Tom Anderson was born in 1863. Apprenticed as a carpenter at the age of 14, he was a freethinker and trade union activist.
He joined the Independent Labour Party at its inception in 1893. Later he was a member of the Marxist inclined Social Democratic Federation (SDF) and the De Leonist Socialist Labour Party (SLP).
However Anderson is best remembered for his devotion to educating working class children. In 1894 he had briefly set up a Socialist Sunday School on his own. It had faltered and he became involved, in 1896, in the wider Socialist Sunday School Movement as Superintendent of the Southside School.
Anderson provided a Marxist input into a movement still dominated by Christian Socialist ethics. This input was not always appreciated and brought him frequent reproach (Rosen 2012).
So much so that in 1910 Anderson -now in the SLP- set up the Socialist school. The specification of "Sunday" were both dropped and the talk was of teaching children "revolutionary socialism based on the materialist conception of history."
In 1918 -after the Russian Revolution- Socialist Schools came under the umbrella of the "Proletarian School and College Movement." They continued to enjoy SLP support and their teaching was underpinned by Anderson's "10 Proletarian Maxims" -the 5th being "Thou Shalt Teach Revolution."
The Proleterian Schools and Colleges produced a magazine for young workers, "RED DAWN" under the stewardship of Anderson. Its first issue included an article by John Maclean on his imprisonment in Peterhead.