General History Events & News at 16 March


See also dates of events at previous posting

Thursday 19 March. 7.30pm. Dickens: the Norwood Connections

Talk by Paul Graham of the Dickens Fellowship. Norwood not only appears in Dombey & Sons and David Copperfield, but there are also many other interesting connections. Upper Norwood Library, 39-41 Westow Hill, Upper Norwood, SE19 1TJ. All are welcome, there is no charge but donations are welcome. Refreshments.

Sunday 22 March. 2pm. Radical history in late 20thc Britain: the History Workshop movement

Travelling around London: film record of London transport. London on the move has been a source of filmic  fascination from the start of cinema, providing a record of the shift from horse-drawn to motor vehicles, and all the subsequent changes. Film historian Ian Christie (Birkbeck College, University of London and RSHC) surveys how transport has been portrayed, and what part it plays in the history of London cinema. Raphael Samuel History Centre in partnership with the Phoenix Cinema. The Phoenix Cinema, 52 High Road, East Finchley,  London N2 9PJ. For more information and to book your seat, go to the Phoenix cinema website

Monday 23 March. 5.15pm. ‘A Fortune in a Thrill!’: Early Amusement Parks in Britain, 1900–1939

Talk by  Dr Josephine Kane (University of Westminster). The amusement parks, which appeared at exhibition sites and pleasure grounds around Britain at the turn of the twentieth century, were enclosed sites combining thrill rides with the most popular entertainments of the day. Inspired by the pioneering parks at New York’s Coney Island, these engineered other worlds were designed to transport visitors away from the blandness of working life, to relax social etiquettes, and to encourage everyone to be spendthrifts for the day. The appeal of kinesthetic pleasure – of giant thrill machines, fast flowing crowds, and spectacular landscapes – transcended age, gender, and class boundaries, attracting people from all walks of life in vast numbers. Between 1900 and 1939, over 40 major parks operated across Britain and, by the outbreak of World War II, millions visited these sites each year. Focusing on London and the South East, this paper sketches the rise (and fall) of the amusement park phenomenon and the characteristics which defined them, before turning in more detail to the particular kinds of experiences they provided. Josephine is author of The Architecture of Pleasure: British Amusement Parks 1900–1939 (2013), which uses a roller skating image from my collection. Sport & Leisure History Seminar, Institute of Historical Research (Senate House, Malet Street/Russell Square, London.

Wednesday 25 March. ”Red Nelson”: the English working class and the making of C.L.R. James

Talk by Christian Hogsbjerg. The ten months that the black Trinidadian writer C.L.R. James spent in the cotton textile town of Nelson in NE Lancashire from 1932-33 were ‘ten months that shook his world’. This talk will discuss how James’s experience in Nelson shaped his emergence as one of the most important socialist intellectuals in Britain during the Great Depression. More information go to

Thursday 26 March. 5.15pm. ‘In a way, like, we did the learning ourselves’: Researching First World War military service in London.

Talk by Dr Dan Todman (QMUL). “This paper is based on an ongoing investigation into the social history of wartime mobilisation in the capital (with an initial focus on three boroughs south of the Thames). It explores the ways in which …. a history of military service ‘from the street up’ makes a significant contribution to our understanding  of the complex nature of wartime service and its intersection with contemporary representations of ‘local’ identity. …. The research on which it is based has been conducted as a collective effort with successive cohorts of undergraduate students. As well as discussing some preliminary findings’, the speaker ‘will also talk about the rationale for, and difficulties of, combining research and teaching – including issues of accuracy, responsibility and ethics – and the ways in which research-based learning can intersect with public engagement activities.’ Modern British History, Institute of Historical Research (Senate House, Malet Street/Russell Square, London.

Saturday 28 March. 1.30–5pm. Labour Heritage AGM & Meeting

  • Norman Howard: ’The General Election of 1945’. Norman Howard is a longstanding Labour activist and Labour historian, and author of A New Dawn – the General Election of 1945
  • John Grigg. ‘What every Labour Party member should know’. Many people who join the Labour Party have no idea of its history. Work is in progress on a Labour Heritage booklet to correct this and John will present the first section, covering the late 19th century up to 1914. John Grigg is treasurer of Labour Heritage & a Labour historian.

Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4RL (5 min. walk from Holborn station). For more information, contact Linda Shampan: 020 8932 0165,

Tuesday 31 March. Closing date for proposals for ‘London in Love’ Literary London Society Annual Conference 22–24 July.  

Proposals are invited for papers, comprised panels, and roundtable sessions, which consider any period or genre of literature about, set in, inspired by, or alluding to central and suburban London and its environs, from the city’s roots in pre-Roman times to its imagined futures. While the main focus of the conference will be on literary texts, we actively encourage interdisciplinary contributions relating film, architecture, geography, theories of urban space, etc., to literary representations of London. Papers from postgraduate students are particularly welcome for consideration. Please submit all proposals for 20-minute papers, comprised panels, and roundtable sessions through the Literary London Society website ( For further information please contact Peter Jones at or

Speakers include: Imtiaz Dharker (poet, artist and documentary film-maker); Dr. Gregory Dart (University College London); Professor Kate Flint (University of Southern California).

Wednesday 8 April. The people: the rise and fall of the working class, 1910-2010

Talk by Selina Todd based on first person accounts of servants, factory workers, miners and housewives, in her book The People which charts the history of working class people over the last century. It has been shortlisted for Political History Book of the Year 2015. More information go to

Wednesday 22 April. Notoriously militant: the story of a union branch at Ford Dagenham

Talk by Sheila Cohen, whose book Notoriously militant, based on original research and oral history, covers the history of Ford’s Dagenham plant – and its roots in Henry Ford’s early US activities – from 20th century shop floor struggles to the 21st century fight against plant closure. More information go to

30 May. Closing date for proposals for British Society of Sports History Conference 2-4 September

Proposals for twenty-minute papers should be sent to Dr Martin Johnes via email ( Proposals should be a maximum of 200 words long. The final conference programme will be announced in mid June. For bookings details see

Britain at Work London Newsletter

The latest issue takes a look at George Orwell’s time working at the BBC and as literary editor for the Tribune plus his brief spell living on Portobello Road before writing ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’; join the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) to stop the London Transport Museum accepting money from arms dealers Thales; Tierl Thompson writes about the first hand account taken from the discovered diaries of a young woman working in the early 20th century during a time of great social change; John O’Mahony reviews the latest book by Owen Jones ‘The Establishment’.

All in a day’s work: working lives and trade unions in West London 1945-1995

200 page book featuring over 100 oral history interviews carried out by the Britain at Work London Group, chronicling the working lives and trade union activities of people in West London during the years 1945-1995, covering an area stretching from Hayes in the west to Paddington and from Harrow in the north to the River Thames. Price £10 plus £2.80 p&p. Please make cheques payable to Britain at Work London Project. Contact Rima phone 07946 284089 or write to: Britain at Work, 15 Wellington Road, Norwich, NR2 3HT.


About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly, and am a member of the latter's Environment Forum. I am a member of the 5 Norbury Residents Associations Joint Planning Committee, and a Governor of Norbury Manor Primary School. I write for Croydon Citizen at I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and advise the North East People's History Project.. I give history talks and lead history walks. I retired in 2012 having worked in the community/voluntary sector and on heritage projects. My history interests include labour movement, mutuality, Black British, slavery & abolition, Edwardian roller skating and the social and political use of music and song. I have a particular interest in the histories of Battersea and Wandsworth, Croydon and Lambeth. I have a publishing imprint History & Social Action Publications.
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