Sunday, May 26, 2013

Silvio Corio and Son

Syndicalist (and North-East London) Connections
Recently found in Ron’s Archive at

Three letters, from/to/about respectively Silvio Corio, the Italian anarchist who was the long-term partner of Sylvia Pankhurst (see blog post here, September 2010), and one to their son Richard Pankhurst about his Conscientious Objector (CO) Tribunal, when he was appealing against conscription for National Service.
Thanks to the Sparrows Nest collective for making these generally available.

1. Letter: editor of the Syndicalist Workers Federation paper Direct Action to Richard Pankhurst.

25a Amberley Road., London, W.9
November 5th, 1952

Richard Pankhurst.
Dear Comrade,

Very many thanks for sending us the material on your C.O. tribunal.  After discussion, we decided that publication in the form of a letter from yourself might well have the effect of prejudicing your appeal, and that it would be better to put it in the form of an article.    We hope this will be o.k.

                Hoping you will keep us informed of developments, and that your appeal will be successful.

Every good wish, Yours fraternally,

 [copy unsigned] for editorial office

 Database reference for image of original at Sparrows Nest website as above:  RON00668


“... the procedure of appearing before a Local or Appellate tribunal could be a harrowing business for the one objector among every six hundred recruits.” – Trevor Royle, National Service: The Best Years of Their Lives,  p.46. (Paperback 2011; first published 2002,).

According to the National Archives website most National Service records, including those for appeals tribunals, have been destroyed

2.  Letter from Silvio Corio to the Syndicalist Workers Federation (SWF) about their forthcoming Conference, 1953, with mention of Richard Pankhurst.

On headed paper: New Times and Ethiopia News (Weekly). Editor: E. Sylvia Pankhurst

Oct. 8 ‘53
Dear Com. Green,

Many thanks for notification of Conference.  If you could favour me with the date when it will effectively be held I should be grateful. I will attend – if permitted – merely as an observer. And – if you have no objection –  I will take with me Richard. He is very interested in the Labour Movement of today. Before long his book on Wm. Thompson will be published by Messrs. Watts & Co. It should have appeared already but these people are so slow. He is now teaching Economics for the W.E.A. at Woolwich, thanks to his Ph.D. degree. He wants to know, at first hand, the opinions of English workers of today. A few days ago I had a letter from Alan Smith quite favourable to your work. You know him of course.
Best wishes,
Sincerely,                           S. Corio
Database reference for image of original at Sparrows Nest website:  RON01896
The New Times and Ethiopia News was an anti-fascist and anti-imperialist paper run by Silvio Corio and Sylvia Pankhurst, originally in response to Mussolini’s attack on Ethiopia.

A short biography of Silvio Corio can be found at Also at LibCom: “The North East London Anarchist Group: A short history ... founded in 1946”, <> by Nick Heath. Mentions Alan Smith, Peter Green and Mario Mantovani as well as Corio himself.

Next Time: the SWF replies to Corio, and a sad announcement.

1 comment:

  1. For Silvio Corio’s earlier life, see the biographical article by Nick Heath at