Some of the stuff we've got up to:
(this is in the process of being updated, texts added etc, so be patient...)
30 January 2003: We kicked off with a talk by Terry Liddle on Deptford's Red Republican, Chartist George Julian Harney.
February 2003: Talk: 'Regenerating South London:
Gentrification and Resistance in Post-War Southwark.' Much of this talk is now on line on the 56a Info Shop website: check it out at: www.56a.org.uk/jam.html
27 March 2003: Talk: 'Battles for the Commons in South London'.This talk was later expanded and published by Past Tense as Down With the Fences.
24 April 2003: Talk: May Days In South London: From pagan festivals to Workers Day and beyond.
29 May 2003: Talk: 'The South London Women's Hospital Occupation, 1984-5', by a participant. A rousing tale of women refusing to let a hospital close and running it for themselves for 9 months.
26 June 2003: Walk: 'A Radical Tour of Clerkenwell'. Wandering though this area of Central London, one of our north London correspondents pointing out its long and glorious rebellious history. Later published as Reds On the Green.
30 October 2003: 'The Witch Trials, 1560-1690: What happened and Why?' Later published as 'Burning Women'.
27 November 2003: Open discussion: War and Resistance to War, in history and our own experiences. Desertion, mutiny, pacifism, in WW1, Vietnam, and our own tales, lessons & bewilderments from the 60s to the Gulf wars, the War on Terra...
20 December 2003: Visit: Knackered by talking we visited the Museum of London, well worth a look.... You can't even do it all in a Day!
29 January 2004: The MacMillan Sisters and Deptford. Deptford Historian Jess Steele talked about socialist sisters Margaret and Rachel MacMillan and their pioneering work in nursery care and health.
29 April 2004: Talk/open discussion: 'The Short and Subversive History of Popular Power'. it was controversially suggested that social, economic and technological changes had in fact spread power in society to a greater number of people, despite the widespread feelings of powerlessness and defeat many people admit to... A heated debate followed.
27 May 2004: Launch party for Neil Gordon-Orr's classic pamphlet, 'Deptford Fun City', on the radical past and music of Deptford & New Cross. 'Deptford Fun City' was based on a walk around Deptford and New Cross in April 2001.
8 July 2004: Talk: 'Deptford Infidels'.Terry Liddle revealed the blasphemous activities of the Deptford & Greenwich Secular Society in the 1870s.
26 August 2004: A West London Anarchist & Radical History Walk around working class and radical Hammersmith. Heretics, William Morris, you name it...
7 October 2004: 'Just Think What We Could Do With All This Space!' A walk: through Central London Squatting, 1946 - 2004. From Tolmers Square to Covent Garden, space and time and space.
16 December 2004: Discussion on Squatted Centres in London, from the 1970s to the present.
25 January 2005: A Burns Night Special, celebrating the life and work of Scotland's finest poet, radical freethinker Robert Burns. Held at the London Activist Resource Centre, it featured songs, poetry, roistering tales of his notorious life, plus fine whisky and other tasty delicacies.
26 April 2005: 'Brixton Prison Blues': A talk on some of the radical history of South London's most infamous nick. From its early days, through to B. Traven, escapes, the poll tax riots and more.
10 May 2005: 'Wild Walworth Walk'. How were the British Union of Fascists removed from the area in 1931? Where did anarchist radio pirates Radio Interference broadcast from? How did the local constabulary come to be under siege from giant baked beans? All these questions answered and more... Notes to follow soon!
June 2005: 'You Are Here, But Why' Mapping Festival. Check it out at http://www.56a.org.uk/maproom.html.
7 June 2005: 'The Battle of the Beanfield' Close to the 20th anniversary of this infamous massacre of travellers by the police, we showed the film "Operation Solstice' about the 'battle', plus a talk from one of the people who made it, and from Andy Worthington, author of 'Stonehenge, Celebration and Subversion' and editor of 'The Battle of the Beanfield'. both fine books. Check out www.andyworthington.co.uk
24 January 2006: Talk: 'Dan Chatterton and his Atheistic Communistic Scorcher'. Terry Liddle on the legendary 19th Century class warrior:"Gaunt, ragged, almost blind... the embodiment of helpless, furious poverty."
23 Febuary 2006: Talk: 'The Radical History of Cycling'. Over 100 years of mayhem on two wheels... Notes of talk being prepared.
30 March 2006: Video/talk/discussion: 'Stop The City: Anti-Capitalism, Then and Now'. Comparisons and continuity, differences and diversity in the 1980s Stop the City actions and the current 'anti-capitalist' movement. No notes taken but we will shortly begin work on putting together an archive of material on 'Stop the City' so get copying and send us your stuff...
22 April 2006: Walk around Radical Bloomsbury. No literary nonsense, but plenty of early feminists, ranters, Gordon Rioters, squatters, olden days anarchists, and more. Part of the Russell Square squatted social centre Zinefest; so many people came on the walk we had to shout.
25 May 2006: Talk/discussion: 'The 1926 General Strike, History and Myth.' Presentations on the course of the Strike locally in Southwark, plus an examination of some of the myths surrounding the Strike and trade unionism in general. A lively exchange of views... Check out our round-up of some of the events of the General Strike in London.
25 June 2006: The Right To Live: A walk through the radical history of Camberwell, South London. Download map of walk... or read about some of the events & people we discussed.
September 2006: Class Struggle in the 1970s; focussing on the 1976-78 Grunwicks
Strike (Which it was of course the 30th anniversary of) but ranging far and
Featuring a viewing of the film: "The Year of the Beaver", mainly about Grunwicks... followed by an open discussion, on class struggle in the 1970s: the highs, the lows, unions and autonomy, the long-term effects, the backlash... Experiences, heavy theory and bitter anecdotes, tales of the Winter of Discontent...
16 January 2007: A Study Night on various autonomous health projects, from witches and wise women as community healers, through revolutionary Spain and grassroots health centres in Peckham and Italian self-organised abortion clinics to HIV/Aids support groups. Presented by different individuals and widely discussed. Notes and publications to come soon...
25th February 2007: Swimming Up The Fleet. The south london nautical history armada set sail up London's lost Fleet River, tracing its route from where it hits the Thames at Blackfriars to Kings Cross, recounting some of the murky past that haunts its banks - slums, prisons, rebellions and forgotten socialist meeting halls. A text of this walk will eventually appear here when we retrieve it from the murky depths of our sewer-streamed brains...
19th April 2007: "Rare Doings at Camberwell". A talk about some of the radical and social history of one of sunny South London's finest boroughs... Chartists and artists, strikers and rioters, trade unionists and anti-fascists, squatters and plotters... Check out Rare Doings, a text based on this talk. Reworked from the June 2006 history walk around Camberwell. Held at the Camberwell Squattted Centre, a locally organised autonomous space... check out http://www.56a.org.uk/warham.html
9 August 2007: "Underground Lambeth". Bunkers, command centres, deep level shelters, and Brixton's lost river... We delved, and tunnelled through the murky subterranea.
November 2007: Lewisham '77.
Individuals from the Radical History Group were also involved with other groups
and local troublemakers in preparing for a 30th anniversary commemoration of
the August 1977 Battle of Lewisham, when a fascist National Front march through
South East London (protected by heavily tooled up police) was challenged by
1000s of anti-fascists and locals - leading to the nazis' humiliation. Check
April 27th 2008: A radical history walk around SPITALFIELDS and BRICK LANE. Featuring rioting silkweavers… Jewish radicals… anarchists… anti-racist and anti-fascist struggles… gentrification… and more… This walk was part of the London Zine Symposium 2008. A text of this walk is still in preparation, but for now check out a map of Spitalfields' radical past...