History Events & News at 23 April


Cover of forthcoming book

Tuesday 25 April. 6.15pm. Blackamoores and Tudor England – The Untold History of an Influential Era

Narrative Eye at The Library, Willesden Green, 95 High Road, Willesden, London, NW10 2SF

‘Current research proves that the population of Tudor England was considerably more diverse than we have been led to believe. There was a notable population of African people living and working in Tudor England, providing skills and trades. The lives of these people are often omitted from the mainstream teaching of the Tudor period.  Join the historian Onyeka, as he examines this vital research and evaluates the importance of this untold history.


Friday 28 April.  8pm. The First World War Memorial in St Mary’s Church, Summerstown and its 182 Stories

Talk by Geoff Simmons of the Summerstown182  Project, telling the story of the 182 Tooting men who lost their lives in various battles of WWI.

Wandsworth Historical Society, Friends Meeting House, Wandsworth High St.

Thursday 4 May. Meeting the Crafts


Friday 5 and Saturday 6 May. ‘Visualising Labour: Workers and Work in Photography and Film

‘Visualising labour is not a neutral process. Surveillance, propaganda and advertising have depicted labour on behalf of capital or the state. Through genres such as social documentary or activist film and photography, that hegemony has been challenged. This conference seeks to draw together labour historians and scholars of visual culture to examine the visual representations of labour. This cross-disciplinary dialogue has the potential to develop a fruitful exchange of insights, affinities and critical perspectives.’

Sessions on:

  • Strike Photography (1926, 18936, 1968)
  • Post-war and Contemporary Photography (Hungary, Canada) plus Peter Brabban, Photographer – A Lifetime in Photography (member North East Labour History Society).
  • Inter War Photography (France, east coast fishing industries
  • Labour in Film (inc. Tyneside Story (1943) and co-operation)



Slavery and Jamaican Appeals to the Privy Council, c. 1760-1790

Thursday, 18 May, 5.30pm. Slavery and Jamaican Appeals to the Privy Council, c. 1960-1790

Talk by Kennedy Sanderson (University of Cambridge)

IHR History Lab Seminar, IHR, Senate House, London

Thursday 8 June. 7 for 7.30pm.  Living Between the Lines. How the railways shaped Battersea

Find out why Wandsworth Common is one of the most dissected pieces of open space in London, or why three sets of railway lines converge at Queenstown Road.

Talk by Dr Sue Demont.

Battersea Society’s contribution to Wandsworth Heritage Festival.
St Mary’s Church, Battersea Church Road, SW11 3EN
£5 on the door (includes glass of wine or soft drink)

Tribute to Darcus Howe

Croydon resident and black rights activist and journalist Marc Wadsworth pens a tribute to Darcus Howe, who lived in Norbury and died on 1 April aged 74.


About 1,000 people attended the event organised by Black Cultural Archives in Brixton to pay tribute to Darcus Howe.


The funeral took place on 20 April. Coverage can be seen at



The Guardian obituary can be seen at


London Rd History: 154 – Co-op Croydon Funeral care

Kake’s latest posting looks at the address where the Co-op has been for over 70 years.


Black Tudors: The Untold Story

Miranda Kaufmann’s book will be published in October.

Unknown Black Portraits in a London Pub

See Michael Ohajuru’s blog


John Archer honoured at Wandsworth Citizenship Ceremony


My history, political and social affairs writings on the internet



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Croydon Scrutiny to review choice of Fairfield Hall Operator

Croydon Council’s Scrutiny & Oversight Committee is meeting on Wednesday 26 April at 6.30pm at the Town Hall to review the Leader’s decision to choose a BH Live as preferred bidder for the future management of Fairfield Halls.

 Agenda and papers including the reasons for referral and the hoped for outcome can be seen at:


The referral stresses the lack of openness and transparency preventing Opposition Councillors and members of the public from asking questions.  The hoped for outcome is a period of public engagement.

Editorial Comment

Any social enterprise worth its salt will want to have such public engagement. Lets hope BH Live tells the Committee that it would like to see it happen. Otherwise it will be seen as just another organisation dumping itself into Croydon.

If you want to put your views of this direct to BH Live you can email them at


For background see:



Andy Hylton of the Save Our Fairfield campaign writes:

We are pleased that a social enterprise company has been chosen to operate Fairfield Halls rather than a purely commercial organisation. The council’s scrutiny committee will meet next Wednesday to make a decision on whether to award BHLive the contract. Hopefully they will be able to fully engage with community groups to enable those which have lost a performance space for two years to return in 2018 – and for a reasonable cost.

The interim provision of arts in Croydon has not been overwhelming, and I know from speaking to schools and groups that there has been a huge hole left by the closure of the Fairfield last July.

Our main concern is that the chosen operator is heavily based around corporate hospitality and events, more so than Fairfield already was, which may affect it’s offer and hinder the programming of good quality productions, whilst also fitting in community users around the hospitality side of things. If appointed, we hope to engage with BH Live and to work with Croydon Council, who we trust will honour their obligation to finish the venue on time and to carry out the refurbishment in the right way.

We have always supported the investment in the arts in Croydon, that have been sadly lacking through the previous years of Croydon Council neglect. It’s important now that a new operator is able to get involved in the design process and construction as soon as possible to avoid problems later for the operational staff.

As one of the ex-members of staff affected by redundancy, I am extremely passionate about the future of the Fairfield Halls and care that the building is treated in the right way. I hope the ex-staff may be offered the opportunity to work at the Fairfield again, bringing their experience and expertise to reconnect with the community once again.

We will continue to hold the Council to task and ensure this happens on time, as promised. Once we have an operator appointed, we are another step closer to having our Fairfield Halls back in operation again, after construction is complete.



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General Election and other Croydon News at 22 April

General Election – Do you have any new neighbours who need to register to vote?

 With a general election set to take place on 8 June, it is important everyone eligible registers to vote especially those who have moved into Croydon in recent months.

Thousands of people could be disenfranchised by failing to register in time – which may be 22 May, 12 days before polling day if the rules apply as in 2015.

Its also worth checking that you are on the electoral register.

Croydon Electoral Services can be contacted at 020 8726 6300



Your chance to grill Gavin Barwell on the Prime Minister’s new vision of a shared society, on the big issues for Croydon, on the housing crisis, Croydon Town redevelopment, austerity cuts to benefits and the disabled, the crisis of the NHS, etc.

 Croydon Voluntary Sector Alliance Meeting. Friday 28 April, 10am – 12noon.

CVA’s Resource Centre, 82 London Road, CR0 2TB.

To book attendance in advance go to:


Barwell obviously worried by Labour

Given his low majority in 2015 Croydon Central Tory MP Gavin Barwell is clearly worried about the chances Labour has of beating him this time round. Why otherwise would be feel the need to say otherwise in commenting on the launch of Labour’s campaign by Jeremy Corbyn in Queens Gdns? He should realise its always best not to comment thereby giving publicity to the other side.

Corbyn’s launch has even been reported in Clacton:


Creative Croydon’s Singing Session from 24 April

Mondays 7-8.30pm. Learn to sing sessions.

Studio at Art gallery, 2-4 Park Street.

April 24: Relaxation as it is Stress awareness month and a little Jazz as it is Jazz appreciation month!

May 8: An Elizabethan Catch about May, along with a little Gospel and a touch of Tanzania

May 15: A little LGBT item for IDAHOT day plus some Taize and a Tree song!

May 22:  Let’s revisit some of our favourites so far and take them up a notch! Plus a surprise new one.

June 5: Something for World Environmental day and World Oceans day.

Fees: 5 week block £25 or £18 concessions. Drop in rates £7 or £5 concessions so you can still miss one and pay less by block booking. Please bring cheques (payable to Creative Croydon) or cash on the night.

Please book via


Or if you want to bring your money on the night please come at 6.45 and please let us know if you are coming so we can put out the right number of chairs

Wednesday 26 April. 7pm. United Kingdom

Chance to see the excellent film United Kingdom about Seretse Khama, the King of Bechuanaland (modern Botswana), and Ruth Williams, who lived in Addiscombe while in exile.

Stanley Halls.


Council cancels meeting on Westfield Development

The Council has cancelled a meeting on Westfield/Hammerson’s planning application on the Whitgift shopping centre because of unresolved matters. This will delay the start of the scheme. Does this mean that the Council is at last trying to get more beneficial concessions from the developers?


Meanwhile Hammerson re-finances its £360m debt

Despite all its sales of centres over the past couple of years Hammerson  has just re-financed debt of £360m with a syndicate of 14 banks, including the Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China, Bank of Taiwan, Chang Hwa Commercial Bank, China Investment Corporation, and Hua Nan Commercial Bank.


BH Live to manage Fairfield Halls

The Council’s preferred bidder to operate Fairfield Halls is BH Live – which already operates 15 leisure and event venues across the south of England.

The social enterprise has pledged to put on events including theatre shows, live music, visual arts, comedy and dance acts, international performances and community events as well as plans for a seasonal roller or ice rink at the venue.


You can find out what BH Live says about itself at


It should be noted that it only appears to operate 3 venues that are like Fairfield Halls as its other 12 venues all appear to be Leisure Centres.

Tony Newman rules out smoking ban in pub gardens

The announcement by Council Leader Tony Newman not to introduce a ban on smoking in pub gardens will be welcome to smokers and pub owners.


However, there is not a level smoking field as the Council continues to allow the illegal smoking indoors at sisha cafes.

Tribute to Darcus Howe

Croydon resident and black rights activist and journalist Marc Wadsworth pens a tribute to Darcus Howe, who lived in Norbury and died on 1 April aged 74.


About 1,000 people attended the event organised by Black Cultural Archives in Brixton to pay tribute to Darcus Howe.


The funeral took place on 20 April. Coverage can be seen at



The Guardian obituary can be seen at


London Rd History: 154 – Co-op Croydon Funeral care

Kake’s latest posting looks at the address where the Co-op has bene for over 70 years.


Brick by Brick gets first planning consents

The first phase schemes have been designed by Coffey Architects – which has drawn up plans for 58 homes on four separate sites – Stitch Studio and Mae Architects.

The consents cover eight sites and will create 111 new homes across the south London borough, delivering a mix of properties for

The Council’s development company has received planning approval for private sale, shared ownership and affordable rent homes on 8 sites across the Borough.


Stuart King welcomes resident’s persistence

Norbury resident Jane Kelly has been keeping up the pressure to ensure that a speed monitor on Norbury Crescent is repaired so its works to monitor speeds in the 20mph zone. . On 21 April it was  back in working order ‘merrily flashing speeds from 21 mph and above for practically every vehicle ……So all it now needs is for these motorists to act on the information – some cameras and exemplary fines would be great.’

Transport Cabinet member Stuart King says: ‘I am very pleased to learn this – thank you for your persistence in holding us to account to get this fixed.’

So persistence with officers, keeping Cabinet members informed, can work.

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Meet the Crafts 4 May

Meet the Crafts May 4 Brighton

Image | Posted on by | 1 Comment

Croydon Issues in the General Election

Corby Croydon

Photo from Jeremy Corbyn’s Twitter account

Jeremy Corbyn kicked off Labour’s  General Election campaign by coming to Queens Gardens on yesterday  and holding an open air meeting with Labour activists.


He is no stranger to Croydon, often having supported Trades Council events at Ruskin House. When he first stood to be Labour Leader 500 people attended a public meeting there. You can see the video at:


The Marginality of Croydon Central

The General Election gives Croydon Labour a chance to defeat Housing and London Minister Gavin Barwell as MP of Croydon Central, and make good the organisational failure to do so at the last Election. Barwell won with less just under a 170 majority.

The messages that need to get across in the campaign include hes has supported:

  • the steam-roller of the private developers in reshaping Croydon Town and the disastrous impact on the Borough;
  • the Government’s austerity cuts with its adverse effects on the NHS, local government funding, benefits, etc, adversely affecting thousands of people locally.

Croydon Assembly

It is a good time to debate the relationship between Croydon and what is happening nationally around the issue of what kind of Government we want and its programme, like the Croydon Assembly Plan.

Organised before Theresa May’s announcement the next Croydon Assembly meeting is on Saturday 3 June, just a few days before polling day. See details at:


The Assembly is an initiative of Croydon Trades Union Council. It is going to open up its business meetings to enable more people to hear invited speakers. See Martin Graham’s explanation at


Questions for local politicians

I have just been reminded of the list of questions I penned in 2010 that could be which may still have relevance to ask today.


Let’s be honest about what Croydon is


Croydon’s Opportunity and Fairness Commission

Many of the issues discussed and recommended by the Croydon Opportunity and Fairness Commission are still relevant.

The website of the Commission was taken down after its report was published and considered by the Council. It is back up again and so that there is an on-going record of the views submitted to it. They include several by me on crime, the geography of inequalities, private landlords, annual public health report 2015, fuel and water poverty and energy efficiency, social exclusion and transport, equalities and inclusion.


Stand Up Against Racism

‘The snap election called by Theresa May for 8th June raises the serious prospect of a further rise in racism’ argues the campaign group Stand Up Against Racism, which organised the 8 April demonstration in support of Reker Ahmed.  ‘Hate crimes soared by 41% following last year’s EU Referendum, and much of the same toxic scapegoating which fuelled this rise now threatens to dominate the General Election.

Since the financial crisis, migrants and refugees have repeatedly been blamed for the effects of economic stagnation and austerity. In fact, migrants play an indispensable role in society and the economy, staffing crucial public services and contributing through the tax system.

In the wake of Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban and a shocking rise in anti-Muslim hate crime fuelled by the far-right and sections of the press, Islamophobia must also be challenged at every point in this campaign.

There is no place for racism and scapegoating in our political discourse. We call on all political leaders, media outlets, candidates and campaigns to refrain from the scapegoating of migrants and refugees and take responsibility for halting the rise of racism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.’

For more information about Stand Up Against Racism see


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Croydon Events and News at 20 April


Saturday 22 April. 1.30-4pm. Conservative Croydon Manifesto Conference

Croydon’s Tories are holding a public meeting to find out what people think should be in their manifesto for the 2018 local elections.


Croydon Conference Centre, Surrey St.

Here’s my two penny worth:

‘The Tories could do some very simple things which would make a real difference to how Croydon is run. They could commit themselves to abandoning the Executive Leader/Cabinet model of governance and return to the old system in which every Councillor had a role in decision making. The Scrutiny system should be retained and strengthened. They should reduce the delegation of planning decisions and have more applications considered publicly at the Planning Committee with a change in rules about the way in which objectors can present their case: and the time allowed. They should devolve more decision making to local areas and open more meaningful consultation and public engagement. Of course these are things that Labour could do as well.’

Wednesday 10 May. 7pm. Rubbish, refuse, recycling and flytipping,

Croydon Communities Consortium meeting.

St Michael’s Church Hall, Poplar Walk, CR0 1UA.

To attend book your free ticket at


Wednesday 10 May. Davis Theatre Memories

This talk by Carole Roberts about the Davis Theatre, which stood in the High Street Croydon from 1928 to 1959, will include photographs, the main events up to the 1940s and a closer look at the attractions of the 1950s.

CNHSS, East Croydon URC, Addiscombe Grove

Monday 22 May. A Miscellany of Croydon Conflagrations – Lessons from some Great Croydon Fires

A talk by John Hickman.

CNHSS, East Croydon URC, Addiscombe Grove

The Reker Ahmed attack was about mob violence


The Tories wake up to disastrous planning decisions

Its good to see that Croydon’s Tories are waking up to the way in which planning developments are going

  • Green Dragon House

Tory Councillor Helen Pollard has criticised the way planning decisions are taken by the Council. Read her views and my comments on them at:


See news report at:


  • Chris Phelp wins public inquiry on Purley tower


Let’s hope this is the start of their opposition to all tower block schemes including in the Town Centre, and that they will oppose the latest proposals for the residential element on the Whitgift Centre.

Landlord fined £6,000

Good to see that the Council is taking action against bad landlords. A Thornton Heath landlord has just been fined over £6,000 for letting out a ‘filthy’ home,


Let’s hope there are many more prosecutions.

52.6% of Croydon do not go to dentist


Was new East Croydon Bus Station worth £5.4m?


That’s the way to jump it!

10,000 people have visited Croydon’s first trampoline park, Oxygen Freejumping.


Contracting out management of Fairfield Halls

Here is how Croydon Advertiser sees it:



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St George’s Day Vauxhall riverside history walk: Sunday 23 April

I will be leading this walk.

From Vauxhall Society website: http://www.vauxhallcivicsociety.org.uk

Free, all welcome.

Leaving 10.30am sharp from Tate South Lambeth Library, 180 South Lambeth Road, London SW8 1QP.  Lasts an hour or so.

Your guide: Sean Creighton, local blogger, community activist, historian and publisher.

This walk is a Friends of Tate South Lambeth Library event, in association with The Vauxhall Society/vauxhallhistory.com, and is part of English Heritage’s dual celebration of the birthday of the England’s national bard, Shakespeare (26 April) as well as of St. George’s Day, 23 April, feast day of the patron saint of England.

This walk will centre on the St George Wharf/ MI6 stretch of the Vauxhall riverside and cover local history, past and present, in particular the question of local identity.

Labour and Conservative Mayors of London as well as Lambeth councillors have junked local ‘affordable property’ rules in favour of under-occupied skyscraper apartment blocks and their absentee-owners. The Vauxhall riverside has become the site of central London’s first fatal aircraft crash (2013), and after a dubious ‘consultation’ the 14-year-old Vauxhall Bus Station is to be demolished.

Oh, and Lambeth means to close the award-winning community hub, the Tate South Lambeth Library.

‘Cry God for Harry, England and St. George!’, is the battle-cry of Shakespeare’s King Henry at the Battle of Agincourt (1415).

According to who you speak to, St George, a soldier, was born in what is today’s Palestine or in Turkey about 280 AD. In AD 303 the Romans beheaded St George for opposing the persecution of Christians and refusing to recant his faith. St George’s tomb is at Lod, Israel. Rome ceased to regard St. George as a saint in 1975.

Note these Vauxhall Society/Vauxhall History walks dates in your diary:

22 May and 29 August 2017, 2.30pm sharp from Starbucks, opposite Vauxhall Station

The Heyday of Vauxhall Gardens

All comers welcome. On-the-day donation of £5 to the Friends of Tate South London Library equally welcome.


St George 17 Poster 2nd run

Running Order St George 2017 Sat

Running Order St George 2017 Sun

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