Croydon events and news at 18 November

Spider's web

Friday 14 December. 7.30pm. Spider’s Web film

Ruskin House, 23 Coombe Road,  CR0 1BD

This documentary film, by Michael Oswald, shows how Britain transformed from a colonial power into a global financial power. At the demise of empire, the City of London’s financial interests created a web of offshore secrecy jurisdictions that captured wealth from across the globe and hid it behind obscure financial structures in offshore tax havens. Britain and its offshore jurisdictions are today the largest global players in international finance, with up to half of all offshore wealth concealed in British jurisdictions.

How did this come about? What impact does it have on the world today? The Spider’s Web includes archive film and compelling explanations from leading experts, academics, former insiders, and campaigners for social justice. In the world of international finance, corruption and secrecy prevail over regulation and transparency – and Britain lies at the centre of this web.

To be followed by a Q&A with the Producer John Christensen

Collection to benefit ongoing Ruskin House restoration work

To book ticket go to:

Other events at Ruskin House

  • The Folk Club. 8pm every Monday,
  • Folk & Blues. £2 at 8pm every Sun: 25 Nov – Anne Sumner and Singers’ Night; 2 Dec – Libre Fuego and Singers’ Night; 9 Dec – Four Gone Confusion and Singers’ Night
  • Sat 24 Nov. 7pm – 11pm.  RNLI fund-raiser. £8 or £5 members. With Lunch Special, Agnetha Fältskog Tribute (7pm slot, get there early!), The Biggin Hillbillies,  Molly and the Blackbriar Band,  Joe Hymas (from Hayseed Dixie), Jolene Missing, Dave Plane, Rick Townend, Eddie Green, Trevor Hyett and Captain Swing.
  • Sat 8 Dec. 7pm. Mulled Wine and Mince Pies fundraiser for Ruskin’s new Georgina King Lewis room from 7pm.  Tickets £10 (£7concs) from bar or Eventbrite.  Kids free.
  • Sat 22 Dec. Ruskin’s own panto ‘Cinderella’ – info soon.;;

March to support Grenfell Victims

300 people marched to support the victims of the Grenfell fire.

Croydon’s Remembrance Sunday 11 November

Can be spot what is missing?

Croydon High School for Girls and the First World War

Children disadvantage starts early

Children’s experiences during the first 1,000 days lay the foundations for their whole future, argues Croydon’s Director for Public Health Rachel Flowers in her latest Annual Report being considered by the Council Cabinet on Monday 19 November.

From preconception to age two, every aspect of a child’s world – including their parents’ and carers’ income, housing, neighbourhoods, social relationships, age and ethnic group – is already shaping their adult life.

She focuses on how Adverse Childhood Experiences can negatively impact on children as they grow up.

The report can be read here:

Annual Report of the Director of Public Health 2018

Poverty is one of those factors. It is therefore shocking that the UN has condemned the Government for making poverty worse through deliberate policy reasons (austerity + benefit cuts).

The Guardian summaries of the report can be read here:

If disadvantage sets in early then a cycle is set in motion for many people’s lives. See my submission to the Opportunity & Fairness Commission:

Fairness Commission Submission 2 – The Geography of Inequalities

Unfortunately the website with the Commission report and all the submissions made to it is no longer live.



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Telling the Mayflower Story: Thanksgiving or Land Grabbing, Massacres & Slavery?

Book launch

Friday 30 November at 5:30pm

Launch of a Socialist History Society Publication

UCL Institute of the Americas

51 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PN

admission free, but registration is required…

Authors: Danny Reilly & Steve Cushion
Chair: Colin Prescod , Chair of the Institute of Race Relations

In the autumn of 1620 the ship Mayflower, with 102 passengers, landed in North America and started the colonisation of the area that became known as New England. The Mayflower had landed in a region where the Sachem of the local Wampanoag Nation was Massasoit, who subsequently helped them survive. In the autumn of 1676, following the defeat of a war of rebellion led by Massasoit’s son Metacomet (King Philip), the ship Seaflower set sail from New England with a ‘cargo’ of Indigenous American slaves bound for the English Caribbean colonies.

The creation of the New England colonies by thousands of English colonists in the seventeenth century involved the rapid decline in the indigenous population, the violent seizure of territory and slavery. However, the 400-year anniversary commemorations in the UK seem to be overlooking this.

The Mayflower journey was part of Early English Colonialism:

• The invasions of Virginia, New England and the Caribbean were accompanied by land seizure wars against the Indigenous peoples of North America

• The economic success of New England depended on trade with the slave colonies of the Caribbean, and included the trafficking of slaves

• The colonists established a pattern of ‘extravagant’ violence in the wars they conducted against Indigenous Nations that was continued for 300 years

• The establishment of a tradition of sanitizing the story of English colonialism in the Americas that has lasted 400 years.

Leaflet is downloadable here:


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Islands and Isolation – BSECS Conference 4-6 January


Abolition, slavery, the Caribbean, convict transportation, proto-democracy are among the subjects of papers at panels in the annual Conference of the British Society for Eighteenth Century Studies 4-6 January. I am presenting two papers.

Friday kicks off at 11.15am with Dr Olivette Otele (Bath Spa University) giving the keynote talk: Remembering, Forgetting and Memorialising Histories in Contemporary Europe.

Olivette specialises in European colonial and post-colonial history, including questions relating to the transatlantic slave trade, slave societies, identities and post-colonial societies in the Atlantic world. Her current research centres around transnational history and in particular the link between history, collective memory and geopolitics in relation to British and French colonial pasts. She charts and analyses the ways in which Britain and France have been addressing questions of citizenship, race and identity through the politics of remembrance. She also enquires into the value of public gestures, the meaning of public history and the impact of cultural memory.

The panels and their papers perhaps of most interest to readers of this blog are:

Connections and conflicts: Islands and the British Empire in the Age of Sail

John McAleer. ‘Appurtenances of empire’: Atlantic islands and Britain’s eighteenth-century world

Douglas Hamilton. Islands and empires in the British eighteenth-century Caribbean

James Davey. Britain’s European island empire, 1793-1815

The Momentum of Change: Three Views on Abolitionism

Anna Harrington. ‘The subject had often employed his thoughts’: William Wilberforce and the beginning of the Abolition campaign

Conrad Brunstrom. “’Till Conquest cease, and slav’ry be no more”?: Poetry, slavery, and the paradoxes of maritime freedom.

Sean Creighton. The Princess of Zanfara and Bewick’s Kneeling Slave 

Agrarian and Ecological Debates in the Global Eighteenth Century 

Ramesh Mallipeddi. Race and Ecology in the Eighteenth-Century British Caribbean, 1627-1765

Shelise Robertson. A Voyage to Jamaica: Hans Sloane, Slavery, and Natural History

James Fisher. ‘He has good hands, but a bad head’: Dividing Mental and Manual Labour on an Eighteenth-Century Farm 

Island to Island: Lost in Translation 

Alissandra Cummins. The Commodification of Colour: Representing Identity in the Visual Histories of the Caribbean.

Lissa Paul. What You See Depends On How You Look:

Reading Eliza Fenwick from British and Caribbean Perspectives.

Brycchan Carey. The whole Island is become a kind of a rock’: sugar, slavery, and ecological catastrophe in Barbados, 1640–1750

Isolation – or worse – by jury: Penal Transportation and Execution 

Mika Suzuki. Transportation, Justice and Creativity

Alix Chartrand. Shared experience of punishment? Irish and Indian convicts at the turn of the nineteenth century

Callum Easton. Contested Memory Formation and the 1797 Fleet Mutinies

Antiquary, Travel Writer, Publisher: Female Virtuosity in the Realms of Commerce and the Imagination

Helen Williams. Ann Fisher’s Almanac and the Newcastle Book Trade

Standing Up to be Counted: Re-evaluating Eighteenth-Century Popular & Electoral Politics

Penelope J. Corfield. Counting Votes: The Eighteenth-Century Emergence of a Constitutionalist Culture

Sean Creighton. The Role of Petitioning at Local Level: Newcastle Common Council from the 1780s to 1820s

Frank O’Gorman. Phases of Democracy: Proto-Democracy in Eighteenth-Century Elections?

The draft programme is downloadable here:


Conference registration can be done through:



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Croydon’s Remembrance Sunday honours Black ex-service personnel

Second World War Jamaican RAF veteran Neil Flanigan laid a wreath during  Croydon’s  Remembrance Sunday events.

Neil Flanigan

Neil Flanigan 2

Prior to the wreath laying ceremony at the Town Hall, Neil attended the Church service at Croydon Minster.

Neil is full of praise for the well organised event.

‘The commemoration Service at the Minister and the Cenotaph were precisely coordinated and that the Authority retained photographer for ensuring that the celebration of the Anniversary of the centenary of WW1 was well documented in the history of the Borough, and I hope the reasons why the commemoration was held.

We must be conscious that many men from the Borough gave their lives on the battlefields for an undetermined cause and the Borough may well seek out and welcome those descendents of the men who died and also those who returned to a ghastly existence that their names can be immortalised in the history of the Borough and displayed in your Libraries.

The Mayor’s staff and supporting attendants was efficient and courteous’.

One of them ensured that he arrived at Windrush Square in Brixton to give his address at the War Memorial to Black ex-service personnel in all Britain’s wars that was put up by the Nubian Jak Community Trust.

‘It was a memorable day.’

Knitting Norbury Together

Earlier on Sunday morning residents of Norbury marked the  silence 11am at the small war memorial near the British Legion premises, the display of poppies put up by the Knitting for Norbury group including a Black Poppy, the symbol of the Black contribution in the two World Wars.

Norbury poppies 1A

The War to end all wars

The First World War was supposed to be the war to end all wars, but twenty  years later the Second World War broke out. The British Government is supplying the Saudis with weapons in the civil war in Yemen, while on our TVs appeals are being made for money to help the children so badly affected in it.

Croydon Peace Council

Following on the tradition of campaigning for peace and against war in Croydon since 1816, the launch of the Croydon Peace Council tomorrow at Ruskin House is an important initiative.


Discussion will be led by Carol Turner, author of Corbyn & Trident, about ways of  working together.

There will be a reading by Jan Woolf, a co-founder of No Glory in War which campaigns to promote peace and international understanding as part of the centenary commemorations.

The Lindsay Anderson documentary March to Aldermaston  (record of the first Ban the Bomb march) narrated by Richard Burton will be shown.

Croydon Peace Festival

In her latest enews  Katie Rose, the organiser of this year’s Croydon Peace Festival has included the following poem by Siegfried Sassoon

Everybody Sang

Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom,
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark-green fields; on – on – and out of sight.

Everyone’s voice was suddenly lifted;
And beauty came like the setting sun:
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away … O, but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.

Katie’s comment: ‘This well-loved poem conveys the power of song to bring peace even amidst the horror of war.  Writer Robert Graves fought with Sassoon in the The Royal Welsh Fusiliers and said that they often sang Welsh hymns.  When this poem was published in 1919  it resonated powerfully with the rising of people’s spirits as peace finally came.’

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Stephen Bourne at Fawcett Society Conference 17 November

Stephen Bourne, the biographer of several black women,  is on one of the panels at this Saturday’s Fawcett Society Conference.

For my Wandsworth readers Battersea resident, former Wandsworth Councillor and Slough MP, Fiona Mactaggart,  is the Chair of the Society.

Full details of the Conference are at


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March Against Racism & Fascism 17 November

Agaisnt Racism

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History events and news at 12 November

New History & Social Action Publications

Suffrage Campaigns & Campaigners in Croydon.

Sean Creighton with Iona Davito and Louise Szpera. £3.50.

The Wind From Peterloo.

John Charlton, published with North East Labour History Society. £3

Caroline Ganley

Terence Chapman £8

Battersea Women’s Activism 1890s-1914

Sean Creighton. £2

Orders to

p&p  will be added


Wednesday 14 November. 7pm. The Wind from Peterloo: 1819 – Newcastle’s great reform demonstration

Talk by John Charlton for North East Labour History Society

 The Lit & Phil, 23 Westgate Road, Newcastle

Free.  To reserve place contact Dave Connolly, Secretary North East Labour History Society:

Saturday 17 November. 9am-4.30pm. The History, Culture and Politics of Berwick upon Tweed

Evidence of Women and their Lives in the Berwick Archives – Linda Bankier- Berwick Archivist and Historian

The History of Parliamentary Representation of Berwick, Berwickshire and East Lothian since the union of 1707 – John Home Robertson, fromer Labour MP

The Culture and History of Berwick upon Tweed Through the Ages – Jim Herbert, local historian

John Mackay Wilson (1804-1835) the writer of “Tales of The Borders” and Editor of The Berwick Advertiser 1832-1835 – Mike Fraser

Berwick and District Trades Union Council’s 25th Annual Day school.

Malcom Mace’s room in Castle Gate.

Tea, Coffee and cake breaks. Lunch will be available at The Castle Hotel.

£20 for the entire day or £5 per lecture.    Everybody welcome.

For more information

or contact Moira Kay 01289 382935 or email

Saturday 17 November. Noon.  Ends at Sea: The North East Coast, the Sea and its Dangers

Guided walk along Roker Beach with Dr Peter Hayes starting from RNLI Shop Roker Beach 

Wednesday 21 November. 5pm. 1918: The End of the First World War and New Beginnings for Women

Talks by Dr André Keil: A Place Fit for Heroes? The End of the First World War in the North East & Dr Sarah Hellawell: Suffrage and Beyond in Sunderland: The City’s First Female MP (Note 1)

Thursday 22 November. Noon. The Lilburne Family and the Origins of English Republicanism 

Talk by Dr Delphine Doucet (Note 1)

Thursday 22 November. 4pm. The Blue Marble: Glass and Space Exploration 

Lecture with Inge Paneels (National Glass Centre/University of Sunderland)

The Pod, National Glass Centre

Friday  23 November. 10am-noon. The Workshop by the Sea: Origins and Endings in Sunderland’s Industries 

Talks by Prof. Peter Rushton: The Wooden Walls -Sunderland Shipbuilding in the 18th Century & Dr Stuart Howard: The Last Shift: Sunderland and the Legacies of Deindustrialization (Note 1)

Note 1: at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens

Saturday 24 November. 2.30pm. Women’s Rights to Vote and Learn

I will be speaking on the Croydon campaign for votes for women at the  annual Focus Meeting of the Croydon Natural History & Scientific Society.

David Sweet Hall, East Croydon United Reform Church, Addiscombe Grove, just round the corner from East Croydon Station.

Monday 26 November. 6pm. The Big Society in the First World War

I will be speaking at the Voluntary Action History Society seminar at Senate House, London



There will also be an opportunity to look at picture and information and the book The Unknown  Fallen, by a Belgium on the contribution of  Muslim servicemen in the First World War. For more about the book and an exhibition in Hammersmith go to:


This event will bring together scholars, artists and activists to discuss the presence and absence of black and minority ethnic Britons on the UK’s national curriculum.

A panel of contributors will discuss the ways that BME British experiences have been marginalised from the histories taught in schools, and how teachers, scholars, community leaders and politicians can work to ensure that these stories and experiences are taught and understood as British History.

Free tickets, book now

Wednesday 12 December. 7.30pm  Chartism in 1848 and lessons for today

We know about the 1848 rally on Kennington Common – but what were their demands, and why? How did Chartism function in the preceding years as a national organisation with branches all over the country? What are the lessons for today?

Talk by Marietta Crichton Stuart, of the Friends of Kennington Park 1848 project, for Lambeth Democracy Group

Effra Space, 21 Effra Parade, London,  SW2 1PX


Remembering Resistance: a Century of Women’s Protest in the North of England

New project from researchers at Lancaster University that aims to bring to life the history of women’s protest. To ensure that the voices of women who have been involved in protest are preserved, the project is gathering oral histories and archival accounts from women who have been active in protest or political campaigning, past and present. If you’ve been involved in protest or campaigning and want to share your experiences, they would love to hear from you. To learn more about the project, including how to be an interviewee or to train as a citizen researcher, get in touch with Sarah Marsden at You can learn more at

Windrush Stories

Making Race in British America

Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom book review:

Newport Rising Festival 2018


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