Drawing on evidence from research interviews, workers’ memoirs, oral histories, and a range of secondary sources, the development of popular workers’ education is traced over a thirty year period, 1955 to 1985, and is rooted in the proletarian culture of South Yorkshire, UK. The period is seen as an historical conjuncture of Left social movements (trade unions, the Communist and Labour parties, tenants’ movements, movements of working-class women, and emerging autonomous black movements) in a context of trade union militancy and New Left politics. The Sheffield University extramural department, the South Yorkshire Workers' Educational Association (WEA), and the public intellectuals they employ as tutors and organizers are embedded in the politics and actions of the labor movement in the region, some becoming Labour MPs. They develop distinctive programs of trade union day release courses and labor movement organizations (Institute for Workers' Control, Conference of Socialist Economists, Society for the Study of Labour History). Workers involved in the process of popular workers' education become organic intellectuals having key roles in local and national politics, in the steel and miners' strikes of the 1980s, and in the formation of Northern College. The article draws on the language and insights of Raymond Williams and Antonio Gramsci through the lens of social movement theory and the praxis of popular education.