News 2007

Items: Bookstalls; Gasworks Local History Tours; West London Labour History Day, Freemasonry and Other Mutual Organisations in Battersea and Wandsworth, & Vauxhall Gardens Pamphlet


Tuesday 20 & Wednesday 21 November 3pm-7pm

I am running bookstalls on these dates at RCDT, 20 Newburn St, Kennington. Secondhand, remainder, some new. Particularly fiction, politics, history, biography, gardening, London history. See also Books for Sale page on this website.

Gasworks Local History Tours
Saturdays 1 & 8 December 12-1pm

Brazilian artist Renata Lucas and I will be leading two tours of the Vauxhall area on 1and 8 December, highlighting architectural histories and curiosities. The tours will start at Gasworks Gallery (no booking necessary). Renata is currently resident artist at the Gallery with a project temporarily changing the look of the outside of the building to fit in better with the neighbouring building. The tour on Saturday 8 December will finish at an offsite performance by two other resident artists Juan Linares & Erika Arzt. They have been making informal appearances in and around Kennington Park Estate, conducting research about the uses of public space. Participants of varying ages have been airing their views both visually and verbally, which has been the source of inspiration for a fictional script which is to be performed as a culminating event in Kennington Park Estate Community Centre. For the Tours meet at Gasworks, 155 Vauxhall Street.

West London Labour History Day. Saturday 8 December 2007. 2-5pm
Labour Party Hall, 367, Chiswick High Road, Chiswick W4

Stan Newens. History of the Co-operative Party
Mike Cartwright. Labour Councillors in the 1950s
John Grigg. John Wilkes. Brentford’s first radical MP
Phil Portwood. The Acton Labour Party before 1930.
The Day will be chaired by Seema Malhotra

Stan Newens was MP, first for Epping and then Harlow, from 1964 to 1983, a London MEP from 1984 to 1999. He is a Labour historian and chair of Labour Heritage. On the 90th anniversary of the Co-operative Party he will talk about how the Co-operative Movement at first rejected political action until deciding to put up candidates in 1917 and finally reaching an electoral agreement with the Labour Party in 1927.
Mike Cartwright is a Hammersmith Councillor and will talk of his early days as a Councillor in Ipswich where Dingle Foot (Michael Foot’s brother) stood as parliamentary Labour candidate and used an ice cream van for transport. Mike will talk about how the relationship between council officers and councillors has changed over the last forty years.
John Grigg is a former Hounslow Councillor and a Labour Historian. There is a
road called Wilkes Road in Brentford and John will talk about John Wilkes, Brentford’s first radical MP, who was refused his seat in Parliament despite winning a by-election for the County of Middlesex. The cry ‘Wilkes and Liberty’ rang throughout England and he eventually triumphed over the Tory Government.
Phil Portwood is a former Ealing Councillor who has researched the history of the Labour Party in the early 20th century and will talk about the early days of the Labour Party in Acton from the 1900s, when Robert Dunsmore and James Shillaker became Acton’s first Labour Councillors, to the 1920s when they both stood for parliament.

The Labour Hall is on the corner of Chiswick High Road & Marlborough Road, W4. District Line stations: Gunnersbury & Chiswick Park. Buses 267, 237, 391, H91, E3, 272. Car Park at rear of premises & free road parking nearby.

For further details about Labour Heritage see:

Freemasonry and Other Mutual Organisations in Battersea and Wandsworth

In November 2004 I gave a talk on freemason and other mutual organisations in Battersea and Wandsworth at the ‘Band of Brothers Conference’ in Sheffield. A condensed version has now been published in the Autumn issue of ‘Wandsworth Historian’ (no. 85) , the Journal of Wandsworth Historical Society. Other articles and items include:
• ‘Longhedge Farm, Battersea’ by Roger Logan, in the fields of which Henry Beaufoy set up his acetic-acid distillery
• ‘Dorman Long’s Nine Elms Steelworks, 1941-1944’ by Don Williams who was a war worker in Battersea

Vauxhall Gardens Pamphlet

The publication of this pamphlet announced in the October News has been delayed, and will now be published in early 2008. The City Farm 30th Anniversary was a great success.

News - October

Items: Forthcoming Talks; Vauxhall City Farm 30th Anniversary; Vauxhall Gardens Pamphlet; London and South London Second Hand Books & Pamphlets for Sale; Mother Seacole & Bill Miller; Merton Black History Month & Website; Slavery & Abolition in the North East; Equiano Project Exhibition & Book; Cross the Water Blues: African American Music in Europe; Belonging in Europe: The African Diaspora and Work. C.1400–1945 conference – 7–9 November 2007; George Shearing, Battersea’s Jazz Pianist; You Do You Think You Are?; Who was Walter Lord of Tooting?).

Forthcoming Talks In October & November

I will be giving the following talks on aspects of Black & Asian Heritage.

·                     Monday 15 October. 7.30pm. ‘Afro Caribbean Library, Battersea District Library, Lavender Hill, SW11. From Black Joan to Harbens Gulati. An Introduction of Wandsworth’s Black & Asian Heritage’.

·                     Wednesday 24 October. 6pm. Slavery and Abolition and the North East. Newcastle Literary & Philosophical Society, 23 Westgate Rd, Newcastle.

·                     Thursday 8 November 2007. 4.15pm. ‘John Archer and the Politics of Labour’ – part of  ‘Belonging in Europe. The African Diaspora and Work c.1400 – 1945’ Conference – see below.

Vauxhall City Farm 30th Anniversary

Vauxhall City Farm celebrates its 30th Anniversary on Saturday 20 October - see . There will be supporting activities by the Friends of Spring Gardens. I will be running a second hand and local history bookstall and giving a talk on North Lambeth and Slavery and Abolition.

Vauxhall Gardens Pamphlet

I am currently working on publishing the fourth title under my imprint Hisory & Social Action Publications. The title is ‘Vauxhall Gardens and the Invention of the Urban Pleasure Gardens’ by Professor Penelope Corfield (Royal Holloway) developed from her two talks on the Gardens during the 2005 and 2006 Lambeth Riverside Festivals, which I co-ordinated as worker for Riverside Community Development Trust

London and South London Second hand Books and Pamphlets For Sale

You will see on the ‘Books for Sale’ page an additional list of second hand books and pamphlets for sale from the collection of Martin Tupper who died in 2006. Martin was a librarian, local historian, and an active member of Battersea Labour Party. As well as helping Martins brother Ron deposit a large number of items from the collection with Libraries and Archives, I am helping sell the remaining items. Nearly £700 worth have been sold so far. I have been advising on the project. To place an order for any of the books and pamphlets please email me on The items will be sent to you with an invoice. inc. postage and packaging.

Ron is donating the money raised by the sales to Battersea Labour Party’s History Project. The Party’s roots go back to the Battersea Trades & Labour Council, which was a member of the Labour Representation Committee/Labour Party for a short while before being expelled in 1906 for its involvement with Liberals in the Battersea Progressive Alliance. A Battersea Labour Party organisation was established in 1908. Both organisations were replaced in 1918 by a new Trades Council & Labour Party under the new national rules that allowed individuals to become members. My introduction to the history of the Party for its 80th Anniversary in 1988 is available by email on request from me. The Party used the 1906 national Party celebration to undertake initial work and celebration of its history. It is now finalising a DVD looking at the Party’s history in the context of the development of Battersea.

There is also a general list of second hand books on the ‘Books For Sale’ page.

Mother Seacole & Bill Miller

As October is Black History Month it is timely to remind readers of the two pamphlets published under my imprint History & Social Action Publications:

·                     Mother Seacole, Short Story by Jason Young. 2005. £2.

·                     Bill Miller, Plymouth’s Black Labour Activist, by Jonathan Wood. 2006. £3

For further details see the History & Social Action Publications page. Orders can be emailed to me on Postage and packaging will be added to the invoice.

Merton Black History Month & Website

The programme of the Black History Month events ‘Breaking the Links. Celebrating 200 Years of Freedom’ in the London Borough of Merton can be seen on The Merton Black & Asian Heritage display I was involved in mounting for the North East Mitcham Community Association in 2000 will be on view at Merton Civic Centre throughout the Month.

A special website constructed by IT Phoenix, Merton-based community organisation, funded through an Arts Development grant, foes live on 17 September. It will include information about Merton's Black heritage, celebrate local heroes and will be an opportunity to share personal stories and experiences.  Over a period of time material from the NEMCA and my work on Merton’s Black & Asian Heritage will be put on the site.

Slavery & Abolition in the North East

Wednesday 3 October saw the launch of the ‘Remembering Slavery 2007’ pamphlet about slavery and abolition in the North East based on the work carried out by the project I have been working on since December last year with a group of volunteers. The guide is a masterly distillation by John Charlton, one of the volunteers and Secretary of the North East Labour History Society, based on a lengthy overview I had compiled. The launch took place at, and the guide is available from, the Newcastle Literary & Philosophical Society, 23 Westgate Ed, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 1SE. 0191 232 0192.

Equiano Project Exhibition and Book

On Friday September 29 Ann and I went to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery for the launch of the Equiano Exhibition, a collaboration between the Council and the Equiano Society. A first rate exhibition (till 13 January 2008) well worth a day trip to Birmingham to see. For details see Published to accompany the Exhbition is a book of essays ‘Equiano: Enslavement, Resistance, Abolition’ this book provides new insights into enslavement, abolition, and the black presence in Britain in the 18thC. It investigates Equiano and his legacy, African British writers, the role of women activists in the abolition movement, and the connections between Birmingham , enslavement and abolition. Edited by Arthur Torrington, Rita McLean, Victoria Osborne and Ian Grosvenor with a foreword by Lord Morris of Handsworth with essays by Hakim Adi, Bishop Joe Aldred, Joan Anim-Addo, Vincent Carretta, Andy Green, Angelina Osborne, Clare Parsons, Arthur Torrington, Robin Walker, James Walvin and Helena Woodard. ISBN 9780709302575. Published by The Equiano Society and Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery on the subscription system; I am pleased to be a subscriber. The Exhibition and the book form part of the Equiano Project, the initiative of the Equiano Society led by Arthur Torrington.


Cross the Water Blues: African American Music in Europe

In the June News section below I announced the forthcoming publication of ‘Cross The Water Blues’ with an essay by me on Paul Robeson in the UK. It is now out and the publisher’s news release states: ‘The impact of African American music on western, white popular music is well documented. But while much has been written about the influences of black music on early rock n’ roll and the explosion of British popular music in the 1960s, little has been said about the earlier, and broader, effects. Cross the Water Blues: African American Music in Europe (University Press of Mississippi) is a unique collection of essays examining the flow of African American music and musicians across the Atlantic to Europe from the time of slavery to the 20th century. Editor Neil Wynn has assembled a broad exploration of different musical forms such as spirituals, blues, jazz, skiffle, and orchestral music. The contributors consider the reception and influence of black music on a number of different European audiences, particularly in Britain, but also France, Germany, and the Netherlands. The essayists approach the subject through diverse historical, musicological, and philosophical perspectives. A number of essays document little-known performances and recordings of African American musicians in Europe. Several pieces, including one by Paul Oliver, focus on the appeal of the blues to British listeners. At the same time, these considerations often reveal the ambiguous nature of European responses to black music and in so doing add to our knowledge of transatlantic race relations. Contributions from Christopher G. Bakriges, Sean Creighton, Jeffrey Green, Leighton Grist, Bob Groom, Rainer E. Lotz, Paul Oliver, Catherine Parsonage, Iris Schmeisser, Roberta Freund Schwartz, Robert Springer, Rupert Till, Guido van Rijn, David Webster, and Neil A. Wynn.’  Neil Wynn is Professor of Twentieth-Century American history at the University of Gloucestershire. Read more about Cross the Water Blues: African American Music in Europe at:

Belonging in Europe. The African Diaspora and Work. C.1400–1945 Conference: 7–9 November 2007.
Provisional programme:

Wednesday 7 November 2007 6-9pm  

Official Launch of The Equiano Centre at City Hall, inc. speakers and reception.

Thursday 8 November 2007, The Equiano Centre, Department of Geography, University College London

10.05–12.30pm. The Earlier Presence. Discussion leader Caroline Bressey. (a) Bernardine Evaristo in conversation with Caroline Bressey about her novel Soul Tourists which explores Europe's Black history, featuring Pushkin and Alessandro de Medici among others. (b) Dienke Hondius (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam). Rembrandt’s neighbours: Africans in 17th century Amsterdam. (c) Katherine Chater (BASA). Job mobility & Black people in England and Wales during the British slave trade 1660-1807. (d) Tom Wareham (Museum in Docklands, London). From Plantation to City – enslaved African workers in St Kitts and London. (e) Discussion.

1.30-3.30pm. The Victorians. Discussion Leader: Daniel Grey (Roehampton University). (a) Caroline Bressey (University College London, BASA); Looking for work: The Black Presence and Work in London 1890 – 1920. (b) Jan Marsh (National Portrait Gallery, London). Pictured at Work: visual evidence of employment in art 1800-1900. (c) Diane Frost (University of Liverpool) Racial separateness, gendered hierarchies and an African diaspora: ‘Belonging’ in imperial Liverpool .(d) Discussion.   

3.45-5.45pm. The Early 20th Century. Discussion Leader: (tbc). (a) Robbie Aitken (University of Liverpool) Performing blackness: The struggle for work and recognition. African Migrants in metropolitan Germany in the 1920s and 1930s. (b) Sean Creighton (BASA). John Archer and the Politics of Labour. (c) Hakim Adi (Middlesex University, BASA). Title tbc. (d) Discussion

6.30-7.30pm. Wangui wa Goro (SANDI). Title to be confirmed
7.30–8.30pm. Buffet Dinner

Friday 9 , Museum in Docklands, West India Quay, Canary Wharf, London, E14

10.30-12.30pm. Life in the Docks. Discussion Leader: Tom Wareham (Museum in Docklands). (a) Fabian Tompsett (Affiliation tbc). Claude McKay and Work at Sea and in the Docks. (b) Ayodeji Olukoju, (University of Lagos). Desertion, Dereliction and Destitution: Stranded West African Seamen in the United Kingdom, 1921-34. (c) Marika Sherwood (BASA). George Padmore and the Negro Worker. (d) Discussion.
2-5.30pm. The Politics of Labour. Discussion Leader: (tbc). (a) Olayinka E. Adekunle (AWYO, Berlin). The Relationship between “white” Working Europeans and those of the African Diaspora. (b) Gavin Schaffer, (University of Portsmouth). A clash between race and necessity?  Black workers in Britain during the Second World War. (c) William Kenefick (University of Dundee). The Scots and the South African Labour Movement before 1914. (d)  Neville Kirk (Manchester Metropolitan University). Traditionalists and Progressives: Labour, race and immigration in Post-World War Two Australia and Britain. (c) Discussion
6–6.45pm. Closing Discussion. Discussion Leader Hakim Adi (Middlesex University)
6.45-7.30pm. Drinks

Bookings can be made online, by phone or in person from the UCL Bloomsbury Theatre, details at Booking deadline 24 October 2007. Registration fee: waged £30, unwaged £20. This includes the opening reception on 7 November 2007, lunch on Thursday and Friday, all refreshments and a buffet dinner on Thursday evening. The conference is supported by the UK Economic and Social Research Council.  At the Museum in Docklands, free entry will be included for all delegates to the newly opened gallery, London, Sugar and Slavery.

George Shearing, the Battersea Jazz Pianist

When he was a young man in Battersea in the 1930s George Barnsby, the veteran Communist and historian of the Black Country, met George Shearing, Battersea’s blind jazz pianist at a piano course. He has recently read Shearing’s autobiography ‘Lullaby of Birdland’ and reviews it on his 5 September blog (No. 240):

Who Do You Think You Are?

If you watched the ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ about actor John Hurt’s family history on Thursday 13 September on BBC2, you will re-call that the findings were very inconclusive and were a great disappointment to Hurt, whose family oral history proved improvable. His great grandmother married a Walter Lord Browne You may also have been mystified by his cousin showing him a framed engraving of Walter Lord of Tooting, saying that this was ‘The Ancestor’. The programme making team did explore whether there was any connection with Walter Lord of Tooting. Wandsworth Local History Library suggested they contacted me. I did some research and made a number of suggestions for the team to follow up and then met to discuss how to interpret the findings which were in my view very inclusive as to a link with Hurt’s great grand mother. The team decided not to go into detail in the broadcast programme on this aspect of the trail. It is not surprising that there was some confusion, two people with the name Walter Lord, both running schools.

Who Was Walter Lord of Tooting?

Walter Lord ran a private school at Fairfield House. He was pillar of the local community: a Church Vestry Overseer in 1797, Churchwarden 1799 and 1810-1830, Trustee of the parish charities from 1810, Trustee of Tooting Green from 1812, and involved on various Vestry Committees, in the re-building of the parish church, and in the parochial Charity National School. In 1820 he was appointed to a new Vestry Committee to look at matters relating to Tooting Common particularly ‘some late enclosures.’. The grounds Fairfield House had artesian wells. He supplied water to the parish post opposite until 1823. In his capacity as Churchwarden he signed the building agreement for the new Church.

In 1831 he ‘declared his intention to decline the office of Rector’s Warden’. It was resolved ‘that the sincere and grateful thanks of the parish be given to Mr Lord for his disinterested and valuable services for many years as Churchwarden 1799 and from 1810-1830.’ In April 1832 he resigned as a Trustee of the charities. He died on 4 July 1832, aged 72 years. His son Dr Samuel Curlewis Lord, was Church curate for 16 years from 1817 and Chuchwarden from 1839 to 1841. When the decision to build the new Church was being discussed in 1830 Dr. Lord offered a donation of £50.

The new Tooting Church was consecrated by the Bishop of Winchester on Thursday 14 February 1833.  Having spent the night with the Lord of the Manor the Bishop went to Dr Lord’s house where the neighbouring clergy were waiting before going to the Church. After the dedication service lunch was provided at Lord’s house. At it the Lord of the Manor addressed Lord and ‘presented him on behalf of the inhabitants of the parish, with a piece of plate, having the doctor’s armorial bearings richly emblazoned, and the following inscription engraved upon it: ‘Presented to the Rev. Samuel Curlewis Lord, D.D. sixteen years curate of this parish as a token of esteem and regard. Tooting-Graveney, February 14, 1833.’

In 1841 he voted for the sale of Workhouse building by the Wandsworth and Clapham Union. At a Vestry meeting in  May 1846 Dr Lord was ‘thanked for his efforts to keep order & for giving into custody of the Beadle, Mr. P____ for his violent Language & obstruction to the Business of the Vestry.’ Mr P 'brought an action against Dr. Lord for illegal imprisonment, and obtained 1/4d damages.’

The Parish Church has a window ‘The Good Shepard’ in the east of the north transcept with the following tablet below:

“To the Glory of God & in loving memory of


For many years Curate of this parish &

EMILY his wife”

News - July

Books for Sale

A new list of second hand books for sale is now psted on the Books for Sale page of this website. The categories are

·                     European History (particularly Nazi Germany, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union)

·                     Britain (history, politics, economics, social issues)

·                     Other History

·                     Miscellaneous

Rival Visions for Kennington & Vauxhall

Lady Margert Hall Settlement has launched its proposals for an Artisans School and an Arts & Crafts Museum at the heart of a new Kennington Cultural Quarter. It was launched at the ‘Push the Envelope Further’ event on 25 July, organised jointly by Beaconsfield Galley, Riverside Community Develoment Trust and the Settlement. The Settlement wants to locate these initiatives at the Beaufoy Institute on Black Prince Rd. The Settlement’s vision is based on an integrated approach to tackling some of the social and economic needs of the area, and giving local people on the estates a chance to earn their livings in the the growing creative industries in the area. These will receive a big boost when Damien Hirst completes his studios, galleries, workshops and restaurant complex in Newport St. There are also linked propsoals for the former Lilian Baylis School site. The Settlement vision contrasts sharpely with Lambeth Council’s new Prince’s Ward Investment Strategy proposals for the Beaufoy and other sites, considered by the Council Cabinet on 30 July, which are driven by wanting large capital receipts and upgrading existing community facilities.  For details see the RCDT Enews/Evets listing dated 27 July on The purpose of the Artisan School is to provide 200 local young people with hand and business skills training so they can work in the cretaive industries. The Museum would be a major new museum bringing together the De Morgan Collection, which is having to move from Wandsworth’s West Hill Librray (see Wandsworth Museum story below), the Wlliam Morris and other collections

Push The Envelope Further

This event, held on Wednesday 25 July, at which the Lady Margaret Hall Settlement Kennington Cultural Quarter proposal was launched, included a walk of the area led by me talking about its creative industries history and showing people the key sites, like the Beaufoy and former Lilian Baylis School. It helped set the scene for the presentation of the Cultural Quarter proposal. The event also saw the publication of ‘Push the Envelope’, the report of last year’s Lambeth Riverside Festival Symposium discussing the opportunities and challenges facing the artistic communities in the Vauxhall and Kennington areas. This report, which I helped edit, provides an in-depth background to Damien’s Hirst’s plans, the problems faced by Space Studios in providing reasonably priced studio and workshop space in its buildings across London including in Vauxhall St, the effects of Tate Modern on the wider area, the challenges involved in running the City & Guilds London School of Art on Kennington Park Rd (an independent school without Government funding with its roots going back to the Lambeth Arts School at St. Peter’s Church), an analysis of the economic and social problems of the Kennington & Vauxhall area, and the background to what is now the Kennington Quarter proposal. The report is available from Beaconsfield, 22 Newport St. 020 7582 6465.

Why Make History Compulsory to Age 16

‘We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to To (sic) make the study of history compulsory for all pupils to the age of 16.’ This petition on the 10 Downing St E-Petitions website was submitted by Sean Lang of the History Practitioners Advisory Team. His explanation is as follows: ‘Without an understanding of our past we cannot build an understanding or our nation and of the different communities within it. History is central to any notion of Britishness or British identity. Yet the teaching of history has been squeezed both in primary and in secondary schools, and the overwhelming majority of pupils give up history altogether at 14. Increasing numbers of schools stop teaching history at 13. The latest changes to the curriculum announced by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority will result in even more serious erosion of history teaching. History matters every bit as much as English or Maths - people die and kill for reasons drawn from history - and it will only be saved from marginalisation if it, like them, is made compulsory for all pupils to 16.’ I hope that you will agree with this and with me sign this petition. To add your signature go to:

Chartism A new history

Malcom’s Chase’s new book ‘Chartism: a new history’  offers in-depth coverage using newly discovered material of the entire chronological spread (1838–58) of this key movement which mobilised  3m people for democratic rights. Malcolm intertwines analysis and narrative, interspersing his chapters with short ‘Chartist Lives’ about Abram and Elizabeth Hanson, Patrick Brewster, Thomas Powel, John Watkins, Samuel Holberry, Elizabeth Neesom, Richard Pilling,  Ann Dawson, and William Cuffay. Malcolm is Reader in Labour History at the University of Leeds. Published by Manchester University Press. ISBN Hbk 9780719060861 £60.00; Pbk 9780719060878 £18.99.

Community Land Trusts

One of the iniiatives of the Chartists was the Land Compnay to buy up areas for people to settle and farm and in the process become eligible for the vote. The Community Land Trust movement is seeking to obtain ownership of land which would otherwise be under threat of unwelcome development. On 11 July Guardian Society ran an article ‘Fields of Vision’ about community land trusts as a method of saving land from developers. It profiled Charlotte and Ben Hollins setting up the Fordhall Commumity Land Initiative to buy their father’s farm to prevent it being built on and to continue farming it. The other project profiled was the Wye Community Land Trust which is attempting to purchase the former Wye Agricultural College in Kent owned by Imperial Colege. The Trust wants to buy the 800 acre farmland and develop food for local people. Purchase depends on a competitive bidding process. The group setting up the Trust is seeking pledges from people to become shareholders and to make donations towards its preparatory costs, as well as help from people with specialist skills. Ann and I have made a donation and have pledged to become shareholders. Full details of the Trust can be seen on its website:

News – June

(Items: Wandsworth Museum – Update, Push the Envelope Further, BASA’s new website, slavery and abolition in Dorset, Democracy – the Long Revolution, opportunity to subscribe to new book of Olaudah Equiano, Cross the Water Blues, a new history of the Settlement Movement.)

Wandsworth Museum – Update

A critical stage in the Borough-wide campaign to save the Museum is scheduled for Monday 2 July. At 7.30pm there will be a special meeting of the Environment & Leisure Oversight and Scrutiny Committee (ELOSC) at the Town Hall to review and agree a business plan and associated proposals for moving the Museum to West Hill. The full agenda and Committee papers will be available beforehand from the Council website: It is estimated that the cost of moving the Museum to West Hill Library and turning the Court House into a Central Wandsworth Library will cost £2m. The Council has rejected the idea of leaving the Museum where it is and creating a new library in the Southside Shopping Centre. The Council wants to have the Museum registered and run as a charity. The Wandsworth Museum Campaign Group is urging as many people as possible to attend the Committee meeting to ensure Councillors are left in absolutely no doubt as to the massive strength and depth of support for the Museum, support that generated an unprecedented 22,000 signatures on the petitions protesting against the Council’s plans to close the Museum. Further details of the issues and problems involved can be seen in the Group’s Information Bulletin posted on

Push the Envelope Further – Wednesday 25 July

A cultural quarter in Vauxhall/Kennington?  

How likely is that? The truth is, it’s not so far fetched. When plans for an Artisan School, an Arts and Crafts Museum and Damien Hirst¹s proposed Newport Street development are positioned against galleries, art spaces and studios already flourishing in the area, the idea is not only a distinct possibility, but almost a reality. ‘Push the Envelope Further’ picks up from discussions at last year’s ‘Push the Envelope’ Symposium to focus on local initiatives already underway. The Symposium was part of the 2006 Lambeth Riverside Festival, which I co-ordinated as Development & Management Worker for RCDT (Riverside Community Development Trust). Starting at 1.30pm, I will lead a walkabout looking at the area’s arts, crafts and cultural heritage and opportunity sites including the former Lambeth School of Art and Doulton Factory, the old Lilian Baylis School site and empty Beaufoy Institute building. This will be followed at Beaconsfield by the first public presentation of the Kennington Arts Quarter proposal by Jeffe Jeffers, the Director of Lady Margaret Hall Settlement, a panel discussion about the future of the local Leftbank Artists Network launched at last year’s Symposium. ‘Push the Envelope’­ the publication will be launched at 5.30pm. It records the Symposium discussion with Peter St-John (architect to Damien Hirst), Anna Harding (Space Studios), Tony Carter (City & Guilds School of Art), Jeffe Sheena Wagstaff (Tate Modern) and Richard Grayson. The debate addressed a range of issues including: the impact economic ‘regeneration is likely to have on existing art communities in North Lambeth and the lessons to be learned from arts-led regeneration in other areas, such as London’s East End; the project to reconnect craft skills with art practice in a hostile climate; and the pros and cons of running small-scale operations in the shadow of Tate. The event is jointly organised by Beaconsfield, RCDT, and the Settlement. For further information please contact Rachel Fleming-Mulford on 020 7582 6465 or at Beaconsfield, 22 Newport Street, London, SE11 6AY.

BASA’s New Website:

BASA (Black & Asian Studies Association)’s new updated website will be going live very shortly. It has taken several months of planning and building by BASA’s web designers, unitsicks ( The new site is much easier to navigate around and is visually very striking. The main areas of the website are BASA news, articles, newsletter and conferences, but there are also weblinks and information about how to join the BASA jiscmail (email discussion forum). The success of the website depends on the content that is posted up on it and therefore BASA needs people to send as much material as they can on a regular basis to the BASA webmaster, Dan Lyndon ( This can include the following; events that you would like to promote, articles (academic, general interest, newspaper/magazine etc), pieces from the newsletter and promotional material/papers from the BASA conferences. If you have any comments on the website then please let Dan know either via email or on the BASA jiscmail.

Slavery and Abolition in Dorset

Late last year I provided information and suggestions for research to the Black History in Dorset Project. The project was run by Development Education in Dorset (DEED) and the research was carried out by the British-Ghanaian poet and historian Louisa Adjoa Parker. She describes Dorset’s slave trade past on BBC Dorset’s website:

DEED: 174 Bournemouth Road, Poole, Dorset, BH14 9HY, Tel/Fax: 01202 739422,. Dorset’s Lyme Regis Museum has an exhibition on Ethnic Minorities in Dorset Past and Present, which can be seen on its website:

Democracy – The Long Revolution

‘This is history with meaning, passion and purpose. …. Everyone treasures the fundamental freedoms fought for, over the last millennium, will find these essays refreshing, revitalizing, and rivetingly informative. Above all, they have a compelling relevance to the challenges facing all of us at this time.’ – Michael Mansfield, QC in his preface to the new book ‘Democracy: The Long Revolution’.

Earlier this month I went to the book’s launch because John Charlton has an essay on Chartism. John is working with me on slavery and abolition in the North East and is Secretary of the North East Labour History Society ( Edited by David Powell and Tom Hickey, the essays chronicle the history of dissent in the British Isles, from Magna Carta to the present day. The other contributors are: Colin Richmond on the medieval period, William Lamont on the English Civil War and the Putney Debates, John Newsinger on colonial wars and liberal imperialism, David Powell on Labourism, Paddy Maguire on Labour and the New Social Order, and Gill Scott on sex, gender and sexuality – emancipation and liberation. There is also a piece discussing ‘Democracy – the Long Revolution’ being a conversation between Tony Benn and David Powell. Tom Hickey reflects on Globalization, Exclusion and the Future of Democracy. Published by Continuum UK. ISBN 9780826486769. £14.99.

Opportunity to Subscribe to New Book on Olaudah Equiano

There are close links between the struggle for democracy in Britian and the campaign against slavery. Olaudah Equiano was the major black voice against slavery in the last quarter of the 18th Century, and a supporter of the political reform London Corresponding Society. He was the friend of Thomas Hardy, the Society’s leading figure who was put on trial for treason in 1792. Equiano attended the trial. A major project has been underway between the Equiano Society and Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery (BMAG). They are seeking support for a special subscription scheme of The Equiano Project. The national exhibition that opens in Birmingham on 29 September 2007 features Olaudah Equiano, his Life and Times. The project has received public support and financial assistance from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Birmingham City Council. The Society is offering people an opportunity to become a subscriber to the accompanying publication, and to receive acknowledgement of contributions in print. Equiano himself promoted a ‘subscription scheme’ in order to publish his Interesting Narrative. Subscribers committed themselves to support the publication in advance and each new edition had a fresh list of subscribers whose names were listed in the front of the book. The Society hopes that you will consider adding your name or your organisation’s name to the subscription list. In return for a subscription donation of £150 (minimum) each, subscribers will receive the inclusion of their name or the name of their organisation in a list of subscribers at the front of the publication and within the exhibition, a complimentary copy of the full-colour publication, and an invitation to attend the private view of the Equiano Exhibition in the Gas Hall on 28 September at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. By subscribing, you will enable the publication to be produced and your contribution will be recorded for the future. The illustrated Equiano publication will consist mainly of essays on his life and times. Writers include:  Robin Walker on Africa before Atlantic Enslavement; Dr Hakim Adi on African Resistance to Enslavement; Professor Clare Midgley on Women against Enslavement; Professor Vincent Carretta on Olaudah Equiano, the Writer; Professor James Walvin on Equiano and his times; Dr Andy Green on Birmingham, Slavery and Abolition; Clare Parsons on The Equiano Exhibition; Professor Helena Woodard on Black British 18th Century Writers; Dr Joe Aldred on Equiano’s Religious Journey; Angelina Osborne on Joanna Vassa; and Arthur Torrington on Remembering Olaudah Equiano.  If you would like to be one of the subscribers, please email Arthur Torrington of the Equiano Society on arthurtorrington@HOTMAIL.COM

Cross the Water Blues – New Book of Afro-American Music in Europe

In July 2004 I gave a talk on Paul Robeson in the UK at the Overseas Blues Conference organised by Professor Neil Wynn at the University of Gloucestershire. The talk has since been developed into an essay in a book being published by the University Press of Mississippi in August: ‘Cross the Water Blues. African American Music in Europe’, edited by Neil. This collection of essays examines the flow of African American music and musicians across the Atlantic to Europe from the time of slavery to the twentieth century. In a sweeping examination of different musical forms - spirituals, blues, jazz, skiffle, and orchestral music - the contributors consider the reception and influence of black music on a number of different European audiences, particularly in Britain, but also France, Germany, and the Netherlands. The essayists approach the subject through diverse historical, musicological, and philosophical perspectives. A number of essays document little-known performances and recordings of African American musicians in Europe. Several pieces, including one by Paul Oliver, focus on the appeal of the blues to British listeners. At the same time, these considerations often reveal the ambiguous nature of European responses to black music and in so doing add to our knowledge of transatlantic race relations. In addition to my essay there are contributions from Christopher G. Bakriges, , Jeffrey Green, Leighton Grist, Bob Groom, Rainer E. Lotz, Paul Oliver, Catherine Parsonage, Iris Schmeisser, Roberta Freund Schwartz, Robert Springer, Rupert Till, Guido van Rijn, David Webster, Jen Wilson, and Neil. (ISBN 1-57806-960-2)

A New History of the Settlement Movement

A new book ‘Squires in the Slums. Settlements and Missions in Late Victorian Britain’ was published in April by I B Taurus. Written by Nigel Scotland, of the University of Gloucestershire, it tells their story and impact. There are chapters on the settlers, the Church and non conformist influences, the roles of Oxbridge and the public schools, women’s Settlements and the contribution of Settlements. Published by I B Tauris, ISBN 1845113365. Hardback £39.50. For background information on Settlement history see the Community & Social Issues page on this website.

News – May

Returning to the Big Picture: History & Periodisation

Cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural one-day Conference Thursday 21 June 2007: 10.00 - 7.00, at Royal Holloway. This Conference is organised by my friend Prof Penelope (Penny) Corfield. Speakers include: Penny on the Conference theme, Clive Gamble (Royal Holloway, Geography Dept. ‘Timewalkers: The Prehistory of Global Civilisation Revisited’; Jean-François Dunyach (University of Paris IV, Sorbonne): ‘Closing Times: Decadence and its Use in the Definition of Historical Eras’; Toshio Kusamitsu (Open University of Japan): ‘Inventing and Borrowing Ages: Case-Studies from Japan and Victorian Britain’; Ron Redfern (author of Origins: The Evolution of Continents, Oceans and Life) and Roger Trend (Exeter University, School of Education & Lifetime Learning): ‘Navigating Time’ – presenting the Time Navigator System; Roundtable: problems and solutions? - William Gallois (Roehampton University), Simon Gunn (University of Leicester), Veronica Ortenberg (University of Northampton), John Tosh (Roehampton University). Cost: £35 (waged), £10 postgrad/unwaged). To Register email Marie-Christine Ockenden, History Graduate & Research Officer, . The Spring 2007 issue of History Workshop Journal contains several articles on the theme ‘Periodisation: Then and Now’. Linked to periodisatioin is Penny’s book ‘Time and the Shape of History’ – see news item below.

After Abolition

Among the large number of books being published for the Bicentenary of the end of the British Slave Trade in 1807 is Marika Sherwood’s ‘After Abolition - Britain and the Slave Trade Since 1807’. Marika was the founder and first Secretary of BASA. I B Tauris the publisher explains that Marika ‘demonstrates that Britain continued to contribute to the slave trade well after 1807, even into the twentieth century. Drawing on government documents and contemporary reports as well as published sources, she describes how slavery remained very much a part of British investment, commerce and empire, especially in funding and supplying goods for the trade in slaves and in the use of slave-grown produce. The financial world of the City in London also depended on slavery, which - directly and indirectly - provided employment for millions of people. ‘After Abolition’ examines some of the causes and repercussions of continued British involvement in slavery and describes many of the apparently respectable villains, as well as the heroes, connected with the trade - at all levels of society. It contains important revelations about a darker side of British history, previously unexplored, which will provoke real questions about Britain's perceptions of its past.’ ISBN 1845113659 Hardback. £19.50

Slavery Records Should be Free – Please Sign Petition

A few weeks ago a UK company placed online colonial records of 3m Africans relating to their enslavement. The publicity gave the impression that the service was free. It is not. This is seen by many involved in the history of slavery and abolition as a corporate attempt to cash in on the increased interest during the Bicentenary year. Many of us are also concerned also that there seems to be an increasing trend for public records to be only available on restricted on-line access. A petition has been started calling for these documents to be free to view with all records being made public so the history can be known by all. Further details and a link to the on-line petition can be seen on .

National abolition of slavery memorial

Several members of BASA whom I know are on the Committee of the Memorial 2007 group campaigning for a permanent memorial in London to remember enslaved Africans and their descendants. Further details can be found on

Bibliography of multi-ethnic history

The QCA (Qualifications & Curriculum Authority) has published a bibliography of multi-ethnic history for Key Stages 2 & 3 in schools. It can be accessed at: The paper acknowledges the help given by BASA in compiling the bibliography. The initial draft was strongly criticised as totally inadequate in debate on the BASA enetwork. argued that the QCA should pay BASA to assist it, rather than feeding off for free off its members’ extensive knowledge, especially as a consultant had bee paid to prepare the draft. To quote the QCA: ‘Complaints and criticisms about the bibliography can be sent to’: .

Time and the Shape of History

‘The and the Shape of History’ is the latest book by my friend Penny Corfield, Professor of History at Royal Holloway. It is an ambitious book exploring the relationship between time and history and shows how an appreciation of long-term time helps to make sense of the past. The book provides a wide-range analysis of the way different societies have conceived and interpreted time, and develops a theory of the three fold roles of continuum gradual change and revolution which together form a ‘braided’ history. It challenges traditional period divisions in favour of looking again at the entire past of the world from start to end. There are also chapter links dealing with time travel, cycles, lines, ends, names, pieces, power ands fames. As an occasional discourser on its germination, I have been included in the long list of acknowledgements. Published by Yale University Press, the book was launched at a packed event on 23 March attended by people from all aspects of Penny’s past including the teacher who enthused her with a love of history. £25 hardback. ISBN 9780300115581. .

Hawkley Website

The Hawkley website of the Second World War evacuees from Battersea Central School (see Battersea & Wandsworth History page) has changed domain. Its new website address is

Tyne & Wear Remembering Slavery Project

News of the project can be seen in:

the January Newsletter of the Northumberland Collections Service on:

5 March Museums, Libraries and Archives North East News E-Bulletin Number 159 5 March:

I will be giving a talk on 24 October at 6pm on "Slavery and Abolition in Tyne & Wear" for the Newcastle Literary & Philosophical Society as part of its programme of events. Details of this programme and other events in the North East can be seen on:

the BBC website:

The Webbs of Battersea

Vanessa Lopez has been researching her family tree, which includes Thomas, Arthur and Catherine Webb of the Battersea and national co-operative movements. They were part of an extended Battersea family of bbs. Details can be seen on Vanessa’s website She has kindly acknowledged help from me and several other people.

News – April

Wandsworth Museum

My attention has been drawn to the fact that a letter in early March I copied to the Wandsworth Borough News was posted on the Surrey Comet website at:

Neighbourhood Policing

A lot has been made in the last couple of years by the Metropolitan Police of their ‘Neighbourhood Policing’ initiative. A particular approach to it (known as ‘sector policing’ was pioneered in Brixton when I was Secretary of the Community/Police Consultative Group for Lambeth up to July 1989. One of the freelance assignments I had in the aftermath of that experience and of supporting the Consultative Committees in Westminster, was for Hertsmere. I was asked me for my views on lay visiting to police stations and on sector policing. My paper ‘What is Sector Policing?’ has been added to Hertsmere’s website at:

Papers on Websites

In up-dating the website a number of web references to writings I was involved with were taken off because they were no longer listed on a Google UK search. However two papers are still accessible thanks to a Google world wide search:

Organised cycling and politics in Battersea:

Learning from Local Strategic Partnerships:

The world wide search also shows a review of BASA Newsletter No 39. April 2004 on the Sage Race Relations Abstracts website which states: ‘Sean Creighton reports on the British Black Experience Conference held in London’s City Hall in January. Although Creighton is scathing about the conference, his report raises important issues about the meaning of Black history, Black History month, etc.’ h

Merton Multi-Cultural History Group 

For a variety of reasons the Merton Multi-Cultural History Group (see Black & Asian History) page has been dormant for a couple of years. Its web pages on the Merton Council site have therefore been taken off. Instead a link to this website for details for Black & Asian heritage in the Borough have been added to the site’s History of Merton (a href=""> and Black History Month ( pages. The booking form for North East Mitcham Community Association’s Merton Black & Heritage display via me is still available on the site on the Black History page.

Because it features Emperor Haile Selassie’s bust the February 2005 Group Newsletter is on the website of Cannizario Park ( The website also includes the September 2003 newsletter (

Labour Heritage Website

This has been moved and redesigned and can be seen at

News - March 2007

Wandsworth Museum Saved

In a surprise move Wandsworth Conservatives at the 28 March Council announced that due to the offer of a £2m charitable grant from the Hintze Family Charitable Foundation the Museum would be saved from closure, and re-located to West Hill Library where the De Morgan Collection would also remain. 20,000 local men, women and children have campaigned to save the Wandsworth Museum since mid-January. The change of mind by the Council’s ruling group is one few such dramatic last minute policy changes since they took power in May 1978. While the Campaign to save the Museum can be proud of its achievement it will need to remain vigilant.

It needs to find out more about the Hintze Family Charitable Foundation and if there are any conditions attached to the grant. Questions that need to be asked include whether:
• there is enough space at West Hill Library to ensure that all the current displays can be housed and space for an education room, special exhibition area, staff offices, and shop, as in the existing Court House home of the Museum.
• the staffing be the same or whether there will be some job cuts
• the rescue package is a temporary measure while the Council negotiates for a home for the Museum on the Young's development site

A home on the Young’s site would be better because being in the Wandsworth Town Centre it is more accessible for people from other parts of the Borough.

The Campaign organisations need to be major players in the independent trust that will be set up. The Council should not represented on it, because its nominees will have an inherent conflict of interest (as their nominees have already had on the De Morgan Collection and the Battersea Arts Centre Committees). The Trust will be in negotiation with the Council over the transfer of the Museum and staff.

And when the £2m grant runs out will the Council want to kick the Museum and De Morgan out?

Creighton Family Donations to Libraries

During March I organised the sorting out and sale of my mother’s house. A large part of the book collection built up over 70 years by my late father Campbell and my mother Rosemary have been donated to the following London based libraries and organisations: Marx Memorial Library (Marxism), Bishopsgate Institute (Left Book Club, politics 1930s-40s), CHARM recorded music project at Kings’ College (record magazines), the German Department at University College (largely books in German on music and literature), London Library (miscellaneous), the Music Library at Senate House (music books), the Society for Cultural Relations (with the former Soviet Republics) (books and music in Russian), and the Croydon Centre for Young Pianists) (music books). Music magazines have also been donated to the EPTA Piano Information Centre at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester. My mother was active on the EPTA (European Piano Teachers Association) Committee in the 1990s. My parents’ extensive classical record collection will be donated at a later date to the Music Library at Senate House. The donations will be recognised by each organisation as a Collection. If they have the space Libraries are keen to have donations which fill gaps in their existing holdings.

News - February 2007

Wandsworth Council Set To Close Wandsworth Museum

In January Wandsworth Council announced its intention to close Wandsworth Museum and turn the Court House building in which it is located into a Wandsworth Town Centre Library. A wide coalition of local history and other organisations and individuals have been campaigning against the plan.  I made a number of campaign suggestions, and used email to publicise what was happening among a wide network of current and former residents of Wandsworth and labour movement history organisations.  As the former Councillor for part of the area (1982-6) it was obvious to me that opening a new Library would mean the closure of the nearby West Hill and Alvering Libraries, and that the former would make the nationally important De Morgan Collection homeless.  I pointed this out in a letter to the Leader of the Council.  I argued why the Museum was important, and urged consideration of an alternative approach that would see the Museum as an important asset handed over to a independent trust, and some of the money from the Section 106 money from the planned redevelopment of the Young’s Brewery site be used to fund the Museum in the Court House or move it into the Brewery Tap public house on the Young’s site.  This approach has been rejected by leading Councillors.  The Council then made it clear that it planned to close the two Libraries.  My letter is available on request by email: The final decision will be taken at the full Council meeting on 28 March.

For more information see Wandsworth Historical Society’s website:

Remembering Slavery 2007 – Tyne & Wear Project

Until the end of June I am working as freelance Archival Mapping & Research Officer for five Museums, Archives & Libraries on Tyne & Wear looking for material in their collections on slavery and anti-slavery. I will be giving talks on the work to MAL staff across the North East on 13 March, and a talk at the Newcastle Literary & Philosophical Society in October.

2006 NEWS

Dignity Without Liberty - Lay Visiting to Lambeth Police Stations

The report ‘Dignity Without Liberty. A Report on Lay Visiting to Lambeth Police Stations’ I wrote for Bristol Centre for Criminal Justice (published in 1991) is now available on the National Archives website:

Towards a Community Plan

A discussion paper I prepared (November 2006) as part of my work for RCDT – see

Sale of Labour Movement and Political Books

I ran a bookstall with some of Martin Tupper’s politics and labour movement history books at the November Conference of the Society for the Study of Labour History on the Parliamentary Labour Party Centenary at London South Bank University on 24-25 November. (See Books for Sale below)

Work (October onwards)

Due to problems raising core cost funding I have gone part-time with Riverside Community Development Trust, and am supplementing with freelance work (see About Sean page). I have done a couple of tutoring sessions on the Goldsmiths’ Community & Youth work course, and been undertaking research on the Beaufoy Institute in Kennington for Lady Margaret Hall Settlement.

Books for Sale

A number of books from the collection of Martin Tupper, an activist in Battersea Labour Party who died earlier in the year, are available for sale. A successful sale of South London history material was sold at the Lambeth Archives Open Day on 30 September. The money raised is being donated by Martin’s brother Ron to the Battersea Labour Party History Project. A number of books and pamphlets have been donated to specialist libraries and archives, and Martin’s papers are being deposited with Wandsworth Local History Library. Email for details of those items remaining for sale.

Radical North Lambeth

Illustrated talk at Kennington, Oval & Vauxhall Area Local History/Heritage Forum Local History Fair on 22 July - part of Lambeth Riverside Festival

Lambeth Riverside Festival

I co-ordinated the Festival 9-22 July. See

Youth as part of our community

This discussion paper on developing a community and voluntary sector youth strategy in the RCDT area I wrote with Tim Saunders (Alford House youth centre) can be seen on  The paper was written following the conviction of local young people in the ‘Happy Slapping’ murder trial.

Battersea Labour Party 100th Anniversary Event

Having helped with the preparation of the historical material on the history of Battersea Labour Party I attended its event on 16 June to mark the 100th Anniversary of the adoption of the name Labour Party in 1906. See Battersea & Wandsworth History page for details of the programme.

Bill Miller – Black Plymouth ActivistBill Miller

The third title under my publications imprint History & Social Action Publications is ‘Bill Miller. Black Labour Party Activist in Plymouth’ on behalf of Labour Heritage. For further details see the History & Social Action Publications page.

A Battersea International Brigadier’s Reminiscences

An edited version of my review of ‘George Wheeler. To Make The People Sing Again. A Memoir of the Spanish Civil War’ (Zymurgy Publishing) was published in the orth Historian No. 82. Spring 2006. A longer version is set out under the Book Reviews section of the Battersea & Wandsworth History page.

Kennington, Oval & Vauxhall History

Kennington’s Local History. Illustrated talk for Durning Library open day on Saturday 8 April. I emphasised the area’s radical history.

‘Passport to Kennington’ Illustrated talk 20 March on community action and heritage on the history of the area to the Friends of Durning Library

Community Assets & Buildings

In my capacity as worker for RCDT I gave a presentation on the issues relating to the future of local community assets and buildings to the Kennington, Oval & Vauxhall Forum meeting in February.

Canadian Black Ice Hockey

My review of George & Darril Fosty’s two books ‘Black Ice. The Lost History of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes 1895 – 1925’ and ‘Splendid is the Sun. The 5,000 Year History of Hockey’ (both published by Stryker-Indigo Publishing Company Inc, New York, 2004 and 2003 respectively) is published in Black & Asian Studies Association Newsletter 44 (January 2006).

Local Area Agreements

The Government is in the process of signing up all local authorities to what it calls Local Area Agreements, a form of contract about the way local authorities will work to meet Government policy targets and spend a simplified funding regime, and about the Government will give commitments on what its Departments will do to help. Well performing local authorities will get extra money. A key element in the official speak is supposed to be the important role of the community and voluntary sector in the process of drawing up the agreements. Lambeth Community Empowerment Network held an event in December 2005 to look at the implications of the Agreements on the sector. I was asked to give a personal perspective. It is available on request by email.

2005 NEWS

John Archer on British Library website – November 2005

John Archer is one of five black Europeans featured on a new section of the British Library website being launched on 2 November. The other four are Alexandre Dumas, Alexander Pushkin, George Bridgetower and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. The text has been written by black writer Mike Phillips. He has drawn on material provided by me for which due acknowledgement has been given.

Irish-Black Connections – November 2005

I gave a talk to the Birmingham Irish History Group on 2 November about Irish-black connections, following its email request to the BASA email network for information. The handout is available on request by email.

Community & Youth Work tutoring – October & November 2005

In my capacity as RCDT worker I undertook my fourth year as guest tutor on the Goldsmiths’ community and youth work course.

Allan Minns, black Mayor of Thetford

Following my writing about Allan Minns as the Black Mayor of Thetford (see Black & Asian Heritage page) the Norwich & Norfolk Peace Equality Council and the Norfolk Record Office are researching his life. See:
Steve Martin, a leading black historian, has also been researching Minns’ life.

‘Passport to Kennington’ – September 2005

This is the title of a talk I gave at the Public History Conference, Ruskin College, Oxford, 16–17 September 2005. Using examples from the Kennington and Vauxhall area I discussed the interlink between ‘heritage’ and community activity.

History of Kennington and Vauxhall

A radical and community action based approach to the history of Kennington & Vauxhall can be seen on

Mother SeacoleMother Seacole

‘Mother Seacole’ is a short story written by Jason Young, a young black writer about Mary Seacole, the Jamaican nurse and heroine of the Crimean War. I have published it as the second pamphlet under my History & Social Action Publications imprint. The story was launched at a Lambeth Riverside Festival event on 23 July. For further details see the History & Social Action Publications page.

Politics & Culture. Paul Robeson in the UK – July 2005

This was the subject of a talk I gave on 11 July as part of the Lambeth Riverside Festival

Kennington Park History Walk – July 2005

I led a walk on the history of Kennington Park on 10 July as part of Lambeth Riverside Festival, stepping in at short notice for Stefan Szczelkun who was ill. Stefan’s work on the history of the Park and Kennington Common and the importance of the latter in the struggle for democracy can be seen on

Lambeth Riverside Festival - 9-24 July 2005

I co-ordinated the organisation of the Festival as part of my work for Riverside Community Development Trust. For details of the programme see

Battersea History on the web

A lot of material on the history of Battersea is being added to the website of Richard Milsom who grew up in Battersea: , Richard is a member of the Old Battersea Yahoo Group of people sharing reminiscences of growing up and living in Battersea up to the early 1970s:

Co-operatives and Mutuals: The New ChallengeCo-ops & Mutuals

A revised version of my previous writings on mutuality and radical politics has been published as ‘Co-operation, Mutuality and Radical Politics’ in the new Independent Labour Publications (ILP) pamphlet ‘Co-operatives and Mutuals: The New Challenge. See for purchase details or send order to me. (£2.50p + postage).

Riverside Community Development Trust – April 2005

After working for the Trust on a freelance part-time basis from end of May 2004 to end of March 2005, I am now employed full-time for eight months by the Trust.

Reform of the House of Lords

My views on the reform of the House of Lords can be seen in the current issue of the Independent Labour Publications (ILP) magazine ‘Democratic Socialism’ on

The Elm Farm One – July 2005

Fundraising for Sally Causer – Target of £1,000 reached by end of July. The latest round of fundraising centred round a strawberries and cream party which raised £933.28 towards a target of £1,000. Continuing sales of bring and buy items took the total raised to £1,000 by the end of July. If you want to help please give cash or make cheques payable to ‘Wandsworth Fightback’. Contributors included Lord Alf Dubs, Battersea’s former Labour MP and his wife Ann, Tony Belton, who was recently Wandsworth Council Labour Leader, Anita Pollack, the former Labour Member of the European Parliament for South West London, and Paul Dimoldenberg, the Westminster Council Labour Leader, who has recently been exonerated for his role in ensuring that Lady Shirley Porter was fined for the ‘homes for votes scandal’. See Elm Farm link in Friends & Family News and Information on this page.

History of working people in Battersea – May 2005For Love & Shillings

I gave this talk on 12 May at Battersea Society AGM.

The 2006 Project – Labour Party History – Spring 2005

In a note in the Spring 2005 Newsletter of the Society for the Study of Labour History I argue that the 2006 project to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the adoption of the name ‘Labour Party’ by encouraging the writing of local Labour Party histories will be incomplete without the Communist Party dimension. See on
For further information on the 2006 Project see

John Seaman (1865-1934), Wandsworth socialist, trade union activist and Vestry member – Spring 2005

My review on the Battersea & Wandsworth History page of this website of Patricia Seaman’s ‘Seaman Saga: a Blacksmith’s Journey from Flitcham, Norfolk to Wandsworth, London’ (2004) has been published in ‘The Wandsworth Historian’, Journal of Wandsworth Historical Society. No. 80. Spring 2005. A longer version is set out under the Book Reviews section of the Battersea & Wandsworth History page.

The Development of Battersea

The text of a talk I gave to Battersea Society in 2003 has been posted on

Labour and Public History in South London – January 2005Kennington Cross Grade II listed Underground Toilets

Kennington Cross Grade II listed Underground Toilets

I gave this talk on 29 January to the Ruskin Public History Discussion Group at Ruskin College, Oxford. An extended version is on the Public History page.

Merton’s Economy and Colonial Labour – January 2005

I gave this talk to Merton Multi-Cultural History Group on 17 January. A copy is available on request by email.

To obtain any of the papers mentioned above please email

News pre-January 2005 is incorporated into the appropriate webpages.


Other information

Special thanks are due to Jason Thomas Williams who designed and acted as webmaster for my site. Because of overload of work and activities had to stop being webmaster. Jason remains webmaster for Labour Heritage’s website, and has his own at

Via his site he runs areas on devolution issues - DevWEb on devolution issues, for the City of London & Westminster Labour Parties He also runs the following website:

The new webmaster is Nick Heaf, who also runs the websites of Riverside Community Development Trust: and Danielle Arnaud contemporary art (gallery)

New Pages on Website: About Sean, Democracy, Kennington, Oval & VauxhallPublic History & Spaces

Website pages have been updated. The former Community & Voluntary Action, Social Inclusion and Public Utilities and Settlements pages have been merged. So have the Labour Movement and Mutuality pages. The Public Spaces page is now part of the Public History & Spaces page. The Guest page is now ‘Friends & Family News & Information’ section below.

Page updated February 2008