Peterloo

For a country that loves period costume drama, a first movie of the Peterloo massacre the 200th anniversary of which falls in August next year.
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The production art and costumes are convincing.  The massacre itself, sickening – and how could it be anything else.
The interests of manufacturers, magistrates, government and royalty are shown and not to advantage.  The workers and campaigners are often shown making speeches – often extracts from speeches of the time – and the language can be challenging.  An introduction to Henry Hunt.  Overall, an education.
A more positive review from the Guardian, in essence the newspaper that was created because the massacre happened.
(r:6.7; e:2, s:3, t:4).

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Per Rail portrays Nottingham in 1913

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A book from Edwardian times comprising of a series of articles on cities and towns along the Great Central Line, with 4 pages on Nottingham’s history and the offices, platforms and yards of the freight operations along Queens Walk.
Scans of the pages are available.  Interesting insights into the industries of “Nottingham – the Capital of the Lace World”.

Windrush: celebration of a generation

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A pleasure to attend a “celebration of a generation”., to speak and to represent Lilian Greenwood MP at the event and at the emergency Windrush surgery in April, during a crisis which saw a Home Secretary fall.
“Celebrating the heroes and heroines of the Windrush Generation that laboured in the NHS,factories, brought up families, whch contributed to the civic and cultural life of the UK.”  The celebration included stories, poetry and songs.
A pleasure to be asked to speak but had to be wary, as a football fan, of being asked to pick out a group of people, especially after a 6-1 victory, when football fans lose perspective and see yourselves as part of some kind of super race.
windrush england footballers 36636135_189863618360992_3475699217681350656_nA super race that now includes Danny Rose, Fabian Delph, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young, Keiran Trippier, Dele Alli, Marcus Rashford, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Raheem Sterling and Jesse Lingard.
My, how England has changed!  Huge since our own Viv Anderson became the first black footballer to play a full international for England.
So much has already been said about the African-Caribbean community centres and the various people who have played big roles.  Such as Eric Irons, the first black local magistrate, and Milton Crossdale who played a big role in the City Council.  Currently we have 6 black city councillors – Leslie Ayoola, Merlita Bryan, Marcia Williams, Patience Ifediora, Corral Jenkins and Eunice Campbell.  Previous City Councillors – Hylton James, Des Wilson, Tony Robinson and Ron Mackintosh.  And George Powe – the first local black Councillor, who served on the County Council.
There is so much to say about so many, so to narrow the scope, let’s explore who helped when I was Lord Mayor?
The All-Stars: performed at the Lord Mayor’s Ball, which had a Caribbean theme; and at the Carnival in The Meadows, along with
The Ancestors: the local St.Kitts & Nevis masquerade troupe; launched with an event a Queens Walk Community Centre and took over the Lord Mayor’s parade;
The National Black Archive and Panya Banjoko: celebrating the overlooked achievements of black servicemen and reminding us of their commitment and service with a black poppy and a black poppy wreath;
Merlita Bryan and the Black Achievements awards;
ACNA: with their own 40th anniversary and celebrating Jamaica’s independence and 55th Anniversary;
Bishop James Stapleton: served as Lord Mayor’s Chaplain; introduced me to Psalm 133 – unity is a wonderful thing;  and a member of the Windrush Generation;
Jane Jeoffrey: secretary of Queens Walk Community Association, member of The Ancestors, read a prayer at the Lord Mayor’s Christmas Carol service and a member of the Windrush Generation.
And whose voice was so alike the lead in Shebeen; from which the romance between the young black man and white woman brought to life what George Powe and Jill Oswald must have gone through in Nottingham’s 1950’s.
One last thought – from Lenny Henry’s Mum.  Will never forget it.  Cos Lenny Henry said it so clearly.  What disappointed her so much on her arrival in Britain was the lack of respect.
Respect is one of Nottingham’s watchwords.  So let’s show it and keep on showing it.

Shebeen

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Another hit from the Nottingham Playhouse, and another Nottingham story.  Go see.
This time, the late fifties in St.Ann’s and Caribbean immigrants have developed their own shebeens – illegal drinking events in homes – where they get to enjoy their favourite music with their favourite drink and the profits stay within friends.
A proud, devoted young couple, who never lie to each other, who have strong respectful codas and precious possessions.  Fashions of the fifties and accents that I hear so often in The Meadows.
So many issues rehearsed in the preparation for another party, the party itself and in the aftermath, being strong on what theatre can be strongest at – conversation.
Most powerful issue – that of reactions to mixed race relationships.  (Bringing back memories of George and Jill).

So many ways to remember, including the new memorial

Sam Edwards jXMnJhScI’ve been invited to listen to a Radio 4 programme, recently re-broadcast, “How to Remember“.
Contentions include that the significance of the nation-state and the impact of globalisation should change what or how we commemorate.
One of the central tenets – that we remember the sacrifices of those that went before us, by the way we live, politically I kinda live by.
From after WWI – Homes for heroes (and everyone else), votes for all.
From after WWII – free health care, full employment, proper jobs, success for all in education, social security, including those the elderly and the less mobile.
From struggles at home – A representative democracy.
From struggles everywhere – A free society.  An extension of which for me would be freedom from barbarity on social media. The common wealth. Public amenity.
Presumably what we haven’t yet fought a war for is the environment and the climate, but we should campaign for green measures too.
And some change came without so much struggle – clean water supplies and proper sewers came cos the wealthy and powerful could die from cholera as well as the poor and powerless.
I’ve published blog entries and made speeches on a number of these aims and achievements, as well as precis of the history of Nottingham.
(The first working class library in NottinghamThe Chartists campaigning on Mapperley Hills CommonThe Cheese Riots.  One surprise this last year was the photo of the Lord Mayor meeting the International Brigade in 1939 which may see a postcard being produced.)  (I’ll try to add more links to these later.)
The stories are mainly written somewhere, and the local studies library can be very helpful in finding the stuff, and this is now the era when the stories are being published in easily accessible form – video, audio and text.

My contentions on how to commemorate would be –
– get stories published on the internet, so that they are quickly accessible;
– tie stories on the internet to location, so that you don’t need plaques;
– remember all who served (put themselves at risk), and not just those who lost their lives; kinda tricky to do well cos no such lists exist;
– develop the stories behind the names – like Eddie has done from those in the freight railway plaque at Nottingham station, or the pamphlet on the Sherwood Foresters sent to the Easter Rising;
– participate in events such as Remembrance Sunday, but also history walks and recreations (such as the Pentrich Revolution march);
– respect the reality, and pay proper respect to the event and to the visual amenity.

Now given some millions in today’s money was spent on Nottingham’s memorial, I was sceptical of what a £300k addition for the sake of listing all the names of those who lost their lives could achieve. But I think the options developed are worthy and warrant installing in the nearby gardens. I wanted option 1, but it is too expensive given the limits announced.  It’s understood that the large poppy will be better in reality than as portrayed.  And the additional memorial doesn’t stop us from doing the social media publishing.
So I support the additional memorial.