Friday, 17 February 2012

Diary of Events from 22 February to 28 April

To Sunday 4 March. Mirth in the Mill. Exhibition of cartoons of the Lancashire cotton industry in the early 20thC. Features Sam Fitton's weekly cartoons in the union newspaper Cotton Factory Times, which provided a wry and unique commentary on the workplace struggles and everyday lives of the men, women and children who worked in the mills. People's History Museum, Spinningfields, Manchester M3.

To Sunday 6 May. North City Renaissance Exhibition. Centred on Sting’s commissioned painting 'Northern City Renaissance, Newcastle, England' (2004-2008) by American landscapist Stephen Hannock, this exhibition shows scenes from the Newcastle Laing Art Gallery’s collection depicting the Tyne’s sites of industrial shipbuilding and coalmining history.

Wednesday 22 February. 7pm. From ‘Wot Cheor Geordie ‘& ‘When the boats come in ‘to the Baltic the Sage & the Millenium Bridge. Popular culture in the north east since 1945. Natasha Vall (Teesside University). North East Popular Politics Project talk. Newcastle Lit & Phil, Westgate Road. All welcome. Her Bohemians and ‘Pitmen Painters’ in North East England, 1930-1970 can be seen on Details of her  book Cultural Region. North East England, 1945–2000. (Manchester University Press, 2011. ISBN 978-07-1908-228. £60) can be seen on Dave Russell’s review of it is on

Friday. 24 February. 8pm. The X-Factor in History - and the Story of Wandsworth's Low-Born Meritocrats. Talk by  Penny Corfield (Emeritus Professor of History, University of London). Wandsworth Historical Society. Friend's Meeting House, Wandsworth High Street, SW18. Free.

Friday 24 February.  7pm.  Concert at St Mary's Church. Jonathan Wilkeley's farewell concert as Music Director before he moves on to pastures new. Jonathan will accompany tenor Greg Tassell on the piano in a varied selection of English song including music by Britten, Coates, Dring, Coward, Flanders and Swann and many others. Greg will also include a song by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. St Mary's Church, Battersea Church Road.

Saturday 25 February. Midday-5pm, History of Riots Conference.  Room 350, Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet Street, London, WC1. The British riots of summer 2011 were a powerful reminder that rioting is still on the agenda even in one of the centres of market capitalism. Rioting has a long history and historical context. While authorities have tended to use the language of criminality historians have often taken a different view. The papers at this conference – the first to look at the history of riots since the events of 2011, and the broader sweep from the Arab Spring to the Occupy movements of that year – are based on original research into a range of aspects of the riot in history.  Speakers include:
·         Keith Flett. The London Crowd and London riots
·         Sean Creighton: From Revolution to New Unionism; the impact of Bloody Sunday on the development of John Burns’s politics
·         Neil Davidson: Riots around the Scottish Union negotiations in 1706 and the Global South today
·         John Newsinger: Memorial Day Massacre, a Chicago Police Riot
12 noon. Registration starts.
12.30pm. Papers and discussion including introduction: 4pm. Round Table discussion: Understanding the history of riots today.
Entry is £10 [£5 unwaged]. We ask people to donate in advance, if possible, to speed registration on the day.
Cheques, payable to ‘ Keith Flett’, to 38 Mitchley Rd, London, N17. Inquiries to:  or call 07803 167266.

Historian Penny Corfield’s reflections on riots can be seen in her September discussion point at

Sunday 26 February. Clarion Family Cycle Ride event involving members of the Clarion Cycling Club  arriving at the People's History Museum on their penny farthings and vintage cycles, and then riding to the Working Class Movement Library for a Clarion tea. Full details here. If you are planning to join them please email to let them know.

Tuesday 28 February. 9.30-11am. ‘Changing Gear - Is Localism the new Regionalism?’ Seminar organised by Smith Institute with Regional Studies Association. Venue Parliament. The seminar will take an in-depth look at the Government’s recent changes to regional, local and sub-local economic development. It will also see the launch of a collection of essays by leading experts on the regionalism and localism debate which has been edited by Michael Ward (Research Fellow, the Smith Institute) and Sally Hardy (Chief Executive, Regional Studies Association). Speakers: Hilary Benn MP (Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government), David Ward MP (Member, BIS Select Committee), Professor David Bailey (Professor of International Business Strategy and Economics, Coventry University and Chair of the Regional Studies Association) and Michael Ward. To attend email as soon as possible.

Monday 5 March. 6-8pm. The past in today’s politics: a debate on the state of history-writing as a political act. Panel members :

·         Professor Virginia Berridge (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and co-founder of ‘History & Policy’)

·         Dr Maurice Glasman (Reader in Political Theory at London Metropolitan University and Labour Peer)

·         Dr Mark Levene (University of Southampton)

·         Professor Lynne Segal (Birkbeck College, University of London).

Chair: Gareth Stedman Jones (Director of the Centre for History and Economics, Cambridge, Fellow of King's College, Cambridge University and Professor of the History of Ideas at Queen Mary, University of London). Venue: Eliot Room, British Library Conference Centre, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1. Booking essential as seating is limited: to book please email Katy Pettit -

Friday 9 March. 1.15pm. Hannah Mitchell Foundation – Public. The newly-formed Hannah Mitchell Foundation, ‘an ethical socialist campaign for regional government in the North’ is holding its public launch in Bradford’s City Hall.  See my blog:  Should the North have devolved government?

Friday 9 March. 8pm. Commemoration of George Brown.  George lived most of his life in Harpurhey and was active in fighting for the rights of the Irish working class, through his trade union work and later in the General Strike of 1926. His later involvement with the Communist Party led him to go to Spain to enlist in the International Brigade. He died, summarily shot by Franco's forces, as he lay on the roadside after being wounded at Brunete in 1937. Irish World Heritage Centre, 10 Queens Road, Manchester M8 . The event is part of the Manchester Irish Festival - more information here. Admission is free.

Saturday 10 March. 2pm. No Respecter of Persons – The Impact of Quaker Persecution History on the Radicalism of Thomas Paine. Talk by Sybil Oldfield (Univ. Sussex). Thomas Paine Society Eric Paine Memorial Lecture.  Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1. Free.

Wednesday 14 March. 7pm. "Austerity Isn't Working: What Is The Alternative?". Newcastle Arts Centre (The Black Swan), 67 Westgate Rd (opp Assembly Rooms). Hosted by Coalition of Resistance. Supported by People's Bookshop, Gateshead Unison, Labour Representation Committee, Youth Fight for Jobs, London Progressive Journal. Chair: Councillor Dipu Ahad. Main speaker: Owen Jones, author of 'Chavs: the demonisation of the working class' - Plus time for questions and discussion. This is part of a national series of public meetings hosted by Coalition of Resistance:

Thursday March 15. Thinking Seriously about...Youth Work and Policy. Youth and Policy Conference. Youth and Policy’s fourth ‘thinking seriously’ conference will explore the implications of Coalition youth policy for the youth work field. Over recent months, many events have taken place with subsequent policy implications for youth work organisation and practice: the implementation of Coalition spending cuts, the Select Committee on Services for Young People, and the riots of summer 2011. Highlights: Paul Oginsky Q&A session;  a reflection on the Select Committee by Ian Maerns (MP), a youth work panel session to be led by Bernard Davies, and workshops on the NCS, teenage pregnancy, the PREVENT agenda, and the role of faith-based and voluntary organisations in the Big Society. For further information contact Naomi Stanton (YMCA) on 020 7540 4921. Venue: YMCA George Williams College, George Williams College, 199 Freemasons Road, Canning Town, London, E16. £90.

Saturday 17 March. 1.30-4.30pm. Labour Heritage Annual General Meeting. After the formal business Barbara Humphries will speak on ‘Thirty Years of Labour Heritage’, and Stan Newens on ‘The Rise of Labour in London: why the delay?. Stefan Dickers will then lead a guided tour of the  Bishopsgate Collections. Bishopsgate Institute, 230 Bishopsgate, London, EC2. For further information and to join Labour Heritage contact Linda Shampan: .

Saturday 17 March. 2pm. The Clarion Movement and performance by Bolton Clarion Choir. Denis Pye, author of Fellowship is life: the National Clarion Cycling Club, 1895-1995, will speak about the Clarion movement and about some of the exhibition highlights. The choir sings songs of celebration and protest to support people and organisations concerned with democratic change, human rights, peace and environmental issues. Working Class Movement Library, Salford. 

Saturday 17 March. 7pm. Joseph Skipsey – a commemoration. 2012 provides several anniversaries of mining disasters so, to re-balance this a little, the Institute is holding an event celebrating the 180th anniversary of the birth of Joseph Skipsey, the Tyneside Pitman Poet. The event includes Keith Armstrong, Gary Miller(Whisky Priests), Chris Harrison with Skipsey songs, and pipe player Chris Ormston, with readings from Skipsey’s poetry and an account of his life. During the evening, the annual Northern Voices Joseph Skipsey Award will be presented to a deserving local writer.  The North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers, Neville Hall, Westgate Rd, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1. 0191 232 2201.

Friday 16 March. North East Popular Politics Project Social. Everyone welcome whether or not they are involved in the Project. See below.

Monday 19 March. 2pm. “A voice of discontent" on 18th.c. women writers. Talk by Jennifer Kelsey. Wandsworth U3A. Earlsfield Library, 276 Magdalen Rd, London, SW18, Near Earlsfield Station.

Wednesday 21 March. 6pm for 6.30pm. The Gardens of William Morris. Talk by Jill, Duchess of Hamilton. On show - a special early copy of Morris’s novel News From Nowhere. Garden Museum, Lambeth Palace Rd/Lambeth Rd, London, SW1. Tickets £15/£10 Museum  Friends. Click here to book a place online.

Friday 23 March, 8pm.  Recital by students from the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, including SC-T’s Sonata in D minor, op. 28 for violin & piano, Trio in E minor op. 6 for violin, 'cello & piano and his Nonet, op. 2 for 2 violins, viola, 'cello, bass, clarinet, bassoon, horn & piano. Venue – The Braithwaite Hall (Croydon Town Hall), Katharine Street, CR9. Tickets: £8 from 020 8657 7909. Part of Croydon Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Festival.

Saturday 24 March. West London Local History Conference.  ‘Home Sweet Home: 300 years of West London’s Housing’. This year’s theme focuses on how the growth of London as a city changed the style and pattern of house building in our area. Local interest will be strongly represented by Colin Thom, who will be talking on Victorian and Edwardian housing development in Battersea. Colin is a leading contributor to English Heritage’s eagerly awaited Survey of Battersea. Montague Hall, Hounslow. £8. Further details on

Saturday 24 March. 10.15am-3.45pm. Women on The Home Front Conference. National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas, Staffordshire. Talks  include:
·         The housewife and the politics on food on the First World War home front
·         Challenging Gender Stereotypes on Britain’s Inland Waterways during the Second World War
·         Shifting relationships between women, cats and dogs: challenges to the ‘people’s war’
·         ‘Wartime Day Nurseries in the Midlands
·         The lived experience of women on the Home Front in the Second World War
·         Nationalising hundreds of thousands of women : Domesticity and Evacuation in Staffordshire
·         War’s Forgotten Women : War Widows
Organised by The Midlands Region of the Women’s History Network, The National Memorial Arboretum and The University of Worcester. To book a place contact or Conference fee £15 and £7:50 for concessions - Students free, to include lunch and coffee.

Tuesday 27 March. Working together: How higher education and charities can deliver social impact. How could your community/voluntary group harness the power of thousands of students who want to make the world a better place? How could you work with local universities and higher education institutions to improve community engagement? NCVO, NUS & Universities UK joint conference to find out more.

Wednesday 28 March 2pm. Robert Blatchford's Journey to Socialism. Deborah Mutch, Senior Lecturer in English, De Montfort University, Leicester, will talk with the founding of The Clarion and then focusing on the literature that made The Clarion famous. Working Class Movement Library, 51 The Crescent, Salford:

Saturday 31 March. Representations of London in Literature.  Closing date for submissions of papers. Literary London 2012  Interdisciplinary Conference – 18-20 July. (see below).

Tuesday 3 April, 1pm. Lunch time concert by Megan Whiteley, Fred Scott, Cornelius Bruinsma and friends at Fairfield Halls, Park Lane, Croydon, CR9 1DG to include items by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, in aid of SCAT (Skeletal Cancer Action Trust). Presented by Soundpractice Music Ltd. Tickets from 020 8688 9291 or 

Thursday 5 April. The British Society of Sports History Annual Conference. Final date for submisison of papers. Conference 7-8 September 2012. Hosted by the University of Glasgow. The conference will be open-themed. Papers should be a maximum of 20 minutes in length with ten minutes for questions and discussion. Ideas for Specialist Panels will also be strongly encouraged. Abstracts should be no longer than 200 words and should be sent to The Conference Committee (email:

Sunday 15 April. 2pm. Can you keep a secret?: the rise and fall of the Yorkshire Luddites. Play by Mikron Theatre. Riots in our city streets, the worst economic crisis for decades, a long war fought abroad with no sign of progress. Sound familiar? Welcome to England 1812. Whilst the country's elite enjoy lavish balls and chattering salons, textile mill workers fight for their livelihoods by smashing up the machinery designed to replace them. Luddism - a fight for rights or fear of progress? Direct action or mindless vandalism? In the back room of a Yorkshire pub, a young lad is ‘twisted in'. He takes the oath of secrecy and joins the Luddites. But why won't he give his real name, calling himself instead after the movement's mythical founder, Ned Ludd? What is he hiding? And who was Ned Ludd anyway?
In the bicentennial year of the Luddite risings, which took place around Marsden in West Yorkshire, who better to illuminate their story than fellow Marsdeners Mikron - with their unique blend of humour, history and harmonic arrangements. Tickets: £8  book. Working Class Movement Library, 51 The Crescent, Salford.

Saturday 28 April. 10am-1noon. Gernika75: Memories of the International Brigades and the Spanish Civil War. People's History Museum, Left Bank, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3. Speakers will be Paul Preston, Helen Graham and Richard Baxell. Booking is required: please contact the Museum on 0161 838 9190 or Further details: Ending at noon it leaves you time to get across town to:
Saturday 28 April. 2pm  Re-envisaging work: British and American women's alternative economic visions in the late 19th and early 20th centuries'. 3rd Annual Frow lecture by Sheila Rowbotham. For Working Class Movement Library. Venue Old Fire Station, Crescent, Salford. Sheila Rowbotham draws on her most recent book, Dreamers of a new day: women who Invented the twentieth century to show the range of ideas and plans women devised for a better society. While some have entered our daily lives many are yet to be realised and are still relevant today. All welcome, admission free.

Music to My Ears

What a busy time I have been having.
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Collective
On Monday 23 January I was at the old Regent St. Polytechnic building, now part of Westminster University, for a meeting of the Black Music Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Collective. Much of the discussion was taken with how to influence BBC radio and TV programmes, and have SC-T music included in the Proms.
Asset Transfer and Community Hubs
The next morning I was at Stockwell YMCA for the half day seminar organised by Lambeth Voluntary Action Council on Lambeth Council’s Co-operative Council consultation about passing some of the buildings it owns over to the  community and voluntary groups who use them to create community hubs for services and activities. During the discussion the lead Councillor and Council Officer admitted that Lambeth had been a bad landlord to the organisations using many of its buildings. This was a welcome admission.
Referring to the study of Stockwell community buildings I had carried out in 2008/9 for Stockwell Partnership I pointed out that a community hub asset transfer idea at that time had not happened. It appears this was due to some complicated legal problem that has been unearthed. I stressed that while it might appear the Council was trying to off-load buildings that needed a lot of repair as part of making cuts, there had been strong case for asset transfer for several years before the banking crisis triggered the recession. The cuts simply make the process more difficult.
I supported the Council’s hope that the idea of asset transference of some libraries like Minet (where Lambeth Archives are based) and Durning in Kennington was a different issue and should be kept separate within the parallel Libraries consultation that is also underway.
I also pointed out that there were many existing community hubs in buildings owned by others, like Stockwell Community Resource Centre (Hyde Housing) and Vauxhall Gardens Community Centre (CLS Holdings in a building purchased from Council).  I distilled issues relating to community buildings from the Stockwell study to hand out to many of those attending. Since then I have agreed that a Council Officer can share it with his colleagues.
The Beaufoy and Stockwell Studios
Unfortunately, there are other drivers within Lambeth Council which go counter to the Co-operative Council and community hub ideas The first was the sale of the Beaufoy Institute building for a Buddhist centre and the rest of the site for housing. Of course I am biased as I have put in a lot of time since 2004 in working with Riverside Community Development Trust (RCDT) and Lady Margaret Hall Settlement (LHMS) to try and have the whole site asset transferred into community  ownership for a vocational education hub.
The Council now seems desperate to ensure that the Buddhists make the building available for use to the local community as a hub. I had to deal with the topic in the February issue of the Kennington Vauxhall Alliance News I produce for RCDT and LMHS as their Company Secretary (copies available on request).
The second action which actually got reported in The Guardian was the sale of the former Annie McCall maternity hospital building and site to a developer, turning the Council’s back on its partner the artists’ collective Stockwell Studios, and the potential to turn the site into a  hub.
Andrew’s Inaugural Lecture on Digital Humanities
On Wednesday 25 January son of Battersea Andrew Prescott gave his inaugural lecture as newly appointed Professor of Digital Humanities at Kings College London. Title: An Electric Current of the Imagination: What the Digital Humanities Are and What They Might Become. Among the issues he discussed were the problems of general public access to the growing digital resource materials on the web. Find out more about Andrew on Although the lecture was filmed it does not yet appear to have been loaded up onto the College website. You can see our joint paper Black Freemasonry on
Wandsworth Heritage Festival
On Friday 27 January there was a meeting of the Heritage Wandsworth Partnership. A key component of the discussion was the emerging draft programme for the Wandsworth Heritage Festival. I will be giving talks and leading walks, and  sponsoring a talk Cassie Guelph, a Leeds PhD student, on Hester Thrale as female writer. The Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Network will sponsor a talk by Jeff Green. The programme is being finalised this week to enable the brochure to be devised.

Young Croydon Pianists
On Tuesday 31 January Ann and I were at the Fairfield Halls for a lunch time recital  by young pianists being taught through the Croydon Music and Arts Services Young Pianists Centre. This is headed by my friend Fred Scott, co-founder of the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Network and a former pupil of my mother.  When Fred told me last year that this concert (an annual event) would be held we discussed the inclusion of music by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. I suggested he try and encourage some of the young pianists to improvise on his music. I had also suggested encouraging jazz interpretations. I certainly did not expect him to manage to include both in the programme. Two young women played their joint composition,  and 16 year old Jeferson improvised Deep River in jazz mode. More about the concert and especially about Jefferson in the Network Newsletters 7 & 8 on the Network website.
Tyneside for Popular Politics
On Friday 3 February I went up to Newcastle for a weekend on the North East Popular Politics Project. Saturday was spent helping to run a Day School at Northumberland Archives based at Woodhorn Mining Museum near Ashington (yes the home of the Pitmen Painters). The Project has had a lot of local press publicity and over 40 new volunteers have joined.
While up there I went with mine host, and lead organiser of the Project, John Charlton to see Newcastle play football. Never having been a football fan, its many years since I went with my youngest son Richard and his best friend getting drenched at Crystal Palace, and years before then in the winter of 1966/67 getting freezing cold on the terraces in  Sheffield. Not a spectacular game, but some good moments with some players showing real skill.
On the Monday John and I were originally going to go down to Middlesbrough to spend time at Teesside Archives. We had so much to do in terms of thinking through the implications for the Project of having so many more people join that we abandoned the idea.
Spanish Civil War Reminisences
Back on the Monday evening in London to go to the Pico Bar on  Vauxhall’s Albert Embankment to celebrate the birthday of friend Mel James, along with, Ann,  Penny Corfield and Tony Belton, and to remember the late Carmen Anigbault who died last year, a Spanish refugee from Franco – the Pico being one of her favourite eating places. Her short story, under her pen name Carmen Cortes,  Malaga On Week. Memories of Childhood Spain can be seen on my main (and very out of date website): 
World Premier of Thelma
The highlight of this busy time was the first night world premiere performance of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s opera Thelma put on by Surrey Opera at Croydon’s Fairfield Halls on Thursday 9 February. I certainly enjoyed, but I don’t need to say more here because you can read my comments and those of others who attended in Network Newsletter 8 on the Network  website or from me.
Gypsy Jazz

The Saturday that followed saw Ann and I at a jazz and comedy club! A first! Friend Catherine arranged for her violin teacher who leads the Dunajska Kapelye group based in North London, to play for the evening, and then organised a lot of her friends to go as a group booking.  The music was great (from Turkey, Macedonia, Hungary, Russia and Transylvania). The food was OK but overpriced. The staff friendly and helpful.
A Storm in the Playground
The chat was entertaining, especially remembering the incident when an early lady came into the playground my sons’ primary school and belted one the non-teaching workers with her handbag because she considered the woman was discriminatory against her grandson. A big cheer went up in the junior playground. Of course unacceptable behaviour. Grandma was banned for a while from coming into the playground. And who was her grandson, the boy who grew up be a leading jazz musician who has played at the Hideway. As I discussed it with one of my sons’ contemporaries at the school and his father, we wondered whether the musician has ever written a piece: ‘Grandma’s Wrath’ or ‘Grandma Rules OK!’. And the Hideway: a venue I would go to again. Check it out on
More Jazz!!!
And then three days later on Tuesday 14 February back at the Fairfield Halls for the next event in the Croydon Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Festival: the John Law Trio  playing Law’s own compositions, including variations on two of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s 24 Negro Melodies. A talented set of musicians, even though I am not familiar enough with jazz to understand all that is played.  The event was organised by Fred Scott’s Soundpractice agency: The next Soundpratice event in the Festival is at 1pm on 3 April: a  lunchtime concert by Megan Whiteley, Fred, Cornelius Bruinsma and friends, which will to include items by SC-T. Also at Fairfield Halls in aid of SCAT (Skeletal Cancer Action Trust). Tickets from 0208 688 9291 or

And ….

In addition to all this lots of work for Lady Margaret Hall Settlement and Stockwell Community Resource Centre, several background briefs for the Popular Politics Project, compiling and emailing out the Network Newsletter 8, British Black History Digest 5 and HSAN Diary and News 4 (all three available to me), a meeting to discuss the design of the next pamphlet I will be published under my imprint, a new edition of Stephen Bourne’s Aunt Esther, to be titled Esther Bruce. A Black London Seamstress. Her Story: 1912-1994. This will be followed by a pamphlet on the life of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor by Jeff Green, and a new edition of Vauxhall and the Invention of Urban Pleasure Gardens by Penny Corfield.
And because Popular Politics is now Twittering I now have a Twittter account, alongside my Facebook, Academicedu and Linkedin accounts! Oh the demands of social networking!
·       For newsletters mentioned about and my paper on community buildings issues in Lambeth email me on

·       To see Network newsletters go to

·       For more about North East Popular Politics Project go to

·       My Twitter is @SeanCreighton2. Why 2, because another Sean Creighton got on Twitter before me!