January 2020 updates

While this blog has hibernated, others have been busy…

Rio Cinema Archive is an Instagram feed that features scans of photographs from a community project based at the cinema in the 1980s. It’s a fantastic resource that shows Hackney in all its glorious colours and includes documentation of number of protests:

1984 collecting for the Miners Strike Support Fund
Colin Roach protest outside Stoke Newington Police Station 1985
Sept 26 1983 saw a day of community action in Hackney to protest cuts to the NHS and hospital closures at St Leonard’s and the Mother’s Hospital on Lower Clapton Rd, pictured here is an effigy of Thatcher the milk snatcher outside St Leonard’s

The scanning is being done by friend of this site Alan Denney and is an ongoing project – at the time of writing just under 700 photos have been posted. There is an article from the Hackney Gazette about the project here.

Tamara Stoll’s Ridley Road Market is a lavish 248 page hardback book featuring archival and contemporary photographs.

“Ridley Road market is where the world meets. No one has captured its vibrancy and humanity better than Tamara Stoll. Her book is now the definitive record of one of the most historic and colourful street markets of London, if not the world.”

Ken Worpole, writer, social historian and Hackney resident since 1969

You can order the book direct from https://ridleyroadmarketbook.com/ and copies were available in Stoke Newington Bookshop last time I was in there.

On a related note, Verso have published We Fight Fascists: The 43 Group and Their Forgotten Battle for Post-War Britain by Daniel Sonabend. This is a very welcome account of the story of the Jewish ex-servicemen who fought British fascists on the streets of London after World War Two. It widens the scope of the Maurice Beckman’s seminal The 43 Group: Untold Story of Their Fight Against Fascism that Centerprise published in the 1990s. (Which remains essential and was the first book on the radical history of Hackney that I read).

Sonabend has done a great job of talking to other surviving members of the 43 Group who (understandably) sometimes had slightly different recollections to Beckman. There is a whole chapter of the book given over to 1947’s “The Battle of Ridley Road” in which The 43 Group (and Communist Party of Great Britain) fought physically with the fascist League of Ex-Servicemen for speaking pitches on Ridley Road over several weeks.

You can hear the author discuss the book and his research in this episode of the thoroughly recommended 12 Rules For What anti-fascist podcast:

Ken Worpole has kindly alerted me to the publication of A New World In Essex: The Rise and Fall of the Purleigh Brotherhood Colony 1896-1903 by Victor Gray:

A story of disappointed idealism set in late-Victorian rural Essex where a group of Christian Socialists from Croydon, inspired by the writings of Leo Tolstoy, went ‘back to the land’ to create a Utopian colony. This detailed study of an influential experiment in community living tracks their struggle to survive and the reasons for its ultimate failure.”

Ken has written an interesting account of Christian Socialists J.C. Kenworthy and John Bruce Wallace, both of whom are included in the book because of their connection with the Brotherhood Church in Hackney.

Ken is also interested in any information that might confirm that Kenworthy Road in Homerton is named after J.C. Kenworthy (as am I – now that I know about it!)

You can find our more about A New World In Essex – and order a copy – from Campanula Books.

Finally, I have failed to get to the Hackney’s Got Style: Celebrating the History and Impact of African and Caribbean Fashion and Hair exhibition at Hackney Museum so am relieved that it has now been extended to Saturday 21st March. Free entry, looks very cool, be rude not to:

Images from the Hackney Museum twitter feed

I also have a bunch of unfinished posts sitting here that hopefully will get done… sometime.

8th November: a short history of Hackney’s fight against new roads

Just seen this via the Hackney Society

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Talk with Wayne Asher and Stella Bland. 

Meet at Hackney Archives, Dalston Square, E8 3BQ. Arrive early for a prompt start at 7. Refreshments from 6:30pm, following the Friends of the Archives AGM which begins at 6. 

Please book places following the link on Eventbrite.

Wayne Asher tells the story of the Ringways – a set of urban motorways planned in the 1960s and 70s, which would have made 100,000 people homeless, devastated the environment and prevented the 21st century rebirth of public transport in the capital.

What would have been the impact here in Hackney? What sort of local opposition was there?

Stella Bland takes us to 1988/89, when the East London Assessment Study proposed new roads that cut through housing, heritage buildings and green space from north to south and east to west across Hackney.

The local response was the Hackney No Through Road campaign, involving people from many different communities in our borough.

How could Hackney inspire such plans for its destruction? What did this say about our society, culture, and politics in the late 80’s?
We hope that the evening will end with a good discussion, perhaps exploring current attitudes to transport and traffic.

This is a joint event from the Hackney Society and Friends of Hackney Archives and is free to all, with donations accepted to cover cost of refreshments. Please sign up and come along.

Portraits from ‘A Hackney Autobiography’ exhibition

portraits from a hackney autobiography invite

Regular readers of this blog will remember my enthusiastic support for the A Hackney Autobiography project which documented the Centerprise radical bookshop, cafe, meeting place, community hub.

Well as you can see from the image above, the project continues with an exhibition of photographs “of people who worked at or frequented Centerprise and archive material related to their work”.

 

Forthcoming radical history events in Hackney

“A unique reading of the commissioned text, Wollstonecraft Live! which depicts the shooting of a biopic of Mary Wollstonecraft’s life, with actors, an original music score, and you, the audience. Taking place in the atmospheric 18th century Unitarian Chapel in Newington Green, attended by Wollstonecraft in the 1780s. Come and hear the pulse of her words woven through the tapestry of a story of and about her life, linking past and present.

Directed by Anna Birch

Script by Kaethe Fine

Sound design by Alastair Gavin”

Tickets £7.50 from here.

Roots, Rhythms & Records: The sounds and stories of African and Caribbean music in Hackney

Hackney Museum: 4 October 2018 – 16 March 2019

“From making beats in bedrooms to performing on stage, enjoying sounds in shebeens to looking sharp for the club, this exhibition explores the history of African and Caribbean music in Hackney.

Through stories of musical innovation, distribution and enjoyment, this exhibition celebrates the impact of African and Caribbean music in Hackney and beyond.

Join us for the exhibition launch on Thursday 4th October, from 6pm. Free, please RSVP here:

FREE

Hackney Museum
Ground Floor
Technology and Learning Centre
1 Reading Lane
E8 1GQ

https://www.hackney.gov.uk/museum-visiting

Hackney Museum: Making Her Mark: 100 years of women’s activism

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Hackney Museum is currently hosting an excellent exhibit in the history of radical women and women’s activism in the Borough. (Obviously if I had my act together, I would have posted this yesterday on International Women’s Day)

The exhibition has been organised in collaboration with the East End Women’s Museum who have details on their website. There is also some information on the Council’s website here.

A visit is recommended – there is a great spread of material from the Suffragettes through to the peace movement and even Nicola Thorp’s shoes.

There’s an interview on East London Radio about the exhibition too:

Hackney Museum, 1 Reading Ln, London E8 1GQ.

  • 9.30am – 5.30pm Tues, Wed, Fri
  • 9.30am – 8.30pm Thu
  • 10am – 5pm Sat

Nearest station: Hackney Central

The Museum is also currently working on an exhibition of black music in the borough and seeking contributions and input.

7th May: A Hackney Biography app and book launch

This just in from the organisers:

You are invited to the launch of the
A Hackney Autobiography mobile app & book
Sunday 7 May

You are invited to celebrate the launch of A Hackney Autobiography: a mobile app and website and the publication of The Lime Green Mystery: An oral history of the Centerprise co-operative.

When: Sunday 7th May, 5 – 7 pm

Where: Sutton House, 2 and 4 Homerton High Street, London E9 6JQ. Map here.
Booking essential.

Contact: info@on-the-record.org.uk to reserve your place.

Before the party, there’s a unique chance to preview one of the audiowalks featured on the app as a group. Meet at 3:30 at Homerton station and RSVP asap as places are booking up quickly.

What: hear a roundtable of speakers who are engaged in cultural and community activities in related fields, reflect on the history of Centerprise as re-presented by a hackney autobiography and join the discussion. Receive a free copy of The Lime Green Mystery, preview the app and get help downloading it.

Speakers include: Toyin Agbetu from Ligali, Vivian Archer from Newham Bookshop, Nana Fani Kayode, teacher and radio producer, Gary Molloy from Core Arts, Marie Murray from Dalston Eastern Curve Garden and representatives from the Young Historians’ Project.

Event organised in collaboration with Pages bookshop

More details on the app, book and audiowalk below.

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Through the memories and reflections of many of the people involved, The Lime Green Mystery charts how the Centerprise co-operative (1971 – 1993) attempted to put radical ideas about education, culture and community work into practice. It explores issues of representation, power and collective management and will appeal to those interested in radical community organisations, grassroots bookselling and publishing, the adult literacy movement, London’s social history, and to people involved in community-based cultural and co-operative initiatives today.

Pre-order your free copy now by emailing us with your address. Limited numbers available, pre-ordering is encouraged to avoid disappointment. Donations to cover the cost of postage appreciated but not essential.

The Inside Out Homerton Audiowalk

The walk explores birth, madness and creativity, inside and out of The Institution. This 45 minute immersive audio walk blurs boundaries between auditory hallucination and external sound. This is a unique opportunity to experience a hackney autobiography, with the people featured in it.

To book a place on the Inside Out Homerton audiowalk, please contact us by 21 April. Later bookings will be accepted if places remain available.People who don’t like smart phones are welcome!

A Hackney Autobiography app

Poetic sat-nav, mapping Hackney through the writing and memories of its people. A hackney autobiography features:

  • four audio walks, each with original illustrations and music
  • over fifty bite-sized stories about creativity, education and resistance in Hackney.

All content was published or inspired by Centerprise, a radical cultural and community project (1971-2012).

The app and website will be launched at the end of April and will be at http://ahackneyautobiography.org.uk

7th December: Daniel Rachel and Ken Worpole on Rock Against Racism

This just in from The Broadway Bookshop, 6 Broadway Market…

WALLS COME TUMBLING DOWN:
A TALK with DANIEL RACHEL
in conversation with KEN WORPOLE
Wednesday 7 December 2016 at 7 p.m.

We are delighted to announce that Daniel Rachel will be appearing at the shop on Wednesday 7 December to read and talk about his new book WALLS COME TUMBLING DOWN (published by Picador).

Daniel’s remarkable oral history – which brilliantly captures the mood on the streets of British cities before and after the epoch-changing rise of Rock Against Racism – will be introduced by writer Ken Worpole, who remembers when Hackney’s streets were on the front line.

Tickets £3 (includes glass of wine). For booking please RSVP: books@broadwaybookshophackney.com or call 020 7241 1626. For further information please see below.

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About the book:In August 1976, Eric Clapton made an inflammatory speech in support of Enoch Powell and ‘black’ repatriation, sparking an anti-racism campaign that would soon radicalise an entire generation. The following sixteen years saw politics and pop music come together as never before to challenge racism, gender inequality and social and class divisions. For the first time in UK history, musicians became instigators of social change; and their political persuasion as important as the songs they sang.

Through the voices of campaigners, musicians, artists and politicians, Daniel Rachel charts this extraordinary and pivotal period between 1976 and 1992, following the rise and fall of three key movements of the time: Rock Against Racism, 2 Tone, and Red Wedge, revealing how they both shaped, and were shaped by, the music of a generation.

Consisting of new and exclusive in-depth conversations with over 100 contributors, including Pauline Black, Billy Bragg, Jerry Dammers, Phill Jupitus, Neil Kinnock, Linton Kwesi-Johnson, Tom Robinson, Clare Short, Tracey Thorn and many more, Walls Come Tumbling Down is a fascinating, polyphonic and authoritative account of those crucial sixteen years in Britain’s history, from the acclaimed writer of Isle of Noises.

Walls Come Tumbling Down also features more than 150 images – many rare or previously unpublished – from some of the greatest names in photography, including Adrian Boot, Chalkie Davies, Jill Furmanovsky, Syd Shelton, Pennie Smith, Steve Rapport and Virginia Turbett.

“We were trying to change the world in our tiny way by stopping the rise of fascism amongst youth with the power of music.” – Red Saunders, founder of Rock Against Racism.

‘An amazing oral history’ Billy Bragg

…………………………………………………………………………..

Daniel Rachel wrote his first song when he was sixteen and was the lead-singer in Rachels Basement. He was first eligible to vote in the 1992 General Election and now lives in north London with his partner and three children. Daniel is the author of Isle of Noises: Conversations with Great British Songwriters – a Guardian and NME Book of the Year – also published by Picador, and a regular guest contributor on BBC Radio 5.

www.danielrachel.com

Ken Worpole is a writer and social historian, whose work includes many books on architecture, landscape and public policy. He is married to photographer Larraine Worpole with whom he has collaborated on book projects internationally, as well as in Hackney, London, where they have lived and worked since 1969.

Ken is Emeritus Professor, Cities Institute London Metropolitan University, and has served on the UK government’s Urban Green Spaces Task Force, on the Expert Panel of the Heritage Lottery Fund, and as an adviser to the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment.

www.worpole.net

Black history arts/activism exhibition at Hackney Museum

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Next week sees the launch of a new exhibition at Hackney Museum which looks well worth checking out:

People Power: Black British arts and activism in Hackney 1960s-2000s
4 October 2016 – 21 January 2017

This exhibition explores aspects of Black British arts and activism which have developed in Hackney since the 1960s.

There is another exhibition running until the new year which should also be of interest:

Sharing Our Stories: Jewish Stamford Hill 1930s-1950s
13 September 2016 – 9 January 2017

A display of local people’s stories by Teen Action, a Chassidic Orthodox Jewish organisation for young women, and Hackney Museum.

Opening times, contact details etc can be found here.

RaHN meeting: Sylvia Pankhurst and the East London Suffragettes and Ireland

Next meeting of the Radical History Network of North East London

Wednesday 29th June 7.30 p.m., Wood Green Social Club

In October 1912 Sylvia Pankhurst climbed onto a wooden platform outside an old baker’s shop on Bow Road, and painted the words ‘VOTES FOR WOMEN’ in golden letters above the door. What began as a simple recruitment drive for the Women’s Social and Political Union soon sparked a rebellion in the suffragette ranks, and launched a mass movement for equality in the East End.

Our meeting will look at Sylvia Pankhurst’s life and legacy – both in London and internationally.

Speakers

Sarah Jackson is co-author of ‘Voices From History: East London Suffragettes’ and co-founder of the East End Women’s Museum – www.eastendwomensmuseum.org

Geoffrey Bell is the author of the recently published ‘Hesitant Comrades – The Irish Revolution and the British Labour Movement’, described by one reviewer as “a fine example of politically committed scholarship”, and by another as “this fascinating book”. Bell has also written a recent article in ‘History Ireland’ on Sylvia Pankhurst and Ireland’s 1916 Rising and its aftermath.

Plus discussion:

  • How does this history connect with campaigns today?
  • If everyone loves the suffragettes, why are women still struggling for equality?

Wednesday 29th June 7.30 pm
Wood Green Social Club, 3 Stuart Crescent, London N22 5NJ
(Off the High Rd, near Wood Green tube and buses 329/121/141)

http://radicalhistorynetwork.blogspot.co.uk/

Free to attend, all welcome.

April events of interest

Organised by Hackney Museum:

A Walking Tour of Clapton & Homerton during the First World War
Sunday 3 April, 2pm-3.30pm
Meeting point provided after booking

This walk explores the fascinating legacy of the war in Hackney including interned enemy aliens; conscientious objectors; diverse communities; rioters; rogues, victims and heroes.
Walk guided by Julian Putkowski, a local military historian and broadcaster.

Free but you need to book.

Hackney’s Conscientious Objectors: A Talk
Thursday 14 April, 6.30pm
Hackney Archives

This illustrated talk by Ben Copsey of the Peace Pledge Union uncovers a few of the stories of Hackney’s 350 conscientious objectors during the First World War. To accompany the exhibition at Hackney Archives.

Free but you need to book.

Speak to the World
Wednesday 6 April, 10.30am-12.30am and 2pm-4pm
Hackney Museum 
 
Be inspired by posters from the First World War and make your own poster with bright and bold messages to take home and send out to the people of Hackney and beyond. Led by artist Lucy Harrison.

Free drop-in family workshop.

Organised by Abney Park:

The Georgian Activist Legacy
16 April, 1pm & 2.30pm
Free, booking recommended

Abney Park presents an afternoon of events celebrating the lives and legacies of our Georgian activists!

Georgian activist cemetery tour, 1pm
“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”
Abney Park cemetery provides an important connection to the events of the 18th and 19th centuries and the people who fought against the Transatlantic Slave Trade and social injustices. Join historian Onyeka as we take a tour of the cemetery to hear about influential activists and abolitionists whose final resting place is Abney Park. Learn about the lives of people such as Rev. Aaron Buzacott (secretary to the anti-slavery movement in the Ottoman Empire), Christopher Newman Hall (supporter of the abolitionist movement during the American Civil War) and Joanna Vassa (daughter of Olaudah Equiano). This is a free tour but spaces are limited so please book in advance: http://bit.ly/1RuPiM0

Talk: The Life of Joanna Vassa, 2.30pm
Join Angelina Osbourne (author of Equiano’s Daughter: the Life and Times of Joanna Vassa) for an imagining of Vassa’s life, exploring all the important events she would have lived through and the kind of life she would have led.

Joanna Vassa, daughter of Olaudah Equiano, died in 1857 and is buried in Abney Park. During the afternoon you’ll have the chance to learn more about the Trust’s plans for vital conservation work on her memorial.


Forthcoming:

Radical History Network – aiming for another event in May, more news on their blog soon (and here).

Antiuniversity Now 2016. 9-12 June. Various events various locations tbc but presumably including Hackney. Maybe organise your own?