The Communist Party of Great Britain archive

John Gollan papers
Gollan, John
Date published: 
January 2009

Series CP/IND/GOLL: Long groomed as Pollitt's successor and attaining the general secretaryship of the CPGB in the difficult year of 1956, John Gollan (1911-77) was to retain the position for some two decades -almost as long as Pollitt himself. If Gollan never made the same impression on the wider world - some communists even muttered about a 'cult of impersonality' - the high regard in which he was held by party loyalists is attested by the biographical research carried out in the last years of her life by Margot Kettle (q.v.). Long before he became party secretary, Gollan had occupied a number of key positions both in the party apparatus and at the Daily Worker. Born in Edinburgh in 1911, he had also played an important role in the 1930s youth movement, as secretary of the Young Communist League. Among the activities documented are his imprisonment for anti-militarist activities in 1931; the apprentices' strikes of 1937; and his involvement in a broader youth movement, including the preparation of an unpublished book on conscription and military service.