Thursday, January 2, 2014


Patron: Peter Hennessy

Founded in 1996, the Club challenges the commercialisation and isolation of modern society. We meet monthly on a Saturday evening.

‘Fellowship is life and the lack of fellowship is death.’
William Morris
Venue Epicentre, West Street, Leytonstone E11 4LJ


7.30 Buffet (please bring something if you can)

8.00 Talk & discussion, followed by social ending

Travel and Access Stratford stations & 257 bus

Leytonstone tube (exit left) & 257 or W14 bus

Overground: Leytonstone High Road, turn right, short walk

Disabled access, car park, bikes can be brought in, quiet children welcome. You can phone to confirm the talk will be as shown. Open to all, just turn up.

Free entry. Voluntary donations invited.
Enquiries 0208 555 5248 or 07443 480 509

‘The club is a real beacon of light’. Peter Cormack

Saturday 11th January 2014

A History of Working Men’s Clubs: London & Beyond  

Speaker: Dr Ruth Cherrington  Poster

Working men’s clubs have been a neglected area of working class leisure, yet they were often at the heart of working class communities. This talk introduces the development of clubs from their mid-19th century origins to their current period of decline. Why they were set up, what went on in them & who used them are key questions considered. The major roles they played in local communities will be looked at & how women found their own space in clubs. Common features of clubs across the country & the influence of the Working Men’s Club & Institute Union will be outlined.  Signed copies of Ruth’s book., ‘Not Just Beer & Bingo: A Social History of Working Men’s Clubs’ will be on sale tonight, or available from Amazon or local bookshops.

Saturday 8th February 2014

Surviving Auschwitz

Speaker: Anita Lasker Wallfish

Anita Lasker Wallfisch was born in Breslau (now Wroclaw), the youngest of three sisters. Her parents were deported in 1942. Arrested & sent to prison that year, she was sentenced for 'Forgery, Attempted Escape & Helping the Enemy’ & sent to Auschwitz/ Birkenau in 1943 where she became the only cellist in the Women's Orchestra. Transported to Bergen Belsen November 1944 & liberated by the British Army on 15th April 1945, she has lived in England since 1946, becoming a founder member of the English Chamber Orchestra with which she still plays today. She has written a book about her experiences, ‘Inherit the Truth,' published by Giles de la Mare.

Saturday 8th March 2014

Little Comrades: A Secular

Sunday School   Speaker: Roger Huddle

Roger, a lifelong socialist, born & bred in Walthamstow, is a writer & local historian. During the 1889 dock strike, Mary Gray, a local member of the Social Democratic Federation, began a soup kitchen & school at her home for children of the strikers. Shocked at the lack of knowledge of their own history, in 1892 she began the Socialist Sunday School. It became a national movement. In various forms & different levels of secularism, socialism & religion, it continued till World War Two (& longer in Scotland). This talk takes a close look at the one which began in Walthamstow in 1903 & flourished for 30 years, with up to 300 children attending regularly.

Saturday 12th April 2014

'Plebs': The Ruskin College 'strike' of 1909  Speaker: Colin Waugh

Colin, author of the pamphlet 'Plebs': The Lost Legacy of Independent Working-Class Education, will explain how trade unionists, mainly miners & railway-workers who were students at Ruskin College, Oxford in 1909, went on 'strike' (actually a boycott of specific lectures & lecturers) in an attempt to prevent the principal from being sacked, in the process creating a national system of socialist adult education genuinely independent of the powers-that-be, parts of which survived until the 1960s. He will say why he thinks there is an urgent need to rebuild this tradition today, & talk about some of the efforts that are being made to do this.

Saturday 10th May 2014 

Our Urban Green Spaces: How Communities Have Mobilised To Protect and Improve Them

Speakers: Dave Morris & Michelle Lawson
Dave Morris, a member of the Friends of Lordship Rec in Tottenham & chair of London Green Spaces Friends Groups Network., is a long-term campaigner for the development of Friends groups for all Haringey green spaces. Michelle, also a Friends of Lordship Rec member & a south London parks gardener, is co-ordinating the production of a parks booklet on community empowerment in Haringey parks.

Saturday 14th June 2014

Stars and Songs of the Music Halls

Speaker: John Whitehorn

John worked in music publishing for 36 years & was music librarian for the EMI group of publishers & Warner Chappell. One of his interests is social history. Music Hall’s Golden Age was about 1880 until World War 1; songs of the period were cameos of life at the time. Many subjects were covered: childhood, courtship, fashion, food & drink, immigration, leisure, marital strife, politics, poverty, transport. He will give a history of the origins of Music Hall with filmed song performances, including some by original performers.

Saturday 12th July 2014

The Dragon and the Eagle: Telling the Story of Welsh Emigration to America in a New Way 

Speaker: Colin Thomas

The first emigrants from Wales to America came in order to escape religious & political persecution. Later Welsh emigrants arrived in search of work, coalminers & steelworkers bringing their skills as America rapidly industrialised. Both groups had to cope with the dilemma faced by all migrants: how to become good citizens of their new country whilst holding on to the language, values & culture of the country they left behind.  Colin is about to publish an enhanced ebook on this subject. His talk will include extracts from its video content narrated by Cerys Matthews

Saturday 9th August 2014

‘Little Germany’: Stratford East London 1914 - Eastside Community Heritage Speaker: Judith Garfield

German immigrants composed the second largest European immigrant community in Britain from 1861-1911, only behind in numbers to the Russian Jews. From 28,000 in 1861 to 50,000 by 1914, they were known as the new foreigners.   The unemployed labourers moved to east London to find work & were the largest German community in London. Germanophobia became intense after the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915, leading to riots. Internment camps were set up on the now Olympic Site. The project has explored stories & family folklore from the descendants of Germans still living in east London, focusing on the impact of the Great War.

Saturday 13th September 2014

Journey to Justice Speaker: Carrie Supple

Working with educators, youth groups, community, human rights & faith groups, historians, artists, curators, students & politicians, Carrie is creating a travelling exhibition telling the story of the US civil rights movement, showing how it affected people here & elsewhere at the time & to this day. It will make connections to local campaigns for freedom & rights, e.g. Peasants’ Revolt (East Anglia); Suffragettes (Manchester); trade unions (North East) & civil rights (Northern Ireland). Accompanied by education, arts & intergenerational activities, it will show how change can happen involving ‘people like us’ & encourage visitors to join justice campaigns.

Saturday 11th October 2014

Experiments in Household Knowledge Speaker: Andreas Lang 

This is a series of collaborations with east London ecological & environmental innovators. The year-long project explored & showcased unusual & inventive ways of making & experimenting: from new gardening techniques to alternative forms of energy production or innovative recycling methods, sharing, collaborating & making public a range of unique & often self taught skills through walks, talks & hands on workshops which took place across east London in numerous locations, often accompanied by a re-purposed milk float turned mobile project space: Wick on Wheels. 

Saturday 8th November 2014

How Do Peace & Socialism intersect? Lessons from Past

and Present  Speaker: Dr Kate Hudson

Kate, General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, has held that post since 2010, having previously been Chair of the campaign since 2003. A leading anti-nuclear & anti-war campaigner nationally & internationally, she is the author of 'CND Now More Than Ever: The Story of a Peace Movement'.

Saturday 13th December 2014

Local Textile Arts Speaker: Celia Ward

East London Textile Arts, founded in Newham in 2007, works with community groups from various ethnic & faith backgrounds to create textile hangings & other pieces for exhibitions & to decorate public buildings. ‘I set the organisation up with a

community worker who knew that there were many unemployed women, skilled in textiles, from all parts of the world, not using their skills.’ The project runs five days a week, serving 150 people from different east London boroughs. Celia came to this work as a watercolourist, having had solo exhibitions in West End galleries, Luxembourg & Romania. From 2002 – 2005 she lived in Bucharest, set up an arts centre to be run by young artists & worked with carpet workers, taking wool to remote villages. 

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