Andrea Levy Art Competition open to all Croydon Artists

Levy Art

The Cassandra Learning Competition about the novelist Angela Levy is open to all Croydon artists.


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Black History events & news at 14 October

The annual Black History Month Magazine can be seen at

You can search for events by e.g. London Borough etc at

Sugar Media & Marketing has created the first national Black History Month resource pack to support organisations and help them facilitate and promote Black History Month 2019.

To 27 September 2010. The Krios of Sierra Leone

A new display exploring history, heritage and culture of the Krio people of Sierra Leone. ‘Today’s Krios descend from the first settlers sent to Sierra Leone in the late 18th & 19th century by the British including London’s black poor, black Loyalists freed during the American revolution, Jamaican Maroons and Africans freed from illegal slave ships after the abolition of the slave trade in 1807. From its origins in transatlantic slavery through to the involvement of prominent abolitionists, the story of the Krio ties in to the wider themes of the gallery and is central not just to the story of the museum’s building and the surrounding docks but to the story of London itself.’

Museum of London Docklands

Thursday 31 October. 7.15- 8.30pm. Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

Talk with music by members of the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Foundation.

Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre, Holborn Library

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Chi Chi Nwanoku and The Chineke! Orchestra

Chi Chi Nwanoku Samuel Coleridge-Taylor documentary film has been nominated for The Creative Diversity Network UK Television Diversity Awards. It was made with MacLarty Brown Media in association with Field Day, for Sky Arts. There are factual flaws in the script, which Jeffrey Green and I discussed with the producer after a showing.

The Chineke! Orchestra will play  is scheduled to perform Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s violin concerto in G minor at the Concertgebouw in Bruges, as the first stop on its inaugural European tour, going on to Amsterdam, Cologne, and Antwerp.

Liverpool Race Riots 1919

Liverpol 1019 plaque

John Henry Smythe

Smythe was born in Freetown and served in the Sierra Leone Defence Corps. Following the declaration of war in 1939, he volunteered for the British Royal Air Force (RAF), training as a navigator officer. A year later he became navigator of a bomber squadron before being promoted to flying officer. He served on 27 bomber missions for the RAF in Germany and Italy. In 1943 he was taken prisoner after being shot down by enemy fighters. He spent 18 months in a German prisoner of war camp until the camp was liberated by the Russians in 1945. At the end of the war, Smythe helped organise the return of West Indian RAF men from leave on the Empire Windrush and later became a barrister.

New Books on the Windrush

Paul Arnott. Windrush. A Sip Through Time. History Press. For review see

Amelia Gentleman. The Windrush Betrayal; Exposing the Hospital Environment. Guardian Faber.

Colin Grant. Home Coming.  Jonathan Cape.

For combined review see:

The Wailers Plaque

Marley plaque 2.png

To celebrate the musical life and achievements of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer, a blue heritage plaque was  installed on the former Island Studios at 8-10 Basing Street on Friday  4 October. Jak Beula of the Nubian Jak Community Trust writes:

‘When Neville Livingstone aka Bunny Wailer invited his stepbrother Robert Marley, and close friend Peter Tosh to form a band called The Wailing Wailers, no one could have envisaged that it would become the most important band in the history or Reggae Music. The main reason for this was it was 1963, and the music genre of reggae had yet to be invented.

Fast forward a decade to 1973, and the trio now known as The Wailers were embarking on their inaugural tour of Britain, to promote their first album for Island Records, ‘Catch A Fire’. It was followed up a few months later by the album ‘Burnin”.

Both albums were mixed and finished inside the studios of Island Records in Basing Street. It would be the last albums the trio recorded under the original line up. Four years later with a change of personnel, with Bob now at the helm, and new name – Bob Marley And The Wailers – the seminal album ‘Exodus’ was recorded at Island Studios.

The album would eventually become voted by Time Magazine as the Best Album of 20th Century.’

Added 15 October:

Black British champions in cycling

Last year Dr Marlon Moncrieffe put on an exhibition in Brighton Made in Britain: uncovering the histories of Black British champions in cycling.
He is writing in the next issue of the cycling  magazine Conquista (No. 23) about the background to the exhibition, the process of its creation and the reactions of the public, with images and illustrations from the exhibition. The publication of the issue will be announced on
Marlon Moncrieffe is a Senior Lecturer at Brighton University.
‘He focuses particularly on the application of 20th century Black-British history and its cross-cultural interaction with White-Britain for helping to advance education, teaching and learning about fundamental British Values (civic national values) and for ‘Decolonising the Curriculum’. He takes an interdisciplinary approach to  research through education, history, sociology, arts and humanities.’ 
One of champions Maurice Burton runs the De Ver cycle shop on Streatham High Rd on the border of Streatham and Norbury. Details of his career are featured in
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History events & news at 14 October

Daily to 31 October. Victorian Footprints

Bethnal Green was transformed during Victorian times. The landscape evolved – as new housing, schools, churches and parks were created – and social reformers made their mark too, seeking to improve education, healthcare and living conditions. Missions, museums and music halls all played their part. The setting up of Oxford House in 1884 was part of this transformation. So, when Oxford House’s building underwent a major redevelopment in 2019, it was keen to find out more about the context in which it first started out. Working with Walk East it brought together a group of local residents to track down stories of Victorian Bethnal Green. The exhibition and booklet shares their remarkable discoveries.

Oxford House, Bethnal Green

The pamphlet I published for Oxford House in the 1940s can be ordered here:

Wednesday 16 October. 7-9pm. Poverty Injustice – Building Power at the Grassroots!

Journey for Justice event as part of London Challenge Poverty Week, focussing on addressing human rights and attitudes related to economic injustice and the causes and consequences of poverty.

Resource For London, 356 Holloway Road. London, N7 6PA.

Monday 21 October. 6pm. Territory, timing and voluntary action: the Council of Social Service for Wales and a new historiography of the ‘British Welfare State’

Talk by Christala Sophocleous and Dan Wincott (Cardiff University) for Voluntary Action History Society at UCL Institute of Education.

Saturday 26 October. 7pm. The Peterloo Massacre

Talk by Peter Sagar at Tyneside Irish Centre

Sagar has been recorded talking about the Peterloo Massacre protest for Radio Newcastle and the interview will be broadcast Sunday morning 13 October between 7 and 9am.

There is also a piece on the Heaton History Group website about it here:

2019RadicalBookFair-socialmedia  (1).jpg

5 November. 7pm. Foodbank Histories

Talk by Silvie Fisch (Oral History Unit and Collective, Newcastle University) for North East Labour History Society, about the Foodbank Histories  project of recorded interviews with clients, volunteers and foodbank supporters, aiming to challenge public understanding of the issues of food poverty.

Old George Inn, Bigg Market.

Sunday 17 November. 2pm. Star and Shadow: Rewinding the Welfare State: A Social History of the North East on Film

A joint event with the North East Film Archive, Teesside University, North East Labour History Society and the Star and Shadow Cinema

Star and Shadow Cinema, Warwick Street, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 1BB

Essays etc on

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Annual Black Mental Health Conference in Wandsworth 24 October

WCEN event 24 October

I will be running a bookstall focussing on Black History at this event organised by Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network.

Conference Agenda

Welcome – Bishop Delroy Powell, Senior Pastor New Testament Assembly Church Tooting

Introduction- Malik Gul- Director, Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network

Black Families and Communities – Black Minds Matter

The Ethnicity and Mental Health Improvement Project – Professor SP Sashidharan University of Glasgow,

David Bradley CEO South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust,

Vanessa Ford, CEO South West London and St Georges NHS Mental Health Trust

Over the last decade WCEN has ‘worked with our local public agencies, community groups and other stakeholders to address the significant and persistent ethnic inequalities that remain embedded in mental health care in the UK. People from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) backgrounds continue to have unequal access to mental health services, more coercive and negative experiences in mental health care and show worse outcomes compared to majority ethnic groups. This is not new news. The adverse care trajectory for BME communities is widely acknowledged and has, over the years, been confirmed by various landmark reports and evidence. Since our first Conference in 2008, we have worked alongside our partners to help shift the dial on these trajectories, with little or no change. In spite of the collective effort and show, inequalities have remained persistent, and in some cases have become worse. Lives continue to be harmed and lost, with devastating impact on individuals, families and communities.

Our learning and experiences have mirrored those elsewhere. Policies and programmes to address inequalities have been intermittent and ad-hoc, never systemised or joined-up, with no genuine system-wide leadership and effort to bring about necessary change.

In Wandsworth, we have learnt from these shared experiences, and over the last few years have bought together a ‘Coalition of the Willing’ across our statutory and community groups and networks, to address these system failures head-on; to introduce a ‘whole system’ approach to address BME inequalities that works on bringing about necessary change both inside the health system, through systematic quality improvement programmes, and outside within the wider community, unlocking community skills and capabilities to help coproduce early interventions and prevention.

The Ethnicity and Mental Health Improvement Project (EMHIP) is a practical attempt to systematically monitor the disparate pattern of mental health care and reduce ethnic inequalities in service access, experience and outcomes in local mental health services. The Conference will reflect on and share this development and hear from a range of stakeholders, academic experts and public agency leaders on the ambitions and potential of this work, and our next shared steps.’

Comment: I was engaged as a freelancer to help WCEN activate in 2002/3.  It was set up as an organisation in its own right. When the Labour Government withdrew direct funding to the Networks and passed it to the local authorities, all the Networks bar Wandsworth were closed down. Wandsworth’s found alternative ways to obtain funding and has continued to co-ordinate the local community and voluntary sector especially on health issues.

See my discussion on Community Empowerment at:


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Croydon events & news at 14 October


Petition against developers cutting down trees

There have been many instances of developers in Croydon cutting down trees, including those with Tree Preservation orders. In Norbury this has been seen by the Railway Station and on Pollards Hill. The latter is serious it increases water run off the Hill and damaging foundations of residents properties. A national petition has been launched to seek legislation against illegal chopping down of trees.

What a waste

Thursday 17 October. 5-8pm. Channel 6 Exhibition

Opening of solo exhibition by Jennifer Martin  about UK immigration policy.

Turf, Whitgift Centre

Thursday 17 October. Closure of comments on Croydon 2023 Borough of Culture bid summary document 

Croydon 2023 BoC Bid Summary for Croydon Culture Network

If you have any comments please send them to:

The Director of Culture has recognised  that the document may not have reached all those who should know about it.


I pointed out the fact that lots of people, like myself,  did not received the original email to Paul Hudson, despite their involvement in the arts and heritage, nor invited to take part in the Culture Network.  I have now been added to the email list .

More worrying is the apparent danger that heritage as part of Croydon’s historic culture will be neglected as a result of the way that the Council has so far been  engaging with cultural organisations through the Croydon Culture Network and preparing the bid to be a Borough of Culture in 2023.

I drew the problem to the attention of the members of the Local Studies Forum meeting on 9 October. It has agreed to write to the Cabinet member for Culture.

Meanwhile I have submitted a proposal for an exhibition about Samuel Coleridge-Taylor  as part of using the Museum of Croydon’s spaces next year, with a range of potential activities to support it. The proposal has the support of fellow co-founders of the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Network Jeffrey Green (the composer’s biographer) and Fred Scott (former Director of Croydon Piano School and running the piano academy at Fairfield Halls), as well as Jonathan Butcher (the Director of Surrey Opera and organiser of the 2012 composer’s centenary Festival.

I have re-printed Jeff’s centenary pamphlet. £4 plus postage from me at


Friday 18 October to Saturday 7 December (Wednesdays –Saturdays). 11-5pm. Channel 6 Exhibition

Turf, Whitgift Centre


What’s next for Whitgift Centre and Westfields?

The redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre by the Croydon Partnership now looks to be delayed until 2021 according to a representative of the Whitgift Foundation at the meeting of the Croydon Local Studies meeting on 9 October. Westfields investment in the John Whitgift Cube at Fairfield Halls is a sign that it is committed to Croydon.

But what can we expect? Press comment discusses at:

Given the fundamental change in people’s shopping habits and the stores no longer needing large units, will the Partnership submit a revised planning application to reduce the size of the current approved retail units, and spread the flats across the top of the Centre thus dispensing with the towers approved along Wellesley Rd at the West Croydon end?

Meanwhile what is the current Whitgift Centre like. An interesting assessment can be read here:

Sarah Jones backs rezoning of Croydon’s railway stations

In her latest emailed newsletter Sarah Jones, MP for Croydon Central, writes:

‘I am pushing for Croydon’s stations to be ‘rezoned’ to boost Croydon’s economy and save commuters hundreds. I will be working with transport experts and local businesses to build the economic case for this change. Click here to stay updated with the campaign: A Zone 4/5 model would make it cheaper to travel to and from inner London while ensuring those travelling here from outer London don’t pay more.’

See also:

Croydon’s Loyle Carner launches global Timberland campaign in home town

Musician Loyle Carner and Timberland have chosen Croydon where he grew up to show the impact urban greening can have not just on how an area looks, and how it can be used to create a space to bring the local community together.

A documentary company which is producing a film about Craner’s visit is consulting local historians for background on the historic development of the Borough.

The Box is parked for five more years

The Future of Community Premises Review

The Council says that ‘Premises are a critical area of support for voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations and the council supports the sector in a number of ways. In total, this is worth more than £0.5m a year. However, the council’s approach to this support has arguably lacked an integrated approach, with no overarching quality monitoring system to ensure value for money or equality of opportunity to access these premises and subsidies.

In response to this situation, and to spread the benefit as widely as possible across the VCS, draft proposals have been developed and we have just launched a consultation on the draft policy for the allocation and rent of community properties, rent subsidy and discretionary rate relief for the VCS.  We welcome your comments –’ The survey by Monday 18 November.

In addition to the online survey, the Council is going to hold an engagement event provisionally on Friday 1 November.

The message above comes from Yvonne Gaye, Senior Community & Voluntary Sector Officer. 0208 604 7029 Ext: 47029

Chris Philp backs campaign for directly elected Mayor

Chris Philp is promoting the campaign run by some Residents Association for a referendum for a directly elected Mayor. This campaign resulted from his initiative at a meeting of Residents Associations organised by the Conservative Councillors.

I have commented back to him:

‘You launched this campaign at a meeting on planning of Conservative Councillors and Residents Associations. Effectively the meeting was used for party political purposes which the Conservative group had previously always tried to avoid. I will not be attending any more of these meetings as there is no longer any guarantee that they will not be party political. RAs are supposed to be non party political.

Those in favour of a directly elected Mayor need to look at the case against very carefully. It will mean that elected Councillors have even less influence on decision making than they do under the current Executive Leader and Cabinet system The Greater London Assembly members have no real power over the London Mayor regardless of whether he was Ken Livingstone, Boris Johnson or Sadiq Khan. Too much power is vested in one individual. There is no guarantee that whoever is elected a Mayor will change the approach to planning, given the pressure from the Government to build houses. Indeed planning decisions could become even more unacceptable.

The proper solution is to return to the decision making Committee system, empowering all Councillors, making it easier for residents to influence decisions and to devolving decision making to area committees of Councillors and local organisations.’

The case against a directly elected Mayor can be seen at:

Sarah Jones on how to fix the housing crisis

In her latest enewsletter Sarah Jones, MP for Croydon Central and Shadow Housing Minister, writes that she spoke at a number of events at the Labour Party Conference, met with many housing providers to talk about working together to address the housing shortage, including the Co-operative Party, the Building Societies Association, and Shelter. She has also spoken at the UNISON South East strategy weekend on housing, and at the National Housing Summit. She has also written  at

‘The resounding message from all these engagements is that its clear current government policy is not adequately addressing housing issues, and is too often actively making things worse. It was revealed this month that 8.4m people across England (c1:7) are living in unaffordable, insecure or unsuitable homes.

‘Deep cuts to housing investment, stripping of housing benefits, and selling off our existing council housing stock have caused a cost of housing crisis.

‘It was also revealed this month that the Government’s failure to take proper action on fire safety has meant not a single private block with Grenfell style cladding has been made safe since May,  nine in 10 blocks still haven’t had it replaced. I will continue to hold the government to account on its duty to keep people safe.’

Croydon’s Webb Estate

Part 33/48 storeys towers proposed for part of College Rd Car Park

On Thursday 10 October  the Council’s planning committee heard initial plans for a part 33 part 48 storey block on part of College Road car park adjacent to Croydon College. The applicant Tide Construction  said that the taller tower would be made up of 836 co-living units with communal areas. All would be rented with bills included.

HMRC’s new Croydon office

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Local History Fair November & Talks to end March 2020


I will also be running a bookstall

Croydon Old Palace Open days                      

Tuesday 29 – Thursday 31 October & Friday 1 November

Doors open 1pm, tour begins at 1.45pm, lasts about two hours including tea. Admission £7, Over 60s £6, Under 16s £3

Friends of Old Palace

Christmas Socials

Tuesday 10 December. 7.45pm. Review of the Year and Christmas Social

Norbury & South London Transport Club

Thursday 19 December. 7.45pm. Christmas Event

South London Local History Group

 Local Studies Talks  to end  December

Thursday 17 October 7.45pm. House history in South London

Alan Piper for South London Local History Group

Monday 28 October. 7.45pm. The Nostradamus of South Norwood

Stephen Oxford for Croydon Natural History & Scientific Society

Monday 11 November. 8pm. 172 year old mystery – Whatever happened to John?

Silvia Dibbs for East Surrey Family History Society

Tuesday 12 November . 7.45pm. Epping & Ongar – London’s Local Steam Railway

Nick Agnew for Norbury & South London Transport Group

Wednesday 13 November. 7.45pm. All About Badgers

Ian Tilbury for Croydon Natural History & Scientific Society

Thursday 21 November. 7.45pm. More South London on film

Tony Fletcher for South London Local History Group

Monday 25 November. 7.45pm. Vesta Tilley and Her World

Keith Fawkes & Richard Norman for Croydon Natural History & Scientific Society

Saturday 30 November. 2.30pm. Focus – Trees and Woods

Croydon Natural History & Scientific Society

Monday 2 December. 7.45pm. Christmas Talk – The Biology of Christmas

Jane McLaunchlin for Croydon Natural History & Scientific Society

Wednesday 8 January. 7.45pm. The Croydon Ponds Project

Adam Asquith for Croydon Natural History & Scientific Society

Monday 13 January. 8pm. An illustrated history of Upper Norwood

Nick Barber for East Surrey Family History Society

Tuesday 14 January. 7.45pm. Members’ slides, traditional and digital

Norbury & South London Transport Club

Monday 27 January. 7.45pm. What’s in a Name?

Ian Payne for Croydon Natural History & Scientific Society

Monday 3 February. 7.45pm. Building Stone Castles in N W Wales;  Medieval Construction and Regional Geology

Dr Ruth Siddall for Croydon Natural History & Scientific Society

Monday 10 February. 8pm. Lavender – Mitcham and Beyond

Alison Cousins for East Surrey Family History Society

Tuesday 11 February. 7.45. Details to be announced by  Norbury & South London Transport Club

Monday 24 February. 7.45pm. The History of Croydon’s Sewage Treatment 1852-1969

Robin Ashford for Croydon Natural History & Scientific Society

Monday 2 March. 7.45pm. My pound shop pot garden

Penny Frith for Croydon Natural History & Scientific Society

Monday 9 March. 8pm. Archbishops of Canterbury and the Old Palace

David Morgan for East Surrey Family History Society

Tuesday 10 March. 7.45pm. Details to be announced by Norbury & South London Transport Club

Monday 23 March. 7.45pm..  Edmund Byron, Squire of Coulsdon 1863-1921: Domestic ad estate management

Nigel Elliott for Croydon Natural History & Scientific Society

Meeting Venues:

Croydon Natural History & Scientific Society: United Reformed Church, East Croydon

East Surrey Family History Society: St Matthew’s Church, Chichester Road, Croydon

Norbury & South London Transport Club: United Reformed Church, East Croydon

South London Local History Group: Phoenix Centre, Westow Street, Upper Norwood

 Members of Croydon Local Studies Forum

 Bourne Society


Hon. Secretary 020 8405 4833

Croydon Airport Society and Croydon Airport Visitor Centre

Airport House, Purley Way,

Croydon, Surrey, CR0 0XZ.

 Croydon Natural History & Scientific Society

 Crystal Palace Foundation

Melvyn Harrison, 58 Laurier Road, Croydon,

CR0 6JQ.  07889 338812.

East Surrey Family History Society

Friends of Old Palace

David Poole, 31 Princes Avenue,

Carshalton Beeches, Surrey. 020 8643 5978

Friends of Shirley Windmill

Tony Skrzypczyk, 39 Addiscombe Road,

Croydon, CR0 6SA.  020 8406 4676

Museum of Croydon

Lindsay Ould, Borough Archivist

Museum of Croydon, Croydon Clocktower,

Katharine Street, Croydon, CR9 1ET. 020 8253 1022.


 Norbury & South London Transport Club

Graham Donaldson

 South London Local History Group

Keith Holdaway, 223 Leigham Court Road, SW16 2SD. 020 8761 175

Plus: independent historians/researchers: Carole Roberts, John Hickman, Pam Buttrey and  Sean Creighton

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Croydon events & news at 9 October


Wednesday 23 October. Dr Harold Moody, A King’s College Hidden History Reclaimed. Dr Harold Moody, The Peckham Physician “Who Ought To Be Thought Of As Britain’s Martin Luther King”

Talk by Croydon resident Marc Wadsworth with discussion and questions. Organised by King’s College London Race Equality Network. Further details and to book ticket:

Thursday 7 November. Fairfield By-election

Thursday 14 November. 11am-1pm. Croydon Culture Network

The Network has been put together by the Council and meets regularly to discuss the Council cultural strategy and the City of Culture Bid for 2013. There is no section of the Council’s website on which its membership, its meeting dates and papers are publicly viewable. Not everyone involved in cultural activities is on the emailing list. If you want to know more, and have not previously been invited to take part please contact Paul Hudson, the convenor/chair, at l

Cultural Events

Friday 11 October. The Company of Recycled Youth, Parchmore Methodist Hall, Thornton Heath

Saturday 12 October. Living in Poetry Festival Fairfield Halls

Living Poetry

Tuesday 15 October. The Company of Recycled Youth Braithwaite Hall

Friday 18 October – 9 November. WHAT A WASTE

Exhibition by Museum of Croydon artist-in-residence Tina Crawford.  Tuesdays–Saturdays. 10.30am–5pm

Friday 18 & Saturday 19 October. Dance Umbrella Fairfield Takeover & Dance Festival Croydon, Fairfield Halls

Dance 19 October


Saturday 2 November. Diwali Market and Show High Street

Croydon News

Uncertainty continues over Westfield development and Outlet premises

Council Heat Pump installation

A low-carbon, ground source heating pump system is being piloted in Croydon to reduce council tenants’ bills and help the environment. The pump being installed at a 10-storey block in New Addington will reduce carbon emissions, help improve air quality and save up to £300 per home each year for the 30 residents.

Recycling rate rises in Croydon but missed collections continue

Croydon Performing Arts Festival

This was formed in 1913 and was, in 1925, one of the Founding Festivals of the British & International Federation of Festivals, our parent body.

​For 2020 it is offering a new format of classes, which blend competitive and non-competitive but all throwing valuable emphasis upon the important life-skill of actual performance.

Governance Review

I hope that many readers were able to submit comments to the Governance Review. As well as filling in the on-line survey, I submitted a paper on the role and effectiveness of Councillors in supporting residents in seeking to influence policy and decision making. It can be downloaded here.

Changing the Culture of Running the Council

Other News

Petition to build100,000 new council houses every year for 30 years

The petition organiser George Clarke grew up on a Council estate.

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