The Communist Party of Great Britain archive

Ben Bradley papers
Bradley, Ben
Date published: 
November 2008

Series CP/IND/BRAD: Benjamin Francis Bradley (1898-1957) was a communist metalworker, born in Walthamstow, who was sent to India to promote militant trade unionism in 1927 and, five years later, was sentenced in the infamous Meerut Conspiracy Trial, 1929-1933, brought against Communist Party members in India. This provoked an enormous outcry, and in Britain, according to Stephen Howe, 'probably inspired more left-wing pamphlet literature than any other colonial issue between the wars'. Bradley's papers are an indispensable source for the episode and include extensive prison correspondence, documents from the Meerut trial and records of the international campaigns of solidarity with the defendants. They also contain his notes for a projected autobiography and materials relating to his later political activities. For several years Bradley continued to be involved in anti-colonial activities and between 1934 and 1940 served as secretary of the League Against Imperialism and its successor, the CPGB's Colonial Information Bureau. He also spent periods as the Daily Worker's circulation manager and, briefly before his death, as national organiser of the Britain-China Friendship Association. His papers bear witness to the genuine internationalism that was one of the outstanding qualities of many communist activists.