Saturday, February 27, 2016

Radical Women, 1880-1914 - call for papers

Radical Women, 1880-1914 
Call for papers for a one-day public conference at WCML*

* Working Class Movement Library
51 The Crescent
Salford, M5 4WX

From WCML e-bulletin: The Library is delighted to issue a call for papers for a conference to be held there on Saturday 17 September.

Keynote Speakers:
Professor Sheila Rowbotham, Manchester University
Professor Karen Hunt, Keele University


The decades spanning the turn of the twentieth century saw an upsurge in female activism as women began to organise themselves into trade unions, take part in the socialist debates on social and economic change, and demand the vote.  Radical women had a significant effect on working class industrial power as the London matchgirls' strike of 1888 sparked the rise of New Unionism, which combined socialism with trade unionism.  The co-operative movement and syndicalists also benefited from the hard work and determination of female members.  Not all was harmonious, though, as demands for the vote and gender equality were met by the benign patriarchy of socialists such as Blatchford, the overt misogyny of Ernest Belfort Bax and ‘Tattler’ as well as the industrial gender-conservatism of male trade unions.  Radical women not only battled against the gender-conservative males within their family or community but also those who claimed to be fighting for equality.

This conference will celebrate the battles and achievements of working-class women in the drive to achieve a fairer and more balanced society.  Public-facing proposals for 30-minute papers on any aspect of female radicalism are invited.  Papers might address (but are not limited to) the following areas:

•    Female campaigners and organisers
•    Female industrial combination
•    Female authors, playwrights and poets
•    Regional and metropolitan female activism
•    Cross-gender working relations


Deadline for proposals: Monday 25 April 2016.

Please send abstracts of no more than 200 words to:- 
Dr. Deborah Mutch, De Montfort University, Leicester via email: dmutch@dmu.ac.uk

Conference fee: £20 waged; £7.50 unwaged.

Friday, February 26, 2016

A short piece regarding WIlliam Morris's early years

This Saturday, 27 February 2016Wakefield Socialist History Group are hainge a meeting at the Red Shed, 18 Vicarage Street, Wakefield WF1 1QX on 
WILLIAM MORRIS: REVOLUTIONARY SOCIALIST OR UTOPIAN DREAMER?  
The event starts at 1 p.m.  
The speakers are Colin Waugh (Independent Working Class Education Network), Bill Martin (Socialist Party of Great Britain) and Brian Else (Wakefield Green Party).
Admission is free and all are welcome.  
There is a free light buffet and also a bar with excellent real ale. 

William Morris was born on 24 March 1834 at Clay Hill, Walthamstow [north east London]. It was then a "pleasant village" to the east of London.
Six years later the family moved to Woodford Hall, a Palladian mansion stood in 50 acres of parkland with adjacent farmland.  Only a fence separated it from Epping Forest and it was -Henderson (1967) reflects- "very much the squire's house" with the garden gate opening on to the local churchyard.
The move to Woodford Hall had been made possible by a precipitate rise in the price of copper shares.  William Morris's father had 272 shares in a Devonshire copper mine.  They were originally valued at one pound but were now changing hands for £800.  His holding therefore was now worth about £200,000.
At the age of nine Morris was sent to prep school in Walthamstow. He got there each day - 2 miles - by pony.
Then in the autumn of 1847 -his father having passed away- Morris was sent off to Marlborough "one of the new public schools founded for sons of the middle classes."
Life there wasn't very regimented.  Indeed he would later say he learned next to nothing "for indeed next to nothing was taught."  But it suited Morris.  He was able to Savernake forest, the stone circles of Avebury and the pre-Celtic long barrows on the ridges above Pewsey Vale.  Plus he was able to peruse literature in the school library -it was well stocked with books on archaeology and medieval architecture.
Marlborough was in ferment however.  It culminated in a "rebellion of the whole school" in November 1851.  Morris's family - who'd [moved] to Water House, Walthamstow - brought him home and got him a private tutor to prepare him for Oxford.
In June 1852 he sat for the matriculation exam in the hall of Exeter College, Oxford. Sat next to him was Edward Burne-Jones.  They would become lifelong friends.

From: Convenor, Wakefield Socialist History Group

See also the William Morris Society (UK) 

UPDATE: How It went...
William Morris event in Wakefield
Twenty three people attended a discussion -WILLIAM MORRIS: REVOLUTIONARY SOCIALIST OR UTOPIAN DREAMER?- at the Red Shed, Wakefield on Saturday 27 February.
The speakers were Colin Waugh (Independent Working Class Education Network), Brian Else (Wakefield Green Party) and Bill Martin (Socialist Party of Great Britain).  The chair was Yvonne Sibbald.
After the speeches there was a lively discussion about Morris's attitude towards anarchism and about whether he was in fact a Marxist.  One contributor from the floor emphasised the need not to "pigeon hole" Morris but rather to concentrate on and appreciate his contribution to art and to political thought.

The Group's next planned event is on Saturday 16 July -again 1pm at the Red Shed- when we will be discussing TOLPUDDLE... AND THE FIGHT FOR TRADE UNION RIGHTS TODAY.
We are looking for speakers for this event.  Call Alan on 0793192451.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Easter Rising Centenary: Two events in London

Kieran Allen on 1916: Ireland's Revolutionary Tradition

1916: Ireland's Revolutionary Tradition
Friday 04 Mar 7pm
With Kieran Allen
Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church
235 Shaftesbury Avenue,
WC2H 8EP
London
Hosted by Bookmarks bookshop, author Kieran Allen will introduce a discussion celebrating the centenary of the Easter Rising for Irish freedom. His new book published by Pluto, 1916, looks at the context of the Rising in the imperialist conflicts of the time. It also follows the thread of Ireland's complex revolutionary tradition - uneasily combining republicanism and socialism - in the century since.
Doors open at 6.30pm for browsing the extensive Bookmarks book stall and the meeting will begin at 7pm. Refreshments available on the night.

One Hundred Years On: The Irish Easter Rising

London Socialist Historians Group Forum - Saturday 30 April  - midday

One Hundred Years On: The Irish Easter Rising 
Institute of Historical Research, Malet St, London, WC1E 7HU 

The LSHG are hosting a forum on the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising on Saturday 30 April with speakers including John Newsinger and James Heartfield.
A number of speakers will address the significance of the Rising on its 100th anniversary...
(And the final Spring LSHG seminar is on Monday 7 March at 5.30pm, Room 304, Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet St London WC1. and will see Ben Lewis talking about Clara Zetkin's letters and writings - the latest issue of Revolutionary History which was reviewed here:
http://londonsocialisthistorians.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/book-review-clara-zetkin-letters-and.html)

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Women's History month starts 1st March, and Feminist Library faces eviction!

Message from The Feminist Library collective

Join us on Wednesday 24th February, at 6.30pm at 160 Tooley Street, London SE1 2QH, where Southwark Council's Budget setting meeting will take place. 
We will be handing in our petition there – 13000+ signatures so far.
Link to Facebook event for demo here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1214836021970098/

Dear Friends,

The Feminist Library is in an emergency situation, facing eviction in the near future after 30 years in the current building!

We request that you show your support by spreading the word far and wide and by telling your friends how much the library means to you. Other ways that you can help us immediately include:

- Sign our petition https://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/savefeministlibrary 
- Send letters to Southwark local councillors and Southwark MPs: Neil Coyle, Labour Party Member of Parliament for Bermondsey & Old Southwark (the Feminist Library’s constituency) Tel: 020 7219 8733. Email:neil.coyle.mp@parliament.uk; Helen Hayes, Labour Party Member of Parliament for Dulwich and West Norwood Tel: 020 7219 6971. Email: helen.hayes.mp@parliament.uk; Harriet Harman, Labour Party Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham Tel: 020 7219 4218 Email: harriet.harman.mp@parliament.uk
- Donate to our Emergency Fund that has been set up to ensure that the Feminist Library collection's future is safe regardless of the final decision of the council on our current premises
http://feministlibrary.co.uk/support/emergencyfund/;
- Offer a hand with the campaign (we are always on a lookout for new volunteers, but at the moment we urgently need help with events, media, marketing and premises work).
- Send us a brief testimonial saying how much the library means to you, especially mentioning if you have used it, attended events there or been a volunteer.
- Tell us if you are a Southwark resident, so we can contact you for specific help locally.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you need any further information: admin@feministlibrary.co.uk 

Monday, February 15, 2016

In celebration of 10 years of RaHN (2): Publications available online

To mark the occasion further, here is a list of publications produced by the Radical History Network of North East London group, or closely connected with it, which may be accessed directly on line:

 100 Years of Social Housing: A Walk in Tottenham (2013)
 Alan Woodward Tribute (2012)
 McWorld on Trial (McDonalds and McLibel, 2014)
 The NHS is 60 (56pp. booklet, May 2008)
 The Path Not Taken (Alan Woodward, 2012)
 Woodward Archive Catalogue (Bishopsgate Institute, 2015)
 (RaHN) Pamphleteering
 
The group's most ambitious publication to date
There are also inks to the above and to other items as they arise via the relevant blogposts, which may be found by a subject/keyword search.

In addition, many free-sheets have been produced with notes on the various subjects of meetings held by the group over the years; these are generally available at stalls (e.g. at the forthcoming Haringey Local History Fair) and meetings (our next is on Wednesday 9th March).

In celebration of 10 years of RaHN (1)

The inaugural meeting of the Radical History Network of NE London (RaHN) was held on 15 February 2006, as previously noted on this blog, where you can find a brief account of the group's early years as well as material relating to the life and work of one of its founders and convenors, the late Alan Woodward.

In addition, a ground-breaking "online pamphlet" on Spain and the World with various contributions looking at many aspects of the Spanish Revolution and Civil War, 1936-39, was added to the blog in 2011. The several posts included under this heading have been and continue to be among the most frequently viewed here.

The sequence starts with Spain and the World... (Preface) 15/6/11
and includes:-
Spain and the World: Aspects of the Spanish Revolution and Civil War (1) The View from the East End. Joe Jacobs, Out of the Ghetto, Spain and the World  6/15/11
Spain and the World : Aspects of the Spanish Revolution and Civil War (3) Health Service Spain 1936-39, Medicine in War, Socialised Medicine, Spain, Spain and the World, Spanish Anarchism, Spanish Civil War, Spanish Revolution  15/6/11
Spain and the World: Aspects of the Spanish Revolution and Civil War (on Workers' Control) (4) Anarcho-Syndicalism, CNT, Collectives,Collectivization, Spain, Spain and the World, Spanish Civil War, Spanish Revolution, Workers' control 16/6/11

To mark the 10th birthday occasion, here is a selection of highlights from the blog, which has not been going for quite as long as the group but is now well established as a go-to site for radical history, with well over 100,000 page-view "hits" chalked up by early 2016.

The following show up as the most frequently viewed so far, with dates (UK-style) when posted, and in some cases tags to indicate their scope.

RaHN blog greatest (number of) hits

Spain and the World as above, and Women in the Spanish Revolution (Solidarity pamphlet, 2010 edition) 14/8/10

The London Workers Group [1977-1985] - a relic of an exciting past, or an inspiring example for the future? Anarcho-Syndicalism, Labour Movement, London Workers Group 29/10/09

McDonald'sand McLibel - the successful humiliation of a multinational [1985-2005] - by the McLibel Support Campaign. Campaigning, Food Politics, MacDonalds, McLibel, Multinational 13/9/09

GreatEnoch - a weapon of choice. Great Enoch, King Ludd, Luddites, Machine Breaking, Poplar revolt, Popular Uprisings 28/5/11

FINSBURYPARK - a history of community empowerment. Community activism, Finsbury Park, parks 10/07/2013

ALANWOODWARD 1939-2012 Alan Woodward, Alan woodward a tribute, alan woodward haringey, alan woodward haringey workers, alan woodward tottenham, Local campaigners, radical history network, Tottenham local history 10/21/12

Further to comment and reply on Spies for Peace [Image of a vintage pamphlet] 04/06/2013

London Remembering the Real World War 1 group [Meeting report and outline of aims] 05/01/2014

MEETING : The Spanish Revolution 1936-39 (Report of 75th Anniversary event, addressed by Brian Bamford) 18/6/11

Book review - Poplar: Lessons of a Historical Struggle. Labour Movement, Labour Party, Poplar councillors, Poplar revolt, Trade Union Movement 18/11/09

INVERGORDON MUTINY - Review. Book review, Invergordon Mutiny, Joe Jacobs, Royal Navy Mutinies 30/8/11

Tottenham 100 years ago; R M Fox's autobiography. Autobiography, Pre First World War, R M Fox, Richard Michael Fox,Smokey Crusade, Tottenham local history 23/9/10
                                                             
History From Below network (International) Conference. Bristol, Conference, First World War, international, radical history 06/10/2014

UK Anti-Poll Tax Movement 1988-1991. Campaigning, Poll Tax 21/10/09.

n.b. More recent posts have not had time to build up views to the same extent.

If you would like to see what RaHN has had to say (or pass on) about some other subjects, try the Search button on the right to locate relevant posts.

UPDATE:

A fuller list (5 pages) of non-ephemeral posts with links to this blog has now been compiled.

Also available in plain text compatible mode.


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Book review: Fictionalising Irish History


Ashby Jones, The Angel's Lamp. Winchester/Washington, Top Hat Books, Jan. 2016. £10.99 pbk. 275pp.
[It is just by chance, honest, that this review of - among other things - a "love story" is posted on 14th Feb.]

In the run-up to the centenary of Dublin's Easter Rising, the publication of this novel is well timed. (Other signs of attention being paid to the anniversary are a forthcoming conference and an exhibition of photographs.) 
Fiction is not history, radical or otherwise, but it can certainly stimulate interest in aspects of it and perhaps question some of what people think they know; it can also of course reinforce myths and received versions of events. This book may do a bit of both, the balance depending on the individual reader. Or it could perhaps, but not easily by anyone with any knowledge of the setting, be read simply as a story - the familiar trope of sworn enmity turning into (doomed) love. To let on that the two main characters don't live happily ever after isn't much of a spoiler since the real-life biography of Nora Connolly, the female protagonist, is known and accessible. She has spoken for herself about 1916.
That's Nora as in the daughter of James Connolly, who puts in a personal appearance to inspire the hero, Johnny, and make him question and soon reject his role as a soldier (with an Irish background) in the British army. The author professes "utmost care and respect" in "fictionalizing the lives of historical persons" and refers to their "prevailing, recorded personalities". He has done a lot of research, and includes a bibliography, albeit a predominately Irish-Nationalist/Republican one. 
He prefaces the narrative with the inevitable quotation from W. B. Yeats ("a terrible beauty..."), and another from St. Patrick, while the title is apparently a mystical-religious allusion (so there are cautionary signs), and it is in romantic-nationalist and religious mode that we find the leaders of the Rising here. It may be unfair to criticise the less than justice done to Connolly's politics given that the viewpoint is Johnny's and "politics confused him". There is only a passing reference to "strikes a while back" and defence of strikers, by contrast with rather too much about "blood sacrifice", martyrdom and similar dubious notions, but this may reflect the position Connolly had reached in 1916 after defeat on the industrial front in the 1913 lock-out. The extent of popular support or lack of it for the rising is not given much attention, apart from its being "a lost cause". In another passing reference Connolly, it is said, "even believes in the equality of women", and Nora is a strong character, far from being there merely as the love interest. 
Part 1 is set in Dublin in the immediate aftermath of the Rising, recounting the details of the executions, mistreatment of prisoners and repression that followed; Part 2 is in Cork where Johnny, having deserted, goes to throw in his lot with the rebels fighting the notorious Black and Tans and the Essex Regiment, brutalised by war service on the Western Front. The actions of the British are unflinchingly exposed, in case anyone had illusions about imperialism or was in doubt about the behaviour of the soldiery and the authorities in such situations. There is some acknowledgement too, if not entirely even-handed or free of double standards, of the authoritarian military and macho mindset of the rebels, from whom Johnny has to escape, aided by Nora and with the necessity of leaving Ireland, to save his life.
Although the book is readable, there are some incongruities of style in the writing in the form of American idioms and other jarring notes. Possibly the most alienating (perhaps in the salutary Brechtian sense of reminding us that this is a cultural construct, not "real") is the repeated perverse spelling of the Irish name Saoirse (Freedom) as Sarosa.
Top Hat Books make rather large claims for their "Historical fiction that lives", including an allusion to "radicalism", and this sort of thing may indeed have much to offer as a counter-balance to the traditional biases of the genre. Whether or not it means that "The reader, when they [sic] finish, will snap the book closed with a satisfied smile" is a more challengeable assertion. In this case a wail of despair from the pacifist or the student of subsequent Irish history, or an exasperated snort from the more politically aware, especially those of a left-libertarian persuasion, might be nearer the mark. Worth looking at, though, and almost certainly not the worst book relating to the Easter Rising that will be appearing this year. It remains to be seen whether it will be among the best.

L.W.

“The Council of the Irish Citizen Army has resolved, after grave and earnest deliberation, to hoist the green flag of Ireland over Liberty Hall, as over a fortress held for Ireland by the arms of Irishmen.
“This is a momentous decision in the most serious crisis Ireland has witnessed in our day and generation. It will, we are sure, send a thrill through the hearts of every true Irish man and woman, and send the red blood coursing fiercely along the veins of every lover of the race…”
James Connolly, Workers’ Republic, 8-4-1916


According to wikipedia:
Saoirse (Irish pronunciation: [ˈsˠiːɾʲʃə], [ˈsˠeːɾʲʃə] or [ˈsˠɯːɾʲʃə]; roughly SEER-shə) is an Irish and Scottish female given name meaning"freedom", which became popular in Ireland in the 1920s.
Sarosa is a genus of moth in the family Arctiidae. Species[edit]. Sarosa acutior (Felder, 1874) 

Friday, February 12, 2016

A Salford WW1 conscientious objector at WCML

From WCML ebulletin 

Working Class Movement Library
51 The Crescent,
Salford, M5 4WX
United Kingdom

Join a Salford WW1 conscientious objector as he tells his story

We are so looking forward to the 30-minute free performances of our Living History play about WW1 conscientious objector James Hudson, commissioned as part of our Heritage Lottery Fund WW1 project.

Please come and join us at one of our public performances of No Power on Earth, a monologue telling the story of an ordinary Salford school teacher at the start of the First World War who finds himself at odds with the popular mood:
Sunday 21 February at 2pm at Salford Museum and Art Gallery
Wednesday 2 March at 1pm here at the Library
Saturday 5 March at 12.30pm, again here at the Library.

The performances accompany the Library's current exhibition To End All Wars.

[And a new book from Ali Ronan]



Come along to the Library a bit earlier on Wednesday 2 March if you can and join the North West Labour History Society at 12.15pm for the launch of Alison Ronan's book Unpopular resistance: the rebel networks of men and women in opposition to the first world war in Manchester and Salford 1914-1918.  And then stay on to hear our free talk at 2pm about rapper dance! - see below.

And if you're coming on Saturday 5 March bring your butties, because once you've watched the play you can stay on for our International Women's Day talk which is at 2pm that day...  See details below.

Rapper dance - its creation and what it meant to working communities
On Wednesday 2 March at 2pm our free Invisible Histories talks series starts up again with a talk by Tom Besford.
Rapper sword dancing is a form of traditional dancing from the North East of England. The dance was most often performed around the pubs and bars of mining towns and at competitions in the towns and cities throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

This talk will be given in the context of the Dancing England Rapper Tournament (DERT) which is coming to Manchester on Saturday 12 March.

DERT is based on local competitions held in the rapper heartland of North East England in the early twentieth century. Since its modern inception in the mid-1990s, DERT has become an international stage for rapper dancing. Comprising a number of different classes - youth, open, championship, premier and traditional dance - DERT 2016 will see hundreds of rapper dancers take to the venues of Manchester to show off their skills. For more information go to www.dert2016.co.uk.

The other talks in the series are as follows (click on the links for full details):

16 March 2pm Chloe Mason Justice for Alice Wheeldon!

30 March 2pm Cyril Pearce Communities of resistance: patterns of dissent in Britain during the First World War

13 April 2pm Robin Stocks Manchester volunteers in the Easter Rising

27 April 2pm Richard Milward – Luddites’ Nightmares

  
Remembering Mary Barbour - International Women's Day event

On Saturday 5 March at 2pm the Library's IWD event welcomes Catriona Burness who will give a talk, 'Remembering Mary Barbour - social reformer, rent strike leader, women's peace crusader and pioneering woman councillor'.
Mary Barbour worked tirelessly to change laws to help families in poverty.  Her capacity to mobilise working class families, especially women, to challenge the power of landlords and the state during the 1915 Govan rent strike led to the passing of one of Europe’s first rent restriction acts.  She also fought for free school milk, children’s playgrounds, municipal wash-houses, and an end to slum housing.

We will also hear from Karen Bosson, North West Regional Women’s Secretary of the Communication Workers' Union and member of the TUC NW Women's Committee, on current women trade unionists' campaigns in our region.

Admission free; light refreshments afterwards.

This event is part of Wonder Women, Manchester’s annual feminist festival. From 3-13 March 2016, from Street Art a_ction to a symposium on women in the First World War, there is a vast range of talks, film, art, music, walking tours, gallery takeovers, comedy and debate. Visit creativetourist.com/wonderwomen - and browse the full events listings at
http://www.creativetourist.com/articles/festivals-and-events/manchester/wonder-women-2016-full-events-listings/

Jarama remembered
The International Brigade Memorial Trust is holding its annual commemoration of the Battle of Jarama which took place in February 1937 during the Spanish Civil War. The event takes place at Manchester Town Hall on Sunday 14 February from 11.30am to 1pm.  The involvement of International Brigaders from the Greater Manchester area in the battle will be commemorated through readings and song.  All welcome.

 Call for papers: British Communism and Commitment day school, 9 June

Bringing together academics from a wide range of disciplines and former party activists, this day school analyses the complexities of commitment in the British Communist Party over its 70-year history (1920-1991). Papers (20 minutes) might cover, but aren’t restricted to:

The motivations and trajectories of party ‘hardliners’ who dutifully observed party discipline and the party line, regardless of misgivings;

Communism as a way of life;
Expulsion and the fear of it;
Autobiographies written by former Communists;
Figures who struggled to reconcile vocational, professional or artistic commitments with their Communism;
‘Loyal dissidents’ who remained fundamentally committed to the party while often challenging and seeking to enlarge its assumptions, procedures and priorities;
Those who challenged what they saw as dominant party perceptions that ‘race’, gender and sexuality were secondary to class as sites of oppression;
Activists who considered their ultimate commitment as being to Communist principles from which they believed the party to have deviated, and who challenged the party on those grounds;
Those who transferred their abiding Marxist commitments to different currents or organisations - Trotskyist, New Left, Maoist - and the complex relations with the CPGB that followed.

Part of the AHRC-funded project ‘Wars of Position: Communism and Civil Society’, the day school will be held in the Labour History Archive in the People’s History Museum, Manchester, and will include a tour of the CPGB archive holdings. It will mark the opening to researchers of a new tranche of significant CP archive material relating primarily to the 1950-91 period (the papers of John Attfield, Monty Johnstone and Paul Olive). The event will conclude with a round-table discussion about Communism, commitment and the archive chaired by Professor Kevin Morgan and featuring Francis King (historian, former CP activist and archivist, editor of Socialist History), and John Attfield (historian and former secretary of the Communist Party History Group).

Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be e-mailed to Ben Harker (ben.harker@manchester.ac.uk) by 1 April 2016.

Our mailing address is:

Working Class Movement Library
51 The Crescent,
Salford, M5 4WX
United Kingdom

  





Monday, February 8, 2016

Esther and Charlie Lahr, further to meeting

For those who weren't able to attend the fascinating and inspiring talk by the grand-daughter of the influential anarchist activists Esther and Charlie Lahr (of Muswell Hill in the early/mid 20th century), we can now offer her text and accompanying powerpoint presentation! 

Around 100 people crammed into Bruce Castle Museum for the detailed talk and to join in the discussion.

The full, just-published, book by their daughter Sheila about the Lahrs: "Yealm - a sorterbiography" is not to be missed and is available from Housmans Bookshop at 5 Caledonian Rd, N1 - ISBN: 978 0 9926509 4 0 Published: Sep 2015, 524pp

It is also available in full online:
http://www.militantesthetix.co.uk/yealm/CONTENTS.htm

-------------------------------------------------

The entry in Wikipedia for Carl (Charles) Lahr..
Carl Lahr was born at Bad Nauheim in the Rhineland, the eldest of 15 children in a farming family. He left Germany in 1905 to avoid military service and went to England.

In London he encountered the anarchist Guy Aldred (1886–1963), while working as a baker.[1] He was soon (1907) under police observation.[2] He joined the Industrial Workers of the World in 1914; at that time he had a bookshop in Hammersmith.

In 1915 he was interned for four year as an enemy alien in Alexandra Palace. In 1920-21 he was briefly a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain. His interest in politics led him to befriend many left-wing thinkers, several of whom went on to establish important left-wing groups in the UK. In 1921 he took over the Progressive Bookshop, in Red Lion Street, Holborn. From there he would branch out into publishing, and establish many literary friendships (including H. E. Bates, Rhys Davies, T. F. Powys) and D. H. Lawrence. At one point when Lahr was in financial difficulties his writer friends gathered a collection of stories together and published these as Charles Wain (1933).

He married in 1922 Esther Argeband,[3] (at that time Archer), whom he had met at the Charlotte Street Socialist Club, of a British Jewish family (Lahr was not Jewish). They were close friends of William Roberts, the artist, and his wife, and William's portrait of Esther is in the Tate Gallery.

From 1925 to 1927 Lahr published The New Coterie literary and artistic magazine. In 1931 he founded the Blue Moon Press, a small press amongst the books he published was the first edition of a small book of poems by D. H. Lawrence called Pansies.

In subsequent misfortunes Lahr was convicted in 1935 on a charge of receiving stolen books, and was sentenced to 6 months in prison.[4] In a short story from Something Short and Sweet (published 1937), H. E. Bates describes the court case with Lahr called "Oscar" in the story. The bookshop was bombed in 1941. He moved its premises several times in London.

He died in London in 1971. His funeral was attended by many representatives from left wing groups in the UK.

There is substantial further information on Lahr in a book authored by his daughter Sheila. This is called Yealm and can be read in its entirety on the Militant Esthetix website, run by Lahr's granddaughter Esther Leslie.

Lahr's papers are held by the University of London.


HARINGEY LOCAL HISTORY FAIR 2016

---------------------------------------
*THE HARINGEY LOCAL HISTORY FAIR 2016
Saturday 20 February, 11am –- 4.30pm
*Bruce Castle Museum, Lordship Lane N17

Discover more about Haringey’s history at our Fair; you can visit the Search Room and talk to Archive Staff, enjoy our all-day talks programme or browse stalls from local organisations showcasing our heritage.

The Old Kitchen will have a café for teas, coffee and cake all day.

And here is the line-up for the talks programme:

*Programme 
11.15am* *The Ivy-Mantled Tower *
Janet Owen of Hornsey Historical Society & Peter Saunders of the Friends of Hornsey Church Tower celebrate the recently published book by architectural historian Bridget Cherry on the history of St Mary'’s Church, Hornsey - the focus of the village life in Hornsey for 500 years.

*11.50am Film: "Future Revisited"*
Inspired by the film ‘What Future for Haringey?’, the Media Trust & Film London have worked with young filmmakers to produce a short film, using archival and new footage.

*  12.15pm A Street Seen: Residents of Westbury Road, Bounds Green *
Currently exhibiting at the Geffrye Museum, artist Gabriela Schutz discusses her work and artistic collaboration between herself, photographer Andrew Buurman and the residents of her street - Westbury Road, Bounds Green.

*1 - 2pm  Lunch break   2pm The Calling Tree*
Sharing a love of trees, artists Rosemary Lee and Simon Whitehead plan a performance event in and around the ancient oak at Bruce Castle, part of the LIFT Festival 2016 (London International Festival of Theatre). Come and share your stories about this important tree as we try and learn more about the tree’s past and its effect on local people.

*  2.35pm Our Community, Our Story: The African Journey to Britain*
Linda Gyamfi explores the migration experience of the African community, celebrating their contribution to Britain, and reveals a new resource book for young people.

*3.10 – 3.30pm tea break   3.35pm Far From the Western Front: South Asian soldiers in WW1 *Project Co-ordinator Eleanor Harding from the Asian Centre in Wood Green tells us more about this First World War Project focussing on the life of Indian soldiers during the conflict.

*4.05pm Ken Gay (1923-2015)– an Appreciation *
Albert Pinching, of Hornsey Historical Society, looks back at the wonderful legacy of local historian and author Ken Gay'’s contribution to celebrating Haringey’s history.

We look forward to seeing you.

*Deborah Hedgecock Curator *
Haringey Council
Haringey Archive and Museum Service, Bruce Castle Museum, Lordship Lane,
London N17 8NU
T. 020 8808 8772

Look out for the RaHN stall: 
Radical History Network of North-East London publications, information and notes of previous meetings.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Libertarian Social Centres: News from Nowhere meeting

Saturday 13 February 2016
Libertarian Social Centres: MayDay Rooms & London Anarchist Resource Centre
Speakers: Georgia Anderson, Howard Slater and L`ARC member
MayDay Rooms, an educational charity, was founded as a safe haven for historical material. Rather than being a ring-fenced ‘repository’ it’s an active social resource; a place where, amidst the austerity-driven threats to education & spaces of dissent, groups can gather to activate the historical material & feed these into current struggles. The MD Rooms collections are deliberately eclectic. Whilst we hold larger collections (Greenham Common), most are modest in size & cover themes from counter-educational initiatives (Schooling & Culture), to social protest (Poll Tax Rebellion), counter-culture (Scratch Orchestra) & activist collectives (East London Big Flame). MDR sees history as a constant inspiration & is working on digitalisation platforms to make the inspirational efforts of the past more widely available. A speaker from LARC will tell us about their own way of providing a radical meeting place.
 
Venue: Epicentre, West Street, Leytonstone E11 4LJ 
7.30 p.m. Buffet (bring something if you can)   8.00 p.m. Talk & discussion till 10 p.m.

Travel & Access
Stratford stations & 257 bus  Leytonstone tube (exit left) & 257/W14 bus  Overground: Leytonstone High Rd, 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. Meetings open to all - just turn up. Enquiries 0208 555 5248     Free entry: voluntary donations welcome


NEWS FROM NOWHERE CLUB
Founded in 1996, the club challenges the commercialisation & isolation of modern life. 
Patron: Peter Hennessy
We meet monthly on Saturday evening.
‘Fellowship is life & the lack of fellowship is death’.  William Morris

** 21st ANNIVERSARY YEAR!**
‘The club is a real beacon of light.’  - Peter Cormack (former Keeper of William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow)