Following their successful 1950 rally at Harringay Arena, on 18th February 1951 communist newspaper The Daily Worker hosted over ten thousand people at Harringay Arena to celebrate their twenty-first anniversary. The guests were entertained by a pageant comprising a series of tableaux set to music by Alan Bush and sung by the London Communist Choir; it was designed to represent “twenty-one years’ struggle for the paper and the people”. Paul Robeson recorded a speech for the occasion. “The whole thing worked up to a grand exciting finale”, reported the paper the next day, “the people of Britain standing up to the domination of the dollar”.
Robeson’s speech was issued by Topic as the two-record Message of Power (more on his recording for the 1950 rally here). Although the text of the pageant appears to have been lost, the Alan Bush archive contains an unpublished song, The People’s Paper, written by communist poet Randall Swingler and communist composer Alan Bush.
The Daily Worker continued to hold their annual rally at the Harringay Arena until 1954.
Thanks for 'Sharing.
Thanks for this, Hugh. I don't remember the rallies but do recall my mother discussing 'the communists' quite a lot around that time. The legendary Paul Robeson was her favourite singer and we had many of his old 78 rpm records.
His biography is worth a read. Athlete, lawyer, actor and singer, he is reputed to have studied over 20 languages at SOAS, speaking many fluently. He became an activist in 1937 and particularly gave support to the Welsh miners fighting in the Spanish Civil War. His US passport was revoked as a result and he spent some years in exile.
Thanks, Pav. And Hugh, the more I read of your history research, the more I realise that Harringay was never a parochially dull, uninteresting place, but a microcosm of the world outside. I am very proud to have grown up in such a place.