Friday, November 10, 2017

Is this the Walsall Bomb?

"One aspect of this case that is especially interesting is the State's determination to resist disclosure at every level..."

(Guest blog from Christopher Draper – 1.)

John Quail’s account of “The Walsall Anarchists” in his classic “The Slow Burning Fuse” remains unchallenged after almost forty years but it left some unanswered questions.
  1. What became of the physical evidence presented at the 1892 trial?
  2. What was the ultimate fate of the imprisoned anarchists after their release?
  3. Who exactly was Auguste Coulon, the “Secret Agent” mysteriously absent from the trial proceedings?
 The Evidence
Over the intervening years I’ve researched these questions and turned up some interesting leads that I’ll describe in this and two subsequent posts. Here I’ll deal with that first question and submit this picture of “the bomb” for your consideration. Contemporary press reports make extensive, if somewhat inconsistent, reference to numerous artefacts employed by the Walsall anarchists in their alleged enterprise, including - “a sketch of a bomb with instructions (in French) how to make the bomb”, “wooden pear-shaped patterns”, “plaster core-stocks”, “a quantity of clay mixed with hair, evidently for moulding purposes”, “a coil of miner’s fuse”, “a hollow brass casting”, “a leaden bolt” and a “bomb, a conical iron shell four or five inches long”. I’ll deal with issues of guilt or innocence in the second article, here I simply ask if this is really, as claimed by its inscription, the Walsall Anarchist Bomb”?
 Where’s that Bomb?
The leading role of the Metropolitan Police Special Branch in securing the conviction of the Walsall anarchists is well recognised and prompted post-Quail researchers to focus their attention on MPSB archives but as I’ll discuss in my piece on Coulon this yielded vital but limited results. As my parents lived for years in Walsall I was curious whether their local police might have retained some evidence from the case.
Following reorganisation, Walsall is now part of the “West Midlands Police Force” which has a small police museum accommodated in Smethwick Police Station. Aware of my interest in the case a local contact sent me the above illustration which prompted me to wonder if “the bomb” might be gathering dust in the WMP museum. Although the museum was developed and maintained as more of a part-time hobby pursuit by an enthusiastic (and now deceased) copper than as an academic or legal resource nonetheless it comes under the auspices of WMP and therefore is open to Freedom of Information Requests (FOIR). 

 The Crucible
Investigating Black Country history I also came across an illustration (above) that was said to be the very crucible that cast the Walsall Bomb. There was no suggestion that it had ever been taken into police custody as it had been effectively and deliberately concealed. Like the police museum, Walsall’s civic museum is moribund but nonetheless the local authority are subject to FOIR, so I sent them an email.
Walsall Museum Service duly confirmed that they do indeed hold this object which is catalogued as, “Height 29.7cm; Diameter 18cm - A casting crucible that was found under the floorboards at a foundry. It is alleged to have been used in casting the bomb casings of the Walsall Anarchists Bomb Plot of 1892.”  I was further informed that the find-site was Algernon Street (now the Crown Wharf Development) which suggests it was concealed beneath the Faraday Works which is ironic as the conspirators initially claimed they were merely contriving “electrical lubricators”.
The recorded dimensions of the crucible are too imprecise to make an informed judgement but they are not out of line with the size of the “bomb” described in court proceedings.

 Un-FOIR Response from WMP
On 4th September 2017 I submitted the following FOIR to West Midlands Police, “I request copies of all information and artefacts held by WMP relating to what became known as the “1892 Walsall Anarchist Bomb Case”
Initially WMP suggested I cancel my FOIR and instead make informal inquiries of their “Heritage Project”. When I declined to go down that route WMP refused to supply any substantive information, claiming FOI exemption “by virtue of S14(1) (Vexatious Requests)”.
On the 18th October 2017 I invoked the WMP internal appeals procedure. If they do not come up with the goods within a week I will appeal to the Information Commissioner (IC). Yet even now I haven’t entirely drawn a blank, in the course of exchanging emails WMP disclosed that, “The information that we hold in respect of your request is a very old, large, fragile and very rare document”, and tantalisingly it might well offer unique insight into the case.
The law more or less requires compliance with FOIR unless it would cost authorities more than £450 (18hrs labour) to do so. It seems unlikely that photographing this document and sending me jpegs would prove excessively burdensome and I think they are trying it on and will eventually be overruled by the IC. If they intended to facilitate (as obliged by legislation) rather than frustrate my FOIR it is curious that they also admit, “that we do hold a summary of the document and could supply this electronically” yet steadfastly refuse to do so. I’ll let you know how this pans out and meanwhile I ask comrades not to intervene with WMP until I’ve exhausted the official appeals procedure.

 Where are we Now?
We now know WMP holds substantive previously unexamined archival evidence on the Walsall anarchists. It is likely they also have the, “Walsall Anarchist Bomb” illustrated, although they were careful neither to confirm nor deny this in our email exchanges. Walsall Museum Service retains the “bombers’ crucible” and the exact significance of this object might itself become clearer once I obtain copies of the information detailed in WMP’s “large, fragile and rare document”.
So is this really the bomb? Well I seriously doubt it. As West Midland police officers examined this evidential exhibit over the last century or so they probably congratulated one another on their courage and moral worthiness in capturing fiends that could produce such a devilish device. And conspiratorial fiends they were too but not anarchist fiends for only one viable bomb casing was ever presented in evidence and its makers were identified in a particularly detailed account of the final day of the trial published in the Birmingham Daily Post of Tuesday April 5th 1892 (incidentally, Frederick Brown was an associate of the Institute of Civil Engineers and Colonel Arthur Ford R.A. Home Office Inspector of Explosives); “From the evidence of Brown and Colonel Ford there was evidence that the iron casting which they had seen, and which had been made by the police from the original patterns of the prisoners would cause such an explosion” (my emphasis)!
So the police themselves almost certainly manufactured, Walsall Anarchist Bomb – 1892”. What other evidence they manufactured in 1892 might soon be revealed by the Walsall Papers WMP seem so determined to keep secret. I’ll keep you posted.


Friday, November 3, 2017

Towards end-of-year: listings round-up

Largely irrelevant, vaguely seasonal illustration
(rebel robin, does one-bird food riots).
See also "Autumn Listings continued" and "More about 1917" 

Announcement from Past Tense:

The 2018 London Rebel History Calendar is now available! Out a bit late, but finally printed.

Rebellious, subversive and campaigning anniversaries from London's radical history...for every day of next year.

It can be bought online at:

Yours for only £6 plus £3 postage and packing.

It will also soon be hitting the usual radical and independent bookshops around London, (email us if you would like a list) 

and will be buyable from Ak Distribution -

and Active Distribution -
Inaugural Liberty Lecture with Ali Smith.
[From LibertyOn Tuesday 6 November award-winning author Ali Smith will deliver the first annual Liberty Lecture – with all proceeds supporting work to defend human rights in the UK.
Ali was recently shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017, and has long been a supporter of Liberty. She backed our campaigns against extending pre-charge detention, helped stop Westminster Council criminalising giving free food to homeless people, and contributed a beautiful piece to celebrate our 80th birthday.
On 6 November, after offering her eloquent insight on the latest challenges to our rights and freedoms, Ali will answer questions in a Q&A session chaired by Creative Writing lecturer Dr Nikita Lalwani. Tickets:

  • £10 Standard rate
  • £5 Concessions rate (students / unwaged / retired) 
News from Nowhere Club Meeting
Saturday 11th November 2017
Community-Led Regeneration
Speaker: Simon Myers, CEO of the Gasworks Dock Partnership
"Simon’s talk will include slides, sharing some of his experiences from the grassroots regeneration of Cody Dock in East London. ‘Topics to be covered: the back story to how and why the charity GDP was formed; what was achieved by volunteers and the community; our long term mission and master plan for Cody Dock; what we have learnt and would like to share with others.’"
At the Epicentre, West St E11
7.30pm vegetarian buffet  8pm talk
Please arrive after 7.30pm
Enquiries 0208 555 5248
Free entry
From Medact:

Musicians for Peace & Disarmament - Winter Concert for Peace

Dedicated to the memory of Nona Liddell MBE & conducted by Jane Glover CBE

Date: Friday 24th November | Time: 7.30pm - 9.30pm
Venue: St. James’s Church, 197 Piccadilly, London W1 9LL
For full details of the programme and to book tickets see the website or email


An ICAN UK [International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weaponsdemonstration to mark Nobel Peace Prize win

Date: Saturday 9th December | Time: 11.00am - noon
Venue: Ministry of Defence, Whitehall, Westminster, London SW1A 2HB
More details to follow but please keep the date free!

NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS, Manchester & Salford Branch

FILM SCREENING - Belonging: The Truth Behind The Headlines

SATURDAY, 25th November 2pm
Three Minute Theatre, Afflecks Arcade, 

This month we will are showing  Belonging: The Truth Behind The Headlines, directed and produced by Morag Livingstone, a BECTU member and also a member of the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom's National Council.  More details about the film are here

EVERYONE WELCOME - the film is open to non NUJ members

Belonging: The Truth Behind the Headlines is an investigative feature documentary film about where power lies in the UK.  Re-looking at events around 3 industrial disputes, 3 governments and over 3 decades it shows the impact of government and corporate power on democracy and human rights in the UK.   
FROM Letterbox Library a not-for-profit social enterprise -
A Shake Up of Judges for the Little Rebels Award
for Radical Children’s Fiction

The prize for the children’s book which best celebrates social justice is back for its 6th year-with a shake up of the judging panel! Three new judges will be joining the Little Rebels Children’s Book Award: Patrice Lawrence, Emily Drabble and Darren Chetty. This year, the award will be administered by two radical booksellers, Housmans Bookshop and Letterbox Library, on behalf of the Alliance of Radical Booksellers (ARB). Submissions are now open.

Speaking about her appointment, prize-winning YA author, Patrice Lawrence, said, “I am looking forward to being a Little Rebels judge because a story can tilt my world. A picture can open a trove of new ideas for me. I can’t wait to be challenged and provoked by the books coming my way.” Emily Drabble, Head of Children’s Book Promotions/Prizes at BookTrust (formerly co-editor of the Guardian children’s book site) said, “I’m totally passionate about children getting their hands on the best books, books that make them think, and books that will make a difference to the world - and that’s exactly what this award is all about.” Darren Chetty, Teaching Fellow at UCL and contributor to The Good Immigrant and A Change is Gonna Come added, “I’m delighted to be a Little Rebels judge…I know as a reader and a teacher how stories can open up all manner of possibilities, and how they provide solace, escapism and new connections with the world.”

The new judges will be joining award-winning author and scriptwriter, Catherine Johnson, now in her 3rd year of judging, and B.J.Epstein, Senior Lecturer at the University of East Anglia and author of Are the Kids All Right? The Representation of LGBTQ Characters and Young Adults’ Literature.   

Publishers are now being invited to submit children’s fiction for readers aged 0-12 which promote social justice and which were first published in 2017. Full submission guidelines can be found at The closing date for nominations is January 15th 2018.

The Little Rebels Children’s Book Award is a sister award to the Bread & Roses Award for adult non-fiction. Both are the inspiration of the Alliance of Radical Booksellers, a network of radical booksellers in the UK. Prizes will be presented at the 6th London Radical Bookfair on Saturday June 2nd 2018. 

Contact: Fen Coles
Letterbox Library
Unit 151 Stratford Workshops
Burford Road
Stratford E15 2SP
Tel: 020 8534 7502

Further Information
About the Little Rebels Children’s Book Award
The Little Rebels Award is given by the ARB and was established in conjunction with Letterbox Library. Full details of the award, including the shortlist and prize giving ceremony for previous years, can be found at:

About Letterbox Library
Letterbox Library is a 34-year-old, not-for-profit, children’s booksellers and social enterprise. They specialise in children’s books which celebrate diversity, equality & inclusion as well as books which promote social justice.

About Housmans Bookshop
Housmans Bookshop is one of London’s longest surviving and last remaining radical bookshops. Housmans is a founder member of the ARB. They were awarded the London Independent Bookshop of the Year Award in 2016.

About the Alliance of Radical Booksellers (ARB)
The ARB is a supportive community for the UK’s radical booksellers; The ARB also runs the (adult) Bread & Roses Award for Radical Publishing.

About the London Radical Bookfair
Hosted by the ARB, this fair was run for the first time on May 11th 2013. .

Significant dates
The closing date for nominations for the Little Rebels Award is Jan 15th 2018; the shortlist will be announced in May 2018; the winner will be announced at the ARB’s London Radical Bookfair on 2nd JUNE 2018.

A young reader, 2007
From Sparrows' Nest:

Nefarious Notts: Radical Archiving: Stories of Social Protest

We have been asked by the brilliant Nottinghamshire Archives to showcase our collections next week. 
Free entry, booking advised:

Nefarious Notts: Radical Archiving: Stories of Social Protest

Friday, 1st December, 2.30pm at Notts Archives

Hope to see you there!
Visit the Sparrows' Nest website. 
If you wish to contact the Sparrows' Nest please email:


Working Class Movement Library
51 The Crescent
SalfordM5 4WX

North West Labour Film Festival North West Labour Film Festival 2017 runs from Saturday 4 to Thursday 9 November in Liverpool. It includes a shorts and feature length film contest.
Invisible Histories

Series continues with a free talk on Wednesday 8 November at 2pm by Dr Andy Clark (Scottish Oral History Centre)The occupation of the factories - women's resistance to factory closure in Scotland, 1981-82. Andy will discuss his research into the wave of factory occupations launched by women in the early ‘80s. At three factories threatened with closure and relocation, the workers took control of the plant and machinery in an attempt to force the companies to change their plans, or to sell them as going concerns. Andy utilised materials held at the Working Class Movement Library as well as original oral history interviews to analyse these underexamined instances of militant resistance, and will discuss the importance of these in the wider historiography of deindustrialisation in central Scotland during this period.

Future Invisible Histories talks are:
22 Nov Cathy Hunt: Brave hearts and missionary zeal - the National Federation of Women Workers 1906-21. Cathy Hunt is a historian and honorary research fellow, Coventry University.
Endemic low pay, deductions and fines, intimidation and insecurity – some of the things women across Britain faced at work in the early 20th century. This talk shows how one union, the all-female National Federation of Women Workers, led by Mary Macarthur, sought not just to help but to encourage activism and fight back at the local level. 

6 Dec                     Neil Faulkner
A people’s history of the Russian Revolution

Full details at

Creative writing workshop and poetry book launch

There will be a creative writing workshop, followed by the launch of a new poetry anthology, in the Library annexe on Wednesday 15 November from 1pm to 4.30pm.
Building Bridges is an Arts Council England-funded project that has brought groups of writers from indigenous and migrant/refugee backgrounds together to write creatively about works of art in Greater Manchester, Middlesbrough and Finland. An anthology of work has been produced after a series of events in the various locations led by poets Bob Beagrie, Andy Willoughby, Tony Walsh, Kieren King, Kalle Niinikangas and Esa Hirvonen.
Beagrie and Willoughby will first lead a free creative writing workshop responding to the art of the working class in Salford and Manchester, linking to images from the collection of the Working Class Movement Library, between 1pm and 2.30pm. After that the launch will feature readings from the anthology and contributions from the afternoon workshop participants. Copies of the anthology will be on sale with a 20% discount for this very special event. Free refreshments will be provided by the book's publishers, Ek Zuban Press.
Free; all welcome. If you wish to attend email to confirm a place at the workshop.

White poppies - The Library has white poppies on sale to visitors until Friday 10 November.
The Peace Pledge Union has been distributing white poppies for peace since 1934. The white poppy remains a symbol of grief for everyone who has been harmed by war but also a symbol of determination to work to abolish war. Proceeds from sales of the poppies will go to the Peace Pledge Union
Wikipedia edit-a-thon
Following on from last year’s very popular edit-a-thon we are again seeking your help to share knowledge of  significant moments in British history, and invite you to come and spend a day researching and editing Wikipedia.  The event, run jointly by the Library and the People's History Museum, is on Sunday 19 November, 10am to 4pmjust bring a laptop and a packed lunch, and we’ll provide the coffee…  It’s suitable for adults and young people, particularly for those with experience of editing Wikipedia or knowledge of British political history.
 The event is being run in conjunction with Manchester Girl Geeks, a not-for-profit group which organises networking events, talks and hands-on workshops for women and girls with an interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and in partnership with Wikimedia UK.  It is is part of UK Parliament Week 2017.
The event, which is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Library/Museum’s joint Collecting Cultures project, is free but advance booking is required via Eventbrite at, so that we can send you details of how to create a Wikipedia account for yourself in advance of the day.
Celebrating the bicentenary of William Hone's trials
Join us on Thursday 16 November from 6.30pm to celebrate the bicentenary of a pivotal event in the history of British censorship - when, in December 1817, the radical satirist and publisher William Hone successfully defended himself in three high-profile prosecutions for blasphemous and seditious libel.  Fiona Milne (University of York) will introduce us to Hone’s trials and political satires, examining why the state tried so hard to suppress Hone’s pamphlets, and why Hone’s victory was important.
Katherine Inglis (University of Edinburgh) will explore the case of Henry Vizetelly, prosecuted and imprisoned for obscene libel, for publishing Emile Zola’s works in translation. She will use Vizetelly's case to look at how censorship targeted working-class readers.
The Library has a wealth of related materials in its collections, and there’ll be a chance to handle original documents, including political pamphlets and published editions of trials.
We hope to open up a discussion on these cases and the issues they raise, including censorship, working-class readers, political protest, “forbidden books”, and the changing legal face of censorship in Britain.
UPDATEThere are still a few places left (it's free to sign up) as we mark the bicentenary of a pivotal event in the history of British censorship (Thursday, 16 November from 6.30pm) - when radical satirist and publisher William Hone successfully defended himself in three high-profile prosecutions for blasphemous and seditious libel. 
There will be a chance to handle original documents, including political pamphlets and published editions of trials. And we'll be discussing broader issues around censorship, working class readers, political protest, “forbidden books”, and the changing legal face of censorship in Britain.
It's free - book a place here.
Celebrate the centenary of the Bolshevik RevolutionThe Communist Party of Britain, North West District is hosting an event in the Library annexe on Saturday 18 November from 1.30 to 4pm, to commemorate and examine the events of 100 years ago.  Speakers will include Liz Payne, National Chair of the Communist Party of Britain, and Navid Shomali of the Tudeh Party of Iran.
Manchester Martyrs' 150th anniversaryOn 23 November 1867, three Irishmen, Michael O'Brien, William Philip Allen and Michael Larkin, were hanged in public in Salford for the murder of a police sergeant during the rescue of two Fenian leaders.
Although the three were known to be involved with the Irish Republican Brotherhood, there was no evidence that they had been involved in the policeman's killing. All of them protested their innocence to the end, becoming known as the Manchester Martyrs.
The political and historical importance of this episode, and the various ways in which it has been commemorated over the past 150 years, is the focus of a Connolly Association public meeting to be held here in the Library annexe on Thursday 23 November at 6pm.  The talk will be given by Donal Fallon, a historian and writer based in Dublin. He is the biographer of 1916 revolutionary John McBride.
More information about the event here.   And you can head here to the Library blog to read the fascinating story of an unusual item in the Library collection, a maquette (model) of a proposed monument by the Liverpool sculptor, Arthur Dooley, commissioned by the Manchester branch of the Connolly Association. The subject of the piece is a memorial to the Manchester Martyrs.

Films and conversation with Ken Loach and friendsAlso on Thursday 23 November, from 4pm till midnight at the Moston Miners' Community Arts Centre, there will be an evening of films and conversation with Ken Loach.  Ricky Tomlinson, Smug Roberts, Salford spoken word poet J.B. Barrington and others will also be contributing. Tickets price £20 plus booking fee should be purchased in advance here, and all proceeds are going to Salford Unemployed and Community Resource Centre.
Moston Miners' Community Arts Centre, 35 Teddington Road, Manchester M40 0DJ.
Talk on John Boyle O'Reilly in Preston
On Wednesday 29 November at 6pm at the Harris Museum in Preston there will be a talk on John Boyle O’Reilly (1844-1890), radical Irish nationalist, author and campaigner who lived in Preston for a few years and retained an affection for the town and the time he spent there.

He later became involved in the militant revolutionary Irish nationalist movement, the Fenians, was imprisoned and transported to Australia from where he escaped, finally settling in Boston in the US. Here he became noted for his literary work and his campaigning for Irish independence and the rights of American workers.
This event will feature display boards highlighting O’Reilly’s adventurous and dramatic life, and will be accompanied by a talk from Dr Máirtín Ó Catháin, Senior Lecturer in Modern Irish History at the University of Central Lancashire.
Free tickets and more details here.
Independent Working Class Education Network is planning sessions/Day Schools for early 2018. 
Two ideas are  - 
  • Public Ownership (3 Feb, jointly with We Own It) London
  • "If Jeremy Corbyn become PM - What can we expect in the first 100 days?"

The Kennington Chartist Project

"Next year [2018] is the 170th anniversary of the Chartist rally on Kennington Common, now Kennington Park. A group of local residents, supported by the Friends of Kennington Park, are planning a project to raise awareness of this historical event and its impact, and to generate ideas for future events or memorials in the park. The aim is to represent a wide range of perspectives and to give as many people as possible the chance to contribute ideas. This survey is to see how much people already know about the history, and to ask which kind of activities people might be most interested in. Please share widely, many thanks,"
- The Kennington Chartist Project Steering Group. Please fill in the form here.

Updates to listings will follow as they come in.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Direct Action against the Bomb: 1960s and 1980s

The ever-useful London Rebel History calendar reminds us that this weekend sees at least two anniversaries, although not particularly 'landmark' ones, for the history of protest in Britain against nuclear weapons in its two great waves: late 1950s to 1960s; and 1980s, respectively.

21 [October]
Anti-nuclear direct action Committee of 100 launched, Euston, 1960.

22 [October]
1 million people attend CND rally against nukes, Hyde Park, 1983.

Debate about tactics was renewed in the second phase, with advocates of direct action advocating the need for more effective methods than appealing to politicians and trying to influence those in the corridors of power. The Solidarity group, members of which had participated in some of the most spectacular C100 actions (see previous posts listed below), produced a leaflet arguing for the continued relevance of their approach:

Of course the 1980s and subsequent decades were to produce their own, rather different, examples of sometimes long-sustained direct action, notably at Greenham Common and Faslane.

Were They Bothered?
Some related sources for the earlier phase, indicating multiple ways in which the Committee of 100's tactics impinged upon the authorities, can be found in the National Archives.

NB. This list was compiled several years ago. A current search might turn up more recent releases and/or re-titled items, and some of these titles may have changed.

ADM 1/30660 Project LAMACHUS: Holy Loch Anti-Nuclear Demonstration Whitsun 1962 1962
ADM 1/28966 Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and Committee of 100: Admiralty guidance 1963-1965 

Director of Public Prosecutions
DPP 2/3838 CHANDLER, Terence Norman, "Committee of 100" (London Committee): Appeal against conviction to the Court of Criminal Appeal by Chandler. Appeal refused 1964
DPP 2/3432 RANDLE, Michael Joseph and others ("Committee of 100"): appeal against conviction and sentence. Appeal dismissed 1962
DPP 2/3442 RANDLE, Michael Joseph and others ("Committee of 100"): appeal to the House of Lords against conviction. Appeals dismissed 1962
DPP 2/3678 MOULE, Peter and others ("Committee of 100"): conspiracy (to effect public mischief) S9 Official Secrets Acts 1911-1939. No action taken 1963 [Note: The naming of a defendant within this catalogue does not imply guilt].
DPP 2/4379 FARR, Kathleen: impersonation of HM The Queen at "Committee of 100" demonstration, "March of Shame", in Parliament Square, London, on 30 April 1967. Prosecution for sedition not in the public interest 1967 

Home Office
HO 325/163 Committee of 100 (Direct Action Group Against Nuclear Weapons): demonstration at Marham Royal Air Force Station, Norfolk on 11 May 1963; arrests under Official Secrets Act 1911 following trespass on airfield. Physical Description: With enclosure 1963 Jan 01-1963 Dec 31

Law Officers
LO 2/365 Applications for the attorney-general's fiat in Official Secrets cases: Committee of 100: consent 1964

Metropolitan Police inc. Special Branch
MEPO 2/11256 'Committee of 100': Special Branch reports concerning proposed demonstration at US Air Force Base at Ruislip at Easter 1964 1963-1964 

Ministry of Transport
MT 97/524 Road Service Licences: applications and refusals; transport of Committee of 100 to airfields 1961-1962

Prison Commission and Home Office Prison Dept.
PCOM 9/2208 ALLEGRANZA, Helen: member of the `Committee of 100'; at Central Criminal Court (CCC) on 30 January 1962 convicted of conspiracy to commit breach of Official Secrets Act; sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment; died [whilst in after] confinement 1962-1963

Prime Minister’s Office
PREM 11/3387 Demonstration in Trafalgar Square by nuclear disarmers: Prime Minister declined to see deputation from Committee of 100 1961
PREM 11/4284 Correspondence on activities of Committee of 100 1961-1963

T 216/970 Personnel security: position of civil servants who are members of Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Committee of 100 and Church of Scientology 1962 May 09 - 1964 May 01

Ministry of Works
WORK 20/327 Trafalgar Square: meetings of the Committee of 100 1960-1961
WORK 20/336 Trafalgar Square: meeting of the Committee of 100, 17 September 1961. 

Previously on this blog:

Sunday, October 15, 2017

PRESS RELEASE "The First Trumpland Political Thriller"


                                          PUBLISHED OCTOBER 2017

It is January 2017. Donald Trump has just assumed the US presidency and become the world's most powerful man. The world is in shock – and fear, as it watches the jubilation this event causes over large parts of the United States.

Two friends set out on a road trip through the American West, just subsequent to the inauguration of Trump. One is Thomas, a Scottish freelance journalist familiar with the area, who is looking for copy for newspaper articles from the trip. The other is Louis, an American, a recently-divorced academic who has lived in Europe for over 20 years, and, stunned by the election result, wants to “find America” - and seek amorous adventures.

The journey starts in El Paso where “No-one goes on vacation” and takes them on an Odyssey through the wilds of West Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Montana. They encounter the death agonies of rural and small town America in abandoned mining towns and witness agricultural decay, in an area unknown – and often despised - by many Americans. This is the heart of Trumpland, the boondocks fly-over states of ill-educated ill-informed and very angry people who are both witnessing and experiencing at first hand the Decline of the American Empire. The two friends' encounters with Trump's constituency are mitigated by meetings with the isolated and contrasting communities of ageing hippie drop outs, Native Americans, Hispanics and Mormons who also inhabit these little-known regions.

Life as ever in the USA imitates art, and an unwelcome incident on the Mexican border causes the friends to totally change their travel plans; then the road trip becomes a road flight that blows their odyssey totally off course and takes them to destinations unforeseen,  and a journey that will change both their lives in unexpected directions. Set in the template of the “far out west” road novel Ghost Dance is a serious work of political fiction, a state of the nation narrative, which is based on the author's thorough grounding of the history, scenery, culture and social structures of the US West. The novel illustrates in chilling fashion both the anger and hate which brought Trump to power, and the frightening portents this triumph carries for America and the rest of world, though the experience of two men grappling with forces at the limits of their comprehension, and beyond the limits of their control.