Liam Liburd travels to the edges of the British Empire in search of an extreme right-wing ideology
My name is Liam Liburd and I'm in my first year at the University of Sheffield working on a PhD on the British far-right's relationship with the British Empire. In late April, I journeyed to Bath to have a look at the A. K. Chesterton Collection. The trip was immensely useful and I found just what I was looking for. Chesterton, a member of various far-right groups including Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists, was born in South Africa and grew up in a white settler community. He moved in various far-right circles eventually founding his own group, the League of Empire Loyalists.
I wanted to examine whether growing up on the racially-charged frontiers of the British Empire had any traceable effect on his later adoption of extreme right-wing views. The archive has a good deal of material relating to Chesterton's early life including a photocopy of his unpublished manuscript. Alongside this personal material, the archive has a number of hard copy far-right publications Chesterton wrote for from the 1940s to the 1970s. This collection of publications is more a personal collection than a complete collection, including mostly issues Chesterton himself contributed to. These publications, together with a number of other pamphlets illustrate the development of Chesterton's extreme right-wing, imperialist thinking. Due to slightly poor planning on my part, I didn't manage to get through all of the collection, so I will definitely be making a return trip and would encourage others to visit too. The history of the post-war far-right is an area ripe for study, relevant to the disciplines of history, politics and sociology, and also the subject of conspicuously little research.