‘Correspondence – CLPs’, FOL Box 5; Daily Sketch (18 June 1962)

[xiv] Guardian 16 June 1962; Daily Herald (18 June 1962); Press release, Rees to Lowestoft CLP Annual Dinner (10 March 1962), File ‘Miscellaneous’, FOL Box 1; A.W.Benn, ‘Lets repeat the Festival Every Year’, Tribune 22 June 1962, p.7; Daily Mirror (18 June 1962); South London Press (22 June 1962)

[xv] ‘Report on the Festival of Labour’ (August 1962), FOL Box 1; Rees, interview, 29 November 2001.

[xvi] Guardian (28 January 1960).

[xvii] Labour Party, Brighter Party Premises (London, 1961). Labour Party, Festival of Labour brochure (1962), p.18.

[xviii] Philip Tether, ‘Clubs: A neglected aspect of Conservative Organization’, Hull Papers in Politics 42 (1988), pp.4, 53, 68-70.

[xix] James Douglas to Mr.Bagnall (23 January 1959), CPA CRD2/8/19; Enoch Powell, ‘The Party with the paint peeling off’, Conservative Agents Journal 513 (February 1965), pp.12-13.

[xx] e.g. George McKay (ed.), The Pop Festival: History, Music, Media, Culture (London, 2015)

[xxi] Geoff Eley, Forging Democracy (Oxford, 2002).

2 thoughts on “The Festival of Labour, 1962

  1. I was at Battersea for Gaitskell’s speech. I remember he made fun of a recent remark by Macmillan that “economic growth is fashionable, like the Twist”. I also remember a young Tam Dalyell being introduced. That’s all I can remember!

  2. Dalyell had won a by-election in the week preceding the Festival.
    Merlyn Rees, who was the chief organiser, succeeded Gaitskell in his Leeds seat as MP.

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