Rosalind Delmar discusses CND



Rosalind Delmar talks about how she became politically active in both the feminist and the anti-nuclear movements in Manchester in the late 1960s, neglecting her university studies in order to focus on her political interests.

Women and CND

Many members of the Women’s Liberation Movement were active members of peace organisations such as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) at university. The two ideologies complemented each other well. War and militarism can be seen as representative of male violence and a patriarchal society. Some feminists were also concerned, as mothers or future mothers, for the welfare of the next generations if nuclear weapons were to become more common.

Aldermaston marches

In 1961 Rosalind Delmar went on the Aldermaston march. In 1959 CND took over the organisation of this march and reversed the direction of the previous year’s march. This was to make the point that CND’s politics were to campaign at the seat of power rather than take direct action at the weapons base. The start of the march was the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment in Aldermaston, Berkshire. The march ended in Trafalgar Square, very close to Whitehall, which is home to, among other government buildings, the Ministry of Defence.

Have you ever been on a protest march or peace demonstration? How effective do you think this form of campaigning is?

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The following year I went on the Aldermaston march. And I became active in the CND. I mean when I went to university I was a terrible student, because I only went to the lectures that interested me and I immediately became involved in student politics. Because when I got there, the president of the union was a woman - in Manchester at that time there was a men’s union and a women’s union and a joint union, and I think, this woman, Elva Corrie, was the first woman president of the joint union. And, we had a campaign against the men’s bar, because there was a mixed bar and next door a men’s bar. We had a campaign against that.

Was that successful?

It was eventually, yes, we got it abolished. And we were allowed to play billiards as well. We ordered pints, which you weren’t supposed to do. We were part of this thing that, why should women not be allowed to do this, that and the other and so on?

So you got involved from the word go basically, as soon as you got there.

Immediately. Immediately, yes. And in CND as well. And eventually I became the chair of national Student CND, and was on the CND executive, where I met some incredibly interesting and nice people.

And that was still during your time at Manchester, you did...?

Yes, yes. This was instead of studying politics. And I expect my [laughs] theory was, well it’s alright because I’m doing it, you know? So I was involved in organising the Hands Off Cuba march at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and, such like.

Rosalind Delmar discusses CND
15 September - 1 October 2010
Sound recording
Sisterhood and After: The Women's Liberation Oral History Project
© British Library
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British Library

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