History Talks by Sean Creighton week of 26 June


Battersea Power Station construction workers from organiser’s website

Tuesday 27  June. 6pm. Memories of working life in Nine Elms

In the seventeenth century Battersea began to attract a steady flow of trades. It was along the riverfront, especially Nine Elms, that these tended to congregate, due to the Thames providing the only effective means of transporting heavy goods at the time.

I will trace the major development changes in Nine Elms, from an area of marshland and market gardening with some riverside industry, to an industrial area dominated by railway yards, the Gas works, Nine Elms Brewery, water works and other industrial enterprises.

The talk will cover the changes in the workforce employed in these activities and the role of activists like John Burns, John Archer and Charlotte Despard.

Sean will also look at how the 1930s onwards brought another wave of change, with the building of Battersea Power Station and the beginnings of the Savona and Patmore Estate, and examine the closure of British Rail’s Nine Elms yard and depot and the development of the New Covent Garden Market.

This history sets the background to the current massive redevelopment change underway from the Power Station to the top of Nine Elms Lane.

New Union Square, Nine Elms Lane, SW8 5DA

Nearest train/tube: Vauxhall/ Battersea Park Station

If you are approaching the venue from Vauxhall station turn left at Waitrose and walk down the pedestrian walk way (with trees/Sarah Lucas’ golden sculpture, Florian). Continue for 150 metres until you reach a glass fronted unit with two wooden planters. This is the entrance to the venue.

This talk is part of the London Festival of Architecture 2017. For the full festival programme, see nineelmslondon.com/lfa


Funny SightsFrom Sean Creighton’s postcard collection


Wednesday 28 June. 8pm. The Edwardian Roller Skating Boom 

I will talk about the Edwardian skating boom of 1908-12, the Croydon skating rink in Cherry Orchard Rd and the special role of the rink at Crystal Palace.

St. Philip’s Church Women’s Fellowship meeting.

This talk is open to members of the public. Because it is in the Church’s small hall advance notice of attending would be appreciated by contacting


Thursday 29 June. 7pm. Keen as Mustard: An Introduction to South Croydon’s Heritage

I will discuss various aspects of the history of the South Croydon area, including interesting residents like Alfred Russell Wallace and Cicely Mary Barker, businesses such as John Cooper’s Steam Boot Factory and Keen’s, landowners and the role of pubs and more.

Doors open 6.30pm.

St Peter’s Church House, Heathfield Road, CR0 1EZ

St Peter’s Church House is near the church but in a separate building. From Heathfield Road, nearest St Peter’s Church, you can enter through the grounds of Arundel House (flats).

It would help the organiser if you would let them know you are coming via:


History Books

I will bring relevant copies for sale of my Battersea and Croydon history publications and the in the printed pamphlet series (on Price’s Candles, Vauxhall Pleasure Gdns Esther Bruce, Bill Miller, Paul Robeson and John Archer), and other history books. Payments can be made by cash or card.



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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