Marchers pass through London on the way to Aldermaston in 1958


The single event that most put CND on the public map was the Aldermaston March of April 1958. The Easter march to the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston, Berkshire, the main location for the research, development and production of Britain’s nuclear warheads, was originally an initiative of the Direct Action Committee (DAC), which formed a committee to organise the march in December 1957. This committee included Hugh Jenkins, who was later to become chair of CND from 1979-81, Frank Allaun MP, Walter Wolfgang from the Labour Hydrogen Bomb Committee and Pat Arrowsmith, who became the march organiser. The leadership of the newly formed CND was lukewarm about the project initially, stating that it would ‘give its blessing to the [DAC] plans [for Aldermaston] and should publicise them, but should make clear at this stage of the Campaign they could not be very closely involved.’ In fact, CND members participated extensively in the event, and it was immediately, inextricably linked with the new-born CND in the public mind.

Rapidly, the Aldermaston March, which was repeated over a number of years and on and off over the decades, became synonymous with CND. Most recently, the Aldermaston March took place in 2004, raising public awareness of the likely research and development of a new generation of nuclear weapons at AWE Aldermaston.

What is The People’s History of CND?

To celebrate six decades of vibrant and powerful activity, this online exhibition displays photos and memories provided by our members and supporters. They selected the photos that best symbolised a significant memory from the past 60 years. The exhibition shows photos from demonstrations, vigils and blockades; significant sites, like Greenham, Molesworth, as well as photos of artefacts, like favourite badges, banners, and knitting.

The People’s History of CND homepage