Hastings Lees-Smith

Hastings Lees-Smith

Hastings Lees-Smith, the second of the three sons of Harry Lees-Smith, a major in the Royal Artillery, and his wife, Jesse Reid Lees-Smith, was born at Murree, North-Western Provinces, India, on 26th January 1878.

On the death of his father in 1880 he was taken to England to be brought up by his grandfather, and there he was educated at Aldenham School and then at the Royal Military Academy, but as a result of "a weak constitution" he left to join Queen's College. In 1899 he graduated with second-class honours in history. (1)

In February, 1899 Charles A. Beard and Walter Vrooman established Ruskin Hall (later known as Ruskin College), a free university offering evening and correspondence courses for working class people. The two men received most of the funds for the project from Amne Vrooman. (2) It was named after the essayist John Ruskin (1819–1900), who had written extensively about adult education. (3) The idea was that "economics and sociology should be taught from the working-class point of view, although not to the exclusion of the official capitalist standpoint, if that was thought desirable". (4)

Ruskin Hall was also called a "College of the People" and the "Workman’s University". It was to be a residential institution providing study opportunities for a whole year or for shorter periods as appropriate. The residential element of the College’s work in its early years was open to men only. Harold Pollins pointed out: "It was to be part of a nationwide movement in order to cater for the large number who wanted to study but would not be able to take time off work. Provision for them, women as well as men, would be in two parts: correspondence courses, and extension classes in  their own localities taught by the Ruskin Hall Faculty and by other lecturers." (5)

Dennis Hird was appointed as the the college's first principal. Hird was a member of the Social Democratic Federation and the former rector of St John the Baptist Church, in Eastnor, who had been sacked for a lecture he gave on the subject, Jesus the Socialist (it was later published as a pamphlet that sold 70,000 copies). He had been selected by Vrooman because he was a Christian Socialist. (6)

Hastings Lees-Smith and Ruskin College

In addition to Hird, three other lecturers were appointed by Vrooman. Hastings Lees-Smith, who also served as vice-principal, Bertram Wilson, who became general secretary of the college, and Alfred Hacking, a friend and supporter of Hird, who was placed in charge of the correspondence students. Almost all of the students arrived on trade union scholarships worth £52. (7)

After two years Amne Vrooman, who had divorced her husband, stopped funding Ruskin College. The general secretary of the college, was forced to seek donations from private individuals. Bertram Wilson, General Secretary of Ruskin College sent out letters explaining why they needed donations. The letters showed that the authorities were already undermining the intentions of the founders. For example, this one was written in 1907: "Madam, I hope I am doing right in bringing Ruskin College to your notice. It was founded eight years ago with the object of giving workingmen a sound practical knowledge of subjects which concern them as citizens, thus enabling them to view social questions sanely and without unworthy class bias." (8)

Most of the people who provided the funding of the college did not share the political beliefs of Hird. Janet Vaux has argued that "Ruskin... was conceived of it as a co-operative community and labour college. Other influences on the college included academics at Oxford University who were interested in extending university education beyond the upper-class boys who were its usual customers; and many in the labour movement who saw education as a key to gaining political power." (9)

Hastings Lees-Smith complained about the teaching of sociology as it tended to radicalize the students. Dennis Hird replied with a quote the objectives of Walter Vrooman, the founder of Ruskin College: "We shall take men who have been merely condemning our social institutions, and will teach them instead how to transform those institutions, so that in place of talking against the world, they will begin methodically and scientifically to possess the world, to refashion it, and to cooperate with the power behind evolution in making it a joyous abode of, if not a perfected humanity, at least a humanity earnestly and rationally striving towards perfection". (10)

The students became increasingly disturbed by the economic teaching of Hastings Lees-Smith. At the time the Miners' Federation of Great Britain were attempting to negotiate with the Coal Owners Association a minimum wage for its members. Lees-Smith used his lectures to condemn this strategy on the grounds that it would cause unemployment and reduce investment. Sidney Webb, the Labour Party politician, who advocated the minimum wage, was accused of telling "a tissue of lies". (11)

One of the students, J. M. K. MacLachlan, wrote an article for the September edition of Young Oxford (the journal of the Ruskin College students): "The present policy of Ruskin College is that of a benevolent trader sailing under a privateer flag. Professing the aims dear to all socialists, she disavows those very principles by repudiating socialism. Let Ruskin College proclaim socialism; let her convert her name from a form of contempt into a canon of respect." (12)

Conflict with Dennis Hird

In 1907 Hastings Lees-Smith was appointed professor of economics at University College, but he did not relax his grip on Ruskin. Lees-Smith was Oxford University's man at the college and so he was appointed chairman of Ruskin College's executive committee and chief adviser on studies. He now had control over staff recruitment and appointed, Charles Stanley Buxton, aged 23 as vice-principal. His father was Charles Sydney Buxton, the President of the Board of Trade, another establishment figure. (13)

Lees-Smith also recruited Henry Sanderson Furniss to lecture on economics, who both shared his view "of the relationship between class improvement and education". Sanderson Furniss came to realise that he and Buxton were intended to carry on Lees Smith's campaign against Hird: "They were, however, ill-equipped to do so, or to provide an antidote to the Marxist ideas which Furniss criticised without knowing much about them. They knew little about teaching, and less about working-class life." (14)

Although Dennis Hird was the Principal of Ruskin College, he was not consulted on these appointments. In 1899 his duties were defined as "to be in charge at Ruskin Hall". However, this was later changed to say all decisions were to be made by a House Committee of three, consisting of the Principal, the Vice-Principal and the General Secretary of the College. Buxton and Sanderson Furniss now joined forces to constantly outvote Hird. (15)

In September 1907, Hastings Lees-Smith tried to marginalise Dennis Hird by proposing some new rules such as the requirement for regular essays and quarterly revision papers. In an attempt to deal with people like Noah Ablett, William Craik and George Sims, students were forbidden to speak in public without the permission of the executive committee. It was made clear to Henry Sanderson Furniss that he was expected to try and reduce the radicalism in the college. (16)

In November 1908, Oxford University announced that it was going to take over Ruskin College. The chancellor of the university, George Curzon, was the former Conservative Party MP and the Viceroy of India. His reactionary views were well-known and was the leader of the campaign to prevent women having the vote. Curzon visited the college where he made a speech to the students explaining the decision. (17)

Dennis Hird replied to Curzon: "My Lord, when you speak of Ruskin College you are not referring merely to this institution here in Oxford, for this is only a branch of a great democratic movement that has its roots all over the country. To ask Ruskin College to come into closer contact with the University is to ask the great democracy whose foundation is the Labour Movement, a democracy that in the near future will come into its own, and, when it does, will bring great changes in its wake".

The author of The Burning Question of Education (1909) reported: "As he concluded, the burst of applause that emanated from the students seemed to herald the dawn of the day Dennis Hird had predicted. Without another word, Lord Curzon turned on his heel and walked out, followed by the remainder of the lecture staff, who looked far from pleased. When the report of the meeting was published in the press, the students noted that significantly enough Dennis Hird's reply was suppressed, and a few colourless remarks substituted." (18)

William Craik, a member of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants (later the National Union of Railwaymen) pointed out that his fellow students were "very perturbed at the direction in which the teaching and control of the College was moving, and by the failure of the trade union leaders to make any effort to change that direction. We new arrivals had little or no knowledge of what had been taking place at Ruskin before we got there. Most of us were socialists of one party shade or other." (19)

New rules such as the requirement for regular essays and quarterly revision papers were introduced. "This met with strong resistance from the majority of the students, who looked upon it as one more way of making the connection with the University still closer... Most of the students had come to Ruskin College on the understanding that there would be no tests other than monthly essays set and examined by their respective tutors, and afterwards discussed in personal interviews with them." (20)

In August 1908, Charles Stanley Buxton, the vice-principal of Ruskin College, published an article in the Cornhill Magazine. He wrote that "the necessary common bond is education in citizenship, and it is this which Ruskin College tries to give - conscious that it is only a new patch on an old garment." (21) It has been argued that "it read as if it had been written by someone who looked upon the workers as a kind of new barbarians whom he and his like had been called upon to tame and civilise". (22) The students were not convinced by this approach as Dennis Hird had told them about the quotation of Karl Marx: "The more the ruling class succeeds in assimilating members of the ruled class the more formidable and dangerous is its rule." (23)

In 1909 Lord George Curzon published Principles and Methods of University Reform. In the book he pointed out that it was vitally important to control the education of future leaders of the labour movement. He urged universities to promote the growth of an elite leadership and rejected the 19th century educational reformers call for reform on utilitarian lines to encourage "upward movement" of the capitalist middle class: "We must strive to attract the best, for they will be the leaders of the upward movement... and it is of great importance that their early training should be conducted on liberal rather than on utilitarian lines." (24)

In February, 1909, Dennis Hird was investigated in order to discover if he had "deliberately identified the college with socialism". The sub-committee reported back that Hird was not guilty of this offence but did criticise Henry Sanderson Furniss for "bias and ignorance" and recommended the appointment of another lecturer in economics, more familiar with working class views. Hastings Lees-Smith and the executive committee rejected this suggestion and in March decided to dismiss Hird for "failing to maintain discipline". He was given six months' salary (£180) in lieu of notice, plus a pension of £150 a year for life. (25)

It is believed that 20 students were members of the Plebs League. Its leader, Noah Ablett organised a students' strike in support of Hird. (26) The Ruskin authorities decided to close the college for a fortnight and then re-admit only students who would sign an undertaking to observe the rules. Of the 54 students at Ruskin at that time, 44 of them agreed to sign the document. However, the students decided that they would use the Plebs League and its journal, the Plebs' Magazine, to campaign for the setting up of a new and real Labour College. (27)

Students at Ruskin College (1909)
Students leaving Ruskin College for the Central Labour College (1909)

Dennis Hird received very little support from other advocates of working-class education. Albert Mansbridge, the
founder of the Workers' Educational Association (WEA) in 1903, blamed Hird's preaching of socialism for his dismissal. In a letter to a French friend, he wrote "the low-down practice of Dennis Hird in playing upon the class consciousness of swollen-headed students embittered by the gorgeous panorama ever before them of an Oxford in which they have no part." (28)

Noah Ablett took the lead in establishing an alternative to Ruskin College. He saw the need for a residential college as a cadre training school for the labour movement that was based on socialist values. George Sims, who had been expelled after his involvement in the Ruskin strike, played an important role in raising the funds for the project. On 2nd August, 1909, Ablett and Sims organised a conference that was attended by 200 trade union representatives. Dennis Hird, Walter Vrooman and Frank Lester Ward were all at the conference. (29)

Sims explained that the "last link which bound Ruskin College to the Labour Movement had been broken, the majority of the students had taken the bold step of trying to found a new college owned and controlled by the organised Labour Movement." (30) Ablett moved the resolution: "That this Conference of workers declares that the time has now arrived when the working class should enter the educational world to work out its own problems for itself." (31)

The conference agreed to establish the Central Labour College (CLC). The students rented two houses in Bradmore Road in Oxford. It was decided that "two-thirds of representation on Board of Management shall be Labour organisations on the same lines as the Labour Party constitution, namely, Trade Unions, Socialist societies and Co-operative societies." Most of the original funding came from the South Wales Miners' Federation (SWMF) and the National Union of Railwaymen (NUR). (32)

First World War

Hastings Lees-Smith now lost all influence over events at Ruskin College. He continued to teach at the London School of Economics (LSE). He also occupied a chair in public administration at the University of Bristol in 1909. He held this post until being elected as Liberal Party MP for Northampton in January 1910. "In parliament he soon emerged as fairly radical, supporting nationalization of certain core industries such as the railways, as well as land reform and a minimum wage for certain classes of workers". (33)

At the end of July, 1914, it became clear to the British government that the country was on the verge of war with Germany. Four senior members of the Liberal government, Charles Trevelyan, David Lloyd George, John Burns and John Morley, were opposed to the country becoming involved in a European war. They informed the Prime Minister, Herbert Asquith, that they intended to resign over the issue. When war was declared on 4th August, three of the men, Trevelyan, Burns and Morley, resigned, but Asquith managed to persuade Lloyd George, his Chancellor of the Exchequer, to change his mind.

The anti-war newspaper, The Daily News, commented: "Among the many reports which are current as to Ministerial resignations there seems to be little doubt in regard to three. They are those of Lord Morley, Mr. John Burns, and Mr. Charles Trevelyan. There will be widespread sympathy with the action they have taken. Whether men approve of that action or not it is a pleasant thing in this dark moment to have this witness to the sense of honour and to the loyalty to conscience which it indicates... Mr. Trevelyan will find abundant work in keeping vital those ideals which are at the root of liberty and which are never so much in danger as in times of war and social disruption." (34)

Hastings Lees-Smith was also opposed to the war and along with Charles Trevelyan, Morgan Philips Price, Norman Angell, E. D. Morel and Ramsay MacDonald, the leader of the Labour Party, had discussions with Bertrand Russell and Arthur Ponsonby, who had also spoken out against the war. A meeting was held and after considering names such as the Peoples' Emancipation Committee and the Peoples' Freedom League, they selected the Union of Democratic Control. (35)

Members of the UDC agreed that one of the main reasons for the conflict was the secret diplomacy of people like Britain's foreign secretary, Sir Edward Grey. They decided that the Union of Democratic Control should have three main objectives: (i) that in future to prevent secret diplomacy there should be parliamentary control over foreign policy; (ii) there should be negotiations after the war with other democratic European countries in an attempt to form an organisation to help prevent future conflicts; (iii) that at the end of the war the peace terms should neither humiliate the defeated nation nor artificially rearrange frontiers as this might provide a cause for future wars. (36)

In September 1915 Hastings Lees-Smith joined the British Army, but chose to serve in the ranks and attained the rank of corporal: this move into the forces did not make him unique among UDC members, but rather showed one of the diverse paths taken by progressive Liberals during the war. In May 1916, addressing parliament in his corporal's uniform, he opposed the introduction of conscription. He was highly critical of the government's reluctance to negotiate a peace deal with Germany. (37)

While he was home on leave, Lees-Smith was introduced to Siegfried Sassoon by Bertrand Russell. On 30th July, 1917, Lees-Smith read out a statement against the war by Sassoon. "I am making this statement as an act of wilful defiance of military authority because I believe that the war is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it. I am a soldier, convinced that I am acting on behalf of soldiers. I believe that the war upon which I entered as a war of defence and liberation has now become a war of aggression and conquest. I believe that the purposes for which I and my fellow soldiers entered upon this war should have been so clearly stated as to have made it impossible to change them and that had this been done the objects which actuated us would now be attainable by negotiation. I have seen and endured the sufferings of the troops and I can no longer be a party to prolong these sufferings for ends which I believe to be evil and unjust." (38)

Siegfried Sassoon
Siegfried Sassoon

Hastings Lees-Smith also claimed that an attempt had been made to keep Sassoon quiet by claiming that he was suffering from shell-shock and had been sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital, near Edinburgh. The Under-Secretary of State for War denied any such motive and that the decision was based on "health grounds and not the avoidance of publicity". Sassoon got what he wanted as his statement and Lees-Smith's comments appeared in the following morning newspapers. (39)

Labour Party Cabinet Minister

In 1919 when he joined the Labour Party. In January 1920 he joined other former Liberals, such as Arthur Ponsonby and Charles Trevelyan, in publishing an appeal to former Liberals to vote against H. H. Asquith in the Paisley by-election. Lees-Smith won the Keighley seat for Labour in 1922. He wrote a number of works, of which Second Chambers in Theory and Practice (1923), which argued for an upper house elected by the House of Commons on the basis of proportional representation. He also served on the board of the New Statesman. (40)

In the 1929 General Election the Conservatives won 8,664,000 votes, the Labour Party 8,360,000 and the Liberals 5,300,000. However, the bias of the system worked in Labour's favour, and in the House of Commons the party won 287 seats, the Conservatives 261 and the Liberals 59. Ramsay MacDonald became Prime Minister again, but as before, he still had to rely on the support of the Liberals to hold onto power. (41)

In normal circumstances MacDonald would have appointed Hastings Lees-Smith to a senior position in government. However, the two men had been in dispute because of Lees-Smith's "continuing advocacy of a capital levy (wealth tax) and subsequently a surtax long after MacDonald had decided that they were electoral liabilities". Lees-Smith was appointed instead to the position of postmaster-general. In March, 1931, he was appointed as president of the Board of Education. (42)

MacDonald went to see George V about the economic crisis on 23rd August, 1931. He warned the King that several Cabinet ministers were likely to resign if he tried to cut unemployment benefit. MacDonald wrote in his diary: "King most friendly and expressed thanks and confidence. I then reported situation and at end I told him that after tonight I might be of no further use, and should resign with the whole Cabinet.... He said that he believed I was the only person who could carry the country through." (43)

On 24th August 1931 MacDonald returned to the palace and told the King that he had the Cabinet's resignation in his pocket. The King replied that he hoped that MacDonald "would help in the formation of a National Government." He added that by "remaining at his post, his position and reputation would be much more enhanced than if he surrendered the Government of the country at such a crisis." Eventually, he agreed to form a National Government.

MacDonald returned to 10 Downing Street and called his final Labour Cabinet. He told them that he had changed his mind about resigning and that he agreed to form a National Government. Sidney Webb recorded in his diary: "He announced this very well, with great feeling, saying that he knew the cost, but could not refuse the King's request, that he would doubtless be denounced and ostracized, but could do no other." When the meeting was over, he asked Philip Snowden, Jimmy Thomas and John Sankey to stay behind and invited them to join the new government. All three agreed and they kept their old jobs. (44)

On 8th September 1931, the National Government's programme of £70 million economy programme was debated in the House of Commons. This included a £13 million cut in unemployment benefit. Tom Johnson, who wound up the debate for the Labour Party, declared that these policies were "not of a National Government but of a Wall Street Government". In the end the Government won by 309 votes to 249, but only 12 Labour M.P.s voted for the measures.

The 1931 General Election was held on 27th October, 1931. MacDonald led an anti-Labour alliance made up of Conservatives and National Liberals. It was a disaster for the Labour Party with only 46 members winning their seats. Several leading Labour figures, including Hastings Lees-Smith, Arthur Henderson, John R. Clynes, Arthur Greenwood, Charles Trevelyan, Herbert Morrison, Emanuel Shinwell, Frederick Pethick-Lawrence, Hugh Dalton, Susan Lawrence, William Wedgwood Benn, Tom Shaw and Margaret Bondfield lost their seats.

The Second World War

Following his electoral defeat, Lees-Smith returned to full-time work at the London School of Economics (LSE). He remained active in politics and in 1935 he regained Keighley and was immediately re-elected to the PLP executive. He mainly concerned with defence matters and in 1937 he was instrumental in changing the PLP's line to abstaining on, rather than voting against, the defence estimates. Hugh Dalton described him "as a first-class colleague, sensible, balanced, kindly, with no sign of bitterness, envy or egoism". (45)

In May 1940, Hastings Lees-Smith played a leading role in bringing down Neville Chamberlain. However, Winston Churchill decided against appointing him to his coalition government. With Clement Attlee appointed to the post of deputy leader, Lees-Smith became chairman of the PLP and leader of the opposition. "The position was an important one in parliamentary terms, and Lees-Smith fulfilled it with quiet competence". (46)

Hastings Lees-Smith died at his home, 77 Corringham Road, Golders Green, Middlesex, after a bout of influenza on 18th December 1941.

Primary Sources

(1) William Craik, Central Labour College (1964)

W. H. Seed, a Ruskin student in 1907, took the trouble to compare the notebooks of students of different years, with the object of tracing the metamorphosis of the Vice-Principal. Seed found in the notebooks he examined, that already in 1903, at a time when the trade unions were agitating for measures to ameliorate the distress caused by large-scale unemployment, Lees Smith was justifying in his lectures the principle that "the position of the assisted person must be less eligible than that of the independent labourer of the poorest or lowest class; that person has no ground of complaint, if his position is less desirable than that of the poorest who directly or indirectly contribute to his support".

Two years later Seed found that the Vice-Principal went so far as to declare that "it is desirable that Committees (for the administration of unemployment relief) should not be subject to pressure from the public, or they will not act without prejudice... the reason for limiting the power of Boards of Guardians is that they show a tendency to cheap and thoughtless generosity".

The notebooks also revealed that at a time when the mineworkers, in particular, were pressing their claims for a minimum wage, the VicePrincipal was condemning it on the grounds that it tended towards unemployment and more sweating, besides leading the owners of capital to invest less money in the country. Sydney Webb's arguments to the contrary were described by Lees Smith as "a tissue of lies". Nor could he sufficiently express his contempt for Marx's theories of political economy.

(2) Andrew Thorpe, Hastings Lees-Smith: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

After graduation Hastings Lees-Smith secured the position of general secretary at the newly opened Ruskin Hall (later College) in Oxford. Ruskin aimed specifically at working-class education, but student discontent at the lack of a definitely ‘socialist’ approach grew, and this culminated in the students' strike of 1909. Lees-Smith, as a progressive Liberal who took a different view of the relationship between class improvement and education, was a particular target of this agitation. But by this time his day-to-day role in the college had already been reduced by his appointment as a lecturer in public administration at the London School of Economics (LSE) in 1906; he continued to teach at the LSE, with breaks, until his death, and was a reader from 1924. He also visited Bombay in 1909 to advise on the teaching of economics, and he occupied a chair in public administration at the University of Bristol in 1909–10. He wrote a number of works, of which Second Chambers in Theory and Practice (1923), which argued for an upper house elected by the Commons on the basis of proportional representation, was perhaps the most substantial.

(3) Statement by Siegfried Sassoon read out by Hastings Lees-Smith in the House of Commons (30th July, 1917)

I am making this statement as an act of wilful defiance of military authority because I believe that the war is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it. I am a soldier, convinced that I am acting on behalf of soldiers. I believe that the war upon which I entered as a war of defence and liberation has now become a war of aggression and conquest. I believe that the purposes for which I and my fellow soldiers entered upon this war should have been so clearly stated as to have made it impossible to change them and that had this been done the objects which actuated us would now be attainable by negotiation.

I have seen and endured the sufferings of the troops and I can no longer be a party to prolong these sufferings for ends which I believe to be evil and unjust. I am not protesting against the conduct of the war, but against the political errors and insincerities for which the fighting men are being sacrificed.

On behalf of those who are suffering now, I make this protest against the deception which is being practised upon them; also I believe it may help to destroy the callous complacency with which the majority of those at home regard the continuance of agonies which they do not share and which they have not enough imagination to realise.


Student Activities

The Coal Industry: 1600-1925 (Answer Commentary)

Women in the Coalmines (Answer Commentary)

Child Labour in the Collieries (Answer Commentary)

Child Labour Simulation (Teacher Notes)

1832 Reform Act and the House of Lords (Answer Commentary)

The Chartists (Answer Commentary)

Women and the Chartist Movement (Answer Commentary)

Benjamin Disraeli and the 1867 Reform Act (Answer Commentary)

William Gladstone and the 1884 Reform Act (Answer Commentary)

Richard Arkwright and the Factory System (Answer Commentary)

Robert Owen and New Lanark (Answer Commentary)

James Watt and Steam Power (Answer Commentary)

Road Transport and the Industrial Revolution (Answer Commentary)

Canal Mania (Answer Commentary)

Early Development of the Railways (Answer Commentary)

The Domestic System (Answer Commentary)

The Luddites: 1775-1825 (Answer Commentary)

The Plight of the Handloom Weavers (Answer Commentary)

Health Problems in Industrial Towns (Answer Commentary)

Public Health Reform in the 19th century (Answer Commentary)

Walter Tull: Britain's First Black Officer (Answer Commentary)

Football and the First World War (Answer Commentary)

Football on the Western Front (Answer Commentary)

Käthe Kollwitz: German Artist in the First World War (Answer Commentary)

American Artists and the First World War (Answer Commentary)

Sinking of the Lusitania (Answer Commentary)


(1) Andrew Thorpe, Hastings Lees-Smith: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(2) Howard Kennedy Beale, Charles A. Beard: An Appraisal (1954) page 214

(3) Charles A. Beard, The New Republic (5th August, 1936)

(4) William Craik, Central Labour College (1964) page 35

(5) Harold Pollins, The History of Ruskin College (1984) page 9

(6) Colin Waugh, The Lost Legacy of Independent Working-Class Education (January 2009)

(7) William Craik, Central Labour College (1964) page 37

(8) Bertram Wilson, standard letter sent out to possible sponsors of Ruskin College (1902)

(9) Janet Vaux, The First Students at Ruskin College (27th May, 2016)

(10) Colin Waugh, The Lost Legacy of Independent Working-Class Education (January 2009)

(11) William Craik, Central Labour College (1964) page 44

(12) J. M. K. MacLachlan, Young Oxford (September, 1901)

(13) Andrew Thorpe, Hastings Lees-Smith : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(14) Bernard Jennings, Friends and Enemies of the WEA, included in Stephen K. Roberts, (editor), A Ministry of Enthusiasm (2003) page 101

(15) William Craik, Central Labour College (1964) page 52

(16) Henry Sanderson Furniss, Memoirs of Sixty Years (1931) page 83

(17) Bernard Jennings, Friends and Enemies of the WEA, included in Stephen K. Roberts, (editor), A Ministry of Enthusiasm (2003) page 102

(18) W. H. Steed (editor), The Burning Question of Education (1909) page 11

(19) William Craik, Central Labour College (1964) page 52

(20) William Craik, Central Labour College (1964) page 54

(21) Charles Stanley Buxton, Cornhill Magazine (August 1908)

(22) William Craik, Central Labour College (1964) page 57

(23) Karl Marx, Pre-Capitalist Relationships (1894)

(24) George Curzon, Principles and Methods of University Reform (1909) page 67

(25) Bernard Jennings, Friends and Enemies of the WEA, included in Stephen K. Roberts, (editor), A Ministry of Enthusiasm (2003) page 103

(26) Hywel Francis, Noah Ablett : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(27) Brian Simon, Education and the Labour Movement (1974) page 325

(28) Albert Mansbridge, letter to G. Riboud (April, 1909)

(29) George Sims, speech (2nd August, 1909)

(30) Noah Ablett, speech (2nd August, 1909)

(31) Kenneth O. Morgan, Labour People: Leaders and Lieutenants (1987) page 72

(32) William Craik, Central Labour College (1964) page 101

(33) Andrew Thorpe, Hastings Lees-Smith : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(34) The Daily News (5th August, 1914)

(35) Morgan Philips Price, My Three Revolutions (1969) page 23

(36) Martin Pugh, Speak for Britain: A New History of the Labour Party (2010) page 103

(37) Andrew Thorpe, Hastings Lees-Smith : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(38) Statement by Siegfried Sassoon read out by Hastings Lees-Smith in the House of Commons (30th July, 1917)

(39) John Stuart Roberts, Siegfried Sassoon (2005) page 115

(40) Andrew Thorpe, Hastings Lees-Smith : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(41) Ralph Miliband, Parliamentary Socialism (1972) page 159

(42) Andrew Thorpe, Hastings Lees-Smith: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(43) Ramsay MacDonald, diary entry (23rd August, 1931)

(44) Sidney Webb, diary entry (24th August, 1931)

(45) Hugh Dalton, Second World War Diary (1984) page

(46) Andrew Thorpe, Hastings Lees-Smith: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)