Trade Union Education - History and Future

his seminar will explore the history of Trade Union Education - both learning for activists and broader learning for members. It will discuss current issues and how to shape future Trade Union Learning. It aims to guide the planning for a much larger all-day conference in early February 2023. 

Join us for a lively debate on a highly topical area. The loss of the Union Learning Fund and almost all Trade Union Education funding was of course deplorable. On the other hand, the Unison College shows the appetite for growth and new ideas. There is almost universal agreement that UK skills are comparatively low, yet government funding in Adult Education and employer investment in skills remain completely inadequate. The Pandemic has shown the capability of online learning, helping thousands of Union members and activists to access education, including many women and others who might previously have found it difficult to find time to travel to a classroom - but is this at the cost of face to face solidarity? What is the role for Unions in their members’ education?

ChairProfessor John Holford of Nottingham University who will both Chair and provide an initial historical overview, looking at the key issues including the role of employers, funding from government, the Trade Union Curriculum, the role of the TUC and meeting the needs of a rapidly changing trade Union membership. 


  • Teresa Donegan (Head of Learning at Unison)
  • Kevin Rowan (Head of Organising, Services and Learning at the TUC)
  • John Lloyd (Academic and former Trade Union National Education Officer)

The Reunion- Celebrating Twenty Years of History & Policy

Twenty years since its foundation in 2002, History & Policy welcomes back its founding members, Simon Szreter, Pat Thane, Alastair Reid and Virginia Berridge, as well as the key figures in the subsequent development of the network, including Mel Porter, Lucy Delap, Andrew Blick and Philip Murphy. This event will follow the format of the Radio 4 series ‘The Reunion’, as founding members discuss the aims behind H&P, its achievements over the past two decades and its plans for the future. Over the course of two panel discussions and a drinks reception H&P will examine its past, present and future, and give thanks to the network of members whose contributions and engagement have made it all possible. 


Welcome Claire Langhamer (Director of the Institute of Historical Research) & Opening Remarks Sir Anthony Seldon

Session 1: History & Policy - The idea, its origins, and the launch of the website

ChairPhilip Murphy (Current H&P Director)
SpeakersPat Thane, Simon Szreter, Alastair Reid and Virginia Berridge (Co-Founders).

Session 2: Building the institution and its activities

ChairSimon Szreter (Co-Founder and Editorial Director).
SpeakersDuncan Needham, Mel Porter, Lucy Delap, Andrew Blick, Fiona Holland and Chris Williams (Deputy Director and Senior Associates).

Closing remarks

Launch and panel discussion: The Chancellors: Steering the British Economy in Crisis Times

The Chancellors examines how the Treasury has been able to fight off attempts by Prime Ministers, from Blair to Johnson, to cut it down to size. Based on in-depth interviews with the Chancellors and key senior officials, it gives the insiders’ view of exactly how the Treasury has been able to dominate policy-making for 25 turbulent years, a period that spans the global financial crisis, austerity, the Scottish referendum, Brexit and the pandemic. Faced with a stuttering economy, can the Treasury continue to exercise such remarkable influence? 


  • Howard Davies (Chairman of the NatWest Group and former director of the LSE)
  • Alistair Darling (Lord Darling of Roulanish, Chancellor of the Exchequer, 2007-2010)
  • Philip Hammond (Lord Hammond of Runnymede, Chancellor of the Exchequer, 2016-2019)
  • Clare Lombardelli (Chief Economic Advisor at the Treasury and Joint-Head of the Government Economic Service)
  • Jill Rutter (Senior Research Fellow: UK in a Changing Europe)
  • Duncan Needham (Darwin College, Cambridge)

Chair: Philip Murphy (History & Policy)

Digital History and Government Recordkeeping

On the 21 June History & Policy organised a special online round table discussion on Digital History and Government Recordkeeping. An expert panel considered a range of questions including: 

  1. What opportunities do digital history techniques - from tailored search interfaces to data visualisations - offer historians interested in government records?   
  2. To what extent are digital recordkeeping practices - such as the guidance from the National Archives and the Lord Chancellor’s Code of Practice – informing recordkeeping and shaping the archives of the future? 
  3. How far can automation and AI be relied upon to identify, file and preserve public records more effectively than human members of staff? 
  4. Will the shift towards the born-digital and ephemeral in the materials generated by the government change the ways in which official histories are researched and written? 
  5. How might public access to government records be transformed by digital humanities techniques?  
  6. What are the security, data protection and Freedom of Information implications of the shift to digital records in contemporary government, and how might this affect the work of historians?


  • Prof Ulrich Tiedau (Professor of European History and Associate Director of the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities)
  • Tom Storrar (Head of Web Archiving at the National Archives)
  • Jason Webber (Web Archive Engagement Manager at the British Library and the UK Web Archive)
  • Prof Jane Winters (Professor of Digital Humanities and Director of the Digital Humanities Research Hub at the School of Advanced Study)
  • Sir Alex Allen (Advisory board member at the Oxford Internet Institute, formerly served as the first UK Government e-Envoy) 

Chair: Philip Murphy (Director of History & Policy)

Walter Citrine: Forgotten Statesman of the Trades Union Congress: Book Launch


Recorded on 24 March 2021

The History & Policy Trade Union & Employment Forum is launching an important new biography of this former giant of the Labour movement - Walter Citrine: Forgotten Statesman of the Trades Union Congress. The author, Dr Jim Moher, a former national trade union official and now historian, will be launching it in conjunction with the Institute of Historical Research, University of London and his colleagues in the History and Policy Trade Union & Employment Forum.

Lord John Monks, a distinguished former General Secretary of the TUC (and European TUC), who has a Foreword in the book, will interview Jim about Citrine. This will be followed by questions and a general discussion with full audience participation.

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About Us

H&P is based at the Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, University of London.

We are the only project in the UK providing access to an international network of more than 500 historians with a broad range of expertise. H&P offers a range of resources for historians, policy makers and journalists.

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