History events & news at 14 February

Robeson Pluto Book

Sunday 21 February. 2pm. No Power

Monologue telling the story of James Hudson, an ordinary Salford school teacher at the start of the First World War who finds himself at odds with the popular mood. Salford Museum and Art Gallery.

Sunday 21 to Sunday 28 February. 11- 4pm. ‘Nine Elms Past and Present’: 1970s and 1980s

This exhibition presented by Chocolate Films uncovers true stories about Nine Elms residents, and in particular reflects on the working class experience during the 1970s and 1980s. Bringing together human stories and heritage material, this exhibition is a fascinating insight into people’s home and work lives. The exhibition includes unique stories from local residents such as muralist Brian Barnes, Dennis Edwards who is one of the oldest flower sellers of New Covent Garden Market, and Rita Kelly. It features six short documentaries about local life, archive footage, audio recordings and images of Battersea Power Station.

A Chocolate Films project working closely with 20 young people aged 15 – 25

Venue: Studio RCA One, Riverlight Quay, Nine Elms Lane, London, SW8 5AU.

Wednesday 24 February 6-8.30pm. Official Release of ‘Look How Far We’ve Come: Commentaries On British Society And Racism?’ DVD

First public screening of the full documentary marks the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Race Relations Act followed by Q&A which looks back in order to move forward in highlighting racism, race equality legislation and practice, and identity. Hosted by John McDonnell MP, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Wilson Room, Portcullis House, SW1A 0AA (visitors need to allow 10-15 minutes for security checks). Free. For more info & to book: www.bit.ly/LookMRRA50

The Look… DVD (£10 + £2 p&p) and Look… Race/Racism Primer (£8 + £2 p&p) are also available via btwsc@hotmail.com

Friday 26 February. 8pm. The First Saints in Clapham: Radical Puritan Merchants in the Seventeenth Century

The radical puritans who lived in Clapham from the 1640s brought their beliefs into politics and served in many posts relating to finance and trade as well as the Navy. They were active in the great arguments of the day about both religion and politics and arguably were the first ‘saints’ in Clapham. Timothy Walker talks about these men who lived one hundred and fifty years before Wilberforce, Thornton and their friends of the Clapham Sect. Organised by the Wandsworth Historical Society. Friends Meeting House, Wandsworth High Street, SW18.

Wednesday 2 March. 12.15pm. Unpopular resistance: the rebel networks of men and women in opposition to the first world war in Manchester and Salford 1914-1918

Launch of book by Alison Ronan. 1pm. No Power (see 21 February). 2pm. Rapper Dance Talk. Working Class Movement Library, Salford.

Thursday 3 March. 6pm. Heritage, Memory and Small-Scale Fisheries: A Sense of Place Perspective

Talk by Vanessa Taylor (Uni. Greenwich). Despite pressures on the industry there are many towns and villages with active small-scale fisheries (SSF) located along the English Channel. A long history of fishing activity intermingling with contemporary practice exerts a strong influence on sense of place. This talk explores the contribution that SSF makes to sense of place and considers practical implications for sustainable development, particularly in relation to responsible tourism.

Part of the History & Environment series presented by the Raphael Samuel History Centre (http://raphael-samuel.org.uk/) in conjunction with the University of Greenwich, Dept of History, Politics and Social Sciences (http://www2.gre.ac.uk/about/faculty/ach/study/hpss).

All welcome, just come along or book a ticket on


Saturday 5 March. 12.30pm. No Power (see 21 February). 2pm. Remembering Mary Barbour – social reformer, rent strike leader, women’s peace crusader and pioneering woman councillor’

International Women’s Day talk by Catriona Burness. Working Class Movement Library, Salford.

Wednesday 16 March. 2pm. Justice for Alice Wheeldon!

Talk by Chloe Mason. Working Class Movement Library, Salford.

Wednesday 30 March. 2pm. Communities of resistance: patterns of dissent in Britain during the First World War

Talk by Cyril Pearce. Working Class Movement Library, Salford.

Wednesday 13 April. 2pm. Manchester volunteers in the Easter Rising

Talk by Robin Stocks. Working Class Movement Library, Salford.

Wednesday 27 April. 2pm. Luddites’ Nightmare

Talk by Richard Milward. Working Class Movement Library, Salford.

1 April. Closure date for proposals for British Communism and Commitment Day School, 9 June

The Black History Month Debate in Canada


Where has American Socialism Come From?


Paul Robeson. The Artist as Revolutionary

New biography by US author Gerald Horne. ISBN: 9780745335322. Pbk £12.99. Hbk £45. Pluto Press (January 2016)

Tom Mann in Australia


(Thanks to Mark Gregory)

British Communism and Commitment Day School, 9 June.

Bringing together academics from a wide range of disciplines and former party activists, this day school analyses the complexities of commitment in the British Communist Party over its 70-year history (1920-1991). Papers (20 minutes) might cover, but aren’t restricted to:

The motivations and trajectories of party ‘hardliners’ who dutifully observed party discipline and the party line, regardless of misgivings;

  • Communism as a way of life;
  • Expulsion and the fear of it;
  • Autobiographies written by former Communists;
  • Figures who struggled to reconcile vocational, professional or artistic commitments with their Communism;
  • ‘Loyal dissidents’ who remained fundamentally committed to the party while often challenging and seeking to enlarge its assumptions, procedures and priorities;
  • Those who challenged what they saw as dominant party perceptions that ‘race’, gender and sexuality were secondary to class as sites of oppression;
  • Activists who considered their ultimate commitment as being to Communist principles from which they believed the party to have deviated, and who challenged the party on those grounds;
  • Those who transferred their abiding Marxist commitments to different currents or organisations – Trotskyist, New Left, Maoist – and the complex relations with the CPGB that followed.

Part of the AHRC-funded project ‘Wars of Position: Communism and Civil Society’, the day school will be held in the Labour History Archive in the People’s History Museum, Manchester, and will include a tour of the CPGB archive holdings. It will mark the opening to researchers of a new tranche of significant CP archive material relating primarily to the 1950-91 period (the papers of John Attfield, Monty Johnstone and Paul Olive). The event will conclude with a round-table discussion about Communism, commitment and the archive chaired by Professor Kevin Morgan and featuring Francis King (historian, former CP activist and archivist, editor of Socialist History), and John Attfield (historian and former secretary of the Communist Party History Group).

Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be e-mailed to Ben Harker (ben.harker@manchester.ac.uk) by 1 April 2016.

New Topics on North East Popular Politics Database

New topics from the 20078 Tyne & Wear Remembering Slavery Project have been added to the North East Labour History Societies North East Popular Politics Project database.

  1. The Scottish Free Church and Slavery Dispute 1846-7
  2. Writings on the American Civil War 1862
  3. US Sanitary Commission 1861 and 1864
  4. Writings on the American Civil War 1863
  5. Writings on the American Civil War 1864-65
  6. Black Narratives and Miscellaneous Writings re-America 1847-64
  7. Writings on British Colonies and Race 1848 – 1880s
  8. Tyneside Affairs in Cowen Tracts 1786-1825
  9. Thomas Bray & Associates

Database web URL: ppp.nelh.net



About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy, housing and environment issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly. I am a member of the Love Norbury Residents Associations Planning & Transport Committees, and Chair of Nobury Community Land Trust. I write for Croydon Citizen at http://thecroydoncitizen.com. I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and edit the North East Popular Politics database. 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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