Photocredit: Bethany Murray

We recently heard the sad news of the deaths of two people who have been involved in the GLC Story project, Robin Murray and Alan Tomkins.

Robin was an economist who became Director of Industry for the Greater London Enterprise Board in the 1980s. He was an immensely positive and enthusiastic person, and hearing him and Doreen Massey talk with so much excitement about their time at the GLC all these years later was one of the inspirations for the project. He was very supportive of what we were doing and was delighted that we were helping to bring the thinking from that period to a new audience. Hilary Wainwright has written a tribute to him which talks about their work together at the GLC and his legacy.

Gail Lewis wrote to us about his influence on her:

“He was an absolute inspiration for so many of us, but for me he was special. This was at the GLC when he recruited me to the Industry and Employment Unit, but also prior to that when he taught me at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex. I was an MPhil student there and Robin one of the academic staff. I cannot overstate how he made it possible for me to be there – black, London born young woman from a working class background. He made it seem possible that I had a right to be there and so made it possible for me to learn. He taught us Marxist economics through the reading and analysis of what he called ‘gobbits’ (little extracts) from volumes 1-3 of Capital, and the volumes of theories of surplus value. I still use what I learned from and through Robin in my teaching now. I have carried him in my heart and mind ever since. Thank you Robin.”

Alan was an officer for the Arts and Recreation Committee, helping to move arts funding from elite institutions to supporting London’s diverse communities. He was a very friendly (and talkative!) presence at our events, with a wealth of knowledge about that period and many stories that brought that time to life. He was filmed last year at the 30th aniversary of the GLC’s abolition drinks we hosted (watch from 55 seconds):

This article from Marxism Today in 1986 describes Alan’s work on the arts committee.

They will both be greatly missed, and we hope we can be part of keeping the memory of their work alive.