Friends of Senate House Library Holden Lecture 2023

The Ron Heisler collection on left-wing politics is an extraordinary resource for historians, social scientists and everyone interested in political cultures. Built up by Ron Heisler over many decades, and generously donated to Senate House Library, this capacious collection comprises books, pamphlets, journals and newspapers as well as art, literature, drama and some wonderful ephemera. The collection is unified by its focus both on labour and radical political movements and on the cultural expression of radical ideas. It provokes conversations about form as well as about content.  

In this roundtable discussion we will ask Ron about his motivation for collecting radical voices, why he thinks the collection matters, and what his most prized acquisitions are. Joining Ron for this special evening will be a panel of historians who will assess the wider significance of the collection, explore the broader challenges of political archiving, and discuss new approaches to the history of radical movements, ideas, texts and objects. 

The panellists include: 

  • Keith Gildart- Professor of Labour and Social History at the University of Wolverhampton
  • Philip Murphy- University of London, Professor of British and Commonwealth History at the University of London and Director of History & Policy at the Institute of Historical Research
  • Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite- Associate Professor of Twentieth-century British History at University College London
  • Amy Todd- public historian, member of The Class Work Project, and a doctoral student at the University of Manchester and People's History Museum. 

The panel will be chaired by Claire Langhamer, Director of the Institute of Historical Research and Professor of Modern History at the University of London. 

Holden Lecture 2023