Hackney Archives and the struggle for equality at Percy Ingle

I spent a great afternoon in November at the Hackney Archives’ “Occupy The Archives” event as part of the Antiuniversity series.


I was very impressed with the dedication of the staff, the contributions of other attendees and the general atmosphere. It was great to meet some people who’d seen this site too.

There was perhaps predictably too much stuff to take in, but my eye was drawn to a particular file which included notes, minutes and letters from various protest groups – many of which had postal addresses courtesy of Centerprise:

IMG_2564 IMG_2563 IMG_2562

IMG_2566  IMG_2565.
This material has been used to update a previous post on Centerprise’s radical mailboxes.

If I get another spare afternoon then I’ll be straight back to Hackney Archives to do some more digging for this site…

The archives do good twitter too, if that is your thing: @archiveshackney

In the meantime, drop me a line or leave a comment below if you were involved with any of the above – particularly the Percy Ingle campaign.


Meeting on Hackney Spycops – Feb 26th

Previous entries on this site have covered police spies in Hackney and the campaigns seeking justice arising from their actions.

This site also includes quite a bit of material by and about Hackney Community Defence Association.

The campaigns around spycops are an inspiring example of how radical history can be linked to current struggles.


Meeting organised by Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (COPS)

Big Brother – Who’s Watching You? Mark Jenner meeting

February 26 @ 7:00 pm9:30 pm

Why did undercover cop Mark Jenner infiltrate Hackney campaigns in the 1990s?

The Special Demonstration Squad’s Mark Jenner was deployed using the name Mark Cassidy.

The Undercover Research Group’s extensive profile of Jenner shows the range of issues he spied on – anti-racist campaigns, trade unions, Irish republicanism and Hackney community campaigns. He chaired meetings, wrote articles and instigated action.

Why was he there?


Graham Smith – former secretary of Hackney Community Defence Association, founding member of the Colin Roach Centre

John McDonnell MP – shadow chancellor and social justice campaigner

Female speaker from Police Spies Out of Lives who was affected by undercover policing in Hackney

Mark Metcalf – founder member of the Colin Roach Centre, NUJ member, editor of the Unite Rebel Road and book of the month projects

Friday 26 February
Doors open 7pm for prompt 7.30 start


42-44 Brooksby’s Walk, London E9 6DF

0208 533 0227



Mark Metcalf wrote There Is No Way Of Knowing How Much Damage Jenner Caused shortly after Jenner was exposed.

“Alison”, an activist who was deceived into a five year co-habiting relationship with Jenner, gave this testimony to parliament and told her story to Newsnight in 2014.

forthcoming events and updates

1. “Sites of Resistance: Radical Bookselling” – 9th February

Applied History Network:
Sites of Resistance: Radical Bookselling
A discussion event
Marx Memorial Library, 37a Clerkenwell Green, London, EC1R 0DU
Tuesday 9th February 2016, 6.30-8pm

We are pleased to announce that our next event ‘Sites of Resistance: Radical Bookselling‘ will be held at the Marx Memorial Library, London EC1R 0DR on Tuesday 9th February at 6.30pm until 8pm. Please go to our Eventbrite page to register. The event is free of charge but registration is required.

We will be looking at the importance of radical bookshops as “sites of resistance.” The 1970s saw a peak in the numbers of bookshops dedicated to providing access to alternative publications covering the growing anti-racist, LGBT+ and feminist movements, amongst others. Many of these bookshops also acted as meeting places and support centres for new and established groups, and offered a template for encouraging further grassroots and community activism and campaigning. More recently, the numbers of these vital “sites of resistance” have closed due to increasing rents, funding cuts, the growth of online bookstores and competition from larger bookshops.

Although bookshops have been a core element of campaigns, as a subject this seems to have been neglected by researchers and historians of social history. Key questions that we will cover are: has the internet already filled the space left by these important centres? What is the future of activism and campaigning? And the future of radical bookshops?


Sarah Garrod: Archivist, George Padmore Institute

Nik Gorecki: Co-ordinator, Alliance of Radical Booksellers and co-manager of Housmans

Ken Worpole: Author

Rosa Vilbr: Oral Historian and founder of On the Record

Register here


2. “A Revolutionary school girl in the 1960s” – 9th March 2016

Radical History Network of North-East London:
A Revolutionary school girl in the 1960s

Speaker: Di Parkin
Wood Green Social Club, 3 Stuart Crescent, London N22 5NJ
Wednesday 9th March 2016, 7.30 pm

One day after international women’s day, Di Parkin will give a talk that is based on the earlier ‘Running Down Whitehall with a Black Flag’.

Using reminiscence and some archives, it gives a snapshot of left action between 1962 and 1965, including Aldermaston Marches, opposition to Franco, protests against the visit of Greek royals in 1963, and other activism.

Plus discussion

The talk provides an opportunity to share experiences, as well as to hear about and discuss some of the events and movements that challenged ‘the old order’.

•How does this history connect with campaigns today?
•What are the main differences and similarities? What was better; what was worse?
•Things we can learn from? How much do different generations learn from each other?

Free to attend, all welcome.


3. “Out and Proud in North London” – notes from a previous RaHN meeting

A lot of people expressed an interest in this meeting but only a few of them made it along on the night. It was great! The notes have now been published in two parts:

a. Chris’s story

b. Sylvia’s story

4. Past Tense

Our radical history comrades at Past Tense are planning a discussion/social to work through the future of the project: