New President of the Socialist History Society and Two new Vice Presidents

We are delighted to announce the new president of the Socialist History Society and our two new vice presidents

President of the SHS

Willie has accepted our invitation to become our third Honorary President following the sad death of Stan Newens. Stan had succeeded Prof Eric Hobsbawm, our first president.

Willie Thompson was previously our vice president and is a former secretary of the society. Willie was editor of our journal, Socialist History. As a founder member of the SHS, Willie was also involved with our predecessor, the Communist Party Historians’ Group and edited Our History journal.

Prof Thompson is the author of numerous books, including most recently Work, Sex and Power (2015), Ideologies in the Age of Extremes (2011), What Happened to History? (2000), The Left in History Revolution and Reform in Twentieth-Century Politics (1996), The Long Death of British Labourism: Interpreting a Political Culture (1993) and The Good Old Cause: British Communism 1920-1991 (1992).

Willie has contributed to several of the society’s Occasional Publications, including most recently the titles on the Russian Revolution (OP 41) and the Labour Party (OP 42) and Eric Hobsbawm: Socialist Historian (OP 36). Willie also wrote Setting an Agenda: Thomson, Dobb, Hill and the Communist Party Historians (OP 29). Willie also contributed to George Rudé 1910-1993: Marxist Historian (OP 2).

Born in Edinburgh, Willie spent his early years in Shetland. He graduated from the University of Aberdeen in 1962 and moved to Glasgow when he also joined the Communist Party and Young Communist League.

Willie attended teacher training college before teaching for three years and went on to do a PhD at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, from 1966 to 1969. After this he lectured at Wigan College of Technology until he joined the newly founded Glasgow College of Technology in 1971. Willie lectured in history at the college for 30 years as it became Glasgow Polytechnic and then, in 1993, Glasgow Caledonian University. Willie became a Reader and Professor of Contemporary History, specialising in Communist and other contemporary political movements. He retired in 2001 and became a visiting professor at the University of Northumbria.

Willie was involved in the editorial work on Scottish Marxist (1972-1980) and Marxism Today (1986-1991), publications of the CPGB.

Vice Presidents

Linda is currently Professor of European Industrial Relations in the Westminster Business School (WBS) and is responsible for a distinct programme of research in the Centre for the Study of the Production of the Built Environment (ProBE), a joint research centre of WBS and the School of Architecture and Cities. She was originally educated as an art/architectural historian at the Courtauld Institute, University of London and then went on to the Bartlett Faculty of Architecture and Planning, UCL to complete a Master’s degree in Architectural Studies (1972) followed by a PhD (1984) in social and economic history. Her thesis, published as Building Capitalism: historical change and the labour process in the production of the built environment (1992, reprinted 2012), concerned the nature of urbanisation and capitalism, in particular in relation to building production, at the turn of the eighteenth century, focussed on Somers Town, which lies between Euston and Kings Cross stations in London.

Linda worked with Christine Wall on an oral history Leverhulme project, Constructing post-war Britain: building workers’ stories 1950-70, a Leverhulme project, which began 2010, see She jointly organises, with Michael Gold, regular BUIRA (British Universities Industrial Relations Association) seminars on the history of industrial relations, is part of the Britain at Work 1945-1995 project (, which holds an annual oral labour history day, and continues to research: the history of direct labour organisations in Britain; blacklisting in the construction industry from the 1960s; and the development of building labour and vocational education and training across Europe.


David is Emeritus Professor at the School of History (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures), University of Leeds.

David Parker’s most recent book is Letters of Solidarity and Friendship. Czechoslovakia 1968-71 (2017).

His previous book Ideology, Absolutism and the English Revolution – Debates of the British Communist Historians 1940-1956 (2008) examines in great detail the debates of the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century section of the Communist Party History Group and the work of Hill, Hobsbawm, Hilton and others on ideology and absolutism.

David’s other books include The Making of French Absolutism (1983); State and Class in Ancien Regime France. The Road to Modernity? (1996); and (as editor) Revolutions and the Revolutionary Tradition in the West, 1560-1991 (2000).  He contributed major articles on French Absolutism in Past & Present over a period of 30 years.

David is a longstanding member of the SHS and was enrolled in the History Group by his father when he was a student in 1963.

 He contributed to Eric Hobsbawm: Socialist Historian (OP 36) and has written for the journal, Socialist History.