Jimmy Reid

Biography of Jimmy Reid

Jimmy Reid
Jimmy Reid

Jimmy Reid (1932-2010) was University Rector from 1971 to 1974.

Born in Govan, Reid became a shipyard worker and trade union official. He was a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain and was elected a councillor in Clydebank. In 1971 Reid was one of the leaders of the famous "work-in" at the shipyards belonging to the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders consortium, when workers refused to accept the liquidation of the company and the mass redundancies which would follow, and instead continued to work. Shortly before the rectorial election in 1971, the government softened its position on "lame duck" industries and announced financial support for the beleaguered yards.

Reid's opponents for the rectorship were the Labour MP and University graduate Margaret Herbison and the Conservative MP Teddy Taylor. The poet Roger McGough and the television personality Michael Parkinson were not allowed to contest the election on the grounds that their papers were not in order.

Reid's speech made at his installation as rector has been described as being 40 years ahead of its time. He told the students to reject individualism and greed - and remember their common humanity and to reject the rat race. The New York Times printed it in full, and described it as the greatest since Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. A pdf version (13 pages, 4.9mb) of his rectorial address booklet, entitled Alienation, is now available.

Jimmy Reid subsequently became a journalist and broadcaster. He died on the 10th August 2010, aged 78.

See also Jimmy Reid's Rectorial Address at the Moving Image Archive.


Jimmy Reid
Born 9 July 1932, Glasgow, Scotland.
Died 10 August 2010.
University Link: Rector
GU Degrees:
Occupation categories: journalists; shipyard workers; trade union officials
View Major Archive Collection Record
Additional Information: R3/1/1 (vol 2)
Record last updated: 29th Apr 2022

University Connections

University Roles

Associated Documents

  • Rector (1971 - 1974): Inaugural Address, Alienation (13 pages, 5mb)

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