What does a Ridley Road Book need?
Any suggestions, thoughts or stories are much appreciated.
Tamara Stoll is working on a book about Ridley Road market and is seeking contributions. See the link above for more information and contact details.
From my perspective this kind of “history from below” of working class areas is radical in itself, but Ridley Road also has a history of more explicitly radical activity…
From the 43 Group physically attacking Oswald Moseley’s British Union of Fascists in the 1940s, to paper sales by everyone from Hackney Communist Party to the Black Unity and Freedom Party – as well as the multicultural essence of the market simply helping cohesion in working class communities:
What was different about Dalston? Because of Ridley Road Market, which had a lot of West Indian stall-holders and customers, most of the pubs there did not operate a Colour Bar. So it had this strong effect. Partly because of Ridley Road and so on. It was because Dalston was a centre of Caribbean life, because of the market, but also because the pubs there were much more tolerant. And I don’t think people have given enough credence to how institutions like pubs and bars structure the geography of a place. So much as something like an informal Colour Bar that pushed West Indians towards and around Ridley Road, and the pubs around there. Dalston pubs were much more tolerant.
(Excerpt from a Ken Worpole interview courtesy of Hackney Archives.
Anyone with stories or memories of Ridley Road is welcome to contact Tamara.
The comrades at Lesbian History Group have uploaded the annual reports of Dalston Children’s Centre from 1982 and 1983 as PDFs.
The text below sums up its radical ethos:
The Centre was based firstly at 80 Sandringham Road and then latterly 112 Greenwood Road (near Dalston Lane). They also used a number of other venues for activities including St Marks church hall.
The reports are an interesting combination of the expected problems with funding (and the usual tussles about compromising the radical aims of the group to meet funders’ objectives) as well as accounts of the activities of the group, letters from Centre users etc.
The 1983 report includes an appendix of Centre policies, including anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-heterosexism and anti-authoritarianism – and how these might be applied to education, training and food.
Direct links to the PDFs are here:
Also of interest might be this report of a recent meeting of the Radical History Network on radical childcare struggles in North London.
An excerpt from the book Making Space: Women and the Man-Made Environment by Matrix – a feminist architecture firm who also helped with Hackney Women’s Centre. The book is available as a PDF at monoskop.
The current issue of HWJ includes an excellent article by Christine Wall titled “Sisterhood and Squatting in the 1970s: Feminism, Housing and Urban Change in Hackney”.
Fortunately for us non-academics, the piece can be read in its entirety online rather than being stuck behind a paywall:
There is a particular focus on the area around London Fields / Broadway Market:
By the late 1970s an estimated fifty women-only households were scattered throughout the streets behind Broadway Market, including one continuous terrace of seven women’s squats on Lansdowne Drive. The majority of these women identified as lesbians.
But squatting communities in Ivydene Road and Amhurst Road are also mentioned, as well as some very readable recollections of feminist squatting culture and activism.