Friday, February 1, 2019

Update on some Radical History (Re)sources in London


With the continuing dispute at Senate House over outsourcing of support workers (see our statement here) the immediate future of the socialist history seminar at the Institute of Historical Research is under review. 

However the London Socialist Historians Group will, of course, continue and will be looking to run events during the year whether at Senate House or elsewhere. 

The original aim of the LSHG was not just to be socialist historians within the academy but to be activists outside it too. We have kept broadly to that perspective but I think in 2019 we do need to look at renewing the link. 

Those with long memories, or access to appropriate archives, will recall that some years ago the LSHG used to have a banner. Made by the pre-eminent maker of labour movement banners, Ed Hall, it depicted the fight for women’s suffrage. It featured in several banner exhibitions as well as being a regular presence on demonstrations. 

I have to report that its current whereabouts are, at best, unknown. For that reason I think it’s more than time that a new London Socialist Historians banner was commissioned. The first question of course is what should be depicted on it. Watch out for details about how this will be decided shortly! (We will obviously seek to canvass opinion widely). 

Once decided, I hope we can get it done by early summer. It will be not just to gaze at but to actually carry on demonstrations and protests as well. 

Given the number of those who attend the seminars at the IHR that I have seen in 2018 on demonstrations such as that against Trump in the summer and the Stand Up to Racism protests against Stephen Yaxley Lennon and Co. later in the year I’m hoping this will not be a problem. 

As E.P. Thompson had it in the 1980s: PROTEST AND SURVIVE.

Press release - 7 February 2019

The London Socialist Historians Group, which has organised the socialist history seminar at the Institute of Historical Research in central London for 25 years, says it regrets the decision by the Institute of Historical Research and Birkbeck's Department of History, Classics and Archaeology to proceed with a launch of Richard J Evans new biography of Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm at the University of London’s Senate House on Thursday.
Outsourced workers, members of the IWGB, who are in dispute with the University had asked the organisers to move the venue in support of a boycott of Senate House and related central University buildings which is supported by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell amongst many others.

The socialist history seminar at Senate House is suspended in support of the IWGB boycott.
The historians say that they hold Richard J Evans, who has spoken at socialist history seminars at Senate House in the past, in the highest regard and don’t doubt his biography of Eric Hobsbawm officially published on 7th February is both highly competent and very interesting on the historian’s life, work and politics. However they consider the decision not to move the book launch despite reasonable notice to be regrettable.

LSHG Convenor Dr Keith Flett said: Eric Hobsbawm was one of the great post-1945 Marxist historians whose work focused on the labouring poor and their struggles against capital. To hold a launch of a biography of his life and work at a location that is the subject of a boycott by outsourced workers is not something any socialist should feel comfortable with.

Housmans, Peace House, 
5 Caledonian Road, Kings Cross, 
London N1 9DX

From Saturday 26th January we shall be putting out for sale the library of Bernard Franks, very kindly donated to Housmans by his estate. The collection is primarily made up of Marxist and, often rare, historical tomes.
Bernard was self-educated and wrote on many subjects, including a lengthy work on the French Revolution (there are many books on the Revolution in his collection).  His comrade Phil Edwards has written more about his life below.
As ever we endeavour to keep the prices of such books as cheap as possible – the vast majority are on sale at £1, while a few are at £3 and £5. The books are available from our second-hand basement.

LGBTQ+ history and collections at the Bishopsgate Institute 

Friday 8th March 18:30 – 20:30 
AT The National Archives, Bessant Drive (end of Ruskin Avenue), Richmond TW9 4DU

Bishopsgate Institute has been documenting the history and lives of the LGBTQ+ Community in the UK since 2011, when it became home to the Lesbian and Gay Newsmedia Archive; a national collection of over 300,000 press cuttings from the straight press covering all aspects of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer experience from the late nineteenth century to the present.
It now also holds the archive collections of organisations such as Stonewall, Switchboard, GMFA: The Gay Men's Health Charity, Outrage!, and the UK Leather Archive, along with the records of various individuals including Paris Lees & Sue Sanders/Schools Out/LGBT History Month.
We celebrate LGBT History Month with this talk by Stef Dickers, Special Collections and Archives Manager at the Bishopsgate Institute, who will delve into the amazing stories, experiences and vibrancy behind the rich LGBTQ+ collections held by the Bishopsgate Library.

Workshop - How to use pauper letters

Friday 8 February 2019  10:30 – 13:30
AT The National Archives, Bessant Drive (end of Ruskin Avenue), Richmond TW9 4DU

In this workshop, Dr Paul Carter (The National Archives) will work his way through letters and petitions from the poor during the 19th century which are held at The National Archives.
Paul will demonstrate why these letters were created, how they are arranged within the collection and most importantly, how to use them for your own research benefits. 

In Their Own Write is a three-year, AHRC-funded project, running from 2018 to 2021, which uses letters from paupers and other poor people, and associated manuscript material such as petitions, sworn statements and advocate letters (those written on behalf of paupers) to investigate the lives of the poor between 1834 and 1900.

It is run jointly by The National Archives at Kew and the Department of History at the University of Leicester.
October 2018 to July 2019 - Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am to 5pm.
"This landmark, critically acclaimed installation including film, sound, historical photographs and album artwork in the upstairs mezzanine area examines 100 years of black British music with a timeline marking the most important events – musical, political and social – that influenced the innovators who revolutionised British music. # A tribute to the incredible power of London’s dynamism and the dogged persistence of DIY musical creativity."
Haringey Local History Fair 2019
 Saturday 16th February
11am- 4.30pm
Featuring stalls set up by local groups* with an interest in the history, social history, natural history and architecture of Haringey ... also groups and individuals with a special project each year, and a talks programme.
(*Including RaHN stall with a wide selection of our publications and information sheets) 
Haringey Local History Library and Archives
Bruce Castle Museum
Lordship Lane
London N17 8NU

Phone: 020 8808 8772
Fax:  020 8808 4118
ALSO ON Saturday 16th February:

    Leaflet available in Housmans bookshop

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