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Apparently the source was a raid on the home of Anne Gresser, secretarial assistant to the acting party secretary R. M15 files on British communists, which have begun to be released under Freedom of Information legislation, show the extent and intrusiveness of such surveillance, which was by no means confined to activities of political significance.It is therefore understandable that even the CPGB, as one of the Comintern's few continuously legal sections, did not retain significant records for immediate use.
The aim of this introduction is simply to provide some brief historical context regarding the creation of the archives, to outline the main classes of material to be found within the collection and to give an indication of the relationship between these and other source materials for British communism, notably in the Moscow archives.
In the British party's case, such transfers were organised systematically from 1923, when the party had its first permanent representative in Moscow.
The party's legendary 'glass fortress' at 16 King Street, Covent Garden, may thus be seen, archivally at least, less as a headquarters than as the national branch office indicated by Pollitt.
Its study had therefore depended considerably on the last resorts of conjecture, inference and detective work characteristic of Western Kremlinology.
Already in the CPGB's final years, increasing interest in its history, both within and beyond the party's ranks, elicited at least a formal recognition of the desirability of access.