Memorial march for ‘Ragged-trousered’ author Tressell

A Liverpool CLP (constituency Labour party) has organised a march in memory of Robert Tressell, the author of the famous left-wing work, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists on Sunday 3 February, the anniversary of the writer’s death.

The event literature published by the CLP – home to the excellent Dan Carden MP – outlines the important of Tressell and his work in the socialist movement and why its organisers believe it’s important to commemorate him:

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists is a socialist classic. This novel about a group of impoverished painters eking out a living in the early years of the twentieth century has become a classic of the labour movement, one of the few books placing working class life at the heart of the story.

The author, Robert Tressell, born Robert Noonan, was born in Wexford Street, Dublin. He worked as a painter and decorator himself and experienced the conditions about which he writes in the Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.

Tressell sadly died young without ever seeing the success of his novel. He was buried in a pauper’s grave in Walton Park Cemetery, now part of Rice Lane City Farm, on February 3rd, 1911. The organisers of the Tressell Memorial March believe it is vital to remember the founders of our socialist tradition. Please join us on Sunday, 3rd February.

The march will leave from the road named in his honour, starting at 11am.

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  1. Should be taught in schools instead of the usual Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies and other books that teach that greed overcomes good.

  2. I read this about 10 years ago. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. From the politics, it reads like it was written in 2015, but details have been changed to make it seem old fashioned. Has British political society really not changed in a century? The timeless effect makes the satire even more cutting and funny. If I were making a movie of it, I’d be torn deciding which century to set it in. Perhaps we’d jump back and forth from late 19th to early 21st centuries and slowly blend the time periods together until by the end it’s just a mess of anachronisms. A little like Alex Cox’s WALKER, but more so.

    (WALKER is about 100 years of US imperialism in Nicaragua. Imagine Kanye West is funded by the Koch Brothers to invade a Latin American country. That’s the plot with names changed to reflect century)

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