Papers of Hugh Brock
Archive reference: Cwl HBP
This Commonweal Archive covers the growth of Gandhi's non-violent ideas in anti-nuclear and peace campaigning in Britain during the 1950s and 1960s: the first Aldermaston March, the nuclear disarmament symbol, and Peace News.
Hugh Brock, peace campaigner and journalist, played a key role in the growth of non-violent protest in Britain against atomic and hydrogen weapons and military bases during the 1950s and 1960s. A conscientious objector during the Second World War, he took on production, with his brother Ashley, of pacifist journal Peace News when printers and distributors refused to handle it because of its anti-war stance. He became assistant editor in 1946 and editor in 1955. He left Peace News in 1964, but continued to be involved with its work and with peace campaigning until his death in 1985.
The Papers include material on:
- The Non-Violent Resistance Commission (later Group), set up by the Peace Pledge Union in 1949, and its offshoot, Operation Gandhi, which organised non-violent direct action, among their aims the withdrawal of US troops from Britain and an end to British production of atomic weapons. Hugh Brock was secretary of this group. Among its activities were a sit-down outside the War Office and protests at Aldermaston, Mildenhall, Porton and Harwell.
- The 1957 protests against British testing of H-bombs on Christmas Island (Hugh Brock was part of an emergency committee arranging the protests). This committee later became the Direct Action Committee, which organised the 1958 Aldermaston March.
- Peace News, including the 1961 split with the Peace Pledge Union, and files of correspondence with Sybil Morrison and Stuart Morris of the Peace Pledge Union and with Bernard Boothroyd, editor of Peace News 1949-1951.
- The origins of the Nuclear Disarmament Symbol (peace sign), created by Gerald Holtom.
- Other peace campaigns and activities, including the World Peace Brigade, Congress of England (Third Camp), Michael Randle's 1956 Hungary Protest, Czechoslovakia demonstration 1968.
The Archive was catalogued as part of the PaxCat Project, with support from the National Cataloguing Grants Programme for Archives.