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Freedom and Liberty

As part of the national Archives Awareness Campaign for 2007, staff at the Modern Records Centre produced an exhibition of documents on the theme of ‘Freedom and Liberty’. The examples below show just a small selection of the records we hold which relate to those issues, including original documents relating to women’s suffrage, Indian independence and treatment of juvenile offenders.

Click on the thumbnails to see a larger version of each document.

Try searching our online catalogue to find information about more documents relating to these subjects.

 
Song sheet sold by the East London Federation of the Suffragettes, undated
Song sheet sold by the East London Federation of the Suffragettes, undated

The ELFS was formed by Sylvia Pankhurst in 1912. It was an organisation of mostly working class women and campaigned for many left-wing policies in addition to universal suffrage.

[From the papers of Aaron Rapoport Rollin, document reference: MSS.240/R/5/5/4].

Labour Party election leaflet aimed at new women voters, 1928
Labour Party election leaflet aimed at new women voters, 1928

Limited women’s suffrage was granted in 1918. This leaflet was published in 1928, the year that all men and women over the age of 21 were given the vote. Labour won the General Election the following year.

[From the records of the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation, document reference: MSS.36/L41/i].

Letter from Jawaharlal Nehru, General Secretary of the All India Congress Committee, to Edo Fimmen, Secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation, 23 March 1929
Letter from Jawaharlal Nehru, General Secretary of the All India Congress Committee, to Edo Fimmen, Secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation, 23 March 1929

Nehru would become the first Prime Minister of an independent India in 1947.

[From the records of the International Transport Workers' Federation, document reference: MSS.159/3/C/318/4]

Pamphlet attacking British colonialism in Asia, circa 1945
Pamphlet attacking British colonialism in Asia, circa 1945

The author, Ajit Roy, was a leading member of the Bolshevik-Leninist Party of India, a Trotskyite organisation. This pamphlet was published by the Revolutionary Communist Party in London.

[From the papers of Ken Tarbuck, document reference: MSS.75/4/2/12]

The Hungarian Uprising of 1956: Overthrow of the government
The Hungarian Uprising of 1956: Overthrow of the government

These photographs were taken during and after the revolt against Communist rule in Hungary. The uprising started as a student protest in Budapest, but dissent soon spread across the country, toppling the government. Communist rule was soon forcibly reinstalled by Soviet Union troops. The brutality shown during the suppression of the revolt alienated many Western European supporters of the Soviet Union, but reinforced Soviet control over the Eastern Bloc. Communism was finally overthrown in Hungary in 1989.

[From the records of the International Transport Workers' Federation, document reference: MSS.159/12/24 (2002)].

The Hungarian Uprising of 1956: Russian tanks in Budapest
The Hungarian Uprising of 1956: Russian tanks in Budapest

Tanks moving into position on 27 October 1956.

[From the records of the International Transport Workers' Federation, document reference: MSS.159/12/24 (2002)].

The Hungarian Uprising of 1956: Flight of refugees
The Hungarian Uprising of 1956: Flight of refugees

This photograph shows a women being helped into Austria after crossing the canal on a make-shift bridge. The original bridge was destroyed by Soviet forces.

[From the records of the International Transport Workers' Federation, document reference: MSS.159/12/24 (2002)].

Sheet of postcards produced as part of a campaign against the death sentences passed on the ‘Pretoria 3’, 1981
Sheet of postcards produced as part of a campaign against the death sentences passed on the ‘Pretoria 3’, 1981

The three men were found guilty of treason (membership of the African National Congress (ANC)) and attempted murder (participation in an attack on a police station). Their conviction prompted an international outcry.

[From the records of the National Society of Operative Printers and Assistants, document reference: MSS.39/NAT/3/27/40].

Leaflet promoting the Liberty and Property Defence League, circa 1880
Leaflet promoting the Liberty and Property Defence League, circa 1880

The LPDL was a lobby group for those opposed to socialism, trade unionism and regulation by government.

[From the records of the Chamber of Shipping, document reference: MSS.367/COS/3/5/8]

Anti-European Community leaflet from the Freedom Association, circa 1994
Anti-European Community leaflet from the Freedom Association, circa 1994

The Freedom Association was founded in 1975. It is against the European Union and in favour of free trade and "individual freedoms".

[From the 'Miscellaneous series' of records, document reference: MSS.21/3403/2].

Photograph of the first Borstal institution, 1900s: Garden work
Photograph of the first Borstal institution, 1900s: Garden work

The first juvenile detention centre was established at the village of Borstal, Kent, in 1902, with the intention of taking young offenders out of adult prisons and ‘reforming’ them through a strictly regulated system.

[From the records of the Howard League for Penal Reform, document reference: MSS.16A/7/23].

Photograph of the first Borstal institution, 1900s: Carpentry workshop
Photograph of the first Borstal institution, 1900s: Carpentry workshop

[From the records of the Howard League for Penal Reform, document reference: MSS.16A/7/23].

Photograph of the first Borstal institution, 1900s: Borstal landing
Photograph of the first Borstal institution, 1900s: Borstal landing

[From the records of the Howard League for Penal Reform, document reference: MSS.16A/7/23].

Photograph of the first Borstal institution, 1900s: Exercise yard
Photograph of the first Borstal institution, 1900s: Exercise yard

[From the records of the Howard League for Penal Reform, document reference: MSS.16A/7/23].