Frank Ridley

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Francis Ambrose Ridley, usually known as Frank Ridley (22 February 1897 – 27 March 1994) was a Marxist and secularist of the United Kingdom.


Ridley was educated at Sedbergh School and Salisbury Theological College. He did not enter the Church, though he did gain a theology licentiate at Durham University. He later abandoned Christianity completely.

Political activities[edit]

From 1925 to 1964, Ridley spoke every week at Speakers' Corner in London's Hyde Park.

Ridley was one of the founders of the Marxian League in 1930. This small group might have become the British Section of Trotsky's International Left Opposition, but in 1931 Ridley and another member, Chandu Ram (H.R. Aggarwala) wrote Thesis on the British Situation, the Left Opposition and the Comintern, with which Trotsky disagreed. Ridley then joined the Independent Labour Party, writing regularly in their paper. Following the Second World War, he was in close contact with the Council communist Anton Pannekoek.[1]

Secularist activities[edit]

Ridley was president of the National Secular Society from 1951 to 1963. He edited The Freethinker from 1951 to 1954.


Ridley's published works include:

  • The Assassins, London, 1935 (reprinted by Socialist Platform, 1988)
  • Mussolini over Africa (London: Wishart, 1935).
  • At the Cross Roads of History (On the present social and economic crisis), London: Wishart Ltd, 1935
  • Julian the Apostate and the Rise of Christianity, London: Watts & Co. Ltd, 1937
  • The Papacy and Fascism: the crisis of the twentieth century, London: Secker and Warburg, 1937
  • The Jesuits: a study in counter revolution, London: Secker and Warburg, 1938
  • Fascism - What Is It?, London: Freedom Press, 1941
  • Socialism and Religion (Engels Society, 21 Lime Tree Road, Heston, Middlesex, undated, assumed to be published around 1940s)
  • Revolutionary Tradition in England, London: National Labour Press, 1947
  • The Evolution of the Papacy, London: Pioneer Press, 1949
  • Pope John and the Cold War, Kenardington: Frank Maitland, 1961
  • Spartacus, Kenardington: Frank Maitland, 1961
  • Reminiscences of Hyde Park, Hyde Park Pamphlet no. 7. London: Leslie Jones, 1985
  • Fascism Down The Ages: from Caesar to Hitler, London: Romer, 1988 (2nd ed 1991)


  • A Communist Party – The Problem of the Revolution in England (The Militant, Vol. IV No. 29 (Whole No. 88), 31 October 1931, p. 1.)
  • Marxism, History and a Fourth International (The Adelphi, May 1932)


  • Morrell, Robert (2003). "The Gentle Revolutionary: The Life and Work of Frank Ridley, Socialist and Secularist". Freethought History Research Group. 
Media offices
Preceded by
Fenner Brockway
Editor of the Socialist Leader
with George Stone

Succeeded by
George Stone


  1. ^ Gerber, John P. (1989). Anton Pannekoek and the Socialism of Workers' Self Emancipation, 1873-1960. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. p. 194.