New in October 2022: ‘I didn’t know I was the child of unusual parents’: Tom Keell Wolfe interview notes

In June 1916, London anarchists Lilian Wolfe and her companion, Tom Keell, were prosecuted under the wartime Defence of the Realm Act for publishing an anti-conscription leaflet. Lilian, who was pregnant at the time, pleaded ‘Guilty – of telling the truth’. Both chose prison rather than paying fines, though Lilian was released early because of ill health. When the time came for her to give birth, the hospital refused to admit her – not because she was an unmarried mother, but because she was an ‘unrepentant sinner’ who lived with the father of her child.

I have just uploaded the notes from a 1981 interview with that child – Tom Keell Wolfe. As well as material about his parents, the interview includes Tom’s memories of life in the anarchist colony Whiteway, encounters with Emma Goldman, Sylvia Pankhurst, George Orwell and others, and his own involvement with the Peace Pledge Union. He also talks about Annie Adama van Scheltema and her key role in setting up the International Institute for Social History in Amsterdam.

More about Lilian Wolfe.

This post is the second in my project to make available some raw research material from my own archives. In future I hope to upload notes from interviews with Fermin Rocker, (another child of anarchist parents), and Tessa Marin and others talking about their experiences living in Whiteway.