Margot Heinemann

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Margot Claire Heinemann (18 November 1913 – 10 June 1992)[1] was a British Marxist writer, drama scholar, and leading member of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB).

Early life[edit]

She was born at 89 Priory Road, West Hampstead, London NW6. Her father was Meyer Max Heinemann, a merchant banker, and Selma Schott, both non-Orthodox Jews from Frankfurt, Germany.[2] Heinemann was educated at Roedean School and at King Alfred School in London, and read English at Newnham College, Cambridge from 1931, later graduating from Cambridge University with a BA with first class honours.[1] She was the lover of John Cornford, while a student at the University of Cambridge. The historian Eric Hobsbawm, who was also there at the time, wrote "she probably had more influence on me than any other person I have known."


She joined the CPGB in 1934,[1] because of its active opposition to the British Union of Fascists.

After Cambridge she taught 14-year-old girls at Cadbury's Continuation School in Bournville, now Bournville College, on day release from the chocolate factory.[1] In the CPGB she worked in the Labour Research Department from 1937.

She stood as the communist candidate for Vauxhall Constituency in the 1950 General Election.[1]

In 1959 she resumed teaching at Camden School for Girls and then Goldsmith's College from 1965-77.[1] In 1976 she was made a Fellow of New Hall, Cambridge.[1] She was still teaching at New Hall up to 1989 and stayed with the CPGB until it was dissolved in 1991.

Personal life[edit]

She had a child (Jane, b. 1953) with John Desmond Bernal.[3]


  • Britain's coal: A Study of the Mining Crisis, Left Book Club, 1944
  • Wages Front, 1947, Labour Research Department
  • Coal must come first, 1948, prepared for the Labour Research Department
  • The Tories and how to beat them, Communist Party, 1951
  • The Adventurers, 1960 (novel)
  • Britain in the Nineteen Thirties, 1971 (with Noreen Branson)
  • Experiments in English Teaching - New Work in Higher and Further Education 1976 (editor with David Craig)
  • Culture and Crisis in Britain in the 30s, 1979 (with Jon Clark, David Margolies and Carole Snee)
  • Puritanism and Theatre: Thomas Middleton and Opposition Drama under the Early Stuarts, 1980
  • History and the Imagination - Selected Writings of AL Morton, 1990 (editor)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Website of Graham Stevensonis". Retrieved 5 October 2009.[unreliable source?]
  2. ^ H Gustav Klaus: "Heinemann, Margot Claire (1913–1992)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, accessed 5 May 2014
  3. ^ Goldsmith, Maurice (1980). Sage: A Life of J D Bernal. London: Hutchinson. ISBN 0-09-139550-X.
  • David Margolies and Maroula Joannou, editors (2002) Heart of the Heartless World: Essays in Cultural Resistance in Memory of Margot Heinemann