MacFarlane, James Edward

First name/s: James
Last name: MacFarlane
Known names / nicknames:
Date of birth: 27/04/1930
Year of birth: 1930

Life before Ruskin

Date and place of birth: 27 April 1930 at Denaby Main, a South Yorkshire coal-mining village

Family: He was the second child and only son of Edward and Harriet MacFarlane. His father was a mine worker involved in trade unionism and local politics. (He died in 1936). An interview with Harriet can be found in Doncaster archives.

Work: From the age of 14, like his father and grandfather before him, James worked at Denaby Main Colliery. He later joined the merchant navy. After 8 years he returned to coal mining.

Politics/Trade union activity: NUM

Trade Union membership (at time of entry to Ruskin) NUM

Life at Ruskin

Dates at Ruskin:1957 – 1959, having previously attended day release classes at the extra mural department of the University of Sheffield

Source of funding:’trade union scholarship’ (NUM?)

Campaigns/political activity:

Subjects studied at Ruskin:


Qualification:Diploma in Political and Economic Science

Life after Ruskin

Education: University of Southampton 1960 -63 studied BSc in Government and Politics; University of Sussex postgraduate course in Labour Studies, achieving an MA in 1967. He started a PhD in 1968 at the University of Strathclyde on the industrial and social relations of merchant seamen which he did not finish but published on his research.From 1973 – 82 he was registered as a part time postgraduate student at the Centre for the Study of Social History at the University of Warwick.

Work: 1964 – 5 worked in Northern Greece as a field director of one of the United Nations Association’s Freedom from Hunger Development Programmes. 1969 lecturer in industrial studies at the Division of Continuing Education at the University of Sheffield.He was director of day release courses for mineworkers.

Politics/trade union activity:elected President of the Southampton students’ union in 1962-3. This was a sabbatical post and he decided to leave after this rather than complete his degree. In May 1980 he was elected to Doncaster Metropolitan Council as a councillor for the Conisbrough Ward.By 1983 he was Leader of the Council.


Place & date of death: 1985 (He died suddenly while on council business)

Date of death:
Year of death: 1985

Achievements / Publications

He published extensively on trade union issues with a particular focus on mining and shipping as these 2 lists of deposits in the Donacaster Archives indicate:Macfarlane articles one MacFarlane articles 2

Material in archives or already published articles

See above


Notes on Image/s

Comment of contributor/s and sources

This entry was drawn from the biographical entry to accompany the details of MacFarlane’s publications held by the Doncaster Archives.


Hilda Kean

created 17/08/2014 at 1:13 pm, updated 17/08/2014 at 1:18 pm

One thought on “MacFarlane, James Edward

  1. Ed Coker

    I knew Jim very well as we were at Ruskin together. A prickly character but a great guy! I have a [poor] photo of Jim carrying a CND banner on a demo in the 60’s


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

nineteen + 16 =