History events & news at 2 December

Contents inc:  Memorial 2007 lecture, BSECS Conference programme, Legacies of British Slave-ownership database update, database, the Hibberts, Freedom of Speech in the Anglo-Caribbean World, Slavery Business connections across Britain, the l’Ansons

Saturday 7 December. 2-5.30pm. Songs for the Black Magi II

Spiritual and multi-faith gathering  with an address by Rev Dr Rose Hudson-Wilkin , the new Bishop of Dover, followed by the IDMC Choir led by John Fisher.

Lydia and Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre, Victoria & Albert Museum

To book tickets (£5): https://www.vam.ac.uk/event/PnYR3zGD/songs-for-the-black-magi-ii-dec-2019

Plus two tours (1) In Search for the Black Magi with historian and gallery educator Peter Ashan; (2) An Interfaith Intercultural Experience with guide and curator Marilyn Greene

Sunday 8 December. 11.59pm. Close of registration for BSECS Annual conference accommodation and dinners

Registration for the conference will remain open until 7 January (11.59pm)


See below for some Conference details.

Tuesday 10 December. 6.30pm. Hidden Racialised Voices

Memorial 2007 Annual Lecture by Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard, Deputy Mayor of London for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement.

Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Charles Clore House, 17 Russell Square, London,


Saturday 22 February. 2-5pm. Labour Heritage Labour History Day

Hammersmith Quaker Meting House, Nigel Playfair Ave, W6 9JY.

Saturday 20 June. 2-5pm. Labour Heritage AGM.

Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4 RL.

8 -10 January BSECS 18th Century Annual Conference

The theme is ‘Natural, Unnatural and Supernatural’.

Panels include:

Black Women’s Experiences in the 18thC British Atlantic World

Annabelle Gilmore. Businesswoman or whore? Rachel Pringle Polgreen and misogynoir in the 18th C Anglophone Caribbean

Miranda Kaufmann – From Jamaican Enslavement to the Scottish Aristocracy in two generations: Frances Dalzell, a ‘Mixed Race’ heiress and her mother Susanna Augier

Montaz Marche.’ The Black Girl Next Door?’ Examining Black Female Visibility in 18thC London

Empire and Difference

Emily Webb – ‘I must do my Duty by these Innocents’ Raising a Mixed-Race Family in Blechynden’s Calcutta Diaries, 1780-1800

Samathana Billing – Identifying Indians: Racial Rhetoric and Indigenous Categories of Difference in Colonial Central America

Irian Khruleva – “Natural” and “Unnatural Rebellion”: The Idea of Resistance in Mid -18thC New England

Ainoa Chincilla.  Natural or unnatural? Secret diplomatic practices between Spain and England in the last decade of the 18thC

I will be chairing this panel.

Black Resistance

Andrew H Armstrong. Measuring Moments: Strategies of Protest and Empowerment in a Woman of Colour

Nicola Westwood – Slave Anger, Divine Wrath and Abolitionist fear Tactics

Caroline Koegler. ‘I Often Wished for Death’: Suicide, Trauma and Failed Coping as Resistance in Olaudah Equiano’s Interesting Narrative

In other panels

Ryan Hanley. ‘Press X to Liberate’: Playing Games with Slavery in the 18th and 21st Centuries

Liz Potter. ‘The Negro cannot be washed white”: John Jea’s Radical Silhouette and Legible Identity

Niccolo Valmori.’A lady of business’: Elizabeth Willing Powel and the woman agency in the 18thC Atlantic business world

Inder Marwah. Race, culture and Ethnicity in the Age of Enlightenment

Lambeth Radicalism before Chartism

I will be giving a paper on radicalism in Lambeth before Chartism.

Infrastructure and Environment Panel

I will be chair it.

The full programme and registration details can be found at:

Spring 2000 Paisley Radicals 200th Anniversary

The new nine day Paisley Book Festival is coinciding with the 200th anniversary of the Paisley Radicals, the group of weavers who fought better wages during the Radical War in 1820.

The festival will celebrate rebel voices and radical stories, from Jackie Kay, reading new work inspired by the US singer and activist Paul Robeson, to a discussion with Nikesh Shukla, editor of The Good Immigrant, a collection of essays on race and migration.

British Slave-ownership

Legacies of British Slave-ownership database update

The LBS online ‘database has been frozen since January 2019 for various reasons, not least to enable a stable set of results and statistics to be generated from interrogating it. We have, however, been continually adding, amending and correcting entries throughout the year and these resulting changes will be uploaded to the website in early January 2020. For example, we have added over 12,000 more slave-owners, summarised hundreds more wills and incorporated information from members of the public in a further 600 biographical entries. We will release a newsletter in January giving a fuller description of the new data.’ (LBS newsletter December 2019)

Slavery business connections – evidence across Britain

‘The Atlantic slave trade’s legacy of racial injustice continues to vex us. How should a historic wrong be remembered or redressed? It’s a question that has the power to kill, as the violence unleashed by white supremacists in defence of a Confederate monument in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 demonstrated. While the debate in Britain is less murderous, it nonetheless raises passions.

For many years the debate in Britain centred on the port cities that were directly engaged in trafficking people out of Africa: Bristol and Liverpool. Consider the recent furore over Edward Colston (1636-1721), the Bristol slave merchant whose name is still controversially attached to numerous landmarks in his native city. A mix of lobbying and guerrilla art has succeeded in having prominent buildings re-badged and Colston’s civic philanthropy recast as a problem to be confronted rather than celebrated.

More recently, debates about the impact of Atlantic slavery on British society have broadened out to consider how slave-derived wealth has fed elite institutions and places of privilege, hence the University of Cambridge’s inquiry launched this year into its links to enslavement. Hence, too, the efforts of English Heritage and the National Trust to assess the ways in which stately homes embody colonial exploitation.

But this is not a conversation that has extended to less garlanded rural locations, to places that were wretchedly poor. Yet these places often played a vital role in sustaining Atlantic slavery. Mid Wales is a case in point: there would seem to be little connection between this damp, upland region and racial enslavement in the New World. But there was, because woollen cloth produced there clothed enslaved workers in the Caribbean and North America.’ From Gilder Lehrman Centre 2 December newsletter citing:


The Hibberts – The Bonds of Family


Katie Donington’s new book ‘reconstructs the world of commerce, consumption and cultivation sustained through the extended engagement of the Hibberts with the business of slavery. Across the generations, the Hibberts’ family interests spread from cotton manufacture in northern England to slave factorage and then the plantocracy in Jamaica, to absentee slave-ownership, the House of Commons, philanthropy and cultural refinement in London. It is both the intimate narrative of a family and an analytical frame through which to explore Britain’s history and legacies of slavery.’ (LBS newsletter December 2019)

The Freedom of Speech in the Anglo-Caribbean World


In his new book Miles Ogborn argues that across the Anglo-Caribbean world the fundamental distinction between freedom and bondage relied upon the violent policing of the spoken word. His book offers a rich interpretation of oral cultures that both supported and constantly threatened to undermine the slave system. Oath-taking, evidence-giving, cursing, politicking, sermonising, praying and prescribing healing remedies all throw light on who could speak, where, when, and what about. (LBS Newsletter December 2019) For a broader discussion see Miles’s entry at


Academia.edu essays on Radicalism, Labour and Class









www.academia.edu/588594/What_happened_to_class_New_histories_of_labour_and_collective_action_in_Britain – Katrina Navikas

Bulletins, magazines and newspapers

Labour Heritage Bulletin Autumn 2019

Articles on Ellen Wilkinson and the Legacy of Robert Owen – Building  Communities’; report on 18th Essex Conference on Labour History (60 years of the Cuban Revolution; The German Revolution 1991, The Housing Question); 2nd part of Jonathan Wood’s article on the Socialist Fellowship and Socialist Outlook. Plus reviews of book Morgan Jones: Man of Conscience and comic book The Many Not the Few, two reprints from the Spanish Civil War (by J. R. Campbell and Bill Alecander). For copies contact mickandbarbara@btopenworld.com

BBC History Magazine  Christmas 2019

Michael Wood: Why Britons need a monument to the victims of the slave trade’; France’s colonial and slavery expansion under Louis XIV; Olivette Otele’s choice of books of the year: Johny Pitts’ Afroean: Notes from Black Europe; Priyamvada Gupta’s Insurgent Empire, and Arthur Asseraf’s Electric News in Colonial Algeria.

The Guardian

The G2 Film and Music section of The Guardian is featuring more articles etc relevant to British colonial and Black histories and their legacies on 22 November, for example featured:

Cynthia Erivo on playing Harriet Tubman in the new film:


Croydon’s rap duo Krept & Konan ‘We see trauma and just act  like its normal:


The Nightingale – the brutal truth about British rule:


Paul Robeson and Wales 1938

The 80th anniversary of a concert featuring singer and civil rights activist Paul Robeson is being marked with an exhibition “Let Paul Robeson Sing!” at the Mountain Ash Workingmen‘s Club.


The l’Ansons – A Dynasty of London Architects & Surveyors

The uncompleted book by the later Peter Jefferson Smith has been completed by members of the Clapham Society.


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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