Staying Red

Why I remain a socialist. By Norman Harding

Tenants’ battles

A powerful thread ran through Norman’s political work: a lifelong commitment to communities struggling over issues related to housing. Here are a few items from Norman’s archives on this topic.

In 2007 Norman found himself in the strange, but obviously delightful position of having an annual award by the Leeds Tenants Federation named after him – The Norman Harding Community Spirit Award – and then being chosen as its first recipient! In many respects that was appropriate since Norman had founded and organised an earlier federation 46 years beforehand. The first item is something Norman wrote around the time of the award, apparently to help ‘kick start’ the new federation:

Turning to working class communities

The second is an extract from Staying Red edited by Norman to  highlight how the residents of a small mining village near Leeds fought to escape some of Britain’s worst conditions in rented housing; and won:


Norman unearthed material written by others that related to other tenants’ struggles in Leeds, including an account by Quintin Bradley of the Leeds Rent Strike of 1914:

Leeds rent strike 1914

Especially interesting was one that John, one of Norman’s friends in Woodview Court, discovered about a more recent struggle in the nearby Gipton Estate, written by Lorraine Wells in a local history society pamphlet compiled by Charles Yelland, reproduced here after optical character recognition:

Gipton Anti HATs campaign (1988-9)


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