Croydon, COVID And History Update 6 January

This posting is combines Croydon, COVID and history news now that we are stuck at home in national lockdown wondering how to constructively fill our days, especially when the weather discourages going out. Keeping our brains active is important through Zoom talks, chatting to people on Zoom etc and on the phone, and developing new  interests and reading.


January onwards. Institute of Historical Research Seminars & Gresham House Lectures

Thursday 7 January. 10am. Historic Agriculture in Surrey

Surrey Industrial History Group Zoom talk

Thursday 7 January. 5pm. Scrutiny & Overview Committee. CALL-IN: Emission-Based Parking Charges

I have sent the Committee members as background information the submission on the scheme last year from the Norbury Residents Associations Planning & Transport Committee, and an assessment of the transport context change due to the COVID crisis I penned in August.

Friday 8 January. 11am. Berthe Morisot

Croydon Library  on-line talk about Berthe Morisot, a founder-member of Impressionism exploring her key works, techniques and life and times .

Monday 11 January. Closing Date for Postdoctoral Researcher: History of Slavery in the City of London

Tuesday 12 January. 6.30pm. Croydon Traffic Management Committee – On-line

Albert Road (Part) & Eldon Park – Results of Informal Consultation on a Possible Extension of the South Norwood Controlled Parking (CPZ); Crystal Palace and South Norwood Low Traffic Neighbourhood.

Tuesday 12 January. 7pm. Analysing the Contexts and Causes of the 1910-14 Labour Revolt

Zoom talk by Professor Ralph Darlington for North East Labour History Society

Meeting ID: 858 1228 1578
Passcode: 383471

See Labour Revolt below.

Wednesday 13 January. 6-7pm. Creating Your Local History Website

British Association of Local History  Web Manager and professional web developer Paul Carter introduces the basic concepts of setting up a local history website, whether that is for an individual research project or a local history society. 

Thursday 14 January. 6pm. Black British History in Schools: Continuing the Conversation

Saturday 16 January. 1pm. The Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence and Cultural Restitution

Dan Hicks Slaveryarchive Book Club Zoom Talk

Tuesday 19 January. 5.15pm. Romantic Memory? Forgetting, Remembering and Feeling in the Chartist Pantheon of Heroes

Monday 25 January.10am. Sons of the soil: researching our agricultural labouring ancestors

East Surrey Family History Society on-line talk

Monday 25 January. 5.30pm. German working class resistance to the Nazis

Monday 25 January. 5.30pm. Histories of Pan-Africanism. 5.30pm

Tuesday 2 February.7pm. John Marshall: Printer, Librarian and Radical

Zoom talk by Paul Gailiunas for North East Labour History Society

John Marshall was very well-known in Gateshead and Newcastle in the first third of the nineteenth century, and there are references to him in a variety of contexts.

The evidence that has survived contradicts some of the assumptions made by previous authors, especially around the winter of 1816/1817, when he first became politically active. Although politics seems to have become less important to him by the mid-1820s, he was present at a political meeting in 1830, and he printed radical material until 1831, when his business collapsed and he disappears from the record.

Zoom link to be notified.

COVID Advice

First, there is a COVID message from

Rachel Flowers, Croydon’s Director of Public Health.

‘Following last night’s government announcement we are now in a national lockdown, with immediate effect.

As you will be aware the situation in Croydon is extremely serious and as of today, there are 244 people receiving treatment at Croydon University Hospital.

Our Covid-19 incidence rate is now 964.5 cases per 100,000 – higher than the London average for the first time – and I am seeing around 600 new cases every day.

The situation has escalated rapidly in the last few weeks and unless we act now, we risk more people becoming ill, our hospital becoming overwhelmed and ultimately, sadly, more loss of life.

It is vital that we all follow the national restrictions – stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives. This is the most important thing we can do to reduce transmission of the virus in our borough and keep Croydon safe.

The national lockdown means we must not leave our homes except for essential reasons which include to:

– shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person

– go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home

– exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.

– meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one

– seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)

attend education or childcare – for those eligible

You can find the national restrictions in full here

Please do check them and ensure you know what they mean for you & your household.

If you must go out, always remember the NHS guidance on hands, face, space. Approximately one in three people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and could be spreading it without realising, so this advice is vital.

If you have any of the Covid-19 symptoms, you must self-isolate and get tested. Only leave your home to get a test – otherwise you are putting others at risk.

Thank you for all of your continued support’.

More than 3,400 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the London Borough of Croydon in the week up to December 29. 

Getting your vaccine? Dont forget your NHS No.

Message from National Pensioners Convention

A plea from NHS staff. Please, please, please make sure you and your family all dig out your NHS number and have a copy of it immediately to hand for when you or they are called for the COVID jab. From my colleagues on the front line this is far and away the biggest bottle neck when it comes to administering the vaccine to as many people as quickly as possible. You can find your NHS number on any NHS correspondence or through the app.’

The NHS will let you know when it’s your turn to have the vaccine. It’s important not to contact the NHS for a vaccination before then, so please wait to be contacted.

For further info go to:

Croydon BID Plea For Business Help

Matthews Simms, the CEO of Croydon Bid, is one of 12 signatories to a letter to the Prime Minister from London business groups pleading for government help with protecting swaths of London businesses vital to national economic recovery has been made to Boris Johnson today as the capital enters national lockdown.

The letter asks Johnson and Sunak to:

  • Extend the current VAT relief scheme for the whole of this year.
  • Extend the business rates relief scheme to businesses told they must close under Covid rules throughout 2021.
  • Expand the grants programme delivered by local authorities and adjust it to that based on the number of businesses within a borough rather than the number of residents.
  • Provide targeted support to night-time economy businesses, such as nightclubs, which have been unable to open since March

Croydon NHS Hero

Josi Kiss draws our attention to Croydon Hospital’s Dr Mayank Agarwal being named the nation’s NHS hero.

Croydon 32nd Worst Area in England

The Education Debate

The debate about the closure of schools continues. A lot of national media coverage has been given to the views of the education trade unions. Behind the scenes the Socialist Education Association has also been lobbying.

Recently its South East London Branch passed a resolution noting:

a) The emergency pandemic situation.

b) Cases, admissions, and deaths surging at a time when hospitals are reaching or have passed capacity.

c) The reopening of schools will accelerate the surge.

d) SAGE experts have said that premature school opening will ensure the R number stays above 1. e) Section 44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 provides that “(1) An employee has the right not to be subjected to any detriment by any act, or any deliberate failure to act, by his employer done on the ground that– …d)in circumstances of danger which the employee reasonably believed to be serious and imminent and which he could not reasonably have been expected to avert, he…refused to return to his place of work,”

f) The National Education Union, as well as UNISON and other unions affiliated to the Labour Party, advised their members employed in schools to rely on the said section and not return to work for the time being.

g) The Government pressed for schools to start reopening from Monday 4th January and the Leader of the Opposition refused to oppose this until on the afternoon of that day Downing Street leaked that a closure of all schools would be announced that evening.

h) The TUC has called for all parents who cannot work because they are caring for children who would normally be at school to be furloughed.

The ‘branch believes it has been apparent for some weeks that the danger of returning to school in January would far exceed any possible benefit to children’s education or the economy.’

It calls on Keir Starmer, Labour Leader, and Kate Green, Shadow Education Secretary:

1. In close cooperation with the NEU and Labour affiliated trade unions, to keep all relevant evidence under review and oppose any return to school until the danger of doing so is minimal and clearly outweighed by the benefits of returning. 2. To press the Government to extend the furlough scheme to all employees prevented from working by the need to care for children. “Schools” for the purposes of this motion includes nursery and other early years provision. It is assumed that provision for vulnerable children and the children of key workers will continue.

On-line Teaching Via TV

Given the back of proper IT equipment in many homes, meaning many pupils cannot participate properly on on-line learning, a reader of this blog points out that the Open University teaches effectively through TV, which almost all households have. ‘Can that technique be adapted for younger age groups, designed to stimulate curiosity and incentivise thinking, experimenting and discussion at home more than passing exams? something on the lines of short, topical, engaging intros on animals, plants, climate, temperature etc that involve maths, physics, biology at appropriate levels for children of all ages , short cartoons outlining dilemmas for characters and how they can be solved; even Aesops fables…..PE exercises that are fun to do at home or on local walks, suggestions for art (beyond rainbows!) …writing illustrated letters to missed school friends about your Xmas or what your favourite book is…. none of which needs internet but which could promote mental and physical activity among children.’ 

Black History and Culture

Conductors on Classic FM

Courtney Pine Taken Off A-Level Music

The Guardian. 5 January

Sculpture to David Oluwale

The Guardian. 6 January

Bridgerton’s’ Queen Charlotte

Black in Times—January-3rd-UKs-first-hip-hop-star-Derek-B–Samuel-Coleridge-Taylor-and-the-1971-Ladywell-petrol-bomb-attack-eofkik

Shooting Of Cherry Groce

 To order:

August Agboola Browne. Freedom-fighting Jazzman

Clare Mulley on the Nigerian involved in the Warsaw Uprising.

BBC History Magazine. January 2021

African Europeans: An Untold History

Review of Olivette Otelle’s book

BBC History Magazine. January 2021

Representations of Women, Motherhood and Breastfeeding in British Slavery

One man’s discovery of slavery, family and football

Jimmy Carter: The story behind the Premier League’s first British Asian player

A Radical Change of Heart: Robert Wedderburn’s Last Word on Slavery

Graphic Biography of Paul Robeson

From Ma Rainey To Robeson’s Moscow Concert


Several readers who are Labour Party members may be interested in the arguments as to why Labour should not have backed the BREXIT deal.

Robert Tombs discusses his book This Sovereign Isle arguing that “Both sides of the Brexit debate have got things wrong about our history.”

BBC History Magazine. January 2021

Co-operative Movement News

The Labour Revolt 1910-14

The ‘Labour Unrest’ – or what more precisely should be termed ‘Labour Revolt’ – that swept Britain in the years leading up to the First World War between 1910 and 1914 was one of the most sustained, dramatic and violent explosions of industrial militancy and social conflict the country has ever experienced.

Most explanations for the causes of this strike wave have tended to focus almost exclusively on economic factors, on the way in which the decline in real wages and purchasing power after 1900 and the sudden upturn in trade and employment after 1910 provided the major economic impetus for a series of wage demands that lead to strike action. Yet arguably, even if the most commonly reported single cause of strikes was pay, this hardly offers an adequate explanation, by itself, for the scale, insurgent nature, rank-and-file dynamic and broader political challenge of the industrial rebellion that swept Britain during this period.

This talk attempts to provide an understanding of the way in which there was a coalescence of a multifaceted set of interconnected contextual and casual elements (structure and agency) contributing to the process.

Specifically, it examines six features: the economic, industrial and social backcloth; industrial relations and trade union framework; political context; bargaining capacity; leadership and mobilisation resources; and broader zeitgeist of defiance of the authorities and rule of law. In the process, it assesses the limits and potential of George Dangerfield’s depiction in his celebrated book The Strange Death of Liberal England of a conjunction of three rebellions – by workers, women and Irish nationalists – that had the cumulative effect of placing the country on the verge of semi-revolution.

And there is consideration of the extent to which workers’ readiness to engage in militant strike action depended upon the subjective element – the encouragement they received from the minority of uncompromising working class socialist and syndicalist agitators and propagandists within their own ranks.

Ralph Darlington is Emeritus Professor of Employment Relations at the University of Salford. He is the author of The Dynamics of Workplace Unionism (Mansell 1994) and Radical Unionism: The Rise and Fall of Revolutionary Syndicalism (Haymarket 2013), co-author of Glorious Summer: Class Struggle in Britain 1972 (Bookmarks 2001) and editor of What’s the Point Of Industrial Relations: In Defence of Critical Social Science (2009).

He is currently researching to write a book on the 1910-14 Labour Revolt to be published by Pluto Press.

Note: Back in 2010 I proposed a London Project on the Great Unrest but it did not materialise.


South Sea Bubble

Thomas Levenson. Money for Nothing: The South Sea Bubble and the Invention of Modern Capitalism. Head of Zeus. £20.

Reviewed in BBC History Magazine. January 2021.

Indians At Dunkirk

Ghee Bowman. The Indian Contingent: The Forgotten Muslim Soldiers of Dunkirk. The History Press. £20

Reviewed in BBC History Magazine. January 2021.

Books Etc On Sale From Me

The 15% Xmas book offer I made on 13 December remains applicable with the 15% going to Rusknin House. See list at

For Battersea, Croydon and Lambeth local and Black History publications see:

Remainder Books From Postscript

1919: Britain’s Year of Revolution. Simon Webb. £7.99. No. 509485

The Amisted  Rebellion. An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom. Marcus Rediker. £4.99. No. 508151

Common Sense. Thomas Paine. £4.99. No. 508596

Eric Hobsbawm: A Life in History. Richard. J Evans. £9.99. No. 513162

Enemy on the Euphrates. The Battle for Iraq, 1914-1921. Ian Rutledge. £4.99. No. 508977

The Feminist Revolution. The Struggle for Women’s Liberation: 1966-1988. Bonnie Morris & D. M. Withers. £3.99. No. 507898

Islam. A Short History. Karen Armstrong. £3.99. No. 504432

The Life Story of a North Tyneside Town. Dan Lawrence. £6.99. No. 590330. North Shields

Reform Acts. Chartism, Social Agency and the Victorian Novel 1832-1867. Chris R. Vanden Bossche. £7.99. No. 511559

Regency Spies. Secret Histories of Britian’s Rebels and Revolutionaries. Sue Wilkes. £7.99. No. 506170

Windrush: A Ship Through Time. Paul Arnott. £9.99. No. 512413

Print version of this posting

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 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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