Sunday, 3 October 2010

My Wandsworth Black History Month Talks & Walks

Activities by Sean Creighton

Sun 3. 2pm
From Slavery to Windrush walk.
Wandsworth Museum. See Note 1

Wed 6. 7pm
The Lives of Black People in Wandsworth 1620-1820
Talk about what is known about the lives of black people who lived, worked, raised families, visited and were educated in the various parishes that make up today's Borough of Wandsworth plus Clapham and Streatham. They include 'Black Mary' from the 1620s-1660s and the African children educated by the anti-slavery Clapham Sect.
Wandsworth Museum. See Note 2
Sat 9. 2-4.30pm
John Archer Talk and Walk
Talk about the life of John Archer, Battersea's Black Mayor 1913/14. Born 1863 in Liverpool, Archer was involved in Battersea municipal and in international black rights politics. First elected in 1906 he served on behalf of the Progressive Alliance until 1919 and for the Labour Party from 1919 on Battersea Council on many occasions up to his death in 1932. The talk will be followed by a walk about that part of John Archer's Battersea.
Battersea Park Library. See Note 3.
Tues 12. 7pm
Slave Rebellions
Talk about slave rebellions in the British West Indies and the United States and their impact on the movement for freedom.
Wandsworth Museum. See Note 2
Sat 23. 2pm.
John Archer Walk
This walk will take in Archer's homes and photography business, and the Latchmere Estate.
£5 charge. Meet Albert Bridge Rd/Brynmaer Rd, SW11. See Note 4.
Wed 27. 7pm
Harbens Gulati: Battersea's Asian Doctor and Politician
Talk about Dr Harbens Lal Gulati (1895–1967). Dr Gulati was an Asian doctor practicing in Northcote Rd from the 1930s. Initially a Conservative activist becoming a Councillor in 1934, because he supported the creation of the National Health Service he resigned from the Party in 1947 and joined the Labour Party. He was elected onto the Borough Council, and then the London County Council.
Northcote Rd Library. See Note 5.
Note 1. Free unless you want to go into the Museum at the end of the walk – see Note 2. Wandsworth Museum, 38 West Hill, SW18.
Note 2. Cost: Normal museum entry charge (which gives one year's free admission). Booking is advisable, please contact or 020 8870 6060.
Note 3. Free – booking advisable 020 8871 7468. Battersea Park Library, 309 Battersea Park Road, SW11.
Note 4. £5.00. For further details email, or text to 07725045550.
Note 5. Free. Free – booking advisable 020 8871 7469. Northcote Rd Library, 155e Northcote Road, SW11.
My essay John Archer and the Politics of Labour in Battersea (1906-32) was published in Belonging to Europe, a special Issue of the journal Immigrants & Minorities. Vol 28. Issues 2/3. July/November 2010. ISSN 0261-9288.
Full Wandsworth Black History Month programme on

The Slavery Business and British Black History

On 21 September I attended the Conference about the Slave Planter Class held at Chawton House Library near Alton in Hampshire. Then it was up to Newcastle to speak at the Legacies of British Slave-ownership (LBS) project's North East workshop on Saturday 25 September, which I had helped to promote through the North East Slavery & Abolition Network. Both Conferences have helped to build the networking on slavery business research; the sharing of information and ideas. Today, Sunday 3 October I led a walk in the area around the new Wandsworth Museum titled 'From Slavery to Windrush'. I was able to share with the people who came the latest information coming out of the LBS project about the West India merchant family the Ruckers, who owned extensive lands along West Hill. At the request of the BASA (Black & Asian Studies Association) Committee I have taken back on the editorship of its members Information Bulletin. As a publicly available supplement I have out together a diary of BHM events around the country. The following are the details of the talks and walks I am undertaking in Wandsworth's Black History Month (BHM) are on the next Blog.

Mutual & Social Action in Lambeth

A Historical Review of
Co-operative and Mutual
Social Action
Sean Creighton
History & Social Action Publications
ISBN No. 978-09548943-5-1. £2

On Friday evening I went to the Open Space session on Lambeth's Co-operative Council initiative. Most of the 35 people who attended were green activists, especially in Brixton. While a wide range of concerns were raised, the perspective was very different from the one I had expected given the suspicion of Lambeth Council that is usually expressed at meetings involving activists in the community and voluntary sector. I suggested that a historic understanding of the rich history of mutual and social action was needed, along with an understanding of the deep-set Council cultural problems that have existed since the Borough was created in the mid-1960s. The initiative was seen as one which provided an opportunity to potentially change the culture of the way the Lambeth bureaucratic machine operates and to encourage large numbers of people actively engage in deciding the solutions they want to the problems they face or to fulfil their aspirations. I sold copies of my pamphlet review of co-operative and mutual social action in Lambeth.

Working in Partnership in Kennington & Vauxhall

I have been supporting Riverside Community Development Trust (RCDT) in various capacities) since May 2004. Like most community organisations it has had its ups and downs. Its back on an up. It has decided to work more closely than previously with Lady Margaret Hall Settlement (LMHS) because we have found that partnership working can make the most of opportunities that arise. LMHS has been supporting Vauxhall Gardens Community Centre (VGCC) in its negotiations over the past few years to ensure it has a continued existence when Lambeth Council sold the building VGCC occupies to a major office developer in the area CLS Holdings. This has now been achieved with the future of the Centre secured. LMHS also helped it sign an agreement with Real World to run its UK On-Line Computer Centre at the building. As a lot of work has to be done to bring the building up to scratch RCDT is housing the Centre and Real World at its premises at 20 Newburn. Now I have become Secretary to both the RCDT Board and LMHS Council and the RCDT member newsletter has been relaunched with LMHS as a joint public document. To receive copies all residents and workers in Kennington and Vauxhall have to do is to email me

The two organisations, VGCC and Real World ran a joint set of stall at the 11 September Changing Vauxhall EXPO community event. I led two walks round the area of Spring Gardens and launched my new publication providing a historical overview to mutual and social action in Lambeth written because of Lambeth Council's Co-operative Council initiative (see separate blog posting).

The Albert Embankment and the Vauxhall area forms part of the Vauxhall, Nine Elms & Battersea Opportunity area in which massive redevelopment is proposed by Mayor Boris, and Lambeth and Wandsworth Councils. There is the proposed Covent Garden, American Embassy, Power Station and Tideway developments, the proposed extension of the Northern Line into the Power Station site. And now added into the mix is the mammoth underground sewer main project proposed by Thames Water. It is very important that the community groups on both sides of the Lambeth/Wandsworth border liaise.