Ellis Hillman

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Ellis Simon Hillman (17 November 1928 – 21 January 1996) was a British Labour politician, local councillor, Mayor of the London Borough of Barnet (1994–95) and polytechnic history lecturer.

Hillman was born into a political family, related both to American labour leader Sidney Hillman and Chaim Herzog, sixth president of Israel.[1] He was recruited to the Revolutionary Communist Party by Annie Roy in 1946 and joined its Kilburn branch.[2]: 188  During this period he wrote to Natalia Sedova, Leon Trotsky's widow, about questions relating to the Soviet Union and the history of the Left Opposition.[2]

He became a critical member of the Socialist Review Group where he produced a document, The Nature of the Stalinist Parties, which was rejected by the group and replied to by Duncan Hallas.[3][4] This followed by a further document, On Organic Unity, where he advocated the group fuse with that of Ted Grant, which led to his expulsion.[3][5]

Hillman then joined Gerry Healy's Club; however, he became a secret sympathiser of the Revolutionary Socialist League.[1] Hillman went on to become the RSL's treasurer[6] and a founder member of the Militant editorial board.[7][1] In 1961, whilst a member of the RSL, Hillman wrote a guide for members who were elected to councils: Notes on Council Work.[6] In 1969, he volunteered to become President of the IFERS (International Flat Earth Research Society), created by the Dover-based Samuel Shenton, to prevent the Society from closing with the loss of important historical records it held. The same year, he was the founder and first president of the Lewis Carroll Society.

Hillman was elected in the 1958 London County Council election, representing Norwood, then in the 1961 election he moved to represent Hackney Central. He kept his seat when it became the Greater London Council until 1981 where he chaired the Arts and Recreation Committee.[1]

Hillman was elected to Barnet council in 1986 and when in 1994 it fell to a Lib–Lab alliance he was elected Mayor.[8] His first act was to remove a bust of Margaret Thatcher from Hendon Town Hall.[1][8]

He was the co-author in 1985, with journalist Richard Trench, of London Under London, one of the first books to describe in detail the variety of hidden rivers, tunnels, bunkers, crypts and cellars under Britain's capital city.

Hillman, who lived in Hendon, died at the London Chest Hospital in Bethnal Green in January 1996 whilst undergoing heart bypass surgery.[1] He was married and had one son.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Richardson, Al. "Ellis Hillman (1928–1996)". Revolutionary History. 6 (2/3): 252–53.
  2. ^ a b Hillman, Ellis. "Ellis Hillman and the Fourth International". Revolutionary History. 6 (2/3): 188–90.
  3. ^ a b Higgins, Jim. "Cliff Hanger: Ellis Hillman and the Socialist Review Group". Revolutionary History. 6 (2/3): 254.
  4. ^ Hallam, Duncan (1971). "The Stalinist Parties". The Fourth International, Stalinism and the Origins of the International Socialists. Pluto Press. ISBN 0902818163. Retrieved 1 July 2022.
  5. ^ Birchall, Ian. Tony Cliff: A Marxist for His Time. London: Bookmarks. pp. 143–44. ISBN 1905192800.
  6. ^ a b Crick, Michael (1986). The March of Militant. London: Faber and Faber. p. 47. ISBN 0571146430.
  7. ^ Taaffe, Peter (1995). The Rise of Militant. London: Fortress. p. 8. ISBN 0906582474.
  8. ^ a b Harrington, Illtyd (24 January 1996). "Obituary: Ellis Hillman". Independent. Retrieved 1 July 2022.