Monday, January 20, 2014

The Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire

Many will remember living in South Yorkshire during the ‘70s and ‘80s – a period of cheap bus fares, industrial unrest and fractious relations between the Labour-controlled County Council and the Thatcher Government.

The Local Government Act 1972 formally established South Yorkshire on 1 April 1974.  Between 1974 and 1986, the new county was presided over by South Yorkshire County Council.  When the Council was abolished in 1986, the records were passed to Sheffield Archives for safe keeping.  Thanks to a grant from the National Cataloguing Grants Programme for Archives, we’ve now sorted and listed the records that tell the story of the politics and people of South Yorkshire County Council.
For the student of local politics and government, the papers offer a unique insight into the ‘People’s Republic’ or ‘Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire’, the term coined by Sir Irvine Patnick to describe the left-wing politics of the Council.  The records also shed light on the people of South Yorkshire – those who benefited from the Council’s activities, community groups, trade unionists and others campaigning for a better South Yorkshire.
A selection of images from the collection, including campaign material from the 1980s, is available to view on our Flickr page: