General History News at 22 April

Saturday 24 April. 20pm. ‘Hot spots’ and ‘Hinterlands’ – a local history of Britain’s war resisters 1914-1918.

Talk by Cyril Pearce using the research in his book Communities of Resistance.

To register:

Monday 26 April. 7.15pm. Mary Chrystie And Her Family

Talk by Judith Witter about Mary Chrystie, a Temperance campaigner who tried to close down every pub in Bookham. She is widely believed to have been motivated by a missionary zeal to help the poor.

Monday 17 May. 6pm. Social change, community action and making legal advice accessible in England, 1960-1980

Talk for Voluntary Action History Society by Kate Bradley, Reader in Social History and Social Policy, Uni. Kent.

 To register go to:

Details of her book Lawyers for the Poor (2019) can be seen at:

Saturday 29 May. Writers Of The Left In An Age Of Extremes.

Launch of Socialist History Society’s latest occasional pamphlet about Edgell Rickwood, Greta Sykes and Carlo Levi.

Stan Newens

The former MP, MEP and labour movement historian died on 2 March aged 91. Obituaries appeared in papers like The Guardian, and also in the Spring Bulletin of the Labour Heritage and the Spring newsletter of the Socialist History Society, of which organisations he was President. I got to know Stan through our overlapping interests in Battersea co-operative history and because his daughter Sarah was a Battersea Labour Party comrade. I joined the Labour Heritage Committee which he chaired, as was Secretary for a while. With his support we sought to develop Labour Heritage outside London, not with much success. The two initiatives that did get off the ground were the annual West London and Essex Conferences. His death is a sad loss.

The family are fundraising for St. Clare Hospice.

Nigel Todd

Nigel Todd, a North East WEA activist and historian sadly and unexpectedly died on 26 March.

David Connolly, the Secretary of the North East Labour History Society, and former WEA worker with Nigel, commented:

‘Our friend and comrade Nigel Todd died unexpectedly last Friday. His death is a huge loss to so many socialist, co-operative and progressive organisations in the region including the North East Labour History Society. We have published a short tribute to Nigel which has links to two recent articles he wrote for North East History.’

Given his past research and writing on the black presence in the North East Nigel was supporting the African Lives in Northern England project team which I am a member of. A few days before his death Nigel emailed me to congratulate me on my pamphlet on Africans in the North East. His death has been widely reported on the Internet, including on the WEA and Co-op, Newcastle Council, and Society for the Study of Labour History websites.

Alfred Hayes and I Saw Jo Hill Last Night

When I was growing up I constantly listening to an EP on which Paul Robeson sang I saw Jo Hill Last Night, and Ol’Man River. Both will be on my funeral request. The writers of the words that became famous songs are often forgotten about. Jo Hill was written by Alfred Hayes. Nick Matthews looks at his life at

A People’s History of Classics

The Socialist History Society talk by author Edith Hall can be seen at:

Edith Hall’s books can be found on her website and many may be downloaded for free

Sylvia Pankhurst in America

The excellent talk by Katherine Connelly for the Socialist History Society can be watched here:

A discount code will give you 30% off her two books Sylvia Pankhurst: Suffragette, Socialist and Scourge of Empire and A Suffragette in America: Reflections on Prisoners, Pickets and Political Change from the Pluto Press website. Just use the discount code SHS30 at the checkout.

The National Council of Women and Voluntary Action in the UK 1895-1939

Pat Thane’s talk for the Voluntary Action History Society can be seen at:

Working Class Movement Library Salford

The Library is now re-open for 2 readers per day booked in advance although it hopes to keep pace with the gradual lifting of restrictions so that it can open the hall and exhibition space to visitors again on a less formal basis.

You can sign up to its newsletter to get the latest news. If you would like to book in as a reader do get in touch.

0161 736 3601.  

New Books

British Socialists and The Outbreak of the Great War

Book by Ian Bullock (Bonchurch Press).

Transatlantic Radicalism. Socialist and Anarchist Exchanges in the 19th and 20th Centuries

Frank Jacob | Mario Keßler. Studies in Labour History, 16. Liverpool University Press.  2021

New Pen & Sword Books

The new catalogue from Pen & Sword Books contains a numerous set of interesting titles including:

How The World Allowed Hitler To Proceed with the Holocaust

Spanish Republicans and the Second World War

Darlington & Teesdale at War 1939-45

Deserters of the First World War. The Home Front

The Siege that Changed the World. Paris 1870-1871

The Real George Eliott

A Dark History of Chocolate

Rowntree’s –The Early History

The Life of Richard Cadbury

The Nurse who became a spy. Madge Addy’s War against Fascism

The Rebel Suffragette. The Life of Edith Rigby

It also has a spring discount sale on back titles, including on the United Irishmen,  the assassination of Spencer Percival, and suffragettes (especially in different towns).

Postscript Remainder Books

Mary Beard. Women and Power. A Manifesto. £4.99. No. 512451

Tom Paine. The Rights of Man. £2.99. No. 513953

Mary Wollstonecraft. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. £2.99. No. 513980

Labour Heritage Spring Bulletin

Appreciation of Stan Newens; The Independent Labour Party and the Foundation of the Labour Party; Sudbury (Suffolk): A Surprise Labour Gain in 1945; Tom Braddock: a Left-wing Maverick during the Cold War (Part 2); Rank and File Journals in London Transport in the 1970s and 1980s; review of Michael Tichelar’s Why is London Labour? It also contains a supplement Christopher and Margaret Lancaster. Mayor and Mayoress of Fulham 1936-37: a life devoted to helping others. Copies available from Bulletin editor:

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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1 Response to General History News at 22 April

  1. Pingback: Norbury Update 25 April | Norbury Watch

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