News from Nowhere Club
Patron: Peter Hennessy
Programme of Events for 2017

Events take place at The Epicentre, West Street, Leytonstone, London E11 4LJ
7.30pm, beginning with a shared food buffet (bring something if you can)
8.00pm Talk & discussion till 10pm

Travel & Access: Stratford stations followed by 257 bus,
or Leytonstone tube (exit left) & 257/W14 bus,
or 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

Saturday 14th January 2017
Leytonstone Playreading Group
SpeakerSpeakers: Alaisdair Preston, Nicolaus Mackie and Margaret Winniak

‘79 years of performing staged play readings for free to the people of Leytonstone & beyond. A unique group presenting monthly unrehearsed staged play readings in costume & with props, performing to an audience. Our catalogue of plays include old & new classics from heyday of Repertory Theatre, through Maugham, Coward, Shaw, Rattigan & up to Pinter. Also to encourage new writers to workshop their plays in front of an audience. We are a regular participant in the Leytonstone Drama Festival & welcome new audience members young & old, plus those wishing to try out acting & associated skills such stage management, script editing & costume design. Some of our members such as Sir Derek Jacobi, Frank Muir & Sheila Collings. have gone on to successful careers in theatre & the media ‘ There will be a mini-playreading to our audience on the night.

Saturday 11th February 2017
More Anglican than Anarchist: Christian Socialism and the Labour Movement
Speaker: Canon Steven Saxby

Waltham Forest's very own Red Vicar will speak on the role Christians, including Anglicans, played in the formation of the Labour movement and the Labour Party. The Church Social Union, the Guild of St Matthew and the Church Socialist League all made important contributions to Labour. Steward Headlam and Conrad Noel, notorious radical clerics, were leaders of a movement which challenged the Church and challenged the Party and was hugely important to George Lansbury, sometime Labour leader. With reference to how the churches related to other Labour strands, including those inspired by William Morris, Canon Saxby will consider how the churches helped transform the UK at the turn of the last century and how they might again contribute to the social movement politics required to bring real change to Britain today.

Saturday 11th March 2017
Alice Wheeldon: convicted of conspiracy to murder Lloyd George - 100 years on, can we clear her name?
Speaker: Chloë Mason

100 years ago, Alice Wheeldon, Winnie & Alf Mason were imprisoned amidst international publicity that had made them instant ‘tabloid villain’ since their arrest in January 1917. They had been set up by undercover agents posing as conscientious objectors. The family argued that the murder plan was fabricated. The family’s fate was used to intimidate others striving to avoid/stop war and to bring about a better world based on peace and social justice. This compelling story, a ‘spy story’, is one of tragedy, courage & hope. Chloë, great-grand-daughter of Alice Wheeldon, will discuss the campaign to clear their names

Saturday 8th April 2017
'Comrade Morris is not dead!'
The political life & thought of William Morris, 1883-1896

Speaker: Colin Waugh

William Morris was active as a socialist from 1883 till his death in 1896. While remaining a designer, craftsperson, artist & poet, he travelled the country speaking to working-class audiences on topics like 'Useful work versus useless toil', 'How we live & how we might live', & 'A factory as it might be'. In 1889, his 'utopian' novel, News from Nowhere, was published. This talk will look at how Morris related to others active at the time, including Eleanor Marx & the anarchists who joined his Socialist League, & will suggest that his ideas may be more relevant now than ever.

Saturday 13th May 2017
Carols from the Coalfields
Speaker/performer: Chris Harris

A musical evening, featuring poems by Joseph Skipsey, a self-educated coal miner, set to music by his great-great-grandson, Chris Harrison. Joseph Skipsey, ‘The Pitman Poet’, was born in Northumberland in 1832. He began colliery work aged seven. Having taught himself to read & write, he published his first book of poems in 1859. Chris has set 24 of Skipsey’s poems to music, calling the project “Carols from the Coalfields”, after the collection which Skipsey published in 1886. The songs offer a rich & varied picture of life in the mining communities, while describing issues & experiences still relevant today.

Saturday 10th June 2017
New Leaf: A Botanical Phylogeny Garden for All
Speaker: Vinnie O’Connell

Vinnie, botanist and plant historian, is Founding Director of this fascinating project in West Dulwich. They not only offer education, training and employment to adults aged 16+, but run a bookshop, maintain a phylogenic garden (depicting the evolution of flowering plants throughout time, starting in the pond with water lilies 140 million years ago through to modern cottage gardens) but also organise children’s activities, outreach work & create gardens in other parts of London. It’s a hub for local people of all ages who drop in and learn about the plant & insect life on their own doorstep.

July 8th 2017 (part of the Leytonstone Festival)
This Other London - Adventures in the Overlooked City
Speaker: John Rogers

Writer and film-maker John Rogers talks through his 100 mile journey on foot around London seeking out the under-explored corners of the city for his book, This Other London - adventures in the overlooked city. His journeys took him from the wild west of Hounslow Heath to Wanstead Flats, from Uxendon Hill to the seven hills surrounding Dulwich, Stanley Kubrick's Vietnam-on-Thames at Beckton, wassailing in the Lea Valley and many more adventures along the way. He will also share some of his research from the follow-up book instigated by the new Stratford Mega City development.

August 12th 2016
R F Mackenzie: The Last Word on Education
Speaker: Ros Kane

R F Mackenzie (1910-1987), a libertarian teacher inspired by A S Neill, chose to work in state education. As head of two Scottish secondary schools, he tried to run them in ways that caused great controversy, leading to the end of his headships. He wrote several well-received books. His biography by Peter Murphy is rightly called ‘Prophet Without Honour.’ Ros, with a background in teaching, community action, psychotherapy and child mental health, believes Mackenzie’s ideas are enormously important and relevant to our times. Does anything else need to be written?

Saturday September 9th 2017
Ethel Mannin : Feminist – Anarchist – Anti-Fascist
Speaker: Andy Simons

Andy will unpack the life of this working class yet wealth-sacrificing writer, social rebel, tireless campaigner & author of almost 100 books of fiction & non-fiction. The feminist ignored by feminists. Ethel Mannin (1900-1984) was many things: single mum by design, anti-fascist & anti-British Mandate activist before World War 2, intrepid and sometimes illegal world traveller & consistent anarchist. Andy, former jazz archivist, radio presenter & author of ‘Black British Swing’, devotes his time to Palestinian rights activism, as did Ethel Mannin in the 1960s.

Saturday October 14th 2017
Cyclogeography: Journeys of a London Bicycle Courier
Speaker: Dr Jon Day

Jon Day is a writer, literary critic and cyclist. He now teaches English Literature at King’s College London, but before this he worked as a cycle courier in London for many years, He will talk about the politics of cycling, the literary and cultural history of the cycle and the ways in which bicycles connect people with places.

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.’

Saturday 9th December 2017
Felting: Adapting a Prehistoric Skill for Modern Art
Speaker: Nicola Harris

‘Felting, the ancient process of converting fleece to felted wool, is now a popular hobby and living for many crafts people and artists, such as myself. Whereas the everyday use of wool has decreased considerably with the advent of modern materials, the recent expansion of felting skills is leading to new and exciting uses for wool. This in turn has begun to improve the outlook for sheep farmers and led to an improvement in the fortunes of those rare breeds with specialist wools. This talk will include some practical participation in a small seasonal bit of felt making!’ Please bring a towel and a>

Patron: Peter Hennessy

Founded in 1996, the club challenges the
commercialisation and isolation of modern life.
We meet monthly on Saturday evening.

‘Fellowship is life & the lack of fellowship is death’
William Morris

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