Croydon events & news as at 4 March

Bernard Winchester Diary

Diary March 2019

Monday 4 March. 6.30pm. Council Budget Meeting

Plus Clean Green Croydon up-date by Cabinet Member Stuart Collins

Access papers at

Town Hall

Tuesday 5 March. 6.30pm. Scrutiny and Overview Committee

Presentation on the Safer Croydon Partnership; Question Time: Hamida Ali, Cabinet Member for Safer Croydon and Communities; Developing a Public Health Approach to Violence Reduction. Access papers at

Town Hall

 Tuesday 5 March. The Abyssinian Difficulty: Retracing a Victorian Expedition.

Talk by John Pilkington about the  expedition mounted by the British army in 1868  to rescue European hostages held in a hilltop fortress 400 miles inside Abyssinia.  To accomplish this, they built a new port and railway and employed 44 elephants and 26,000 bearers.

Purley Literary Society.

Friday 8 March. HMO Article 4 Direction Consultation closes

Landlords are likely to oppose – see

Friday 29 March. Shadow World

Film about arms trading. More information to follow.

Ruskin House

Some Questions

The rundown of Norbury Library

When will the Library Strategy be published? My posting about the rundown of Norbury Library puts it in the context of the forthcoming Library Strategy that will go to the Croydon Cabinet.

What is the level of air pollution in your area?

You can check by postcode at

How many winter fuel deaths in Croydon?

On Friday 15 February Fuel Poverty Awareness Day  National Energy Action (NEA) and E3G issued a joint press release highlighting the negative impacts of living in poor quality housing. According to their data sources, there were 56,300 excess winter deaths in the UK during 2017-18, the highest number since 1975/76. Of these, 16,890 were said to be attributable to cold homes. They do not give a geographic breakdown by local authority area.

Planning & Development News

Hammerson change of strategy puts Westfield under threat

Hammerson, the partner in the Westfield development, has announced that it has putting all its major construction projects on hold, and is focusing on selling off over £500m of its  property assets to pay down its company debts.

See Inside Croydon 25 February, and

But Council leader still hopeful within the Growth strategy context:

Inside Croydon coverage since 26 February

Queens Hotel public inquiry starts on appeal against planning refusal

Brick by Brick needs more money

Revised Fairfield/College Green Plans

Fairfield Halls £11m over budget

800 residents sign up for Brick by Brick homes

Campaign against threat to Selsdon Woods

Bellway markets the IKON and starts Vista24 tower

To see how Bellway Homes markets projects like the IKON and Vista24 schemes in Croydon see

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The role of trade unions as we move into the 21st century – 14 March

Thursday 14 March. 7.30pm.

The role of trade unions
as we move into the 21st century

Speaker: Barry Faulkner

The challenges industrially, politically and internationally

faced by our movement in the light of:

  • the threats and opportunities of new technology and automation
  • the need to recruit young workers
  • the importance of politics and international solidarity for the movement in a global economy

Barry is the political education coordinator of Unite the Union. His role involves coordinating the education of members and activists across Britain and Ireland, in particular focussing on the political and industrial priorities of workers and their families. His role also involves developing the educational opportunities of UNITE’s young activists. He has been a trade union activist for 40 years in a range of unions and has been politically active for the same length of time.

Croydon Assembly & Croydon TUC
Ruskin House, 23 Coombe Road,  CR0 1BD

To book free ticket go to:

Saturday 16 March. UN Anti-Racism Day Demonstration

The UN day is Thursday 21 March





Speakers include –





Organised by London May Day Organising Committee, which is supported by GLATUC, TUC/LESE , UNITE London & Eastern Region, CWU London Region,  PCS London & South East Region, ASLEF, RMT, TSSA, NEU, MU London, Bectu/Prospect, FBU London & Southern Regions, GMB London & Southern Regions, UNISON Greater London Region, Peoples Assembly, NPC,  GLPA & other Pensioners’ organisations and organisations representing Turkish, Kurdish, Chilean, Colombian, Peruvian, Brazilian, Portuguese, West Indian, Sri Lankan, Indian, Pakistani, Bangla Deshi, Cypriot, Tamil, Iraqi, Iranian, Irish, South African, Nigerian migrant workers & communities plus many other trade union & community organisations


Friday 19 to Sunday 21 July 

Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival and Rally


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Tayo Aluko’s Call Mr Robeson & other shows


March 4 – 9. Call Mr. Robeson. Dublin

March 11 – 16.  Just An Ordinary Lawyer. Dublin

March 27.  Cambridgeshire: Call Mr. Robeson @ Histon Library.

Then in USA

April 9, Mold, Wales: What Happens? @ Theatr Clwyd
April 10, Liverpool: What Happens? @ Philharmonic Hall Music Room
May 3, 4, Glasgow: Call Mr. Robeson @ Queen’s Park Arena
July 5, Bolton, Lancashire: Just An Ordinary Lawyer @ Socialist Club

What Happens is about Langston Hughes. A video of Tayo performing at The Maltings, Berwick-upon-Tweed, on July 23 2017 is at

Always worth booking a performance by Tayo:

I first got to know Tayo in Liverpool in April 2009 at a social function at the Liberating Sojourn 2 Conference held about African-American abolitionist campaigners in Britain. I have advertised his shows since in the various emailed specialist newsletters and then blogs that I have produced.

I have been to several of his performances, including one in 2013 with my cousin  who I was visiting in Nova Scotia. Tayo’s  interview with the local Media Co-op can be seen at

I was a speaker about The Interesting  Life of Duse Mohammed Ali (1866 -1945}, Black Egyptian Renaissance Man at his Paul Robeson art is a weapon Festival in the autumn of 2013.

We are liaising over a project he is working on about Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.

Ann organised his  Call Mr Robeson performance on 24 November 2017 at Stanley Halls on behalf of Croydon North Labour Party.


The income from the sale of my pamphlet Politics and Culture. Paul Robeson in the UK is now being donated to his work. You can order through

If you have not had one of his shows where you live why not try and arrange to book one.

Tayo is much admired in Liverpool where he lives. In his book Liverpool Back Pioneers 2007), Ray Costello says that Tayo became the first black member of the city’s Athenaeum Club (founded 1797) in 1999. From Nigeria Tayo studied at the Universities of Bath and Canterbury, and then Liverpool School of Architecture. As an architect he, ‘became popular with many Liverpool community groups. His firm Aluko Brooks Architects was ‘responsible for renovations in the city centre areas, such as Hope Street and Bold Street, as well as other projects in the North West.’ As a singer he ‘won prizes in local music festivals, and starred in the Liverpool Neptune production of Kiss Me Kate, and Granada TV’s Who put the beat into mersyside, ‘which documents black musicians in Liverpool who inspired the 1960s Merseybeat boom.’








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Black history events and news at 26 February

Contents: IHR Seminars, Academic News; Slavery in Colonial America; The Atlantic World; Music and Song; Malcolm X; Windrush Impact; Illustrated London News 1847

Monday 4 March. 5pm. Empires of the Mind

Catherine Hall in conversation with Robert Gildea to discuss his new book Empires of the Mind: The Colonial Past and the Politics of the Present.

Nazrin Shah Lecture Theatre at Worcester College, Oxford

March IHR Seminars

Check website for venue details as many now being held at Institute of Education, not at Senate House.

Friday, 1 March.  5.15pm. Royal African Company Networks on the African Coast

Anne Ruderman (LSE)

Monday, 4 March. 5.15pm. The Three Voyages of Claude-Vincent Polocy: Connections and Ruptures in the 18thC French Atlantic World

Annie Ruderman (LSE)

Tuesday 5 March. 5.15pm. London, liberty and slavery 1688-1705

John Marshall (Johns Hopkins University)

Wedneday 5 March. 5.15pm. The development of Black-led archives in post-war London & Rebels in the archives: collecting, curating and communicating contemporary activism

Wednesday. 6 March.  5.15pm. Transnational networks of protest: Martin Luther King, Jr, Canon John Collins and the Church of England in the 1960s.

Hannah Elias (Institute of Historical Research)

Tuesday 19 March. 6pm. Subverting colonial archives: narrative interface design and emerging digital humanities methodologies, and, Postcolonial archives, postcolonial historiography: challenges for writing Black British history

Hannah Ishmael (University College London), Rachel Tavernor (University of Sussex)

Academic News

Goldsmiths starts Black History MA in September

Nick Draper is retiring as LBS Director

Nick Draper, the Director of the Legacies of British Slave Ownership project at UCL is retiring in September. A new Chair of History at UCL will be appointed to take over the as Director.

Centre for Study of Race and Religion

UCL’s Institute of Advanced Studies is looking to appoint a Professor and Director of its  newly-formed Centre for the Study of Race and Racism (CSRR). This will focus on critical race studies, race theory, the histories and representations of racialised thinking and its impacts and effects. The CSRR will offer a new MA in Race and Racism.

Slavery in Colonial America

1619 – Time for Reassessment

is seen as a key event. Eric Herschthal, a postdoctoral fellow in African American and African studies at Ohio State University argues that its is deeply misleading to begin the story of racial slavery in British North America with The arrival of the first African slaves in the Virginia Colony.

Slavery in the Massachusetts Colony

The English colony was the first to legalise slavery in 1641. Its merchants had enslaved Native Americans, and by 1638 were bartering them for Africans in the West Indies. The slave trade grew from there and soon became a pillar of the colonial economy.

The Atlantic World

Civil Society and Empire: Ireland and Scotland in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World Review by Paul Tonks of James Livesey’s book published by Yale in 2009) in Eighteenth-Century Scotland: The Newsletter of the Eighteenth-Century Scottish Studies Society (2011). Plus discussion of state of research etc on Scotland and Slavery.

Other papers by Paul Tonks can be accessed at:

Bourdeaux, Black History and Slavery

Beyond Slavery and Abolition

In his new book, Beyond Slavery and Abolition: Black British Writers c. 1770-1830, Ryan Hanley assesses the contribution of Black authors to the politics and culture of Britain in the years before abolition. Hanley considers the lives of Black celebrities such as Ignatus Sancho and Mary Prince, radicals like Ottobah Cugoano and Robert Wedderburn and previously neglected Evangelical authors including Boston King and John Jea. By exploring the influence of these individuals in their wider social and political networks, Hanley argues that Black intellectuals were never confined to the peripheries of British culture.

Black Soldiers in British Army to 1840s

John Ellis’s latest essay on his continuing work on black soldiers in the British Army in the 18thC through to the 1840s can be downloaded at

along with several other papers by him.

Music and Song

Music in pre- and post-independence United States

‘Everywhere throughout America from the mid-seventeenth century onwards, black and white cultural forms were in constant contact.’

It Jus’ Keeps Rolling: The Story of Ol’ Man River

Ever since 1927 Ol’ Man River’s song has had many powerful currents.

Cultural convergences

Yiddish and African-American music:

Paul Robeson and Indian musician:

Paul Robeson Life & Legacy

Robeson and the Song of the Warsaw Ghetto

Tariq Ali on Malcom X at Oxford

Windrush: Impact into Action.

A Briefing Update for Groups and Networks

Report of conference at TUC September 2018, published by Serious Solutions (January 2019)

Pascall Windursh report

Engravings in Illustrated London News 1847

One of the resources at Croydon Central Library are bound volumes of Illustrated London News from the first issue through to the early 1900s. I was looking at the two 1847 volumes. Among the items are:

(1)  Alexander Dumas profile with image. (27 February)

(2)  The King of Mosquitia (Mosquito Shore, Honduras) in Council  (30 October)

(3)  Newcastle Race Prize Plate showing a North American ‘Indian’ on a stallion in feathered head dress. (26 June).

Searching Google Books brings up the complete digitised version of the 1847 issues so that the above can be read.

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General history events and news at 26 February

Tuesday 5 March. 7pm. Progressing democracy: the Jarrow Land and Labour League, 1880-1887

Talk by Dr Joan Allen for North East Labour History Society.

Old George Inn, Bigg Market, Newcastle NE1 1EZ

Irish unrest dominated British politics in the wake of the 1880 Election. The agricultural crisis in Ireland, and the accompanying upsurge of disorder prompted a wave of coercive legislation. By November 1880, the number of recorded evictions stood at 10,657 and, on Tyneside, which had a large Irish community, branches of the Irish Land League were quickly established. The Jarrow Minute Book has been discovered in the Special Collections at National University of Ireland

Wednesday 6 March.  5.15pm. The Bustle of Business: Nineteenth Century Female Enterprise

Catherine Bishop (Sydney; Northumbria) & Clare Hoare (KCL). IHR seminar. Check website for venue.

Friday 8 March (International Women’s Day)

Wyldwood Arts Wallsend Memorial Hall & People’s Centre

The play, sponsored by the Tyne & Wear County Association of Trades Union Councils, is a one-woman performance by disabled actress Phoebe Kemp, about May Billinghurst, ‘the Crippled Suffragette’.  May played a key role in the women’s rights movement, yet, imprisoned and silenced by her sexuality, she has been widely forgotten.

The play lasts for about one hour, and there will be the opportunity for discussion afterwards. Tickets are £10/£5 and can be booked online at

Friday. 15 March. 5.15pm. Sometimes there’s a breakthrough.! Neighbourhood action and social support

Mel Wright. IHR Seminar. Check website for venue

Tuesday 12 March. 7.30pm. Death on the Brighton Road.

Talk by Jon Newman (Lambeth Archives)

Southwark and Lambeth Archaeological Society                                                                      Housing Co-op Hall, 106 The Cut, Waterloo

Tuesday 19 March. 5.15pm. Special Nuclear Relationship: America and Britain, 1958 to the Present

Inc. Peter Hennessey

IHR Seminar. Check website for venue

Saturday 23 March. 5-7pm. Peggy Seeger in conversation with Maxine Peake

Saturday 30 March. 10.30am-3.30pm. Working-Class adult education in Yorkshire between the wars: what can we learn for today?

Presenters: Christine Pushpa Kumbhat (author of Working Class Adult Education in Yorkshire 1918-1939 – to access search title on Google); Richard Lewis (author of Leaders and Teachers. Adult Education and the Challenge of Labour in South Wales, 1906-1940); Sharon Clancy (Raymond Williams Foundation, Adult Education 100); Rob Hindle (Senior Area Education Manager, WEA Yorkshire); Colin Waugh ((author of Plebs’: The Lost Legacy of Independent Working-Class Education)

Five sessions, with an introductory talk by each speaker; plenty of opportunity for discussion.

Independent Working-Class Education Network

Quaker Meeting House, Lower Friargate, York YO1 9RL

Admission (includes lunch): £5 (pay on day)

To sign up, contact Keith Venables at:

For centenary history of WEA A Ministry of Enthusiasm: Centenary Essays on the Workers’ Educational Association (ed. Steven  Roberts. Pluto Press. 2003). Includes my essay on WEA’s Battersea foundation – Google search title.

Tuesday 2 April. 7pm. The Post-War Labour Unrest 1919 – 1921: The Consolidation of Socialism and the transition from Syndicalism to Communism in the Durham Coalfield

Talk by Joe Redmayne, MA student at Newcastle University. For North East Labour History Society

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

It will highlight national issues at a regional level, exploring the nature of socialism of grassroot activists under institutions such as trade unions, the Labour Party and the emerging Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) and focuses on the dialogue of class representation to better understand the competing visions of the socio-political world.

The Diary of Mary Hardy 1773-1809

The eighteenth-century countrywoman diarist Mary Hardy records a man’s world seen through her eyes—in intricate detail for 36 years,  revealing the exacting, time-pressured nature of pre-mechanised labour. Published by Burham Press.

Irish Famine 1847

One of the resources at Croydon Central Library are bound volumes of Illustrated London News from the first issue through to the early 1900s. I was looking at the two 1847 volumes for mentions of the Irish Famine. Among the other items are:

(1)  A song The tears on the Shamrock about the Famine written by Alfred Crowquill with music composed by Edward Loder. (29 May)

A transcription of the text of the article Famine and starvation in the County of Cork in the 16 January issue can be seen at:

Some other reports on the Famine in the ILN can be seen at

The Newcastle Race Plate can also be seen at

Roller Skating

The journalist Leonie Cooper quotes me in her article on the new roller skating rink opened in North London’s Bruce Grove area. She has undertaken  thorough background research on the history of roller skating.

The Global History of Ice-Hockey

In Hockey: A Global History, Stephen Hardy and Andrew C. Holman tell the story of on-ice stars and organisational visionaries, venues and classic games, the evolution of rules and advances in equipment, and the ascendance of corporations and instances of bureaucratic chicanery. They chart modern hockey’s “birthing” in Montreal and follow its migration from Canada south to the United States and east to Europe. The story then shifts from the sport’s emergence as a nationalist battlefront to the movement of talent across international borders to the game of today. (University of Illinois Press. ISBN 9780252083976)


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Trade Unions, Parliament and Croydon

The public gets a very distorted view of the work of trade unions, MPs  and Parliament because of the lack of detailed coverage by the media of the very positive detailed work they undertake. Their activities have implications for Croydon.

When Croydon North MP campaigned for his Seni’s Law Private Members Bill the local media reported it. His success is a good example of how the tragic death of one young man will lead to improved treatment of people in mental health institutions. Similarly Reed’s amendment to the Private Members Act adding a ban on smoking in cars when there are children as passengers will have beneficial effects across the country.

The latter is just small example of remedial action to protect children in a growing air pollution crisis. At the moment the Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill is in the House of Lords introduced by the Greens’ Baroness Jenny Jones on 5 July last year (62nd anniversary of the first Clean Air Act receiving Royal Assent and the National Health Service’s 70th birthday.) It requires the Secretary of State to set, measure, enforce and report on air quality targets; to make provision about mitigating air pollution, including through the use of clean air zones; to make provision about vehicle emissions testing; to restrict the approval and sale of vehicles with certain engine types; and for connected purposes.

On 15 March a Private Members sponsored by the MP Geriant Davies Clean Air Bill will be read for a second time in the House of Commons.

It eventually passed it will require the Secretary of State to set, measure, enforce and report on air quality targets; to make provision about mitigating air pollution, including through the use of clean air zones; to make provision about vehicle emissions testing; to restrict the approval and sale of vehicles with certain engine types; and for connected purposes.

What then is the relevance to Croydon? The Council has its own Air Quality Strategy. It should therefore be asking the three local MPs to consider backing both Bills as a means to keep the pressure up on the Government, and to suggest possible amendments that would strengthen them.

Croydon TUC and trade union branches whose members work along the heavily polluted roads of Croydon could consider joining the newly formed Trade Union Clear Air Network. Details about this as part of an article on London’s air pollution. Silent Killer can be read in the latest London Hazards magazine which has been circulated by local activist Peter Spalding to his trade union elist.

Public campaigning is an important element. The Labour Parties, their two MPs, the Croydon TUC/Assembly and the Greens could consider jointly running a public meeting on air quality issues and launch a public Croydon campaign.

Construction Workers Safety

Another issue that trade unions are working on is to campaign to improve the regulations regarding health and safety on construction sites. The Hazards Centre  launched a Manifesto for Health and Safety in. It sets out proposals to reverse the deregulation that has undermined health and safety and establish a system based on prevention, precaution, and participation.

Croydon TUC and the unions with building workers could consider backing the manifesto. They could call on the local MPs to do the same. They could request the Council to consider whether it could include higher levels of health and safety measures in its construction contracts, especially those entered into by Brick by Brick. The Council could use its membership of Develop Forum to raise the issues with the developers who are currently or will be running construction sites in Croydon.

Grenfell Tower and Cladding

The magazine also contains an article on the cladding issues arising from the Grenfell Tower disaster. Steve Reed raised the need for urgent action on other blocks in Prime Minister’s Question Time on 22 February last year.

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Croydon events & news and action for environmental sustainability

Wednesday 27 February. 9.30am. Public Transport Liaison Panel

Agenda includes bus services in the Town Centre and Thornton Heath bus garage.

Town Hall

Thursday 28 February Planning Committee. 5.30pm

Includes pre-application for 425 flats at land to south east of Croydon College; and application for 120 flats at 4-60, 42 & 42A Cherry Orchard Rd

Town Hall

Sunday 17 March. 7-11pm. St Patrick’s Night

£4 on door includes free buffet – with the Cohorts, Aidan & Vicky Keohane, Tony Field, Pluto Swint band, George Lloyd, John Wild & Eddie Greene, Doug Field, Denny Terrell and Liz Beaumont.

Ruskin House, 23 Coombe Rd



Just Croydon Events Information

It was good to see the Just Croydon website banner at the Central Library promoting it as the events listing for the Borough. There are lots of events posted on it that I do not highlight on this blog site. So its always worth visiting on a  regular basis, and to post up your events information.

Council calls last orders on Matthews Yard

Croydon Council’s Planning Committee has approved the planning application to demolish the building which houses the Conference Centre on Surrey St and Matthews Yard down the side. The Yard will close and is trying to find new premises.

Council considers increasing Council Tax on empty housing

Inside Croydon Stories

Talawa Theatre (20 February)

Tram improvements axed by TfL – the one benefit is the de-prioritisation of the ill-conceived Loop project (22 February)

No Government funding for anti-knife crime initiatives in Croydon (22 February)

Can the Council and residents take more small steps to encourage sustainable environmental action?

There are plenty of other things that the Council and residents could be considering doing, picking up on ideas from elsewhere. One of the good things about the Croydon Transition Town Facebook page is that there are occasional postings about good ideas working elsewhere:

Those of you who read The Guardian will have received on Friday the My Green Pod supplement. This has many articles  worth reading.

Octopus Energy – is there scope for the Council to encourage them to open a business site in Croydon to help with sustainable energy provision? Obviously this would need to be assessed alongside the initiative Steve Reed took to introduce to the Council Repowering London, which grew out of the community energy initiative he was involved in creating when Leader of Lambeth Council.

Zappi electric car chargers – encourage them to market in Croydon as a way to increase the availability of chargers across the Borough which is needed if people are to switch from diesel to electric driven cars? Zappi is linked with Octopus Electric vehicles.

The Cora Ball designed to prevent microscopic fibres getting into the water environment from washing machines – can the Council consider using them in all its premises that have dishwashers?

Green Goddess cleaning fluids – ditto

Suma dishwasher tablets – ditto. Suma is a workers  co-op.

And for those Corbynite/Momentum readers of this blog there is an article on the company that produces the Corbyn tee-shirts!

Individual residents could also consider whether they want to switch to some of the products.


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