History events & news at 18 November

Contents inc:  Voluntary Action in changing times  call for conference papers, Young Historians Project,  Talawa Theatre, articles & notes, books, and essays on Academia.edu

Tuesday 19 November. 6pm.  Fragile Labour: Archive Films and Live Discussion

As part of the Tyneside Cinema’s Zero Hour season inspired by the release of Ken Loach’s film Sorry We Missed You,  the history of fragile labour and insecure work in Newcastle and the North East, will be explored, from cycles of casual work to the emergence of new forms of labour in the aftermath of industry. Archive films inc. Tom Pickard’s We Make Ships (1987), Doing Our Bit (unemployment relief efforts in 1930s Middlesbrough); and films detailing the end of the Consett Steelworks. Discussion with Tom Pickard, Dr Alison Atkinson-Phillips and Dr Andy King  (Oral History Unit, Newcastle University), Dr Ben Lamb (Teesside University), and Ted Cuskin (former shipyard worker and social worker).

To book go to https://tynesidecinema.co.uk/event/zero-hour-fragile-labour-a-north-east-history

27 November – 26 March. Thomas Paine: Citizen of the World Exhibition

Working Class Movement Library, Salford.

3 December. North East Labour History Society Social

Because of the General Election, the social has been re-scheduled as a New Year Social on Tuesday 14 January.

Tuesday. 7 January. 7pm. William Parker: A Chartist Life

Talk by Mike Greatbatch for North East Labour History Society.

Parker was born in Wandsworth, joined the army and settled on Tyneside.

Venue to be announced.

Tuesday 14 January. 7pm. North East Labour History Society New Year Social.

Tyneside folk singer Jack Burness and Peter Brabban’s historical quiz.

The Bridge, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Tuesday 4 February. 7pm. “Memory Lingers Here”: Are Newcastle’s Monuments Sites of Collective Memory?

 Talk by India Gerritsen for North East Labour History Society.

The Old George, Bigg Market, Newcastle, NE1 1EZ

Tuesday 4 – 22 February. The Ballad of Johnny Longstaff

The true story of a one man’s journey from unemployment in Stockton on Tees, through the Hunger Marches of the 1930s, the mass trespass movement and the battle of Cable Street, to fighting fascism in the Spanish Civil War.

Northern Stage, Barras Bridge, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 7RH


28 February. 9.30am–6pm. From Margins to Centre? An undergraduate conference on marginalised histories

One day conference to explore marginalised histories and the intersectionality between them, with a particular focus on LGBT+ history, women’s history, BME history, and history of disability. Aimed specifically at undergraduate students to involve them in the discipline.


Conference sponsors include the Society for the Study of Labour History.

Tours at V&A featuring African History:

African Heritage Europe 1600 – 1815 (First, Second & Third Fridays  (7.30pm) & Saturdays (3pm)

Historical and Hidden Caribbean: a view of life through art and design tour (First Sunday of the month at 3pm)

Meet at the Meeting Point in the Grand Entrance, V&A, Cromwell Road

Until March 2020. 10am-5.30pm daily. Talawa Theatre Company archive exhibition

Victoria & Albert Museum

See more below

In the McCarthy Era, to Be Black Was to Be Red


Voluntary Action in changing times:

creating history or repeating it? 

This is the theme of the Voluntary Action History Society’s 7th International Conference taking place at the University of Liverpool 8-10 July.

VAHS is looking for papers which will provide insights into the development of the history of voluntary organisations and volunteering in the past thirty years and address the challenges it faces in the future. It is looking for papers which:

  • approach voluntary action history from local, national, international and transnational perspectives
  • explore subjects in a range of time periods, from the Middle Ages (or earlier) to the near-history of the twenty-first century
  • make use of a variety of methodologies, both traditional and innovative
  • are accessible to a broad audience of practitioners, activists, amateurs and academics

and which deal with subjects such as the following:

  • archival research: issues of preservation and access
  • bad behaviour and the dark side expressive behaviours
  • leisure
  • the moving frontier between state and voluntary action
  • the increasing hybridity of voluntary organisations
  • organisational development and management
  • philanthropy, mutual aid and self-help
  • social justice and social change
  • teaching voluntary action history.

This list is indicative: we are open to proposals dealing with topics not listed above.

Abstracts of around 300 words and a brief biography by e-mail to mzimmeck@btinternet.comno should be submitted no later than 31 December.

VAHS will be happy to consider proposals for panels of up to four papers on a similar subject, although if this is your intention, please submit an abstract for each of the proposed papers.

If you have any queries or if you wish to discuss a proposed paper’s suitability, please e-mail Meta Zimmeck at mzimmeck@btinternet.com

Booking will open once the programme is finalised.


Young Historians Project

This is a non-profit organisation formed by young people encouraging the development of young historians of African and Caribbean heritage in Britain. It is a team of young people aged 16-25 working on dynamic projects, documenting pivotal and often overlooked historical moments.


Talawa Theatre

Talawa Theatre which is now based at Fairfield Hallswas founded in 1986 by Yvonne Brewster, Carmen Munroe, Mona Hammond and Inigo Espejel, partly in response to the lack of creative opportunities for black practitioners in the performing arts. Taking their name from a Jamaican patois term meaning gusty and strong, Talawa are now considered the leading Black theatre company in the UK. Their work covers a broad range of theatre, from Oscar Wilde to African classics, as well as championing new writing through initiatives such as the annual Talawa Firsts Festival. The Talawa Theatre Company Archive was donated to the V&A in 2015. The archive documents all aspects of the company’s work and includes scripts, photographs, letters, publicity material and production records.’

Yvonne Brewster (b. 1938) was a Jamaican actress who studied in Britain from 1956. After a period in Jamaican radio and TV she co-founded the Bran Theatre in Kingston Jamaica. In 1971 she directed at the ICA in London Lippo, the New Noah by Sally Durie with an Afro-Caribbean cast.  To mark the 10th Anniversary of Jamaican Independence in 1971 she toured the Jamaican Trevor Rhones play Smile Orange around black communities in Britain. She was on the production team for films such as The Harder They Come, and The Fight Against Slavery. She was drama officer for the Arts Council 1982—4. She directed plays for Talawa  by C. L. R. James, Denis Scott, Derek Walcott, Earl Lovelace, and Rotimi. In 1992 she took over the Cochrane in Holborn as a home for black theatre. Several of her plays were published in collections titled Black Plays.

In 1986 Talawa performed Echo in the Bone set in Jamaica in 1937 by the Jamaican Dennis Scott (1939-1991). In the 1990s Biyi Bandele (b. 1967) a Nigerian playwright, novelist, poet and journalist, had several residencies including with Talawa. His novel Burma Boy is partly based on his father’s experience fighting in Burma in World War Two. Christopher Rodriquez, a playwright was an Associate Director of Talawa  running its Writer’s Group. His London play performances include Clear Water (The Pit, 2000); Equiano (Oval House, 2001); High Heel Parrotfish (Theatre Royal, 2005). In 2006 he expressed concern about “the general failure of a black narrative to cross over and inform the British mainstream theatre”.

The above information was researched and provided by me to the 2008 Trading Faces Recollecting Slavery project of Black actors and plays including people of African heritage. The website could not be kept updated and now only partially works: http://www.tradingfacesonline.com. The V&A was a partner and it should discuss with the funder the Heritage Lottery Fund what can be done to activate and update the site.

Articles and notes

Will of Marie-Louise Coidavid, wife of Haiti’s Henry Christophe has been found in National Archives. (BBC History Magazine.  December 2019)

Racism and ‘Anglo-Saxon’. Michael Wood. (Ditto)

Rosa Parks arrest and her recipe for pancakes. (Ditto)

Why Britain punched above it weight . (Ditto)

Policing the Windrush Generation. Sam Collings-Wells (History Today. November  2019)

Virgin Islands of the Atlantic. David Abulafia – includes use of African enslaved labour (Ditto)

The Torrid Zone. Suman Seth. Re-health and illness and relationship with Africans and Indians. (Ditto)

Beyond Profit. Paul Doolan. Dutch role in slave trade. (History Today. December 2019)

Familiar Strangers. Ruth Scobie. 18thC celebrity culture and the Empire. (Ditto)


Stephen Bourne. Playing Gay in the Golden Age of British TV. (History Press. 9789750990134)

Priyamvada Gopal. Insurgent Empire: Anticolonial Resistance and British Dissent. (Reviewed. History Today. December 2019)

Raghu Karnad.  Farthest Field: an Indian Story of the Second World War. (William Collins)

Yasmin Khan. The Raj at War: a People’s History of India’s Second World War. (The Bodley Head)

(Both above reviewed at https://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2015/07/indias-second-world-war-history-you-dont-hear-about) and Khan’s

at https://www.spectator.co.uk/2015/07/britain-didnt-fight-the-second-world-war-the-british-empire-did

Victor Kiernan. The Lords of Human Kind. European Attitudes to Other Cultures in the Imperial Age. (Zed Press)

Noel Malcolm. Useful Enemies: Islam and the Ottoman Empire in Western Political Thought, 1450-1750. Oxford UP. Reviewed in History Today December 2019.

Bill V. Mullen. James Baldwin. Living in Fire. (Pluto)



Rhodes Must Fall Movement, Oxford. Rhodes Must Fall. The Struggle to Decolonise the Racist Heart of Empire. (Zed Press)

Julian Rothenstein (ed). Black Lives 1900: W. E. B. Du Bois at the Paris Exposition. (Redstone)

Hazel Walters. Racism on the Victorian Stage. This can now be downloaded at


Essays etc on academia.edu












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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