CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 3025
TitleAberdeen People's Press papers
Date1969 - 1984
Extent49 boxes: 17 linear metres
Creator NameAberdeen People's Press (1973 - 1984)
Administrative HistoryThe idea of establishing an alternative newspaper publishing and printing venture started when some 7 members of a local arts and community workshop (who shared an anarchistic libertarian socialist outlook) became disillusioned with their particular form of radical action. What was wanted was a medium for the communication of ideas, information and example between individuals and the community, and between communities. 'Aberdeen People's Press' was established as a non-profit making company in May 1973. Its primary function was the production of the fortnightly (later monthly) community newspaper, 'Aberdeen People's Press', but it also ran a commercial printing service, providing cheap printing for socialist and community groups, and maintained a small library of radical and community group literature, which it made available for public consultation.

'Aberdeen People's Press' printed news about local government, business, land, housing and community issues, concentrating specifically on controversial and local interest stories which tended not to be covered by established local papers. Production of the paper and running of the press relied strongly on volunteer support, and contributions from their readership were strongly encouraged. Circulation varied at between 800 and 1700 per issue.

During 1976 the company made a number of organisational changes, becoming formally worker-controlled at this time, with clearer demarcation than hitherto between its newspaper and printing functions. In the summer of 1976, production was halted on the newspaper and attention turned to the production of pamphlets.

During the latter part of 1976 and early 1977 the company published 'Aberdeen in the General Strike'; 'The Equal Pay and Sex Discrimination Acts'; and 'Low Priority - pre-school childcare in the north east'. In July 1977, proposals were drafted for a new local paper, "a more clearly political paper to meet the demands of the current situation and organisation, with a clearer division of responsibilities for day to day running and editorial policy-making", but this never materialised.

More information about the work and organisation of the People's Press will be found in Alan Marshall 'Aberdeen People's Press', in 'Scottish Community Newspapers', ed. Brian Murphy (n.p.:Scottish International Institute, 1978) and Andrew Rigby "Aberdeen People's Press," in 'Here is the other news: challenges to the local commercial press' (edited by Crispin Aubrey, Charles Landry, Dave Morley, Minority Group Press, London, 1980).
SourceDeposited in the University Library by Alan Marshall, founder member of Aberdeen People's Press, in January 1980, and then gifted in 2017. Further material was gifted in September 2017 after being transferred from Aberdeen City Libraries where it had origially been deposited in c. 1984. Additional material added 2021.
DescriptionThis collection consists of business records, in-house publications and a collection of radical and community group literature produced by external organisations.
AppraisalDuplicates of publications with north-east relevance have been added to the Local Collection.
ArrangementBoxes 1 - 17: business records (unsorted)
Boxes 18 - 30: copies of material printed and published by Aberdeen People's Press. Items arranged in publication date order
Box 31: copies of the newspaper, Aberdeen People's Press (incomplete) and other in-house published titles
Boxes 32 - 49: library of externally produced alternative and community group publications. Items arranged alphabetically.
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsThe records are available subject to the signed acceptance of the Department's access conditions.
Physical DescriptionNo physical conditions affecting use of collection.
Related MaterialThere is a complete access set of the newspaper (1973 - 1976) and copies of pamphlets printed by the Press in the Reading Room.
Finding AidsCataloguing in progress.

There are two paper slip catalogues available in the Reading Room (covering boxes 32 - 49):

Alternative press library (non APP), index of printed titles arranged by issuing body A-K
Alternative press library (non APP), index of printed titles arranged by issuing body L-Z.
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