Research Collections


Papers of Willie Thompson

Professor, Historian and Communist Party Activist

Reference codes, titles and dates of Archive

Reference Code: GB1847 WT
:Papers of Willie Thompson
Date of Creation of material
: 1962-1997
Level of description
: Fonds
: 2.5 metres

Biographical history

Name of Creator: Willie Thompson.
Biographical history
: Willie Thomson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1939 and was Scottish Marxist cover brought up in Shetland.  He graduated from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1962 and moved to Glasgow, Scotland, in the same year when he also joined the Communist Party and the YCL (Young Communists League).  Willie attended teacher training college before working as a teacher for three years and went on to study for his PhD at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, from 1966 to 1969.  The subject was economic history and the title Commercial Connections between Glasgow and Africa 1870-1900.  Next he went to Wigan College of Technology, Wigan, Lancashire, England, to lecture until he took up his position at the new Glasgow College of Technology, Glasgow in August 1971.  He continued to lecture in History at the College for 30 years during which time the College became Glasgow Polytechnic and then, in 1993, Glasgow Caledonian University.  Willie became a Reader and Professor of ContemScottish Festival of Marxism 1978 coverporary History, specialising in Communist and related movements.  He is well published in his given area.  He retired in 2001 but continues to work on various writing projects and is a visiting professor at the University of Northumbria.

Willie’s political activity within the Communist Party during the 1960s included branch secretary of Glasgow Committee and Scottish Committee YCL 1962-1966; branch secretary Strathclyde students; Glasgow Committee and Scottish Committee; Scottish student organiser; National Student Committee member; and Wigan branch member, editing Wigan Red.  Willie had an editorial role in Scottish Marxist (1972-1980), Scottish Pensioner (1978-1982) and Marxism Today (1986-1991).  He was a member of the CP Theory and Ideology Advisory Committee (1984-1986), member of the Scottish Committee (1986-1990) and Glasgow’s Kelvin branch chairperson (1988-1991).

Archival history: Retained by Willie Thompson.
Immediate source of acquisition:
Willie Thompson, August 2001.

What is in the Archive

Scope and Content abstract: The collection contains Willie’s documents relating to his Communist Party activities.  

  • National Congress of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) records 1967-1991
  • Scottish Congress of the CPGB records 1966-1991
  • CPGB Scottish Committee papers 1969-1980
  • CPGB Glasgow Branch activities and papers 1970s-1987
  • CPGB Glasgow North Kelvin Branch papers late 1980s
  • CPGB Wigan Branch activities 1969-1971
  • Scottish Marxist related papers 1970s and 1980s and 1975 Scottish Marxist conference
  • Miscellaneous political publications and newspapers 1960s-1991
  • Notes on Communist Party education 1970s
  • Young Communist League publications, congress reports and papers 1960s
  • National Student Committee papers 1966-1969
  • Material relating to New Times and Democratic Left
  • Publications, circulars and subject files, undated.  
  • There is also a large body of unsorted publications, circulars, cuttings and other documents.

Please note that this Archive is still being worked on and the content will be updated in time.

Appraisal, Destruction and Scheduling Information: This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 1847 procedures.
Accrual: None expected. 
System of Arrangement: The collection is awaiting arrangement.

Getting & using the Archive

Conditions Governing Access:  Open by arrangement with the Archivist.
Copyright/Conditions Governing Reproduction: Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the University Archivist. Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.
Language of Material: English.
Physical Characteristics: None which affect the use of this material.
Finding Aids: Handlist to folder level.

Other collections of similar subject matter

Location of Originals: This material is original.
Existence of Copies:
No known copies.
Related units of description
: Part of Glasgow Caledonian University Research Collections -   

Further details of related material can be found on the appropriate links page.
Publication note: None to date.

Archive contact

Carole McCallum (University Archivist)
Telephone - +44 (0)141 273 1188
Email -  

Notes relating to the preparation of this description

Description Compilation Details: Compiled by Carole McCallum, University Archivist, 21 February 2002.
Description Alterations: Updated by Carole McCallum, University Archivist, 23 September 2002.

Last Updated: 18 August, 2009
Edited by:

Photo: Willie Thompson