Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Mr Gibbons Goes to Lowdham

I`m grateful to Ross Bradshaw of Nottingham`s Five Leaves Books for letting me know that author Alan Gibbons will be appearing in Lowdham on Thurs 20 September (yes, I know it`s short notice !) to give a talk on `Libraries, Education and Literacy`.

I gather this will be the first of the newly-instigated Lowdham Lecture Series. 

Mr Gibbons has been mentioned by this blog before in his capacity as the founder/organiser of Campaign for the Book.

Tickets to hear this literary lad are variously £10, £9 or £8, depending on your circumstances.

For more information, or to reserve a place, ring 0115 966 3219.

As I`ve no doubt mentioned before, Mr G can be found online at http://alangibbons.net .

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Autumn Footprints

At this time of year,  various areas hold their own walking festivals, some of them with quite intriguing themes.

Over this weekend, the Yorkshire Dales played host to the `Boots and Beer Walking Festival` (www.blacksheepbrewery.com/bootsnbeer) .

On a more literary note, Richmond will be playing host to `Books and Boots` aka the `Richmond Walking and Book Festival` later this month (www.booksandboots.org).

For film buffs, London`s `Films on Foot Festival` takes place next month, which co-incides with the BFI London Film Festival and will take in almost 400 film locations with numerous related pub trips, apparently (www.innerlondonramblers.org.uk/filmsonfoot.

For details of these events and others, click here ; http://walkmag.co.uk/category/news/events .

Turning to events in my neck of the woods, we come to `Autumn Footprints` aka `The 10th Amber Valley and Erewash Walking Festival` (www.gdd.org.uk). These are a series of walks in various locations around the region, catering for most levels of ability. Many of the walks have a local history theme,  thus a walk in Pentrich is billed as `Romans and Revolutionaries`, and in West Hallam local historian Roger Wood will be leading a walk headed `Nutbrook Canal and Horse-Drawn Tramways`. Participating organisations include Erewash Ramblers, Amber Valley Ramblers, Ilkeston and District Local History Society, Derbyshire Archaeological Society, Holbrook Parish Council, Breaston Parish Council, and various Walking for Health groups.  

If for any reason the walks in the festival are unsuitable for you, don`t despair as Nottingham Ramblers are also putting on a number of walks in the area during Sept and Oct. For details, click here ; http://www.nottinghamramblers.org.uk/Walks_Prog.html .

Happy walking !

Monday, 3 September 2012

Samuel Morley of Nottingham

This picture is entitled Nottingham Arboretum : Bust of Samuel Morley and is by photographer John Sutton. Should you wish to know more about John`s work, you can click here ;

http://www.geograph.org.uk/profile/38492 .

There was a period of my life when I worked nearby and Mr Morley`s bust greeted me most weekdays as I often took my lunch-break in the aforementioned arboretum.

The  bust is accompanied by an inscription documenting his qualities and achievements ; "Member of Parliament, Merchant Philanthropist, Friend of Children, Social Reformer, Christian Citizen."

Factually, all this is correct, but it under-sells our man by a mile.

Born in London during 1809, Morley was heir to the family`s wool manufacturing business but soon ventured into publishing and politics. He became one of the proprietors of a Liberal newspaper, the Daily News, and was subsequently MP for Nottingham and later Bristol.

As a young man, Morley had attended a Congregationalist Chapel run by the Rev Dr Thomas Binney, known as The Archbishop of Nonconformity. As I`ve mentioned before, Non-Conformists (`Dissenters`) are a group opposed to state recognition of the Church of England and trace their origins to the time of the English Civil War. They have particularly deep roots in the East Midlands.

Binney was an active anti-slavery campaigner and this was a cause that Morley embraced whole-heartedly , acting as treasurer of a fund to assist escaped American slave Josiah Henson.  Morley contributed an introductory note (written jointly with one George Sturge) to Henson`s autobiography. In the book, Henson particularly highlights the support given to him by Morley and another man, George Hitchcock.

Another beneficiary of Morley`s campaigning zeal was trade unionist George Potter. Potter was the leading figure behind a trade union journal, The Bee Hive. Begun as an independently-run venture, The Bee Hive had become the journal of the London Trades Council. There followed an incident in which another trade unionist, Robert Applegarth, accused Potter of personal dishonesty and of falsifying details of an industrial dispute. The Trades Council investigated and subsequently parted company with both Potter and the Bee Hive.

Potter formed his own group, the London Working Men`s Association, and continued to produce the Bee-Hive. Without Trades Council support, the journal lost money, but was saved when Samuel Morley and another man, Daniel Platt, saved it from bankruptcy by buying up all the shares.

It might seem odd that Morley should form an alliance with Potter, a man accused even by some of his fellow trade-unionists of being a `manufacturer of strikes` and whose honesty had been called into question, but seemingly the two were happy with the outcome. The Bee Hive continued as a vehicle for trade unionists and radical liberals but eventually went under.

Potter went on to pursue a career as a trade unionist but failed in his attempts to become a politician and in a subsequent venture as a publisher of political tracts.

Josiah Henson wrote three books in all and was at different times a Canadian Army Officer and a Methodist preacher. He decided to stay in England after slavery was abolished in the US.

Morley died in 1886 and is remembered as a philanthropist and social reformer. He is buried in Abney Park Cemetery, as is Thomas Binney.



Sunday, 2 September 2012

Hoonaloon News September 2012

For once I`ve been quite prompt in putting our monthly newsletter online. Encounter my epistle at http://hoonaloon.blogspot.com .