Cassandra Centre Christmas Dinner 8 December

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Croydon Update 27 November

Croydon Council has declared itself ‘bankrupt yet again despite the support of the Government and the this year’s cuts budget. There has been a wide range of media coverage about it. inc. BBC. The Guardian, My London,  Evening Standard, South London Press and Inside Croydon. The Council has issued a Section 114 notice.T he Council’s explanation is on its website.  The list being considered is set out on Full list of everything Croydon Council could cut as it declares itself bankrupt for a third time – MyLondon

Croydon Council has said it will not be able to balance its books next year without extra help from Government because the ongoing impact of historic financial mismanagement has left the authority financially and operationally unsustainable.

The borough’s new Executive Mayor Jason Perry has written to Secretary of State Michael Gove setting out the need for further support to resolve the ongoing impact of the financial issues he inherited. Mayor Perry has said that the sheer scale of these issues means that the council cannot recover without a new government solution for long-term financial sustainability.

The Council has backed off legal action against  Inside Croydon.

Wednesday 30 November. Third University Strike Date. 

Organised by Universities & College Union.

 Wednesday 30 November. 7.45pm. Direct relations – a history of the Croydon Astronomical Society from its start as the Astronomical Section of CNHS

 Talk by Tony Roberts, Chairman of the Croydon Astronomical Society, from research in conjunction with Bernard Winchester. 

 Small Hall, East Croydon United Reformed Church, 86 Addiscombe Grove. CR0 5LP.

‘Carnage and Chaos’is one of the screen prints by my friend Phillippa Egerton showing along with other screen prints by PSADesign artists. It will be fun with a bar and live acapella Christmas carols.#localartists#community#christmasshopping#screenprints@pureartsgroup

Saturday 10 December. 11.30pm. GMB Union Croydon Rally Against Outsourcing

 ‘While our members have seen their pay cut by 25% since 2009, university vice-chancellors and senior management have been collecting six-figure salaries.

Workers everywhere are rising up and saying enough is enough. It is time for us to join them.

The truth is that we are not all in this together. While our members have seen their pay cut by 25% since 2009, university vice-chancellors and senior management have been collecting six-figure salaries.’

Sunday 18 December. Ruskin House Social Club Christmas Raffle Draw

Takes place at the Folk and Blues night. Tickets are available from the Club Bar every evening from 7pm up to the 18th December. Tickets £2 for a strip of 5. 1st  Prize – Christmas Hamper; 2nd  Prize – Bottle of Whisky;3rd Prize – Bottle of Port; 4th  Prize  – Tub of Roses chocolates

Croydon History

The 18thC vicar Rev Nathaniel Collier (Vicar) 1728-54) married the ‘ex-wife’ of an aristocrat who had ‘married’ her bigamously. (Inside Croydon)

Jews Don’ t Count

Davud Baddiel’s BBC documentary ‘Jews Don’t Count’ on 21 November was hard hitting and a must to see. He addresses the absence of Jews from the growing list of minorities that need action to support them against discrimination, prejudice, race hatred etc.

He argues that anti-Jewish views should be  one of the forms of racism included in these lists, as a key issue to be recognised and acted upon alongside the others.

His book ‘Jews Don’t Count’ is also essential reading. I read it twice in hospital.

Saving Money On Toys At Christmas

‘In the 1970s and 1980s researchers ‘focussed not on what children said, but on what they did in creative and problem solving situations.’ It turned out that even the youngest babies already knew more than we ever could have thought. … They are extremely rational and they’re much better in some ways than any other creatures we know of.’

‘After watching kids play with more than 100 types of toy, the researchers concluded that simple, open-ended, non-realistic toys with multiple parts, like a random assortment of Lego, inspired the highest quality play….. As a result of such research, it was increasingly acknowledged, that the best new toys were the best old ones – sticks and blocks and dolls and sand that follow no pre-programmed instructions, that elicit no predetermined behaviours….. and yet many policy makers, toy manufacturers and parents still drastically underestimate children’s cognitive abilities.’ (Alex Blasdel. Have toys got too brainy? (Guardian Long Read. 24 November)

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Croydon Update 19 November

Contents: Overview, Events, Creating Beautiful Gardens Across Croydon, Law Centre Action Against Poor Housing Conditions, Sarah Jones On The Autumn Statement, Miscellaneous, Planning Advisory Service Report, Funding Opportunities


Croydon’s fiasco over the Penn report is featured in the latest edition of Private Eye. Homeless people living on the steps of Croydon Council’s offices have had their belongings taken and are being forced to move by the authority. (South London News/South London Press). Delays have affected the proposed conversion of the former Allders building into an immersive experience called LOST headed up by the creator of Secret Cinema Fabian Riggal. Expected to have been open already  Croydon’s Mayor says it is now likely to begin early next year instead. He has also said that if he was an investor he would not do so in Croydon based on the situation around East Croydon Station. (My London)

Sunday 21 November.  5pm. Become A Director At Croydon Community Energy’s AGM

CCE writes: ‘Over the past year, we have made fantastic leaps and bounds as the first community energy group in Croydon. From securing over £30k of grant funding, to building relationships with Croydon Council, we are so excited for what the future holds.

As part of the Annual General Meeting (AGM), we are inviting anyone who wishes to stand or re-stand as a Director to put themselves forward for consideration. Being a Director means you will play an important role in helping shape our organisation as we grow, implement renewable energy projects and provide energy advice in the borough.

We meet between two and four times a month, depending on schedules. There is a particular need for anyone with experience with marketing or finance, but all backgrounds are welcome! If you have any spare time to commit to this fantastic initiative, please email up to 100 words about yourself and a photo before

Saturday 26 November. 1-4pm. CCA and Sustainable Thornton Heath Plastic Based Wrapping Paper Workshop

Run by Mind The Wrap, a campaign showing you alternatives to harmful plastic-based wrapping paper. Join us for an interactive workshop at the November hub – don’t forget to bring your presents to wrap! Child-friendly event.

Salvation Army, Thornton Heath

Saturday 26 November. 1.30–3pm. Dealing With Change And Loss – Creative Therapeutic Session

As part of the Lifting the Lid festival there is a face to face session with Catherine Pestano of Creative Croydon using Nature metaphors and visual arts to creatively reflect on loss and change. Please email if you would like to participate.

The Park, SE25 

Thursday 1 December.12.30pmff. Law Centre Campaign Launch Re- Temporary Accommodation

If you are in or have ever been in temporary accommodation join us.

South Norwood Community Kitchen, Portland Rd, close the Norwood Junction train station and many buses. 

Saturday 3 December. Fuel Poverty Alliance Demonstration Plus Warm This Winter Campaign Day Of Action

Tuesday 6 December. 7-9pm. Singing Less Known Christmas 2022 £10 + 

17 December. Restoring Through Yoga

Creating Beautiful Gardens Across Croydon

Interview. See Croydonist website 3 November.

Law Centre Action Against Poor Housing Conditions

SWLLC writes: ‘It is unacceptable that any housing is in such poor condition that it impacts our health. 

We pay rent for properties that should not be let out in the condition they are and some have mould that cause breathing and skin problems. 

Channel 4 have contacted the Law Centre Network which we are part of as they want to speak to people who live with a child whose health has been impacted by their bad housing conditions. If this is effecting you please respond urgently if you would like your details passed on to Channel 4. 

The Law Centre spoke at a meeting with the Town & Country Planning Act which is  pushing for a Healthy Homes Act. to ensure that homes, temporary or otherwise that are in offices converted to residential accommodation are in safe conditions – fire safety is a recurring concern in these blocks.

If you live in an office that has been turned into residential use such as Sycamore House, Concord House, Windsor House or if you live in Delta Point, Canterbury House, Natwest House (5 Sydenham Road), Cygnet House, Emerald House or The Quarters the TCPA would like to speak to you. 

The Centre has written to the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary (Michael Gove). So many tenants are unable to access advice to resolve their housing issues. It wants tenants to be able to take legal action against their landlords.’

Sarah Jones On The Autumn Statement

Sarah Jones, MP for Croydon Central, comments on the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Autumn Statement.

‘The independent Office of Budget Responsibility published its predictions. Living standards are predicted to fall by 7%, wiping out eight years of growth: we will see the worst fall in living standards since records began. National debt is expected to be £400bn higher than forecast. The UK economy is the only one in the G7 smaller than it was before the pandemic.
Global events have of course taken their toll, but when global storms hit, we are uniquely exposed because of the choices the government has made over the last 12 years.
I am very worried about the poorer and more vulnerable people in Croydon. They, and working people, will be forced to bear the brunt of incompetence.
I know there that there are fairer choices to make, and that what our country needs is a serious long-term plan to get our economy growing again – powered by the talent and effort of millions of working people and thousands of businesses.’

Planning Advisory Service Report

Some representatives from local Residents Associations and other groups, including me, attended a video call with the Planning Advisory Service (PAS) on 22 June about the role of the Planning Department, and were interviewed by Shelly Rouse from the PAS, and Cllr Ian Ward from Birmingham City Council.

We were told that when final reports, with their views and recommendations were sent to Local Authorities, that it is usual for the reports to be published on those Councils websites.

Heather Cheessbrough, the Croydon Director responsible for planning has now explained that the report will shortly be made public. ‘The delay has simply been officer’s workload, the report and accompanying Action Plan is to be reported to the senior management team next week and following that we will put the report and Action Plan on the Council’s Website.

You will be aware that officers are quite stretched currently, we have several Improvement Plans and proposals being progressed currently and that takes a considerable amount of officer time as it is all on top of BAU. In the Planning Service we have also had to contend with a growing number of appeals and in particular a couple of big public enquiries.  These have been hugely resource intensive and had to take precedence over the preparation of the Action Plan as the Planning Inspectorate control the timings of Appeals with costs penalties if we don’t respond to their timetable as well as needing to prepare as good a case as possible to present the LPA’s position.

We very much want to share the findings of the PAS report with our customers and residents but to ensure that it is meaningful the Action Plan does need to sit alongside to inform the next stage of our improvement.’

Funding Opportunities

Xabier Mendez, Parks Team Leader, Sustainable Communities, Regeneration & Economic Recovery Directorate (020 8726 6000 ext. 28530) has circulated the following list of funding opportunities.

GLA: Rewild London Fund 2022.The Mayor of London is aiming to support 15–20 rewilding projects across London focusing on Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs). Small grants of £10,000–£50,000 or large grants of up to £150,000 are available for projects that seek to improve, expand, and connect SINCs through habitat enhancement, restoration, and creation. Deadline is 28th November. Further details

Biffa: Landfill Communities Fund

Grants of between £10,000 – £75,000 are available for eligible community focused projects within a certain radius of a Biffa operation or licensed landfill site. The four different funding streams are community buildings, recreation, cultural facilities, and rebuilding biodiversity. Further details

National Garden Scheme: Community Garden Grants

Grants of up to £5,000 are available to community groups, charities, and CIC’s (with a functioning non-personal bank account) for the creation of a garden or similar horticultural focused projects to benefit local communities. Deadline is 31st January 2023. Further details

The Tree Council: Branching Out Fund

Grants of between £200 – £2,000 are available to community groups, schools, and tree warden networks for planting trees, orchards, and hedgerows. There needs to be a strong community element, including getting children and young people involved in the design and  planting.

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Black Conversations 18 November

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Beloved Film Show 19 November

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Wandsworth History Update

Wednesday 16 November. 6-7pmm. Swimming with the Tide: the story of Battersea’s Lost Baths

In this online talk local historian Sue Demont tells how in the 1900s Battersea boasted some of the finest municipal swimming baths in  England, including the country’s largest indoor pool at Nine Elms. Find out more about these and other rather more dubious aquatic options within Battersea.

Free but you’ll need to register.

Online Talk: Swimming with the tide – the story of Battersea’s Lost Baths Tickets, Wed 16 Nov 2022 at 18:00


Thursday 24 November.6.30-8pm. The Georgians

This talk by historian Penelope J Corfield looks at all aspects of Georgian life. The Georgian era is often seen as a time of innovations. It saw the end of monarchical absolutism, global exploration and settlements overseas, the world’s first industrial revolution and deep transformations in religious and cultural life.

How were these changes perceived by people at the time? And how do their viewpoints compare with attitudes today?

Pene’s book is a sell-out and will be republished as a paperback.

St Mary’s Church, Battersea Church Road SW11 3NA

Tickets £5

Thursday 8 December. 6.30pm for 7pm. Battersea Society Seasonal Celebration

St Mary’s Church, Battersea Church Road SW11 3NA

Tickets £5 (online) or on the door.

November’s Wandsworth Common Chronicles

You can view them at They include Clive Branson, radical Battersea artist, Women Munition-Makers at Battersea Polytechnic and Armistice Day, 1920.

Tickets £5 (online) or on the door.

Grosvenor Square 1968

Tony Belton and Penelope Corfield were at the anti-Vietnam demonstration in Grosvenor Square in 1968. ‘Tony writes ‘(M)ounted police charged at us – I will always maintain that the police over-reacted – but, provocation or not, I can tell you that being charged by 4 or 5 mounted police is a very scary proposition – the noise as these heavy animals hit the ground was something else – you can get a feel for it standing by the rails at Tattenham Corner, except those are light-weight racehorses, not intent on scaring you! Fortunately, we kept our heads and simply stood behind the big trees – and horses, being sensible beasts, do not try to charge through large, mature trees.’

Sue Twining

On 30th October Battersea Labour Party members and former teaching colleagues gather to , celebrate of the life of Sue Twining. Tony Belton writes ‘Sue had been living in Italy for many years; prior to retirement she had been the head teacher of a comprehensive school in Chelsea or Kensington; her husband, Richard, was a councillor for St. John ward in Battersea 1980-86.’ Sue died of a heart attack while swimming with Richard in Italy. Ann and I first knew Sue when she and Richard began their relationship back in the early 1970s. Richard was sharing our house at the time. Ann has known Richard since the anti-apartheid campaigns of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Christine Eccles

13 October saw the Christine Eccles’ funeral and life celebration. Tony Belton writes ‘Christine had been a long-time member of the Battersea Labour Party. As so often on these occasions, I wished I had known more of Christine. I am sure that I played a very insignificant role in her life, but there had been a time in the 1970s when I was Chair of Wandsworth’s Planning Committee when she was one of my severest critics, along with the late Brian Barnes and Ernest Rodker (Ernest was at the celebration). Christine was one of the guiding lights of a group that put together an “activist newspaper” called Pavement. It sold, as I remember it, for 2P a week. In those pre-PC days, its production standards were spectacularly high – not something I, and I think most LP members, thought about all of its editorial values. Why did a Labour Council, which by modern standards was quite ludicrously left-wing, get so panned from the further left? The answer, I guess, is that after a Labour victory, the expectations of some are unrealistically high.

Christine’s main passion, however, was the stage, as a critic, an actor, and a director. She was clearly very good but, for whatever complex reasons, she did not have the success that she probably deserved and for which she certainly hoped. My main exposure to her talents was in December 2011, when she directed Battersea Labour Party’s Mid-Winter Revue at the Battersea Arts Centre. Battersea Labour Party had (and has) some big stage names, of whom the best known are Prunella Scales and Timothy West; they were all involved but so were many of us amateurs, such as Will Martindale, Labour’s 2015 General Election candidate, Simon Hogg, now Leader of the Council, and me, ex-Leader of the Council. We were, of course, dreadful and, no doubt, an embarrassment to the pros – but how we improved after a couple of rehearsals with Christine in charge. Finally, we put on a great show. In a nineteenth-century complimentary phrase, she was a woman “of parts”.’

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Croydon & General Update 13 November

Tuesday 15 November. 5-6.15pm. Trussonomics and After

Independent Working Class Education invites you to contribute to “What’s behind ‘Truss-economics’? What is really going on?”Presenters: Dr Martin Allen “Running the economy like a household’ ! How do we challenge Neo-liberal thinking on budgets, borrowing and ‘economic competence? Martin has been teaching young people economics for many years, 

Simon Mohun, formerly Prof of Economics at Queen Mary Uni London (who will talk about the ‘macro’ side) and Sue Himmelweit, formerly Prof of Economics at the OU, who will talk about the gendered impact of the proposed policies.

Zoom Meeting

Wednesday 16 November. 1.30-2.30pm. Employments rights workshop

from 1.30 – 2.30pm. It covers our basic employment rights. You could use it to help with your own employment situation, to help others or to improve your knowledge. A really useful resource is shared with attendees after. You might not think you need to know these rights now but one day the knowledge may come in handy.

Sign up here: The session is on Zoom. You can also join online or dial in from a land line or mobile phone at normal call rate.

Wednesday 16 November. 2.30– 4.30pm. Warm Wednesday

We will be offering hot drinks, cakes and biscuits to any older person attending our Warm Wednesday

We will bring local organisations together to provide support around bills, loneliness, and signposting older people to the correct service

We will have fun, socialise, listen to music and build new and meaningful connections

More sessions to attend:

Wednesday 30th November from 2.30pm – 4.30pm

Wednesday 21st December from 2.30pm – 4.30pm Christmas edition

Wednesday 28th December from 2.30pm – 4.30pm New Year’s eve edition

From 2023, every 2nd & 4th Wednesday of the month from 2.30pm – 4.30pm

Are you a local organisation and want to collaborate with us to bring more support to older vulnerable people? We want to hear from you to enable collaborative communities to come together to support older people in Croydon.

West Croydon Methodist Church, 93 London Road, Croydon CR0 2RF.

Thursday 17 November. 7pm. Healthy Homes

This Town & Country Planning Association meeting seeks people’s views about the homes they live in. Booking essential. See Croydon Communities Consortium website.

Saturday3 December. 7.30pm. Surrey Opera 50th Anniversary Soirée

Whitgift School’s Concert Hall

Tickets only £15 to include a drink – available online at or by phone booking, as per details on flyer.

News Summary

As predicted in previous postings Croydon’s Mayor is havIng to make cuts. He is setting out his proposals in a paper to Cabinet on 16 November. The Council has set out options for the future of homes at the Regina Road Estate, such as refurbishing or demolishing and redeveloping the development. Croydon council has hired a firm to investigate the leaking of a long-awaited report about the authority’s financial collapse in 2020. The Penn Report was completed 18 months ago and was written by the Local Government Association’s Richard Penn. He looked into the financial mismanagement of the council before it was forced to issue a Section 114 notice, declaring effective bankruptcy. Despite being completed 18 months ago, the damning report has remained unpublished officially. However last month, extracts of the report were shown on local website Inside Croydon and in the Municipal Journal. The council has now instructed the firm Kroll to investigate the leak. This is the same firm the council appointed in March to investigate possible fraud linked to Fairfield Halls and council-owned developer Brick by Brick. The Council went to the High Court to unpublish the documents. It lost the case. London Mayor Sadiq Khan has suggested the government should stump up to fund new trams for Croydon to build on the “huge, huge” success of the Elizabeth line. (My London, Inside Croydon and London NewsonLine)

Defend the Pensions Triple Lock

Trade union petition at Defend the Triple Lock | Megaphone UK

BAME People Underrepresented in Airline Pilot Industry

Sheraaz Rasool, a pilot with Virgin Atlantic, has taken part in the Fantasy Wings programme, inspiring young people from BMAC backgrounds to pursue a career in aviation. Biographical information about him in this link.

From Fantasy Wings

White Poppy

The Peace Pledge Union is promoting the white poppy backed by the actor Mark Rylance and poet Benjamin Zephaniah. (Guardian. 10 November)

Students at Universities have been wearing White Poppies at demonstrations against college links with arms companies. (Guardian 10Novmember)

North East Poverty

It will be no surprise to those of us involved in activity in the Blair Government’s neighbourhood renewal urban regeneration programme in the early 2000s, that stemmed from the Treasury based Social Exclusion Unit, that the North East is still a very poor region. ‘Which’ magazine shows that 44.6% of its local areas lack supermarkets etc, and 36.6. in Durham County. These areas also have poor access to other sources of cheap food, higher levels of poverty, deprivation and fuel poverty, and the greater use of food banks and take upon free school meals. This situation is depressing when we consider the amount of effort put in by Labour activists like David Walsh on Teesside, who has died aged 73. In 1989 he was Chair of the Economic Development and Transportation Committee (£500m annual budget), the Redcar and Cleveland Council (frpm1996-2016), He also researched and wrote about the area’s industrial and political history. (Guardian. 8 November)

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Soy-I am – Cuba Film 18 November

‘Breathtaking both for its scope and the audacity of its cinematic experiments.’ Mike Lee. ‘Exhilarating camera movements…luscious black-and-white cinematography.’ Chicago Reader.‘Deliriously beautiful.’ New York Times.‘Absolute film history.’ Paul Schrader, director.

Soy Cuba (I Am Cuba) took two years to make, but this joint Soviet-Cuban epic on the Cuban Revolution had limited screenings and was archived. Shown in tribute to its director Mikhail Kalatozov in 1992, it had an enthusiastic U.S. reception. At the following year’s San Francisco International Film Festival, a full house gave it two standing ovations duringprojection. Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola helped to revive it, and sixty years after work began on I Am Cuba, it’s now widely regarded as a classic of world cinema and has been hugely influential on film directors.

The script by two poets, Yevgeny Yevtushenko and Enrique Pineda Barnet, weaves a lyrical narrative around four stories, through the voice of Cuba. Sergei Urusevsky’s cinematography, combining great artistry, technical mastery and political fervour, contrasts Batista’s Cuba, a playground for wealthy Americans and unscrupulous landowners, with the slum-dwellers’ desperate poverty. This is a rare opportunity to experience the visual poetry and cinematic impact of I Am Cuba on the large Ruskin House Film Screen.

Screened with the kind permission of MOSFILM

Ruskin House (Cedar Hall), 23 Coombe Road, Croydon CR0 1BD

Tickets available online (£5.80) at:
 or from Ruskin House bar/on the door (£5.00) – subject to availability

Next month, Ruskin House Film Screen is showing another classic of world cinema:
THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS by Gillo Pontecorvo – 9th December, 7.00pm 

Tickets available online (£5.80) at:
 or from Ruskin House bar/on the door (£5.00) – subject to availability

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History Update 7 November

Contents: Events, Beulah Ainley, The Poppy Story, Miscellaneous, Valuing The Lives of the Elderly

Saturdays 12 & 19 November 11am-2.45pm. A Lightbulb idea: Lewis Latimer’s Scientific Breakthroughs.

Black Cultural Archives

Saturday 12 November 2022. 2-5pm. Essex Labour History Event

Talks on the Matchgirls’ Memorial, the Peasants’ Revolt and 800 years of class stuggle (John McDonnell, MP).

Eventbrite – Discover Great Events or Create Your Own & Sell Tickets

and on Zoom

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Saturday 12 November into 2023. Paint Like the Swallow Sings.

Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge

Exhibition by British Caribbean artists Paul Dash, Errol Lloyd and John Lyons. (Guardian. 5 November)

Saturday 19 November. 2pm. Lib-Labism in Nottingham

Talk by Philip Henshaw Philip for

Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Labour History Society.

The Mechanics, 3 North Sherwood Street, Nottingham. Refreshments available. For further information contact:

Sunday 20 November. From student unions to trade unions: campus-based activism and beyond

Last day of submission of paper proposals for workshop hosted by the History of Activism research group at Northumbria University, with support from the Society for the Study of Labour History (SSLH). It will explore the different ways in which campus-based activism linked to wider goals of social and political change as well as tracing the conflicts that emerged in such settings. It will bring together historians working on different countries and regions, with discussions that encourage comparative and transnational perspectives. which enables the organisers to provide some partial travel subsidies to PhD students and early-career researchers who do not have access to institutional funds. If you would like to offer a paper for this event,

Details can also be downloaded as a PDF.

Please submit a brief abstract (150-200 words) and a biographical note to Daniel Laqua ( by 20 November.

1 December. 4pm. Takacz Quartet. Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s ‘Five Fantasiestucke

Performance of the first movement at the Edinburgh Festival.

Before Friday 2 December. 5pm. Close of applications for Fellowships and Gants

Fellowships in Diasporic South Asian and Black History; African Studies; Women’s History; Music & Rare Books & Manuscripts

Email before 2 December 2022.

Saturday 3 December. 11am. From Pentonville to P&O: union rights & tory wrongs- campaigning for trade unions

Free Conference hosted by the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom, supported by the Institute of Employment Rights. Speakers include Francis O’Grady (TUC), Dave Ward (CWU),Kevin Courtney (NEU), Jo Grady (UCU), Mark Serwotka (PS), Mike Lynch (RMT), Mike Whlean(ASLEF), Barry Gardineer and John McDonnel,MP,s and others.

Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London, EWC1H 98D.

Tuesday 13 December. 7pm. North East Labour History Society Christmas Quiz

Bridge Hotel, Newcastle

Tuesday 3 January. Close of call to composers for applications for Fellowship in Music

Beulah Ainley

The nurse and journalist has died aged 77 living in a South Norwood care home. Born in Jamaica she settled in Birmingham. She married Patrick who became a teacher. In1984, she became press officer of the Greater London Enterprise Board, then freelance. Active in the NUJ she set up the George Viner Memorial Fund and was on the Black Members Council. (The Guardian Journal. 5 November) My condolences to Patrick who  I know through past meetings of Croydon Assembly and Zoom discussions under the umbrella of the Independent Working Class Education and associated groups.

The Poppy Story

The Peace Pledge Union has redesigned its white poppy in line with its ‘non-violent principles and commitment to the environment’. The white poppy was originally designed by the Co-operative Women’s GUILD. Frost’s grandfather was killed on the Somme and his name is carved on the walls of the Tyne Cot Memorial in 1922. The year of the merger of ex-servicemen’s societies in 1921 into the British Legion, the year 1.5m French made artificial poppies sold in Britain. The Legion soon had its own factory employed disabled ex-servicemen. Today they produce over 45m lapel poppies, 120,000 wreaths and 1m small wooden remembrance crosses. In 1926 the No More War Movement asked the Legion to imprint the centre of poppies with No More War. The Legion did not.

Peter concludes ‘So, whichever your wear, red or white, both or none, its is your decision. Just remember, they shouldn’t be about gratifying war and militaristic thinking but about the respect each of us should feel from those who paid the greatest price in the futility of war. (Morning Star. 4 November.

While in hospital I gave a lot of thought to my family history. My Canadian grandfather and his two brothers all fought on the Wetsern Front. Two were wounded, recovered in England and then fought again on the Western Front. Two returned to Canada and one settled in England. My father was on the anti-aircraft guns, partly because of only just surviving (ironically) a blown appendix. After the War he was a member for a while of the Legion. Since coming to Norbury I have joined the Knitting Norbury Together group and others outside our local small war memorial. The Knitters display all the special poppy colours, including Black, which can be purchased from Black Cultural Archives. There will be the annual remembrance commemoration of the West Indian Ex-service Association at Windrush Square in Brixton, by the Nubian Jaq memorial next to BCA.


Heritage Aesthetics by Anthony Anaxagorou ‘grapples with the way colonial history haunts the present moment, shaping the contours of institutional racism in contemporary Britain, as well as the complexities of familial relationships as individuals reagitate the legacies of intergenerational trauma.’ (The Guardian Saturday magazine.5 November )

Safiya Kamaria Kinshas. ‘Cane, Corn & Gully. Explores Barbadian history and heritage’. (Guardian. Saturday. 5 November )

Sunak and Saklatvala.

Right-wing Restore Trust completely failed to win a single seat at the National Trust AGM at the weekend. The participation in the AGM was the highest ever. (Guardian. 7 November)

Virgil Abloh Funds Royal College of Art scholarship for Black British students. (Guardian. 7 November)

May Day Rooms in November.

TUC Library card index is now online.

Wandsworth History news and events will be posted in the next couple of days.

For the latest from Kawku’s British Black Music see ‘The History, The Music, The Politics Issue’.

A reader of this blog tells me that the Chineke Orchestra’s SC-T double CD is wonderful.

‘Made in London’. Review of book by Mark Brearley, Carmel King and Clare Dowdy on On London website.

‘Shakespeare and the theatres of Bishopsgate and Gracechurch Street’. Essay by Vic Keegan on On London website.

Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues review – swinging doc is a stirring tribute. (Re-archive. Guardian. 28 October)

The Grimkes: The Legacy of Slavery in an American Family,’ by the historian Kerri Greenidge, provides a nuanced, revisionist account of an American family best known for a pair of white abolitionist sisters. (New York Times. 29 October)

North East History 2022, dedicated to the late Nigel Todd, has now been published. If you would like to receive the journal but are not a member of the Society as yet you can join here

Valuing The Lives Of The Elderly

The more I talk to people in my age range the more I realise what interesting lives they have led. Most are happy to talk, but the idea of writing their memories down is daunting. There are of course many other ways in which this can be done.

In July 1973 Chris Searle compiled ‘Elders, a collection of poems by older citizens. Proceeds were to be donated to the London Trade Union & Joint Old Age Pensioners Committee. One of the poems by Milly Harris was about the Battle of Cable St, October 1936.

We stood at Gardiner’s Corner

We stood and watched the crowds

We stood at Gardiner’s Corner,

Firm,solid, voices loud

Came the marching of the blackshirts,

Came the pounding of their feet,

Came the sound of ruffians marching

Where the five roads meet.

We thought of many refugees

fleeing from the fascist hordes,

The maimed, the sick,

the young, the old,

Those who had fought the fascist hoards.

So we stopped them there at Gardiners’.

We fought and won our way.

We fought the baton charges,

No fascist passing that day!’

In his ‘One World Bus Tour of Southwark’s Riverside. A different view’. South World Development Group(1987) Richard Bainbridge ‘looks at life there from the viewpoint of the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America, the so-called Third World.’Highlights include: the East India Co’s control of trade with India, the Mayflower to America, a memorial to Ann Davies, who died of yellow fever in Bahia(Brazil),and the EIC’s Superintendent in Bombay, the grave of Prince Lee

Boo, son of the ruler of the Pelew Islands in SW Pacific, who went to the local school and attended St. Mary’s Church but died of smallpox, Jamaica House, tea from China and India. As late as 1986 the warehouses stored nutmegs from Grenada and turmeric from India. 201 Borough High St was the HQ of Gill and Duffus who imported products from the Third World, especially cocoa, the former United African Co House organising trade with India, Sei Lanka, Africa and South America, and containerisaton by companies like Sea Containers Ltd.

He outlines a number of useful questions which can be adapted for other local studies.

What commodities and raw materials from the Third World used to be handled along Southwark’s riverside?

How did the dependence of any Third World countries on the industrialised countries develop?

What has been the disadvantages of this dependence?

What links this part of Southwark have with the company which controlled Britain’s trade with India until 1857?

What kind of jobs and industries in this area have been boosted by the control of trade with the Third Word, first in the past, but also today?

What companies did you see which have a big role in trade with Third World countries today?

What do you know about the body that controls redevelopment of London’s docklands?

To whom is it accountable?

Can you identify some of the different groups, with an interest in how the area should be redeveloped?

Are there are interests which seem to be getting priority and others which seem to be losing out?

What impact is redevelopment having on local people?

How far is some of the racism today a hangover of the evils of slave trade?

How do you think the inequalities between the mainly white industrialised countries and mainly black Third World are affected by assumptions of racial superiority/inferiority? Do such assumptions make it harder to work for charge bcaue they encourage people to see the inequalities as ‘natural’ or ‘inevitable’?

His suggestions for schools:

‘Schools could use these as the basis for further work in different ways:

-interviews with local residents who know and worked in the docks.

– scrapbook with labels or adverts, featuring some off the products or brands connected with or made in Bermondsey and Rotherhithe.

– stamp collection featuring products or countries with links with the area.

At secondary level, more detailed work in geography, history or economic could be sone. A photographic record of the tour could be made.’

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