As the new hub of Nottingham College is being designed for the Narrowmarsh, I have claimed how this was a kind of “education coming home” as Sussex Street hosted the first Operatives’ Library in the city in the 19th Century in the Rencliffe Arms.
It’s possible that my melodramatic claim for it being the first working class library in the world may not be sustainable.
Our Local Studies Library reports – “According to “The Operatives Libraries of Nottingham: A radical community’s own initiative” by Peter Hoare which has been my main source of information there were at least 12 operative libraries mainly based in public houses in working class areas. … Operative[s] libraries were formed partly to enable the working class to access books on political and religious matters that were not available through other types of libraries.
Please find attached a scan from Peter Hoare’s work. It would suggest that the first operative library was based in the Rancliffe Arms in Sussex Street and was founded in August 1835 by W. Brooksbank . The reference to John Blackner is interesting as we hold copies of his “History of Nottingham” from 1815 in the library.”
Note, planning permission has been granted for a new highway linking Cliff Road and Canal Street at the site of Popham Court, Popham Street (16/00090/PFUL3).
The development will result in the construction of a new street that will need to be formally named by the Council. The road in question is unofficially referred to as ‘New Popham Street’ as it will be built to replace Popham Street ready for the development of the new college on the land that is currently being used as a temporary car park for the Broadmarsh. The construction of the new road is scheduled to be completed in April 2018.
August 1842 —
On The Thursday (18th), 2,000 resolved in the Market Square not to work until the terms of the Charter were met.
On The Tuesday (23rd), a rally of some 5,000 supporters met on Mapperley Hills Common (most probably the area just south of the GMB offices on Woodborough Road for a rally)..
At 3pm, as they ‘sat down for their dinner’, Dragoons brandishing swords (glittering in the bright sunshine) scattered the rally, arrested 400 and marched them into town. 50 were to end up being punished severely.
The actions of the authorities were mocked, a) by the mocking term of “Battle of Mapperley Hills” (cos the ‘battle was so one-sided – soldiers on horseback with weapons) and b) with a very long poem, published a month later.
(Photos of the poem are available – https://www.flickr.com/photos/154928849@N03/sets/72157687876247666)
I’ve made a 4 minute video (sorry, I didn’t appreciate until I got home how much I was grimacing cos I was concentrating on remembering what to say).
A previous video is a bit rough. With thanks to contributors to Wikipedia for the improved understanding and to the Local Studies Library on Angel Row.
Three years now since my nephew and I made a second-take single shot video on an iPad to celebrate the 170th anniversary of the Battle of Mapperley Hills. See http://youtu.be/bDT6DO_9JmM
We did our best with the camera and the history (the sound is not great and the facts might not be entirely accurate either), but we are grateful to the anonymous people who’ve written what appears to be a much more credible, and fuller history of the day’s events, available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Mapperley_Hills
And let us take moment today to reflect on what organised working people were trying to achieve, and how they struggled and suffered for it.
Interesting that one commentator advises that the term “Battle” was meant originally, in essence mocking the language of the judges and magistrates who escalated the protestors actually posed.
Congratulations to the Nottingham Post on its full page spread on Nottingham’s history in winning the right to vote.
Now let’s use it.
Sunset at the Arboretum Park in Nottingham, including the bell-tower commemorating the Crimean war, and Feargus O’Connor, the only MP elected as a Chartist.
Nottingham North Labour party met to discuss labour history from two different periods.
Roy Lakey, party agent, chatted about the people he knew and helped having worked for the party from the sixties.
Of Edith Summerskill covering at a 1,000 strong rally for the expected lateness of George Brown, and of George Brown holding that audience for an hour and a half using speech notes of just two words – “they know”. Of the community politics of Labour Councillors in the sixties and seventies.
Of how Militant Tendency in the eighties ran as a party within a party.
Chris talked about various campaigns in the 19th century.
Of how the Chartists cut their teeth opposing rates rises proposed by local vicars. And how one of them spied for the Home Secretary.
Of Fergus O’Connor, his weaknesses and strengths – including founding the national newspaper the Northern Star.
A reminder of the extent and significance of the rebels and rebellions of Nottingham, that is to be the theme of the revised bid to the Heritage National Lottery – see http://www.nottinghampost.com/Reality-creeping-bid-castle-funds-revised/story-19925191-detail/story.html