60 years of books and activism
This website contains elements of background audio as part of the experience. Please choose from the following:
  • Article

    1974

    Article published in Peace News on 24 May 1974 titled '18 months for leafletting soldiers'.
    Download the full document: 152

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Article published in Peace News on 24 May 1974 titled '18 months for leafletting soldiers'. Reports on the prison sentance given to Pat Arrowsmith for giving soldiers leaflets from the British Withdrawal from Northern Ireland Campaign.

  • Photograph

    1989

    Black and white photograph showing the inside of Housmans bookshop. It is a crowded scene with people talking and in the foreground a worker using the till.
    Download image: Party at Housmans

    Creator: Alexander Donaldson

    Donor: Alexander Donaldson

    Copyright: Alexander Donaldson

    Photograph of a party in Housmans, showing the till, people talking and wine. The party is thought to be marking the 30th anniversary of the opening of the shop in 1989. Nigel Kemp, Bob Mellors and Sandy Donaldson (the donor) shown in the foreground of the photograph (left to right).

  • Photograph

    1982

    Black and white photograph of 5 Caledonian Road with Peace News sign and Housmans shopfront. Top of the photograph is water damaged.
    Download image: 5 Caledonian Road

    Creator: Alexander Donaldson

    Donor: Alexander Donaldson

    Copyright: Alexander Donaldson

    Photograph of the exterior of 5 Caledonian Road, showing the Peace News sign and the Housmans shop frontage. Photograph is water damaged. Photograph shows the original fascia and signage. Alexander Donaldson repainted the fascia sign shortly after this photograph was taken, and the exterior was also repainted at the same time.

  • Photograph

    1959

    A black and white photograph of 5 Cally Road taken not long after it opened. The iconic Peace News sign is visible on the frontage.
    Download image: 5 Cally Road

    Creator: Unknown

    Donor: Housmans

    Copyright: Unknown

    Photograph of 5 Cally Road taken not long after it opened. The iconic Peace News sign is visible on the frontage.

  • Document

    2009

  • Oral History

    2020

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Bob Overy

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Bob Overy was interviewed in 2020 by Reece Evans and Christina Radukic. Bob worked at Peace News for five years in the 1960s. Here he describes why working at Peace News was the perfect job for him. His full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    Well it was an absolutely perfect job for me, because I didn’t want to give up my activism, and I didn’t want to settle down and, you know, deliver, in what I called the real world, you know, I didn’t want to have to face being directed by, you know, within a normal hierarchical set-up.  I, yes, I wanted something, well, which enabled me to do what I want to do.  And, that was to write, on peace issues.  And as I say, they didn’t offer me that, because Pat Arrowsmith applied at the same time.  And, so she got the, got the feature writer and reporter job, and I was, you know, a back room boy, making sure that the, we liaised properly with the printers.  And we were working in metal in those days, letterpress.  So I never, you know, I, that’s the medium I know.  And you arranged the headlines and things, which I would be writing, on what they called the forme, it’s a big metal table that all the print sat on.  And then they would take paper, paper proofs.  And you could check the proofs to make sure that you know there were no errors, or if there were errors, make the corrections as they were called.  And, that was…  I loved it.  You used to work all hours, absolutely all hours, and I just enjoyed it so much.  And there was so much work, because we…  Peace News now sort of comes out occasionally; in my, in my day there were four of us, but it was weekly.  So we had a lot of work to do, you know, writing editorials, and, the news items, and, yeah, that was, it was great.

     

  • Oral History

    2021

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Nik Gorecki

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Nik Gorecki was interviewed with Catherine Barter by Naoise Murphy and Xiaoman Huang in 2021. He worked for Housmans Bookshop at the time of the interview. Here he describes the importance of 5 Caledonian Road as a permanent radical space. Their full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    I think the Left doesn’t have many spaces.  If you, if you look at a city, and think, who owns this city, who owns these buildings, how many of those buildings are places that the Left have?  And we have less and less.  Even in the past, there were, you know, Labour Party, social centres, or, working men’s clubs that might have been affiliated with unions, or, these kind of buildings; they have all been sold off.  There are so few spaces that we have.  So, above all, I think that is the most important thing, is that, here is a space that won’t be sold up, isn’t going anywhere, it will take a wrecking ball to knock it down.  And, it’s ours.  And, that creates a sense of tradition as well, just knowing that it’s been there for that long.  People discover it and think, oh, these ideas aren’t new; there’s a long, I’m part of a long tradition just by being in the shop that dates back, and, we’re building on, we’re building on the legacy of that.  So, first and foremost, I think that’s the most important thing, the permanence of the building, and its sort of, totemic value.

  • Download the full document: 070

    Creator: Committee of 100

    Donor: Michael Randle

    Copyright: Committee of 100

    A cyclostyled leafet made by the Direct Action Committee against Nuclear War to advertise their first march to Aldermaston in 1958. Described as a four day fifty mile Easter march. Includes a form to commit to all or part of the march, to be returned to the group's office at 3 Blackstock Road.

  • Article

    1963

    Download the full document: 173

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Article in Peace News, published on 19 April 1963, detailing events on the 1963 Aldermaston march. The 'Spies for Peace' pamphlet 'Danger! Official Secret RSG-6' was distributed on this march. The pamphlet circulated information about the Regional Seats of Government: secret bunkers meant to provide refuge to members of the government in case of nuclear attack, which the 'Spies for Peace' had discovered.

  • Document

    Unknown

    Painting of children of different ethnicities gathered around a baby in a straw filled manger
    Download image: All nations at the crib

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Endsleigh Cards

    The artwork for a Christmas card sold by Endsleigh Cards; All Nations at the Crib. Endsleigh Cards was initiated by Harry Mister in 1948 and named after the street in which the Peace Pledge Union offices was based. It was a trading brand of Peace News. The cards were stocked in Housmans bookshop and available by mail order. They were especially useful for sending to imprisoned COs all over the world on Prisoners for Peace Day, 1 December each year.

  • Oral History

    2020

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Mike Jackson

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Mike Jackson was interviewed in 2020 by Naoise Murphy. One of the co-founders of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, he also volunteered at London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard (now Switchboard) in 1983. Here he describes one of the most memorable calls he took on the helpline. His full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    But I mean it was, it was wonderful doing that kind of work, you know, and just kind of, being able to return the support that I had been given, you know, those years before.  And the stories that you learnt about people’s lives.  I can say this now because it’s many, many years ago.  I had a call from one, a lesbian, who had just lost her partner, her partner had died, but the real story was that she’d had, the two of them had had a closeted relationship for decades.  They had both got husbands, and they had both got children, and they would do all the necessary duties to maintain their families.  And then, five days a week they would meet for a few hours midday.  And that had gone on for years and years and years, they had kept that relationship completely secret.  And I’m on the end of the phone just thinking, oh my God, this poor woman.  I said, ‘Am I the only person who knows that your partner’s died?’  And she said, ‘Oh yes, and you always will be.’  So this woman had had to live with this grief, this bereavement, and not be able to share it with a single other human being.  And I just thought, what amazing strength.  And I, I hope that woman…  I could somehow tell that she had got the fortitude and the resources and the emotional strength to, to survive that, and one would hope it would make her even stronger.  And she has probably turned out to be a fantastic mother and got great kids and that.  But my God, that’s only one of hundreds of thousands of stories that Switchboard volunteers could tell you.

  • Oral History

    2020

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Ann Willis

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Ann Willis was interviewed in 2020 by Anna Thomson. Ann Willis was married to Reverend Tom Willis, whose generous donation of £5000 to Peace News enabled the purchase of 5 Caledonian Road. Here she describes why her husband donated the money. Her full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    As you mentioned the purchase of the building, I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit more about that, how it came about.

    He had to do his National Service, and while he was doing his National Service he was in Austria.  And he and five others became pacifists while they were in the Army, which was a bit worrying.  So they went to the chaplain and said, ‘What do we do?  Because there’s no way we’re going to kill people.’  ‘You know, we, we’re pacifists now.’  And the chaplain said, ‘Right, how long have you got to go?’  And they said, ‘Six months.’  He said, ‘Right, just keep quiet, I’m sure there’s not going to be a war in the next six months.  Because, what are you going to do?’  And Tom said, ‘Well, I’m going to train for the ministry.’  So he said, ‘Right, just, don’t, don’t tell the powers that be.  Keep quiet.  I’m sure there won’t be a war.  If there is, then that’ll be a different problem.  And then when you leave, off you go to train for the ministry.’

    And, so he was already involved in the peace movement.  And he got…  This was before I met him.  He got this legacy from an aunt I think, or, yes, it was from an aunt, and, which now doesn’t sound a lot, £10,000, but it was worth about a million I think then.

    Yes.

    And he decided that, he really couldn’t do what he wanted, which was be a priest in a poor parish, if he had got all that money behind him.  So he divided it, and he gave £5,000…  Isn’t it amazing that it actually bought the shop?  And, he gave £5,000 towards that, and he gave the other £5,000 to various church charities.

    Okay.  Yes. 

    So, as I say, and it was more or less at the end of that time that we started going out.  But he told me what he had done, and, and I agreed, yes, that was okay.

    Yes.

    And my mother said, ‘At least you went where money had been.’  [laughs]

     

  • Oral History

    2020

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Steve Craftman

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Steve Craftman was interviewed by Marie Cabadi and Alex Mulholland in 2020. Steve was a volunteer at London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard for around seven years, beginning in 1979. Here he discusses whether Switchboard was a political organisation and explains he finds it hard to understand people who are not political. His full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    It was as much of a political organisation as it could be when I joined.  I mean sort of, at the time, I mean, saying you were gay, saying you were a lesbian, was an incredibly intense political act, you know, sort of, end of the ’70s, beginning of the ’80s.  You know, it was, meeting the, the members of Switchboard who were doing it with the sort of vague helping-out ethos, and who, whose main focus of interest was going to a bar and a nightclub, you know, so I, I would look at them sort of and think, huh? I don’t get it.  [laughs]  You know, sort of like, I found it difficult to conceive of people who were apolitical.  I think I probably still do.

     

  • Article

    1976

    Download the full document: 164

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Article entitled 'Animal Liberation' published in Peace News on 6 August 1976. The article is by Ronnie Lee, an early activist with the Animal Liberation Front

  • Photograph

    2011

    Photograph showing the back of 5 Caledonian Road with plants growing on a roof.

    Creator: Martyn Lowe

    Donor: Martyn Lowe

    Copyright: Martyn Lowe

    Photograph of the back of 5 Caledonian Road taken in 2011

  • Photograph

    2020

    A photograph of the basement room in Housmans, showing a bright mural on the wall outside.
    Download image: Basement bookshop

    Creator: Daniel Gayne

    Donor: Daniel Gayne

    Copyright: Daniel Gayne

    Photograph taken in 2020 inside Housmans bookshop.

  • Oral History

    2020

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Ann Feltham

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Ann Feltham was interviewed in 2020 by Mitra Kiranjikar. Ann worked at Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) from 1985. Here she describes how CAAT takes an inclusive approach to its campaigning and works with other groups to oppose the arms trade. Her full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    I mean Campaign Against Arms Trade isn’t itself a pacifist organisation. It has pacifists and non-pacifists, I think that is quite helpful. Basically, you can do the same things, but, you don’t necessarily have to individually renounce war.  And I think that’s one of CAAT’s strengths, is nobody has to sign up to a definite programme.  So, you can be more inclusive.

     

    I mean, Campaign Against Arms Trade also, some of the supporters will only support on particular things.  They wouldn’t necessarily support on everything.  And we would welcome people at various points, who just wanted more transparency about the arms trade.  So those kind of people who are kind of, with us for a particular campaign? And that, that also enabled us quite easily to kind of, do these campaigns with one, with other organisations, such as Chile Solidarity, or whoever, because you then get people for whom campaigning on a particular country is their main campaigning activities.  And so they will work on the arms trade a bit more as well.  So the overlap I think has always been really helpful.

     

  • Article

    1982

    Front cover of Peace News. Red background with red and white image of a Solidarity protest in Poland and a demonstration against the Falklands war.
    Download the full document: 182

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Front cover of Peace News referencing demonstrations in Poland organised by Solidarity, and the Falklands War. Published on 30 April 1982.

  • Photograph

    2020

    A polaroid of the wall behind the till, including a rainbow 'peace' flag
    Download image: Behind the till

    Creator: Sophie Polyviou

    Donor: Sophie Polyviou

    Copyright: Sophie Polyviou

  • Article

    1984

    Download the full document: 160

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Front cover of Peace News published on 2 March 1984. Issue is entitled 'Black Women and the Peace Movement'.

  • Oral History

    2021

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Jim Huggon

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Jim Huggon was interviewed by Daniel Gayne in 2021. Jim worked at Housmans between 1969 and 1982. In this clip he describes the two times Housmans was bombed, firstly in 1974 when the IRA bombed the pillarbox outside and secondly in 1978 when a neo-Nazi group sent the building a letter bomb. His full interview, in two parts, will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    Housmans got bombed twice. Once was, once was an accident.  It was during the BWNIC fourteen.  You know, troops out of Northern Ireland, when fourteen people were on trial.  We were trying to get the troops out, and the IRA bombed us.  But it was an accident.  What they were doing was, putting bombs in big red pillar boxes.  And somebody hadn’t done their homework, there was a big red pillar box outside, and it came through the front of the shop.

     Oh my God.

    And also smashed into Harry’s car, which was parked on a double yellow line right up against the pillar box.  And probably prevented a lot of, you know, a lot more damage or injuries.  Nobody was actually hurt in that one.

    And where were you when the, when that one went off?

    I was downstairs in the basement, you know.  And, all you heard was this great bang, and things came through the pavement, because, as I say, we were in the basement.  And then, we had a letter from a neo-Nazi group saying they were going to send us a bomb, on, it was printed, I remember, on beautiful Swastika letterhead.  And we tried to handle it carefully, and gave it to the Bomb Squad, and they didn’t do anything with it.  But then, this funny-shaped parcel arrived, and Stewart Porte said, ‘This looks suspicious.’  And he took it in the back office.  And we thought he was going to call the Bomb Squad, which is what he had been told to do, but he didn’t; he apparently opened it carefully, and it went off.  And he was in hospital for a few weeks, you know, with badly burnt hands and face and chest.  He was okay, he was fine, eventually.  It wasn’t, you know, a good experience.

    I mean, we, I think we just carried on, you know.  There was this group bombing left-wing bookshops, and we were a left-wing bookshop, and so they, they did us, you know.  We just, I mean, apart from poor old Stewart, we, we sort of took it in our stride, you know.

     

  • Photograph

    2020

    A photograph of the bookshelves in Housmans in 2020
    Download image: Bookshelves

    Creator: Anoushka Chakrapani

    Donor: Anoushka Chakrapani

    Copyright: Anoushka Chakrapani

    Photograph taken in 2020 inside Housmans bookshop.

  • Photograph

    2020

    A Polaroid photograph of the bookshelves in Housmans in 2020
    Download image: Bookshelves

    Creator: Sophie Polyviou

    Donor: Sophie Polyviou

    Copyright: Sophie Polyviou

    Polaroid photograph taken in 2020 inside Housmans bookshop.

  • Photograph

    2020

    A polaroid photograph of the bookshelves at Housmans
    Download image: Bookshelves

    Creator: Sophie Polyviou

    Donor: Sophie Polyviou

    Copyright: Sophie Polyviou

    Polaroid photograph taken in 2020 inside Housmans bookshop.

  • Photograph

    2020

    A photograph showing the main entrance and till in Housmans, viewed from inside the shop, in 2020.
    Download image: Bookshop entrance

    Creator: Anoushka Chakrapani

    Donor: Anoushka Chakrapani

    Copyright: Anoushka Chakrapani

    Photograph taken in 2020 inside Housmans bookshop.

  • Photograph

    2020

    A portrait of Housmans' staff in 2020
    Download image: Bookshop staff

    Creator: Sophie Polyviou

    Donor: Sophie Polyviou

    Copyright: Sophie Polyviou

    Photograph taken in 2020 inside Housmans bookshop.

  • Photograph

    2020

    A photograph of a poster which reads 'book shops not bombs'
    Download image: Bookshops not bombs

    Creator: Sophie Polyviou

    Donor: Sophie Polyviou

    Copyright: Sophie Polyviou

    Polaroid photograph taken in 2020 inside Housmans bookshop.

  • Article

    1968

    Download the full document: 167

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Front cover of Peace News published on 12 April 1968. Issue includes articles on Martin Luther King, Reich's sexual revolution, Vietnam.

  • Document

    2003

    Leaflet asking for funds for renovating 5 Caledonian Road
    Download the full document: 097

    Creator: Peace News Trustees

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News Trustees

    Leaflet produced as part of the 'Housmans Relaunch Appeal' to refurbish 5 Caledonian Road. Described as a once in a lifetime chance to relaunch Housmans as a resource for the radical movement of the 21st century.

  • Document

    1981

    Download the full document: 067

    Creator: Campaign Against Arms Trade

    Donor: Lesley Mair

    Copyright: Campaign Against Arms Trade

    Factsheet on British Military Involvement in Argentina, prepared within five days of the Falklands War beginning. In 2021 CAAT is going strong and continuing its work opposing the arms trade. They moved out of 5 Caledonian Road to new offices in 1986.

  • Document

    1985

    Download the full document: 066

    Creator: Campaign Against Arms Trade

    Donor: Ann Feltham

    Copyright: Campaign Against Arms Trade

    An appeal for funds to help CAAT move office in 1986. In 2021 CAAT is going strong and continuing its work opposing the arms trade. They moved out of 5 Caledonian Road to new offices in 1986.

  • Document

    1982

    Download the full document: 068

    Creator: Campaign Against Arms Trade

    Donor: Lesley Mair

    Copyright: Campaign Against Arms Trade

    Factsheet on British Military Involvement in Argentina, prepared within five days of the Falklands War beginning. Lesley Mair describes making this factsheet in her interview in this archive. In 2021 CAAT is going strong and continuing its work opposing the arms trade. They moved out of 5 Caledonian Road to new offices in 1986.

  • Document

    1981

    Download the full document: 065

    Creator: Campaign Against Arms Trade

    Donor: Ann Feltham

    Copyright: Campaign Against Arms Trade

    CAAT's 47th newsletter. Includes 8 pages of information on campaigning and CAAT activities. Mention of arm sales to Chile, South Africa, Iran and Iraq. In 2021 CAAT is going strong and continuing its work opposing the arms trade. They moved out of 5 Caledonian Road to new offices in 1986.

  • Document

    1982

    Download the full document: 069

    Creator: Campaign Against Arms Trade

    Donor: Lesley Mair

    Copyright: Campaign Against Arms Trade

    Front page of CAAT newsletter 54: entitled Raise Facts not Flags, about the military equipment sold by Britain to Argentina and CAAT's work in swiftly uncovering this once the Falklands War began. In 2021 CAAT is going strong and continuing its work opposing the arms trade. They moved out of 5 Caledonian Road to new offices in 1986.

  • Document

    1974

    Download the full document: 062

    Creator: Campaign Against Arms Trade

    Donor: Ann Feltham

    Copyright: Campaign Against Arms Trade

    The first ever newsletter produced by Campaign Against Arms Trade, sharing news with supporters of how the campaign is getting going. It proudly announces it has an office in the 'Peace News/Housmans bookshop building' but it is still in need of a typewriter and filing cabinet. Shortly after this newsletter was posted by CAAT's first employee, Albert Beale, the letter box outside 5 Caledonian Road was exploded by an IRA bomb. In 2021 CAAT is going strong and continuing its work opposing the arms trade. They moved out of 5 Caledonian Road in 1986.

  • Document

    1974

    Download the full document: 063

    Creator: Campaign Against Arms Trade

    Donor: Ann Feltham

    Copyright: Campaign Against Arms Trade

    CAAT's second newsletter reports that within ten minutes of posting the first newsletter the letter box exploded, and apologises if this meant anyone got a 'singed' copy, or none at all. Shortly after the first newsletter was posted by CAAT's first employee, Albert Beale, the letter box outside 5 Caledonian Road was exploded by an IRA bomb. The rest of the newsletter reports on the progress made in the campaign's first months. In 2021 CAAT is going strong and continuing its work opposing the arms trade. They moved out of 5 Caledonian Road to new offices in 1986.

  • Article

    1974

    Black and white text: an article in Peace News, Campaign launched against the arms trade.
    Download the full document: 184

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Article published in Peace News on the 29 November 1974 announcing the launch of Campaign Against the Arms Trade.

  • Oral History

    2020

    Creator: Julian Hows

    Donor: On the Record

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Julian Hows was interviewed in 2020 by Naoise Murphy and Soph Woodruff. Julian was involved in both the Gay Liberation Front and London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard (now Switchboard). In this clip he recounts how he spent the last day of his employment with London Transport wearing a female guard's uniform after requesting to wear all the uniform relevant to his grade. Stranded without transport home he was able to wait safely at 5 Cally Road in the Switchboard office for his friends and a change of clothes. His full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    I did a show in 1978 for London Weekend Television, which was about me being, going in on my last day at work for London Transport, in a female guard’s uniform, right, wearing a, you know, a, a little cap and dress, and, having gone through the whole thing of, of saying, you know, as women are now allowed to become a train guard, which they weren’t allowed to do until the Equalities Act of 1976, I applied to be able to wear all the uniform appropriate to my grade.  I started as a bit of a joke.  But went through the whole thing for two years, and got my union to support me.  Because they to a certain extent thought it was a bit of a joke, but, you know.  But there was a serious thing about it, you know, why was it all right for, for women to wear slacks, or caps, or, you know, side berets, but not all right for men?  As a result of it, I ended up on a Thames news at six that evening, and, in complete costume.  And after that, they were supposed to give me a car to take me home, right?  But…  And I hadn’t, you know, been…  I didn’t come out with another change of clothes, I just ended up there, you know, about seven o’clock in, 7.30, or, seven, 7.30-ish, this car did not arrive.  The driver decided that, you know, like, sort of, he wasn’t taking this fucking poof all the way home to Brixton.  And, you know, with my few pennies that I had, I thought, I’m not doing the fucking Tube, and I didn’t have much money on me anyway.  So I phoned up Switchboard, and actually got through.  [laughs] I explained my situation, I said, ‘Look, I know where you are, and I know where the building is, and I’ve been there before.  And I know you’re not supposed to meet callers.  But can I just sit there, you know, in the corner for an hour, you know, or so, until friends that I know are going to end up at the, the, what was then the, Central Station, GLF disco, you know, which is now Central Station, but then was called something else, at the top of the road.  So, very sweetly, they broke all the rules, and said, ‘Yes, sure, come along,’ you know?  So I sat for an hour listening to the, listening to the calls, until, until, you know, the disco had opened and I could go up the road, and, people had brought me up a change of clothes and I could have a beer.

     

  • Oral History

    2020

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Sue Aubrey

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Sue Aubrey was interviewed by Anna Thomson in 2020. Sue was married to Crispin Aubrey, one of the defendants in the 'ABC trial'. The ABC trial involved charges under the Official Secrets Act bought against two journalists, Crispin Aubrey and Duncan Campbell, and John Berry, a former colonel in signals intelligence. This followed an article published in Time Out, The Wiretappers, which talked about the methods employed by GCHQ to intercept communication. Time Out's offices were in Kings Cross at the time and the ABC defence campaign used 5 Caledonian Road as their base. In this clip Sue explains how she got involved in the defence campaign after the arrest of her husband and her feelings about it at the time. Her full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    I suppose I became involved because my husband got arrested, and so I was catapulted into it.  And, really, the Defence Committee began at the point where A, B and C were arrested and were in the police station, and that’s when people immediately gathered together.  And I was catapulted into a world I didn’t have any experience of really.

     

    Oh I see.  Yes.  Yeah.  And so, did you have a particular role in the Defence Committee?

     

    [hesitates]  No, I don’t think I did really.  I mean I suppose, I was there to support my husband.  I mean, I guess that’s what I did.  I mean, when something like that happens, because they were arrested for, well, the journalists were arrested for a few days; the ex-army person, I think he was in prison for about, three weeks.  But I mean, during that time you either supported or you, you thought, I can’t cope with this.  I mean it’s one or the other.  And to be involved, you had to be involved, or that’s how I would have felt.

     

    So was it quite a, a difficult time for you, particularly in the early days?

     

    Well I guess it was, it was just all a new experience.  It was an amazing time, because so many people supported us, but it was also quite a scary time, because I didn’t really…  I turned up to this union meeting, I think it was a union meeting.  I mean all this now is, over 40 years ago isn’t it.  And there were various people that I did, I had met before at parties, I mean that’s how different it was, who would sort of, you know, say, ‘Oh this is a conspiracy theory,’ blah blah blah.  And I thought, I don’t even know what this means, I don’t…  You know.  And people were saying, ‘It’s political.’  And I thought, what does that mean?  I don’t know.  You know, because it was all completely out of my world.  Because I had been a social worker in my working life.  So it was, as I say, it was just a new experience, which was exciting, a bit scary.  But, I suppose I didn’t feel I had a choice; it’s what I wanted to do.

  • Oral History

    2021

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Paul Gravett

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Paul Gravett was interviewed by Connie Hatt and Anoushka Chakrapani in 2021. Paul was a member of London Greenpeace from 1985. He was a vegan and campaigned for animal rights, later helping set up London Animal Action, which was also based in 5 Cally Road. In this clip he describes how London Greenpeace began their campaign against MacDonalds. In 1990 MacDonalds sued five members of London Greenpeace for libel, Paul among them. This was the beginning of the McLibel court case, which was fought by David Morris and Helen Steel with the support of many others. Paul's full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    One of London Greenpeace’s main campaigns was against McDonald’s, yeah.  And, obviously, that was something that I was very, very enthusiastic about, you know.  Because, I was, I was by then a vegan now, so, I had been doing animal rights for a few years.  And what I liked about it was the way it attacked McDonald’s from all sorts of angles.  It was, it was a very broad-based campaign, so it looked at environmental, health, workers’ rights issues, as well as the killing of animals.  And, it became, it became a very successful and popular campaign.  I don’t know, it sort of, it sort of caught the mood of the times in a way.  I don’t know quite, some do, some campaigns do.  And…  And, we, being a sort of libertarian group, London Greenpeace was, we didn’t want to organise and tell everyone what to do; we wanted groups to get on and do their own thing, you know.  And, and then they did.  And, and there were lots of groups, different groups, environmental, animal rights sort of groups, anarchist groups, who started demonstrating, campaigning against their own local McDonald’s.  Because of course, there were McDonald’s all over the place.  And it wasn’t just in this country either, it was like, throughout the world. And as a, as a result of the success in the campaign, we produced a fact sheet called, they called it a fact sheet, called What’s Wrong With McDonald’s?  Everything they don’t want you to know.  And it was like a fold-out leaflet, quite big, lots of text and lots of information.  And…  So that, I think that, that got printed in about, in about 1986.  And it was for that fact sheet that the group later got sued by, by McDonald’s.  So, the, the legal action began in 1990.

  • Document

    1959

    Christmas card and gift brochure, front cover, black and white, text and photographs of merchandise.
    Download image: Christmas brochure, 1959

    Creator: Housmans

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Endsleigh cards / Housmans

    Front cover of a brochure for Christmas cards and books published by Endsleigh Cards and Housmans bookshop in 1959, the year 5 Cally Road opened.

  • Photograph

    1980

    Colour photograph, young man with red trousers and a leather jacket standing on a street
    Download image: Clifford Williams

    Creator: Unknown

    Donor: Clifford Williams

    Copyright: Unknown

    Clifford Williams, a customer of Housmans and the son of a Housmans worker, in 1980 standing outside Campbell Buildings in Lambeth.

  • Photograph

    1979

    Photograph of a young man
    Download image: Clifford Williams (2)

    Creator: Unknown

    Donor: Clifford Williams

    Copyright: Unknown

    Clifford Williams, a customer of Housmans and the son of a Housmans worker, in 1979.

  • Document

    Unknown

    Creator: Endsleigh cards

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Endsleigh Cards

    Leaflet advertising packs of 'Colour your own Christmas cards' available from Endsleigh Cards on the theme 'Christmas in Other Lands'.

  • Document

    1961

    Download the full document: 075

    Creator: Committee of 100

    Donor: Michael Randle

    Copyright: Committee of 100

    Legal briefing for a day of action organised by the Committee of 100 at Wethersfield and Ruislip air force bases on 9 December 1961. 5000 people demonstrated at Wethersfield and 850 arrests were made. The actions aimed to block the runways at air force bases to prevent planes from taking off or landing to protest nuclear weapons. Six organisers: Ian Dixon, Terry Chandler, Trevor Hatton, Michael Randle, Pat Pottle and Helen Allegranza, were charged with conspiracy and incitement to breach the Official Secrets Act and served prison sentances of 12 to 18 months.

  • Document

    1961

    Download the full document: 073

    Creator: Committee of 100

    Donor: Michael Randle

    Copyright: Committee of 100

    Leaflet for day of action organised by Committee of 100 at air bases around the country on 9 December 1961. 5000 people demonstrated at Wethersfield and 850 arrests were made. The actions aimed to block the runways at air force bases to prevent planes from taking off or landing to protest nuclear weapons. Six organisers: Ian Dixon, Terry Chandler, Trevor Hatton, Michael Randle, Pat Pottle and Helen Allegranza, were charged with conspiracy and incitement to breach the Official Secrets Act and served prison sentances of 12 to 18 months.

  • Document

    1961

    Download the full document: 074

    Creator: Committee of 100

    Donor: Michael Randle

    Copyright: Committee of 100

    Leaflet for day of action organised by Committee of 100 at air bases around the country on 9 December 1961. 5000 people demonstrated at Wethersfield and 850 arrests were made. The actions aimed to block the runways at air force bases to prevent planes from taking off or landing to protest nuclear weapons. Six organisers: Ian Dixon, Terry Chandler, Trevor Hatton, Michael Randle, Pat Pottle and Helen Allegranza, were charged with conspiracy and incitement to breach the Official Secrets Act and served prison sentances of 12 to 18 months.

  • Document

    1961

    Download the full document: 071

    Creator: Committee of 100

    Donor: Michael Randle

    Copyright: Committee of 100

    Leaflet for the second action organised by the Committee of 100, a Public Assembly in Parliament Square on 29 April 1961. Leaflet has two photos of the first Committee of 100 action, a sit-down outside the Ministry of Defence.

  • Document

    1961

    Download the full document: 072

    Creator: Committee of 100

    Donor: Michael Randle

    Copyright: Committee of 100

    Leaflet for a day of action organised by the Committee of 100 at Wethersfield and Ruislip air force bases on 9 December 1961. 5000 people demonstrated at Wethersfield and 850 arrests were made. The actions aimed to block the runways at air force bases to prevent planes from taking off or landing to protest nuclear weapons. Six organisers: Ian Dixon, Terry Chandler, Trevor Hatton, Michael Randle, Pat Pottle and Helen Allegranza, were charged with conspiracy and incitement to breach the Official Secrets Act and served prison sentances of between 12 to 18 months.

  • Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Michael Randle

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Michael Randle was interviewed by Rosa Schling and Anna Thomson in 2020. Michael was a member of the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War and Committee of 100. In this clip he describes the first mass direct actions organised by the Committee of 100. His interview, in three parts, will be available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    Well probably, probably late 1960, when the Committee of 100 was formed.  And the Committee of 100 was very much the successor to the Direct Action Committee, but the idea was to, to try and initiate non-violent direct action on a mass scale.

    And, then we had a series of demonstrations.  One of the stipulations for the first Committee of 100 demonstration was, it would not go ahead unless we got a minimum of 2,000 people pledging to take part in, in the sit-down.  And, it was going to be a sit-down outside the Ministry of Defence, the back of Whitehall.  And that did go ahead, and, was very well attended.  In the end we got about 5,000 people.  We blocked it for a couple of hours.  But, the police didn’t intervene, there were no arrests.

    There was a, one little piece of drama where, sort of, taking a leaf out of Martin Luther’s book, we, we worked out a, a sort of, declaration, anti-nuclear declaration, and I had that printed up, and, tried to nail it to the Ministry of Defence door, Whitehall.  Somebody came up from the Ministry of Defence, he said, ‘You can’t do that, that’s a, an oak door.  That’s…  You can’t start driving nails into it.’  And then the police came and, and seized the, the hammer and nails.  So, there was a true British compromise.  We stuck it up on the, on the door with Sellotape.

     

  • Article

    1961

    Download the full document: 151

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    The front page of Peace News on 15 December 1961 reported on Committee of 100 actions held simultaneously in Britain and Germany on December 9. In Britain mass direct action was taken at air force bases at Wethersfield, Ruislip, Brize Norton and Cardiff. Demonstrators attempted to sit on the runways and to prevent planes from taking off, while other sit-down protests were held in Bristol, Manchester and York.

  • Article

    1978

    Yellow poster with green text. Headline is defend peace news and the leveller. Image of a judge with his hands over a person's mouth
    Download the full document: 188

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Pull out poster supporting Peace News and The Leveller, who were charged with contempt of court for naming the secret witness in the "ABC" Trial. The ABC trial involved charges under the Official Secrets Act bought against two journalists, Crispin Aubrey and Duncan Campbell, and John Berry, a former colonel in signals intelligence. This followed an article published in Time Out, The Wiretappers, which talked about the methods employed by GCHQ to intercept communication. Time Out's offices were in Kings Cross at the time and the ABC defence campaign used 5 Caledonian Road as their base. Peace News fought their conviction for contempt of court all the way to the House of Lords, where it was finally overturned. The poster was included in the 7 April 1978 issue of Peace News.

  • Article

    1974

    Black and white text. Article with the heading Defending the fourteen
    Download the full document: 185

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Article published in Peace News on the 29 November 1974 with details of the defence campaign being organised for the British Withdrawal from Northern Ireland Campaign (BWNIC) Fourteen. The BWNIC Fourteen were on trial for Incitement to Disaffection for distributing the leaflet 'Some Information for Disaffected Soldiers'.

  • Oral History

    2020

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Dashty Jamal

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Dashty Jamal was interviewed by Anoushka Chakrapani and Rosa Schling in 2020. Dashty founded the Federation of Iraqi Refugees, which is now based at 5 Cally Road. In this clip he describes how he fled Iraq in 1993, founded the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees and has run many campaigns to defend the rights of refugees. His full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    Because was my life in danger by the nationalists and, and Islamists, I fled Iraq in 1993.  And, I lived in Turkey as a refugee.  We set up there a Council of Iraqi Refugees defending the right of refugee.  And later on, with a number of activists, I am one of the founder of International Federation of Iraqi Refugees.  Also, since we set up that organisation, I was running many campaigns to defend the rights of refugee as well as demonstration, rally, and also hosting many meetings, demonstrations, even here in the UK, meeting in the House of Commons and many campaigns to release detainees and defend the rights of women, and organising many social events here in the UK.  Also, I am a founder of Federation of Iraqi Refugees, which now based in Housmans, in February 2002.

  • Photograph

    1989

    Dennis Gould with a camera at Glastonbury.

    Creator: Alexander Donaldson

    Donor: Alexander Donaldson

    Copyright: Alexander Donaldson

    Housmans bookshop regularly ran stalls at Glastonbury music festival. Photograph shows Dennis Gould.

  • Article

    1967

    Front page of Peace News, headline Dictatorship in Greece
    Download the full document: 183

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Eyewitness report by Peter Cadogan on the military coup in Greece, which took place on 21 April 1967. Published in Peace news on 27 April 1967.

  • Oral History

    2020

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Diana James

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Diana James was interviewed in 2020 by Naoise Murphy and Soph Woodruff. Diana volunteered at London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard in the late 1980s to early 1990s. Here she describes how it was difficult not to be political at the time she came out as a lesbian in the 1980s. Her full interview will be made available at Bishospgate Institute.

    I suppose it’s really difficult not to be political, especially at the time I came out, in the mid-Eighties.  Because we were talking about Section 28, equal rights, equal consent rights for gay men.  The fact that, the issues of the LGBTQIA community, or LG as it was more commonly called then, were not highlighted in the community or understood.  We were victims of hate, street violence, abuse, corrective rape.  So these were particular issues that were facing me when I came out; before I came out they weren’t facing me, I didn’t even understand what they were.  But as soon as I came out, they became issues that I understood.  So, my politics at that time were more radical.  I think sometimes as you get older they change, and then they go back to being radical again.

     

  • Oral History

    2020

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Valerie Flessati and Bruce Kent

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Valerie Flessati and Bruce Kent were interviewed by Xiaoman Huang in 2020. Valerie Flessati worked at Pax Christi in 5 Caledonian Road in 1972 while Bruce Kent has been General Secretary and Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). Here they describe how they exorcised Faslane nuclear missile base in 1973. Their full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    VF:  In 1973 at Easter we had, a very unusual thing happened.  There was a big CND Easter march to Faslane, the nuclear base in Scotland, and, our organisation, Bruce decided to use the symbolism, again the religious symbolism, and drama of an exorcism to bring that to the evil of nuclear weapons.  And it was Easter.  So, a group of us prepared a little sort of prayer service, that we would say… by the water of the loch, and conduct this little symbolic exorcism.  And of course we weren’t saying that the devil was in the water, but we were making a connection between the evil of nuclear weapons that we must get rid of, and the spiritual and non-violent forces that we, we hoped to bring to do that.  Anyway, it was a drama, and we sprinkled water, and said some prayers.  And it was filmed by BBC television, and we were one of the first  items on the news Easter Sunday 1973, which was very unusual and amazing.  But it caused, again, huge controversy, good controversy, within, among religious people who liked or didn’t like our use of that kind of symbolism in that place.

     

    BK:  What was, what was especially remarkable of that particular event was, as we walked down, I had the bucket of holy water, and a little brush to sprinkle the holy water, and we walked down the road to where the bombs were, and, and the police were with us, about, four or five policemen.  And there were some young boys, who were either laughing or, not bothering or something, and the police were saying, ‘Shh, be quiet.  Be quiet, this is a religious ceremony.  Keep quiet, keep quiet.’  And they ushered us right down.  [laughs]  And I don’t think the police realised what we were doing, saying there was evil.  [laughs]  It was a very memorable occasion.

     

    VF:  Yes.  So I think, moments you get sometimes you can’t plan, but you plan to make some symbolic action, and, it hits the spot; you know, whether you’ve planned it or not, you, you manage to stir things up and make people think about the issue in a different way, and that’s, one of those moments that successfully did that I think.

     

  • Oral History

    2021

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: John Lloyd

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    John Lloyd was interviewed by Will Hecker and Christina Radukic in 2021. John was a member of the Gay Liberation Front and worked in the office the GLF had in 5 Cally Road. In this clip he describes the party atmosphere that surrounded the GLF, and the impact they had on other political movements. His full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    Oh Christ.  Every day was a party, a permanent high.  And, I used to come with lefty friends, Young Communist friends, and by ’71 we’re meeting at All Saints Hall.  And if you walked into All Saints Hall, which is a church hall, in Notting Hill, where GLF met, you didn’t have to roll spliffs; you just had to walk in and you’d get stoned on the…  But it was, it was a celebration, it was mar-, it made…  It changed politics brilliantly.  It introduced music into protest, it introduced dance into protest.  It influenced the whole radical movement for years to come, all radical movements.  It was, it was a party.

     

  • Article

    1982

    Download the full document: 170

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Article describing how the peace movement was organising against the Falklands war, published in Peace News on 14 May 1982.

  • Photograph

    2010

  • Article

    1976

    Download the full document: 161

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Article published in Peace News on 2 April 1976 reporting on the Campaign Against a Criminal Trespass Law.

  • Article

    1968

    Download the full document: 172

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Article published in Peace News on 16 August 1968 titled 'For Peace and Freedom. Will Britain Act to Stop Genocide in Biafra' by Roger Moody. The Nigerian Civil War began on 6 July 1967. Peace News reported extensively on it at a time when there was little coverage of the war in other media sources.

  • Document

    1959

    Download the full document: 096

    Creator: Navajivan Trust

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Navajivan Trust

    Leaflet by the Navajivan Trust advertising a publication 'Gandhi in Cartoons', with 112 cartoons featuring Gandhi collected from around the world. Housmans bookshop imported Gandhian literature from India and distributed it in the UK. Date of the leaflet is unknown.

  • Photograph

    2020

    Creator: Daniel Gayne

    Donor: Daniel Gayne

    Copyright: Daniel Gayne

    In 2020 renovation work in the basement of 5 Caledonian Road uncovered grafitti dating from when the room housed the Gay Liberation Front's office. Before the room was repainted Bishopsgate Institute and On the Record photographed the writing and drawing on the walls.

  • Photograph

    2020

    Creator: Daniel Gayne

    Donor: Daniel Gayne

    Copyright: Daniel Gayne

    In 2020 renovation work in the basement of 5 Caledonian Road uncovered grafitti dating from when the room housed the Gay Liberation Front's office. Before the room was repainted Bishopsgate Institute and On the Record photographed the writing and drawing on the walls.

  • Photograph

    2020

    Creator: Daniel Gayne

    Donor: Daniel Gayne

    Copyright: Daniel Gayne

    In 2020 renovation work in the basement of 5 Caledonian Road uncovered grafitti dating from when the room housed the Gay Liberation Front's office. Before the room was repainted Bishopsgate Institute and On the Record photographed the writing and drawing on the walls.

  • Photograph

    2020

    Creator: Daniel Gayne

    Donor: Daniel Gayne

    Copyright: Daniel Gayne

    In 2020 renovation work in the basement of 5 Caledonian Road uncovered grafitti dating from when the room housed the Gay Liberation Front's office. Before the room was repainted Bishopsgate Institute and On the Record photographed the writing and drawing on the walls.

  • Photograph

    2020

    Creator: Daniel Gayne

    Donor: Daniel Gayne

    Copyright: Daniel Gayne

    In 2020 renovation work in the basement of 5 Caledonian Road uncovered grafitti dating from when the room housed the Gay Liberation Front's office. Before the room was repainted Bishopsgate Institute and On the Record photographed the writing and drawing on the walls.

  • Photograph

    2020

    Creator: Daniel Gayne

    Donor: Daniel Gayne

    Copyright: Daniel Gayne

    In 2020 renovation work in the basement of 5 Caledonian Road uncovered grafitti dating from when the room housed the Gay Liberation Front's office. Before the room was repainted Bishopsgate Institute and On the Record photographed the writing and drawing on the walls.

  • Photograph

    2020

    Creator: Daniel Gayne

    Donor: Daniel Gayne

    Copyright: Daniel Gayne

    In 2020 renovation work in the basement of 5 Caledonian Road uncovered grafitti dating from when the room housed the Gay Liberation Front's office. Before the room was repainted Bishopsgate Institute and On the Record photographed the writing and drawing on the walls.

  • Photograph

    2020

    Creator: Daniel Gayne

    Donor: Daniel Gayne

    Copyright: Daniel Gayne

    In 2020 renovation work in the basement of 5 Caledonian Road uncovered grafitti dating from when the room housed the Gay Liberation Front's office. Before the room was repainted Bishopsgate Institute and On the Record photographed the writing and drawing on the walls.

  • Photograph

    2020

    Creator: Daniel Gayne

    Donor: Daniel Gayne

    Copyright: Daniel Gayne

    In 2020 renovation work in the basement of 5 Caledonian Road uncovered grafitti dating from when the room housed the Gay Liberation Front's office. Before the room was repainted Bishopsgate Institute and On the Record photographed the writing and drawing on the walls.

  • Photograph

    2020

    Creator: Daniel Gayne

    Donor: Daniel Gayne

    Copyright: Daniel Gayne

    In 2020 renovation work in the basement of 5 Caledonian Road uncovered grafitti dating from when the room housed the Gay Liberation Front's office. Before the room was repainted Bishopsgate Institute and On the Record photographed the writing and drawing on the walls.

  • Photograph

    2020

    Creator: Daniel Gayne

    Donor: Daniel Gayne

    Copyright: Daniel Gayne

    In 2020 renovation work in the basement of 5 Caledonian Road uncovered grafitti dating from when the room housed the Gay Liberation Front's office. Before the room was repainted Bishopsgate Institute and On the Record photographed the writing and drawing on the walls.

  • Document

    Unknown

    Black and white sticker with text 'Get Away from it all with the Army' and an image of a graveyard full of crosses
    Download image: Peace News sticker

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News Trustees

    Sticker produced by Peace News with an image of a graveyard. Text reads 'Get away from it all with the Army''

  • GIF

    2021

    GIF with a photograph of a protest in Trafalger Square. Slogans appear on the image.
    Download image: Glad to be gay

    Creator: Naoise Murphy

    Donor: Naoise Murphy / Bishopsgate Institute

    Copyright: Naoise Murphy / Bishopsgate Institute

    Naoise Murphy writes about her GIF:

    With this GIF, I wanted to invoke the proliferation of protest movements for LGBTQ+ liberation that was sparked by the activism of the Gay Liberation Front in the early 1970s. So many protests have happened in this exact spot over the decades! I played around with timing and space to reflect how many of the people we interviewed spoke about the GLF years as an explosion of energy that radically changed the landscape of LGBTQ+ organising.

  • Oral History

    2020

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Diana James

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Diana James was interviewed in 2020 by Naoise Murphy and Soph Woodruff. Diana volunteered at London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard in the late 1980s to early 1990s. Here she describes a feminist protest held outside Housmans against the bookshop stocking On Our Backs, a pro-sex lesbian magazine. Her full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    There was a magazine back then called On Our Backs, which was a sex-positive, lesbian magazine, and it had like some BDSM stuff in it, and stuff like that.  That was another thing that started off really big arguments within the lesbian community at the time, as aping male and heterosexual stuff.  For instance, if you were into bondage stuff, you know, and you either liked being tied up, [gasps], shock, horror, or even worse, you liked tying up your girlfriend for sex, [gasps], ooh, dear, these were terrible things.

    Yeah, because, Housmans stocked On Our Backs. And so some of these feminists sort of, were standing outside with placards and stuff, and shouting at everybody that went in the door, about them stocking On Our Backs.  So, I would sort of like, stand in the door waving my copy at them.  [laughing]  Which really got them stirred up.  I couldn’t resist, it was like, you know, nobody tells me what I can and can’t read, that’s what feminism’s supposed to be about.  It was not like On Our Backs was anti-feminist, or anti-lesbian; it was pro-everything.  So, that was kind of fun.

  • Article

    1970

    Download the full document: 179

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Article 'Gypsy Harassment in Liverpool' by Kevin McGrath reporting on police and council "acts of harassment" against the Gypsy community. Published in Peace News on 24 July 1970.

  • Oral History

    2021

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Ippy D

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Ippy D was interviewed by Will Hecker and Christina Radukic in 2021. Ippy was editor of Peace News between 1999 and 2007. In this clip she discusses the importance of a physical space, like 5 Cally Road, for creating strong movements for change. Her full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    It’s quite hard.  Well, yeah, for me, Cally Road, to sum up, I suppose is…  Well a happy place, actually.  I think it’s a really important phase of, of my life, and, yeah, as I said, I certainly encountered a lot of new and interesting people.  I mean I had already encountered quite a lot of new and interesting people, like at Greenham, and my kind of activist life, but I think Peace News for me gave it a much more international dimension, actually, my time at Cally Road.  Because I don’t think I would have met so many people from so many different places and quite so many different, yeah, struggles, if I had just been involved in sort of, a more national sort of, something with a much more national focus, and that hadn’t had a physical building.  Sometimes having a physical space, it’s one thing I learnt, sometimes having a physical space is really, really, really important.  And it’s only when you actually have a physical space, and that can be like, a small piece of land, it can be a peace camp, it could be 5 Cally Road, it doesn’t matter what it is, but if you have a space and you can hold that space, then you can make things happen.  If you don’t have any space, like literally physical space, it’s actually very difficult to organise things, to create strong movements.  You do actually need space.  So if you’ve got space, keep hold of it.

     

     

  • Photograph

    1983

  • Photograph

    2020

    A photograph of a fabric banner which reads 'housmans', from 2020
    Download image: Housmans banner

    Creator: Daniel Gayne

    Donor: Daniel Gayne

    Copyright: Daniel Gayne

    Photograph taken in 2020 inside Housmans bookshop.

  • Photograph

    2020

    A photograph of a fabric banner which reads 'Housmans: radical booksellers since 1945'
    Download image: Housmans banner

    Creator: Sophie Polyviou

    Donor: Sophie Polyviou

    Copyright: Sophie Polyviou

    Photograph taken in 2020 inside Housmans bookshop.

  • Article

    1978

    Download the full document: 157

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Article published in Peace News on 14 July 1978 about a parcel bomb that was sent to 5 Caledonian Road and exploded on 4 July 1978. The bomb was opened by Stewart Porte, a bookshop worker, who was burnt and had to be hospitalised.

  • Photograph

    unknown

  • Photograph

    unknown

  • Photograph

    1945

    Creator: Unknown

    Donor: Housmans

    Copyright: Unknown

    Housmans bookshop opening ceremony on 26th October 1945. Housmans bookshop first opened at 124 Shaftsbury Avenue. Laurence Housman, the bookshop's namesake, is seen fifth from the left. Harry Mister, the bookshop's long term manager is furthest on the right. In 1948 Housmans lost the lease on Shaftsbury Avenue, and it was not until 5 Cally Road opened in 1959 that a physical premises for the bookshop was secured again.

  • Photograph

    1984

    The cover of Housmans Peace Diary 1984, with a black and white illustration of three people on the cover.

    Creator: Housmans

    Donor: Housmans

    Copyright: Housmans

    Alexander Donaldson remembers that the 1984 edition of the Housmans Peace Diary being the first edition he helped to design as part of an initiative to modernise and develop the diary. The Housmans Peace Diary was begun in 1953 by Harry Mister, then general manager of both Peace News and Housmans Bookshop. In 2021 it was in its 68th edition.

  • Document

    2003

    Cover of Housmans Peace Diary designed with a colourful, geometric pattern in the background.

    Creator: Housmans

    Donor: Housmans

    Copyright: Housmans

    The Housmans Peace Diary was begun in 1953 by Harry Mister, then general manager of both Peace News and Housmans Bookshop. In 2021 it was in its 68th edition.

  • Document

    2008

    Cover of Housmans Peace Diary. Black and white, images of London to Aldermaston march in 1958.

    Creator: Housmans

    Donor: Housmans

    Copyright: Housmans

    The Housmans Peace Diary was begun in 1953 by Harry Mister, then general manager of both Peace News and Housmans Bookshop. The 2008 edition is commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the 1958 march from London to Aldermaston.

    In 2021 the Peace Diary was in its 68th edition.

  • Photograph

    2020

    A polaroid of the Housmans Peace Diary banner, depicting a flying dove

    Creator: Sophie Polyviou

    Donor: Sophie Polyviou

    Copyright: Sophie Polyviou

    Polaroid photograph taken in 2020 inside Housmans bookshop.

  • Document

    1987

    Cover of Housmans Peace Diary, 1987. Yellow background with flower design.

    Creator: Housmans

    Donor: Housmans

    Copyright: Housmans

    The Housmans Peace Diary was begun in 1953 by Harry Mister, then general manager of both Peace News and Housmans Bookshop. In 2021 it was in its 68th edition.

  • Document

    2000

    Cover of Housmans Peace Diary. Illustration of sunflowers on a blue background.

    Creator: Housmans

    Donor: Housmans

    Copyright: Housmans

    The Housmans Peace Diary was begun in 1953 by Harry Mister, then general manager of both Peace News and Housmans Bookshop. In 2021 it was in its 68th edition.

  • Document

    2009

    Cover of Housmans Peace Diary, with an illustration of 5 Caledonian Road on a rainbow background.

    Creator: Housmans

    Donor: Housmans

    Copyright: Housmans

    The Housmans Peace Diary was begun in 1953 by Harry Mister, then general manager of both Peace News and Housmans Bookshop. The 2009 edition is commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of 5 Caledonian Road.

    In 2021 the Peace Diary was in its 68th edition.

  • Document

    Unknown

    Colourful poster advertising Housmans bookshop
    Download image: Housmans poster

    Creator: Housmans

    Donor: Housmans

    Copyright: Housmans

    Poster advertising Housmans Bookshop and Porcupine Booksellers.

  • Document

    2021

    Black and yellow print of Housmans bookshop
    Download image: Housmans print

    Creator: Gemma Curtis

    Donor: Gemma Curtis

    Copyright: Gemma Curtis

    Print of Housmans made for the #drawyourbookshop initiative in 2021. Gemma Curtis is a self-taught lino-print artist, who enjoys making prints of independent bookshops, nature, wild swimming, Queer joy and the local area. Find out more at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/WildWaterArtStore and @wildwaterartstore on Instagram.

  • Photograph

    1983

    A photograph of the Housmans shopfront taken in 1983
    Download image: Housmans shopfront

    Creator: Rosie Ilett

    Donor: Rosie Ilett

    Copyright: Rosie Ilett

    Photograph of the front of Housmans, taken in March 1983.

  • Photograph

    1989

    Creator: Alexander Donaldson

    Donor: Alexander Donaldson

    Copyright: Alexander Donaldson

    Housmans bookshop regularly ran stalls at Glastonbury music festival.

  • Photograph

    1982

    Creator: Alexander Donaldson

    Donor: Alexander Donaldson

    Copyright: Alexander Donaldson

    Housmans bookshop regularly ran stalls at Glastonbury music festival. Photograph shows Nigel Kemp, who worked at the bookshop.

  • Photograph

    1982

    Creator: Alexander Donaldson

    Donor: Alexander Donaldson

    Copyright: Alexander Donaldson

    Housmans bookshop regularly ran stalls at Glastonbury music festival.

  • Photograph

    1989

    Creator: Alexander Donaldson

    Donor: Alexander Donaldson

    Copyright: Alexander Donaldson

    Housmans bookshop regularly ran stalls at Glastonbury music festival.

  • Photograph

    1989

    Creator: Alexander Donaldson

    Donor: Alexander Donaldson

    Copyright: Alexander Donaldson

    Housmans bookshop regularly ran stalls at Glastonbury music festival.

  • Photograph

    1989

    Creator: Alexander Donaldson

    Donor: Alexander Donaldson

    Copyright: Alexander Donaldson

    Housmans bookshop regularly ran stalls at Glastonbury music festival.

  • Photograph

    1982

    Creator: Alexander Donaldson

    Donor: Alexander Donaldson

    Copyright: Alexander Donaldson

    Housmans bookshop regularly ran stalls at Glastonbury music festival.

  • Photograph

    1982

    Creator: Alexander Donaldson

    Donor: Alexander Donaldson

    Copyright: Alexander Donaldson

    Housmans bookshop regularly ran stalls at Glastonbury music festival.

  • Photograph

    1982

    Creator: Alexander Donaldson

    Donor: Alexander Donaldson

    Copyright: Alexander Donaldson

    Housmans bookshop regularly ran stalls at Glastonbury music festival.

  • Photograph

    1982

    Creator: Alexander Donaldson

    Donor: Alexander Donaldson

    Copyright: Alexander Donaldson

    Housmans bookshop regularly ran stalls at Glastonbury music festival.

  • Photograph

    1982

    A bookstall under an umbrella with seated worker and two customers standing.

    Creator: Alexander Donaldson

    Donor: Alexander Donaldson

    Copyright: Alexander Donaldson

    Housmans bookshop regularly ran stalls at Glastonbury music festival. Photograph shows Malcolm Hopkins seated by the stall.

  • Photograph

    1982

    Creator: Alexander Donaldson

    Donor: Alexander Donaldson

    Copyright: Alexander Donaldson

    Housmans bookshop regularly ran stalls at Glastonbury music festival. Photograph shows Malcolm Hopkins seated by the stall

  • Photograph

    1983

  • Photograph

    1982

  • Photograph

    1982

  • Photograph

    1982

  • Photograph

    1982

    Creator: Alexander Donaldson

    Donor: Alexander Donaldson

    Copyright: Alexander Donaldson

    Housmans bookshop regularly ran stalls at Glastonbury music festival.

  • Photograph

    1982

  • Oral History

    2020

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Geoff Hardy

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Geoff Hardy was interviewed by Naoise Murphy and Daniel Gayne in 2021. Geoff had memories of 5 Cally Road stretching back to the 1960s. His father was involved in the Committee of 100 and later Geoff became active in anarchist groups and the Gay Liberation Front. In this clip he describes how Housmans was not just a bookshop, and why this might be the key to its survival. His full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    Housmans wasn’t only a bookshop in a building.  Housmans was part of a whole liberation, anarcho-pacifist, socialist movement.  It was a centre of activism for many people.  It’s amazing it’s survived.  There are many many reasons why it may have survived.  I think one of them is because it was so intrinsically involved with the whole movement for change in a non-violent way.  And that was its real marking of difference.  The other thing was, if you were going to London, and you wanted to buy a book, there were a few other bookshops.  But, Housmans was different.  My memory of going there was, you had, pamphlets, leaflets, booklets of very, very small publishers, that were not sold in a lot of the other places.  At every demonstration there would be this table.  So there’s, there is that sense of it being bigger than a building, because it, Peace News is coming out of it.  And Peace News isn’t just about a peace movement; it’s about a vision of a, of a liberation of society.

  • Article

    1976

    Download the full document: 159

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Illustrated front cover of Peace News published on 28 May 1978, showing a peaceful community at work and play, entitled 'How it Could Be'.

  • Oral History

    2020

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Eva Gonzalez

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Eva Gonzalez was interviewed by Anna Thomson and Despoina Kalogianni in 2020. Eva spent time in the building as a child with her grandmother Roberta Bacic, who worked at War Resisters International and was also interviewed for this project. In this clip she describes how she played cello at some events in the building, and at anti-war protests, including a school children's protest against the Iraq war. Her full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    I did play the cello at several events, most of which are wiped from my memory, out of embarrassment.  But, I mean, we once did…  This was at the start of the, Iraq War?  Must have been Iraq War.  Before we, everybody went, there was a massive protest where thousands of people took to the streets, and after that there was another, smaller, protest in one of the rose gardens, I don’t know where, somewhere in London.  And it was a group of us kids from my school, we’d signed some letter to go to the Prime Minister.  And we were reading it out: well one of the guys was reading it out, and we were playing music and singing to go along with it.

  • Document

    Unknown

    Black and white sticker produced by Peace News with the symbols for woman, nuclear disarmament and anarchy intertwined with the text 'I renounce war'.
    Download image: Peace News sticker

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News Trustees

    Sticker produced by Peace News with the symbols for woman, nuclear disarmament and anarchy intertwined with the text 'I renounce war'.

  • Oral History

    2020

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Mo Moseley

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Mo Moseley was interviewed in 2020 by Daniel Gayne. Mo worked at Housmans at various times between the mid-1980s and 2013. Here he describes the importance of Housmans as a site of ideas and discussion. His full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    What I really like about Housmans is the way it’s open to so many different ideas. Even ones I don’t agree with, like Marxism or postmodernism. The possibility, the potentiality of mixing with other people, and learning new things, and improving your own ideas by testing them against something else. And of course all the, all of the evening meetings which, which we were doing a long time ago, that always beings new people in.

  • Article

    1967

    Download the full document: 162

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace

    Front cover of Peace News published on 5 May 1967. Lead article is by Bob Overy, headline 'In Greece We Would Shoot You'. Article reports on the occupation of the Greek Embassy by 50 members of the 'Save Greece Now' campaign that protested the military coup that had taken place on 21 April 1967 in Greece.

  • Oral History

    2020

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Mike Jackson

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Mike Jackson was interviewed in 2020 by Naoise Murphy. One of the co-founders of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, he also volunteered at London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard (now Switchboard) in 1983. Here he describes how he found an advert for Switchboard in Time Out as a young man in 1973. Speaking to the volunteers over the phone eventually convinced him that there was nothing wrong with being homosexual, allowing him to become "incandescently happy and angry at the same time." His full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    And there was a magazine: well there still is a magazine called Time Out, a listings magazine for London, and that carried, in 1973, a tiny little, probably one centimetre classified advert, put in by London Gay Switchboard as it was called then.  And it said something like, ‘Homosexual?  Lonely?  Confused?’ whatever.  ‘Phone this number.’  And, such was my paranoia about being out, that I looked for a telephone box that was a long way from where any of the other Kew students could possibly walk, you know, like, fearful that they might suddenly spring the door of the telephone kiosk open and go, ‘Haha! you’re a homosexual.  Got ya!’  Anyway, I found this telephone kiosk, and I’m sure it wouldn’t have been one telephone call that kind of made me see different; I’m pretty sure I was saying to them, [strong Lancashire accent] ‘I know you don’t think there’s anything wrong with being an ’omosexual, but I do!’  [laughs]  In, in that kind of strong Lancashire accent.  And then, just I think one time, I just realised that if you stop banging your head on the wall, it stops hurting, and I just suddenly thought, maybe they’re right, maybe there is nothing wrong with it.  And then of course [laughs]…  And I think, the, the pivotal thing, the experience that changed it, was, one of them eventually said, ‘Look, there is nothing wrong with you; there is something wrong, it’s called homophobia.  So homosexuality is not wrong and bad; homophobia is dreadful, and that’s why you feel bad about yourself.  It’s that that we need to fight.’  And once that penny dropped [laughs], I went from being this kind of, rather depressed, scared youngster, into being incandescently happy and angry at the same time.  And I was shagging like a rabbit, I was liberated.  [laughs]  But I also got very very political with it, because I suddenly got all this resentment and anger about all this nonsense that I had been fed for, you know, since, since childhood.

  • Oral History

    2020

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Stuart Feather

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Stuart Feather was interviewed by Marie Cabadi and Alex Mulholland in 2020. Stuart was a member of the Gay Liberation Front and is the author of a history of the GLF: 'Blowing the Lid: Gay Liberation, Sexual Revolution and Radical Queens'. Here he talks about the GLF's decision to rent an office at 5 Caledonian Road and describes what the office, a 'coffin-shaped' small room in the basement was like. His full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    GLF’s weekly meetings were roughly about an hour and a half long I think, or two hours, half past seven to half past nine possibly, with a little break in between.  And…  So, there began to be a pile of business that needed attending to but couldn’t be attended to within the course of, of two hours once a week.  And so it was decided to have what was called a think-in, which took place on a Saturday, and everybody devoted the whole day to go to some hall or library meeting place where we could spend the whole day together thinking about these larger sort of issues, one of which was, on the first think-in, was, should we have an office?  And what would it look like, and so forth.  And, so, it was agreed at that think-in that there would be an office, and the secretary, Tony Salvis, and the treasurer was Michel Plaschtes who was a French antique dealer. Anyway, they said they would try and find some premises.  And…  And, quickly enough, the possibility of, of taking a room in the basement at Housmans came up.

    So, you got to the office by going to the next door in the Housmans building to the bookshop, it was to the north side of the bookshop, and you went along this passage, quite a long passage, and then down the stairs to the basement.  And there you were confronted by Dexion racks full of Peace News, and often you would see Pat Arrowsmith there rummaging through them, obviously looking for past articles and stuff she wanted a quote from, or, so on.  And right at the back of this quite large basement was, it was sort of an extension, but it was, I, I don’t think it was more than about, eight foot wide, and probably, it might have been, oh, ten or eleven feet long.  It was kind of, coffin shaped if you like.  And as I say, there was just about room for a desk and a few chairs, and a telephone of course, because that was the main, the main thing.

     

  • Document

    Unknown

    Black and white sticker produced by Peace News with the text 'Join the RAF; travel to exotic, distant lands, meet exciting, unusual people and kill them'.
    Download image: Peace news sticker

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News Trustees

    Sticker produced by Peace News with the text 'Join the RAF; travel to exotic, distant lands, meet exciting, unusual people and kill them'.

  • GIF

    2021

    A gif showing two police officers, one carrying a nuclear disarmament placard, the other carrying a bouquet of flowers. They are walking past bombed buildings.
    Download image: Keeping the peace

    Creator: Reece Evans

    Donor: Reece Evans / Bishopsgate Institute

    Copyright: Reece Evans / Bishopsgate Institute

    Reece Evans describes the thinking behind his gif:

    I saw the photo of the police officers carrying off the Committee of 100 protestor and I thought, 'this could be flipped. What if the arm of the state was used differently?'

    At the time, the authorities used the police to stifle supposedly disruptive elements, namely those who urged the government to turn to pacifism. Instead of hauling a protestor away, I wanted to show the police officers truly "keeping the peace".

  • Photograph

    unknown

    A black and white portrait of Laurence Housman with white hair, looking directly at the camera.
    Download image: Laurence Housman

    Creator: Unknown

    Donor: Housmans

    Copyright: Unknown

    Signed photograph of Laurence Housman (1865-1959) which is kept in Housmans bookshop. The bookshop is named after Laurence Housman, a prolific writer and activist for peace, socialism, gender equality and sexual liberation. Housman was a committed socialist and pacifist. He was a sponser of the Peace Pledge Union, which was founded by his friend Dick Sheppard. Housman co-founded the Men's League for Women's Suffrage in 1907. He was a member of the Order of Chaeronea, a secret society for homosexual men, and one of the co-founders of the British Sexological Society, an early gay rights group predominantly interested in law reform.

  • Oral History

    2021

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Gabriel Carlyle and Emily Johns

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Emily Johns and Gabriel Carlyle were interviewed in 2021 by Tania Aubeelack and Keir Chauhan. At the time of their interview they both worked for Peace News. Here they discuss their ideas about pacifism and non-violence. Their full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    Gabriel Carlyle:

    I don’t really use the term pacifist.  It seems a very, it seems a very old-fashioned term.  I’m definitely anti-war. In terms of, in terms of non-violence, again there’s a broad spectrum. Whether or not it’s something that’s applicable under all circumstances, is to some extent a less, something that I’m less interested in [laughs], because, we are here now, and, I think, it’s a no-brainer that for example if you’re in Britain, the idea of people grabbing some guns and going and fighting guerrilla warfare in the Chilterns or whatever, it’s just a non-starter.

     

    Emily Johns:

    I think, yes, my commitment is to non-violence because it’s actually quite difficult as well. The encompassment of militarism within our culture, and the expectation of violence and militarism, permeates so much, that to practise non-violence in a, you know, personal, interpersonal, social way, is, is a pretty big thing in itself.  And, I think that the cultural change needed to eradicate the notion that war, militarism, violence, is a normal, acceptable thing, is the big struggle.  And that learning how to do non-violence is part of that struggle.

     

  • Document

    1980

    Scan of a handwritten letter on pink paper. The letter reads
    Download image: Letter about Crass stall

    Creator: Richard Cross

    Donor: Alexander Donaldson

    Copyright: Richard Cross

    Letter from Richard Cross to Housmans about a stall at a Crass gig in Exeter. Crass were an anarcho-punk band (1977-1984), and Housmans bookshop regularly ran stalls at their concerts. Exact date of letter is unknown.

  • Document

    1984

    Download the full document: 008

    Creator: Ed Hermance

    Donor: Alexander Donaldson

    Copyright: Ed Hermance

    Letter to Housmans from Giovanni's Room, a bookshop in Philadelphia, USA, about a book order they had sent Housmans which had never arrived. It later transpired the books had been confiscated by customs because they were designated as 'indecent' as they were LGBT. One month previously in April 1984 Gay's the Word bookshop had been raided by Customs & Excise officers, resulting in the seizure of its imported books and criminal charges for the bookshop's directors.

  • Document

    1959

    Letterhead for Peace News with photograph of 5 Caledonian Road and a list of the trustees.
    Download image: Peace News Trustees

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Alexander Donaldson

    Copyright: Peace News Trustees

    Letterhead for Peace News Ltd at 5 Caledonian Road. Lists board of trustees. Date unknown but likely to have been produced around the time the building opened in 1959.

  • Photograph

    2020

    Photograph of a black waistcoat with colourful badges pinned to it.

    Creator: Geoff Hardy

    Donor: Geoff Hardy

    Copyright: Geoff Hardy

    Photograph of Geoff Hardy's LGBTQIA badge collection (part 2). Geoff Hardy was a member of the Gay Liberation Front and a regular customer of Housmans bookshop.

  • Photograph

    2020

    Creator: Geoff Hardy

    Donor: Geoff Hardy

    Copyright: Geoff Hardy

    Photograph of Geoff Hardy's LGBTQIA badge collection (part 1). Geoff Hardy was a member of the Gay Liberation Front and a regular customer of Housmans bookshop.

  • Article

    1974

    Download the full document: 142

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Article from Peace News, published on 20 September 1974 about a coordinated police raid on the homes of peace activists and the offices of Peace News on 10 September 1974. The raids were targeted at the British Withdrawal from Northern Ireland Campaign (BWNIC) and their 'Information for Discontented Soldiers' leafletting campaign.

  • Oral History

    2020

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Steve Craftman

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Steve Craftman was interviewed by Marie Cabadi and Alex Mulholland in 2020. Steve was a volunteer at London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard for around seven years, beginning in 1979. Here he describes the Switchboard office at 5 Caledonian Road. His full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    Oh God yes.  West Midlands Gay Switchboard was open three hours a night, and that was all.  London was a 24-hour operation at the time.  [pause]  London was infinitely more complex.  There’s…  The phone room was, oh, say, about twelve by nine.  A desk along one of the long walls, and literally, the full length of that wall was, there was a, the files were stored, several copies of them.  Listings for, as best as we could manage, every bar in the country, every organisation in the country.  We ran a flat share service.  A medical file of course, which ended up expanding considerably.  International listings as well.

     

  • Photograph

    2020

    A photograph of the magazine racks at Housmans in 2020
    Download image: Magazine racks

    Creator: Sophie Polyviou

    Donor: Sophie Polyviou

    Copyright: Sophie Polyviou

    Photograph taken in 2020 inside Housmans bookshop.

  • Document

    1956

    Download the full document: 076

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Michael Randle

    Copyright: Peace News Trustees

    A reprinted article from Peace News entitled 'Message to Hungarian People and Soviet Soldiers'. Re-prints the message to the Hungarian people carried by Michael Randle on his solitary march to the Hungarian border from Vienna to protest the Soviet invasion in 1956.

  • Photograph

    2020

    Shelf of books to do with the Middle East
    Download image: Middle East Section

    Creator: Sophie Polyviou

    Donor: Sophie Polyviou

    Copyright: Sophie Polyviou

    Photograph taken in 2020 inside Housmans bookshop.

  • Document

    1983

    Interview notes taken by Mark Ashton when Mike Jackson applied to become a Switchboard volunteer.
    Download the full document: 224-compressed

    Creator: Mark Ashton

    Donor: Mike Jackson

    Copyright: Mike Jackson

    These are the interview notes taken by Mark Ashton when Mike Jackson applied to become a Switchboard volunteer. The interview took place on 24.4.1983. The interview tested the candidate's knowledge of the gay scene, the law and sexual techniques. The interview also recorded his opinions on issues such as abortion, racism and discussed what he would advise in various scenarios. Mike was sucessful in his application to join Switchboard and would go on to co-found Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners with his interviewer, Mark Ashton.

  • Document

    1985

    Flier for Mutoid Waste Company. Black text on red paper. Text reads Exhibition Party Two. Coach Station. Caledonian Road.

    Creator: Unknown

    Donor: Alexander Donaldson

    Copyright: Unknown

    Flier for a club night by the Mutoid Waste Company at the Coach Station on Caledonian Road. The Mutoid Waste Company shared a landlord with Peacemeal Whole Foods.

  • Article

    1978

    News page of Peace News, black and white text, article entitled Namibia Ahoy.
    Download the full document: 181

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    News page of Peace News, published on 27 January 1978, including news of Operation Namibia's ship the Golden Harvest which was taking aid to Namibia.

  • GIF

    2021

    Gif showing a group of demonstrators holding placards with slogans like Glad to be Gay, No more sex roles, Did you wait till you were 21?
    Download image: No more sex roles!

    Creator: Connie Hatt

    Donor: Connie Hatt / Bishopsgate Institute

    Copyright: Connie Hatt / Bishopsgate Institute

    Connie Hatt explains the thinking behind her gif:

    "Through the movement of the placards, I have sought to simulate the rhythm of protest chants. By adding colour to placards as they are raised, I hope to draw the eye to their stylised font and highlight the messages of the protestors."

  • Photograph

    2020

    Collection of nuclear disarmament badges

    Creator: Clifford Williams

    Donor: Clifford Williams

    Copyright: Clifford Williams

    Photograph of collection of nuclear disarmament badges.

  • Photograph

    2020

    A nuclear disarmament placard, yellow and black, propped up by bookshelves

    Creator: Sophie Polyviou

    Donor: Sophie Polyviou

    Copyright: Sophie Polyviou

    Photograph taken in 2020 inside Housmans bookshop. Early nuclear disarmament placard believed to have belonged to Pat Arrowsmith.

  • Article

    1978

    Download the full document: 163

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Article entitled 'On Trial' by Diana Shelley, published in Peace News on 5 May 1978. Contains a report on the first two days of the trial of Peace News and The Leveller for contempt of court. Proceedings began on 2 May 1978. The contempt of court charge related to the two publications naming the secret witness in the 'ABC trial' of Crispin Aubrey, John Berry and Duncan Campbell under the Official Secrets Act.

  • Article

    1959

    Download the full document: 144

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Article from Peace News, published on 4 December 1959 reporting on the opening of 5 Cally Road on 21st November of that year. Photograph shows Dora Dawtry, bookshop manager, turning the key in door. Also present are Arthur Goss, the Reverend Tom Willis (whose donation had made the purchase possible), Frank Dawtry, Harry Mister, Vera Brittain, Sybil Morrison and Stuart Morris.

  • Photograph

    1959

    Creator: Unknown

    Donor: Ann Willis

    Copyright: Unknown

    Photograph of the opening of Peace House / 5 Caledonian Road on 21 November 1959. Group photographed in the basement of the building. Front row (from left) Hugh Brock, Myrtle Solomon, Sue Mister, unknown, Val Mister, Vera Brittain, Dora Dawtry, unknown, George Plume, Reverend Willis (whose donation of £5000 enabled the purchase of the building), Stuart Morris
    Second row: Roy Fry (Pacifist Youth Action Group), Ian Dixon (third from left), Ivy Mister (second from right). Back: Sybil Morrison (left) Harry Mister (centre).

  • Article

    1978

    Download the full document: 178

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Photograph showing the crew of the Operation Namibia ship which was sailing aid to Namibia. The ship, the Golden Harvest, had arrived in Ghana. Published in Peace News on 24 February 1978.

  • Oral History

    2020

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Diana James

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Diana James was interviewed in 2020 by Naoise Murphy and Soph Woodruff. Diana volunteered at London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard in the late 1980s to early 1990s. Here she describes how left wing politics in the 1980s was often 'male-centred' and how women would often seek their own, seperate spaces in which to organise. Her full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute. 

    I remember sort of like, the more left wing side of politics, the more, freedom to be and think and challenge.  Because some of the meetings in there, you know, you could, you could sit and challenge what someone else had to say.  And sadly a lot of the left-wing politics going back then were very male-centred.  So, it was, you know, with women involved, it was almost like, you could go and make the tea or something.  Well, you know, fuck that, you know, that’s not what we’re there for.  Our politics is as radical as theirs, and we’re not there to make the tea or make up the numbers.  But there was a lot of that in, like, left-wing guys at that time were not dissimilar in many respects.  Just the language was different, but the male attitudes were very much the same.  So there was a lot of challenging going on around like, feminist discussions.  Some of the guys got it, but a lot of the guys didn’t.  So, therefore, a lot of the women started organising separately.  We would still, like, meet in Housmans, or elsewhere, but…  So there was a lot of breakaway stuff for the women’s things at that time.  Because, you knew that you would be listened to by another woman; whereas some guy would like, talk over you, or just rubbish what you had said, or even repeat back to you what you had said as if it was his original idea, you know.  So, there would be a lot of heated discussions about that.  Because, you know, you come up with a good idea and suddenly this guy gets praised for coming up with it five minutes later, it tends to piss you off.

     

  • Photograph

    2000

    Photograph showing a young child with her hand over her mouth, talking to a woman. They are both holding copies of Peace News.
    Download image: Packing Peace News

    Creator: Roberta Bacic

    Donor: Roberta Bacic

    Copyright: Roberta Bacic

    Roberta Bacic worked at War Resisters' International as Development Officer from 1998-2004, and was based in 5 Caledonian Road. This photograph shows her granddaughter, Eva Gonzalez, and Ippy, then an editor of Peace News, at work. In 2021, War Resisters International have an office in 5 Cally Road.

  • Photograph

    2020

    A photograph of the pamphlets available in Housmans in 2020
    Download image: 116

    Creator: Sophie Polyviou

    Donor: Sophie Polyviou

    Copyright: Sophie Polyviou

    Photograph taken in 2020 inside Housmans bookshop.

  • Oral History

    2020

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Ramsey Kanaan

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Ramsey Kanaan was interviewed by Daniel Gayne in 2020. Ramsey spent a lot of time at Housmans when he was starting out as a distributor and publisher of anarchist literature. He founded AK Press in 1987. Here he describes first discovering Housmans when he came across their stall at a punk gig in London in 1982. His full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    I espied in the corner of the venue, a bunch of what to me were these really weird old dudes with beards, erm, which you know, put me off because I was a young punk rocker and old people with beards is not your, you know, it’s not what you’d normally gravitate towards, shall we say.  But er, and of course in retrospect they were probably only ten years older than I was or maybe fifteen years older.  But anyway, nevertheless they were sitting behind a table of literature and while I may have been put off by their, you know, their hirsuteness, shall we say, I nevertheless thought that this is the way to go, even aged fifteen or sixteen or whatever I was at the time, I thought these guys have the right idea.  Not only are they getting to sit down and have a much bigger spread than I could have out of a plastic bag, but people can come to them, you know what I mean?  They don’t have to go up and like harass everyone.  So being the precocious little kid that I was, I went up to them and said, who are you, what are you doing, what’s this, and asked them a sort of million questions.  And it transpires they were from Housmans and they were doing a literature table at this squatted venue, this one-off gig.  So I mean there are many things to extrapolate from that.  I mean firstly of course that they’d patiently put up with this annoying little brat asking them 500 questions.  Secondly, that part of the importance of Housmans wasn’t just the place, wasn’t just the physical building, it’s that actually Housmans or members of Housmans or elements of Housmans were active in taking the literature beyond the actual, you know, bricks and mortar of 5 Caledonian Road.  And thirdly, that they were able to do so because they were actually part of, I mean as it transpires part of many, but in this case they were actually, to be able to do that obviously they were actually part of this active political subculture.  Or else how else would (a) they have known about the gig, (b) had permission to be there, (c) had a table.

  • Photograph

    1994

    Photograph shows four people at a party
    Download image: Party at 5 Cally Road

    Creator: Andrew Rigby

    Donor: Andrew Rigby

    Copyright: Andrew Rigby

    Party in 5 Caledonian Road to celebrate War Resisters' International bringing their office to the building, 1994. Uri Davis with red wine, Albert Beale, Bob Overy (left to right).

  • Photograph

    1994

    Bob Overy, Michael Randle and a woman talk at a party at 5 Cally Road.

    Creator: Andrew Rigby

    Donor: Andrew Rigby

    Copyright: Andrew Rigby

    Party in 5 Caledonian Road to celebrate War Resisters' International bringing their office to the building, 1994. Michael Randle, Bob Overy (left to right)

  • Photograph

    1994

    A photograph shows Reinhoud Deuschot and Michael Randle talking at a party at 5 Cally Road in front of shelves of box files.

    Creator: Andrew Rigby

    Donor: Andrew Rigby

    Copyright: Andrew Rigby

    Party in 5 Caledonian Road to celebrate War Resisters' International bringing their office to the building, 1994. Reinhoud Deuschot (Dutch member of WRI executive at that time), Michael Randle (left to right).

  • Photograph

    1994

    A man in glasses takes a bite of some food at a party at 5 Cally Road

    Creator: Andrew Rigby

    Donor: Andrew Rigby

    Copyright: Andrew Rigby

    Party in 5 Caledonian Road to celebrate War Resisters' International bringing their office to the building, 1994. Bob Overy with Julie Kettle, who was the admin worker for Peace News in the late 1960s.

  • Photograph

    1994

    Bill Hetherington speaks to an unidentified woman at a party at 5 Cally Road.

    Creator: Andrew Rigby

    Donor: Andrew Rigby

    Copyright: Andrew Rigby

    Party in 5 Caledonian Road to celebrate War Resisters' International bringing their office to the building, 1994. Bill Hetherington speaking to an unidentified woman.

  • Article

    1974

    Download the full document: 153

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News Trustees

    Article published in Peace News on 20 September 1974 detailing the arrest of Pat Arrowsmith in the Peace News offices at 5 Caledonian Road after her escape from prison, where she was serving an 18 month sentance for Incitement to Disaffection.

  • Photograph

    2020

    Creator: Geoff Hardy

    Donor: Geoff Hardy

    Copyright: Geoff Hardy

    Photograph of Geoff Hardy's peace / political badge collection (part 2). Geoff Hardy was a member of the Gay Liberation Front and a regular customer of Housmans bookshop.

  • Photograph

    2019

    A colour photograph of the yellow and green Peace House sign at 5 Cally Road.
    Download image: Peace House sign

    Creator: Laura Mitchison

    Donor: On the Record

    Copyright: On the Record

    Photograph of the Peace House sign outside 5 Cally Road

  • Photograph

    2020

    A polaroid photograph of a Peace News poster and plants
    Download image: Peace News and plants

    Creator: Sophie Polyviou

    Donor: Sophie Polyviou

    Copyright: Sophie Polyviou

    Polaroid photograph taken in 2020 inside Housmans bookshop.

  • Article

    1974

    Download the full document: 143

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Article from Peace News, published on 21 June 1974 documenting Peace News' move to Nottingham on a narrowboat. The editorial collective, after a fierce debate, had decided that moving out of London would help them be "more closely in dialogue with people making social change in Britain". Peace News did not return to 5 Cally Road until 1994.

  • Document

    Unknown

    Yellow badge with image of two arms breaking a rifle and the text Peace News, in black
    Download image: Peace News badge

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News Trustees

    Peace News badge showing the broken rifle symbol.

  • Article

    1978

    Download the full document: 156

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Front cover of Peace News published on 7 April 1978. This issue covers Peace News having been charged with contempt of court, along with the magazine The Leveller, for naming the secret witness in the "ABC" Trial. The ABC trial involved charges under the Official Secrets Act bought against two journalists, Crispin Aubrey and Duncan Campbell, and John Berry, a former colonel in signals intelligence. This followed an article published in Time Out, The Wiretappers, which talked about the methods employed by GCHQ to intercept communication, including wiretapping. Time Out's offices were also in Kings Cross at the time and the ABC defence campaign used 5 Cally Road as a base. Peace News fought their conviction for contempt of court all the way to the House of Lords, where it was finally overturned.

  • Document

    1978

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Unknown

    Appeal for support for Peace News and The Leveller as they prepare to be prosecuted for contempt of court. In 1978 Peace News and The Leveller published the identity of 'Colonel B', an anonymous witness in the 'ABC trial' of Cristin Aubrey, John Berry and Duncan Campbell, who were tried under the Official Secrets Act for an article published in Time Out about GCHQ, 'The Wiretappers'. Peace News and The Leveller were found guilty, a verdict they manged to overturn eventually in the Court of Appeal.

  • Photograph

    1982

  • Photograph

    1982

  • Photograph

    1971

    Photograph of a protest with artistic signs promoting peace
    Download image: Frank Williams

    Creator: Unknown

    Donor: Clifford Williams

    Copyright: Unknown

    Frank Williams, father of Clifford Williams and a volunteer with Housmans and Peace News, at a protest for peace in the USA in 1971.

  • Photograph

    1985

    A colour photograph of a shopfront. On the left is a man, on the right is a shop window with a handwritten sign 'Peacemeal wholefoods' and a large paper sunflower.
    Download image: Peacemeal Wholefoods

    Creator: Alexander Donaldson

    Donor: Alexander Donaldson

    Copyright: Alexander Donaldson

    Photograph of Peacemeal Wholefoods taken as it prepared to open in 1985. Peacemeal was a whole foods shop over the road from 5 Cally Road. It was set up by the same people involved in 5 Cally Road. Alexander Donaldson, who donated this photograph to the archive, worked there.

  • Photograph

    1985

    Photograph shows a shop front, Peacemeal Wholefoods. A person is on a ladder and is painting the shop sign.
    Download image: Peacemeal Wholefoods 2

    Creator: Alexander Donaldson

    Donor: Alexander Donaldson

    Copyright: Alexander Donaldson

    Photograph of Peacemeal Wholefoods taken as it prepared to open in 1985. Peacemeal was a whole foods shop over the road from 5 Cally Road. It was set up by the same people involved in 5 Cally Road. Alexander Donaldson, who donated this photograph to the archive, worked there.

  • Photograph

    2020

    An image of the interior of Housmans, with lights set up for a photoshoot.
    Download image: Photoshoot in bookshop

    Creator: Anoushka Chakrapani

    Donor: Anoushka Chakrapani

    Copyright: Anoushka Chakrapani

    Photograph taken in 2020 inside Housmans bookshop.

  • Photograph

    2020

  • Photograph

    2000

    Creator: Roberta Bacic

    Donor: Roberta Bacic

    Copyright: Roberta Bacic

    Roberta Bacic worked at War Resisters' International as Development Officer from 1998-2004, and was based in 5 Caledonian Road. Photograph shows her granddaughter, Eva Gonzalez, Eva Gonzalez, Roberta Bacic's granddaughter and Mary Begley, PANA Ireland, rehearsing instruments before playing for Concientous Objector Day, in Tavistock Square. In 2021, War Resisters International have an office in 5 Cally Road.

  • Photograph

    2020

    A photograph of the postcard rack at Housmans in 2020
    Download image: Postcards

    Creator: Daniel Gayne

    Donor: Daniel Gayne

    Copyright: Daniel Gayne

    Photograph taken in 2020 inside Housmans bookshop.

  • Document

    1985

    Leaflet for a revival of the GLF disco night at the Prince Albert entitled It's Back. Pink paper with black text.
    Download image: Prince Albert leaflet

    Creator: Gay Liberation Front Information Service

    Donor: Alexander Donaldson

    Copyright: Gay Liberation Front Information Service

    It's Back! Leaflet for a revival of the Gay Liberation Front Disco at the Prince Albert 'for one night only'. '70s music, 70s prices'. The Prince Albert on Pentonville Road (which would become Central Station) was close to Housmans and had hosted a regular GLF disco in the 1970s.

  • Article

    1961

    Download the full document: 150

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Article by Bertrand Russell, then President of the Committee of 100, published on December 22 1961 in Peace News. In this article Russell discusses the prison sentances and other forms of hardship faced by many in the movement. The article concludes with a message of hope: "we stand for life ... the life of all human beings".

  • Photograph

    2018

    Photograph shows a meeting in a bookshop, with a speaker facing the camer and the backs of the seated audience.
    Download image: Public meeting

    Creator: Unknown

    Donor: Dashty Jamal

    Copyright: Unknown

    Dashty Jamal, Secretary of the Federation of Iraqi Refugees (FIR) speaks at a meeting in Housmans bookshop. In 2021 Federation of Iraqi Refugees have an office in 5 Cally Road.

  • Photograph

    1979

    Photograph shows 5 people in punk clothing outside King's Cross station
    Download image: Punks in King's Cross

    Creator: Clifford Williams

    Donor: Clifford Williams

    Copyright: Clifford Williams

    Group of Clifford Williams' punk friends outside Kings Cross Station. Evelyn L'Homme, Cory Jamieson, Phil Ritchie, Pinkie, Lisa.

  • Oral History

    2021

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Alexander Donaldson and Nigel Kemp

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Nigel Kemp and Alexander Donaldson were interviewed by Daniel Gayne in 2021. Nigel and Alexander worked at Housmans bookshop and Peademeal Wholefoods in the 1980s, and now run Judd Books together. In this clip they talk about Peacemeal catering a specially chartered train from London to Manchester in 1988. The train was organised to transport people demonstrating against Section 28. More than 20,000 people gathered to oppose the new law. Section 28 was part of the Local Government Act, 1988 that prevented local authorities from 'promoting homosexuality'. It remained in force until the year 2000. Their full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    NK: Section 28, and this is where Peacemeal got involved, and Martin Corbett, who was also regular to the shop, and ex-GLF.  We had arranged for a train to go up to, to go to Manchester and take people from London to join a march, a big march they had up there with Section 28.  And, the, British Rail weren’t prepared to put on any buffet or anything on the train.

     

    AD:  Yes.  So Martin thought that we could provide a buffet on the train.  And, so we took up a more interesting selection of food and drink than you would get in your normal British Rail catering service.

     

    Yes.

     

    AD:  We were doing, you know, samosas, and, fruit juice, and, I can’t be sure what else we took.  We took quite a lot of, date slice, and, and I think we did some sort of alcoholic drinks as well.  I’m not sure what we were doing.  This was a little sort of scene in the luggage car, and we had a music player with, you know, the Velvet Underground, the Smiths and New Order and things.  So, it was quite a little experience.

     

    Sounds like a good train ride. 

     

    AD:  Yes.  [laughs]  I was very cold.  [laughter]  Freezing cold.  It was, you see the time of year, February I think it was, and there was certainly no heating in this thing, apart from being draughty.

     

    Right.

     

    AD:  Yeah.  So, then we went on, and we got up to Manchester, went on the march, which was quite an experience as well.

     

    Mm.

     

    AD:  I mean I had never been to Manchester before that, and, it was a really busy, well-attended march.  Didn’t have much more time though, we had to get back round to the train.  And, got back there, we realised that our carriage wasn’t actually locked or anything, so the sort of, small petty cash had disappeared, and, someone made off with the cassette player as well, whilst we had been, while it had been in the sidings or whatever went on before it went back again.

     

    Mm.

     

    AD:  But, yes, that was quite a, quite an event.

  • Oral History

    2021

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Catherine Barter

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Catherine Barter was interviewed with Nik Gorecki by Naoise Murphy and Xiaoman Huang in 2021. She worked for Housmans Bookshop at the time of the interview. Here she describes some of the activities of the Alliance of Radical Booksellers, including the London Radical Bookfair and the Little Rebels Award for radical children's books. Their full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute. 

    All the activities of the Alliance have been really good.  And I think the Radical Bookfair has been one of the big successes.  Like it’s been, it’s been huge really, the last few years.  It didn’t happen last year, but, the last couple of years.  You know, it had really like, funding, energy, and loads of people really felt like, oh, you know, people coming into the shop asking when it was going to be, and, you know, really, like, felt like it had established itself as a kind of, important bit of the calendar.  So, I think that is, that has been really great, and, yeah, and certainly Nik and, actually Cristina as well has put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into getting that off the ground, and it’s been brilliant.  Yeah, and the book prizes.  I mean, the Little Rebels Award is, was definitely kind of, developed and spearheaded by Letterbox Library, who are an inclusive children’s bookseller, and now I work on it with them as well, and, it has had a little bit of funding for the last couple of years, which has made a big difference, but it’s, definitely, there is a big energy in children’s books right now in conversations, especially about like, inclusivity and diversity and stuff, but that, also feeding into more kind of, political children’s writing more generally, and social justice themes, in children’s books, and there’s a big, like, movement happening around that that I think that Rebels is either tapping into or maybe even help to kind of, generate a little bit.  And, yeah, so that feels like it’s growing as well, and more of the like, part of the calendar, you know that people like, are asking when the Little Rebels shortlist comes out, and stuff like that.  So, yeah, I think it’s good when these things feel like they’re reaching new groups of people.  Like, you know, Little Rebels is reaching, like, school librarians and stuff are interested in, in the shortlist, and those are people who wouldn’t necessarily be going to visit a radical bookshop, or, you know, going to a radical book fair, but it is kind of, introducing them to that stuff as well.

     

  • Photograph

    2020

    Creator: Sophie Polyviou

    Donor: Sophie Polyviou

    Copyright: Sophie Polyviou

    Polaroid photograph taken in 2020 inside Housmans bookshop.

  • Document

    1981

    Download the full document: 149

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News Trustees

    Set of 12 postcards produced by Peace News using images from Molesworth Peace Camp, Britain's second Cruise missile base. The peace camp was established in 1981. The postcards were produced by Peace News as a fundraiser and educational tool.

  • Article

    1961

    Front page of Peace News, text on yellowed paper. Headline Resistance: open or secret?
    Download the full document: 189

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Two page article by Gene Sharp titled 'Resistance: Open or Secret?' which discusses whether non-violent movements for social change should organise openly or secretly.

  • Photograph

    1983

  • Photograph

    1983

    Creator: Rosie Ilett

    Donor: Rosie Ilett

    Copyright: Rosie Ilett

    Rosie Ilett working in Housmans. Photograph taken on 12 May 1983.

  • Article

    1974

    Download the full document: 154

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Front cover of a special issue of Peace News published on 23 August 1974. Main story uncovers a private army organised by Colonel David Stirling to break strikes. This story won Peace News the 'Scoop of the Year' award from Granada Television.

  • Article

    1967

    Download the full document: 169

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Front cover of Peace News, published on 13 October 1967. Lead article, by Bob Overy, is about the prison sentences given to four of the people arrested at the occupation of the Greek Embassy in May of that year. One of the defendants, Terry Chandler, was sentenced to 15 months in prison while Michael Randle was given a 12 month sentence.

  • Photograph

    2020

    A photograph of secondhand books for sale in Housmans
    Download image: Second hand books

    Creator: Daniel Gayne

    Donor: Daniel Gayne

    Copyright: Daniel Gayne

    Photograph taken in 2020 inside Housmans bookshop.

  • Oral History

    2020

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Steve Craftman

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Steve Craftman was interviewed by Marie Cabadi and Alex Mulholland in 2020. Steve was a volunteer at London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard for around seven years, beginning in 1979. Here he describes the building at 5 Caledonian Road and the security issues faced by Switchboard at the time when homophobic attacks were a constant threat. His full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    A standard, what I think of as Dutch type building, sort of, high but very narrow.  I mean the shop would be, eleven, twelve feet wide perhaps, to allow for the two and a half, three feet for the corridor to get upstairs.  [pause]  Switchboard had a buzzer to get in.  Just no way could everybody have a key.  Security was a big issue because of anti-gay feeling at the time; the address was kept secret.  I used to get annoyed at people who, hearing the buzzer go in the phone room, would just, automatically buzz somebody in.  I took to sort of, silly voices and names, and still getting buzzed in.

  • Document

    1969

    Download the full document: 165

    Creator: Navajivan Trust

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Navajivan Trust

    Leaflet advertising the selected works of Mahatma Gandhi published in 1969 on the centenary of his birth. The leaflet was produced by the Navajivan Trust. Housmans have stamped the leaflet and invited people to send in money to secure a pre-publication copy.

  • Photograph

    1968

    Photograph showing a stall with a sign saying Peace News. A man behind the stall and a man and child in front of the stall. Label states c. 1968 - outside Horsham Meeting House
    Download image: Selling Peace News

    Creator: Unknown

    Donor: Clifford Williams

    Copyright: Unknown

    Frank Williams, father of Clifford Williams (who was interviewed for the 5 Cally Road project), selling Peace News. Captioned c.1968 - outside Horsham Meeting House.

  • Photograph

    1990

    Colour photograph of Housmans bookshop shop window, taken from outside. On display are copies of Peace News and history books related to Peace News.
    Download image: Shop window

    Creator: Unknown

    Donor: Housmans

    Copyright: Unknown

    Photograph of Housmans window display, exact date unknown but taken after the fiftieth anniversary of Peace News in 1986 as on display are books published to coincide with the anniversary. 

  • Photograph

    1994

    Peter Jones, member of the War Resisters International Council in Housmans bookshop, stands facing the camera with a child in a purple dress holding a book.
    Download image: Shopping in the bookshop

    Creator: Andrew Rigby

    Donor: Andrew Rigby

    Copyright: Andrew Rigby

    Peter Jones, member of the War Resisters International Council in Housmans bookshop with a child.

  • Photograph

    2020

    A photograph of signed copies of 'Afropean' by Johny Pitts
    Download image: Signed copies!

    Creator: Daniel Gayne

    Donor: Daniel Gayne

    Copyright: Daniel Gayne

    Photograph taken in 2020 inside Housmans bookshop.

  • Oral History

    2021

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Martyn Lowe

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Martyn Lowe was interviewed by Tania Aubeelack and Keir Chauhan in 2021. Martyn became involved in the pacifist movement in 1968, as he discusses in this clip. He later joined London Greenpeace and War Resisters International and remains an active campaigner against nuclear power and militarism. In this clip he describes the first demonstrations he took part in, and explains that he prefers communicating ideas to people through more low key actions, like leafletting. His full interview will be made available at Bishospgate Institute.

    It was 1968 that I first became aware of Peace News, but the, the thing was that I had read about a demonstration outside a company called Elliott Automation, and it was a sit-down, because…  Elliott Automation was a subsidiary of English Electric that made head up display equipment used in B-52 bombers in Vietnam.  I stayed with it till about half, about quarter to ten, and then other people stayed off.  And then the next morning various people still sitting outside the building got arrested, including Pat Arrowsmith, and she landed up in prison for it, one of her many prison visits.  But on that demonstration I picked up a leaflet about the Peace Pledge Union, wrote off, became a member, and, being young, I got involved with the Youth Association of Peace Pledge Union, known as YAPPU, and worked on from there.  Yeah.

     

    The thing was, because all these marches and demonstrations about Vietnam, I went on one, well a number of the big marches, but the one, you know, well there was really one where there was a lot of the Maoists and Trots there.  This was 1970, or thereabouts.  But, it was, not particularly a good experience, because I had to get out of the way at one stage with a few other people from YAPPU when the police were charging some of the people who wanted a confrontation with them.  So that kind of, you know, set-up wasn’t good.  But we went back there then, about a week later, to the embassy, just, three or four of us, and we leafleted the embassy, and we got leaflets into the embassy, which the big, you know, umpteen thousand demonstration was not able to do.  And that actually educated me a lot about how you get through to people, small-scale demonstrations, small-scale leafletings, which I’ve always preferred.

  • Oral History

    2020

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Steve Craftman

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Steve Craftman was interviewed by Marie Cabadi and Alex Mulholland in 2020. Steve was a volunteer at London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard for around seven years, beginning in 1979. Here he describes how he proposed that unemployed volunteers should have their transport costs reimbursed and that they also had a meals allowance, often spent at Peacemeal wholefoods across the road. Peacemeal was another project ran by Peace News Trustees, along with 5 Cally Road. His full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    Over the road there was a wholefood shop, which of course was very popular, and, I ended up putting a motion to a general meeting that unemployed volunteers shouldn’t have to pay, pay their own transport, that Switchboard should be willing to, should put up the money, and pay for, pay for the travel for unemployed people.  And, somebody added, added to that, with a meals allowance, if you were unemployed, which was basically sort of, the price of, you know, something healthy from over the road.

  • Field Recording

    2020

    Creator: Laura Patari

    Donor: Laura Patari

    Copyright: Laura Patari

    Soundscape created by Laura Patari from field recordings made in Housmans bookshop in 2020 as part of the 5 Cally Road project. Contains a clip from an interview with Bruce Kent.

  • Field Recording

    2020

    Creator: Daniel Gayne

    Donor: Daniel Gayne

    Copyright: Daniel Gayne

    Soundscape created by Daniel Gayne from field recordings made in Housmans bookshop in 2020 and interviews recorded as part of the 5 Cally Road project. Contains clips from interviews recorded with Steve Craftman, Diana James, Ramsey Kanaan and Clifford Williams.

  • Article

    1976

    Download the full document: 176

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Article on 'Squatting and the Law' publishing in Peace News on 6 August 1976. The first part of the article 'Police Used in Evictions' is by Diana Shelley and Phil Jeffries. The second 'Criminal Trespass' is by Frank Keeley.

  • Photograph

    2020

    A photograph of the stairwell leading to Housmans basement in 2020, with red and orange murals on the walls
    Download image: Stairs to basement

    Creator: Sophie Polyviou

    Donor: Sophie Polyviou

    Copyright: Sophie Polyviou

    Photograph taken in 2020 inside Housmans bookshop.

  • Photograph

    2020

    A photograph of stickers on the door at Housmans, one which says 'Hinkley C? No thanks!'
    Download image: Stickers on office door

    Creator: Daniel Gayne

    Donor: Daniel Gayne

    Copyright: Daniel Gayne

    Photograph taken in 2020. Shows War Resisters International office door in 5 Caledonian Road.

  • Photograph

    2020

    A photograph of the stickers on the inside of the door at 5 Cally Road
    Download image: Stickers on office door

    Creator: Sophie Polyviou

    Donor: Sophie Polyviou

    Copyright: Sophie Polyviou

    Photograph taken in 2020. Shows War Resisters International office door in 5 Caledonian Road.

  • Article

    1984

    Download the full document: 168

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Article in Peace News, published on 13 April 1984, reporting on several 'Stop the City' protests that took place in March of that year. The London protest was attended by several thousand people and very heavily policed.

  • Article

    1984

    Double page spread article, black and white, with photograph of a blonde, male, punk protester being carried off by two policemen.
    Download the full document: 182

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Article containing analysis by Linda Pierson and eyewitness reports of the Stop the City protest in 1984. Published in Peace News on 27 April 1984.

  • Article

    1982

    Download the full document: 171

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Front cover of Peace News published on 16 April 1982. Lead story is about the Falklands War, between Britain and Argentina, which bagan on 2 April 1982 and lasted until June 14 1982.

  • Article

    1976

    Download the full document: 175

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Two articles in Peace News, published on 20 August 1976. The first 'Strikes Over Sacked Gay' reports on a campaign in support of Ian Davies, an employee in the social services department of Tower Hamlets Council, who was transferred out of his job after being convicted for gross indecency for being found "petting" with another man in a public toilet. The second, 'Gay Centre Attacked', details attacks on the North London Gay Centre in Finsbury Park.

  • Oral History

    2020

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Maryam Namazie

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Maryam Namazie was interviewed by Sara Babahemi in 2020. Maryam is a secularist and human rights activist, involved with the Council of Ex-Muslims and One Law for All. In this clip she talks about how much she enjoys holding events at Housmans, and the importance of bringing people together in safe spaces for discusison and sharing experiences. Her full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    The memorable thing for me is the fact that, you know, when we have our events at Housmans, our meetups, it’s such a beautiful space.  You are surrounded by books, and, and you’ve got people coming in, some of them maybe for the first time, worried about meeting new people, and that space already is so inviting.  And then, of course, the discussions that we always have, and the questions that are raised, and, it’s just a space for discussion, debate, freethinking, and also just, the sort of, feeling of camaraderie between people who have similarities, and, you know, have…  They’re coming from a similar place, maybe having faced similar problems, and, just, similar struggles.  I think that, that’s quite important.  Even though I do think that no matter what our background, we are fundamentally human, and we all really have so much more in common than we don’t, even though all we hear about is our differences, you know.  But it is, there is something about meeting with people who are, are facing similar struggles, especially if you feel like you’ve been misunderstood, or, you’ve been silenced all, all the time.  And especially what’s interesting for me is women coming in, for example, in the full hijab who are atheists, but they are still wearing it because, they have no choice.  And so, it’s interesting to see all these different backgrounds and groups of people coming together, in the bookshop, which is, I think, such a beautiful space.

  • Article

    1982

    Front cover of Peace News, blue and white. Image of a skeleton in a naval uniform, with 'hero' written on the cap.
    Download the full document: 180

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Front cover of Peace News published on 25 June 1982. Graphic shows a skeleton in a navy uniform with hero on his cap.

  • Document

    1946

    Creator: Housmans

    Donor: Housmans

    Copyright: Housmans

    Poem by Laurence Housman and accompanying illustration by Thomas B. Pitfield, printed as part of a Christmas pamphlet sold by Housmans bookshop in 1946.

  • Oral History

    2021

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Ian Dixon

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Ian Dixon was interviewed by Reece Evans and Lottie Korn in 2021. Ian was a founding member of the Pacifist Youth Action Group in the 1950s and helped to refurbish 5 Caledonian Road after it was purchased by Peace News. At the begining of the 21st century he became involved in the building again and helped to renew and refurbish it for a second time. In this clip he describes selling Peace News at the first Aldermaston march in 1958. His full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    I mean, the greatest event I think ever with Peace News was the first Aldermaston march, which of course wasn’t organised by CND at all; it was organised by the Direct Action Group Against Nuclear War.  In that first march, it was a first in many ways.  It was still comparatively unknown for there to be large political movements.  And, being a member of that march, what was quite incredible, you know, you felt you were a public personality just, just by being one of these 10,000 people.  [laughs]  But you were important.  And we, almost throughout the march, sold Peace News at the peripheries of the march, to the towns and villages, and, people we were passing through.  And I remember coming up Whitehall, the newspaper folded in half, with the top half showing, and it had a, a big, big picture of the start of the march with the banner.  And the front page was just dominated by this picture.  It said, ‘March to Aldermaston’.  And as we same back into London, they were flying off my hand, you know, I was selling them like the clappers.  Because, people saw it as, didn’t really know what the event was all about, but realised something big was happening, and they just wanted a souvenir copy of Peace News.

  • Oral History

    2020

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Rosie Ilett

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Rosie Ilett was interviewed by Rosa Schling and Xiaoman Huang in 2020. Rosie worked at Housmans bookshop in the early 1980s as a young woman. In this clip she talks about who used the bookshop and why at the time, describing the customers as including both political activists and office workers. Her full interview will be made available at Bishospgate Institute.

    The type of people that came, I suppose were, obviously at that time people that were very involved in peace movement things All the people around, you know, pacifist stuff, peace movement stuff, people involved with anarchist things.  People that were obviously in left groups, more sort of, I suppose organised type of groups, would also come, because we sold loads of newspapers and magazines and all that kind of thing.  You know, not as many women came, to be frank, because there were a lot of other shops and they did much more for women.  So…  Although women came in, it was, I would say the clientele was more men.  And then obviously because Lesbian and Gay Switchboard was upstairs, and some of the staff were gay, there was quite a lot of gay men more so came in than, say, lesbians.  So there was quite a lot of, you know, kind of, gay community came in.  You’d get an occasional person who maybe had just wandered in, like, didn’t know what it was, but most people came in because they knew it was there.  Some of them would have been people that were going to other parts of the building, but some of them were ones that had sought it out because they knew about it.  But then, against that, there would be the completely office type people that would come in to pick up loads of diaries they had ordered, who just kind of ignored the rest of the, the shop, and they just went down the right-hand side and spoke to Max, and got their stuff and then just came out again and ignored all the other stuff.  And there was also kind of, cards, like greetings cards, some of which were much, were kind of, mainstream-y sort of things, not political or anything.  So some of them would come in for things like that.

  • Oral History

    2021

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Lesley Mair

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Lesley Mair was interviewed by Lottie Korn and Reece Evans in 2021. Lesley worked at Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) when the Falklands War happened in 1982. In this clip she describes making a factsheet and press release to expose British arms exports to Argentina and helping to organise demonstations against the war. Her full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    It was during my time there that the so-called Falklands War happened.  In 1982, we found ourselves in the position where this country, within the space of about four days, turned from being completely unaware of where the Falkland Islands were, to being jingoistic, awful, awful, awful thing, a very jingoistic mood in the country.  And I remember, it was a Sunday night, and I was just thinking, “Do you know what, I’m going to get a lot of questions about British arms exports to Argentina.  What I’ll do is, I’ll make my life easier, I’ll produce a factsheet, and then if anybody asks me, I’ll just give them the factsheet.  And then I thought, yeah, I’ll do a press release as well.  So I did a press release to accompany that factsheet, and it was taken up by Radio 4 the Today programme, and they said, ‘Oh could you come and talk about this?’  So, I went down to be interviewed by, I think it was Brian Redhead in those days, about British arms exports.  I think that was probably the first time CAAT had got a sort of national publicity at that level.

     

    So, but that was a very very very busy time, speaking in, in Hyde Park, and whatever.  And, also to do with the building, not just my bit, there was a small group of people got together to organise anti-Falklands War protests.  And that was pretty much based at Caledonian Road.  And I remember going down to the police station in, where you do these things, in, just off, off Downing Street, and talking to the police about the routes we were going to follow, and how we were going to steward it, and so on.  And then, there was that march from Hyde Park down to…  We weren’t allowed in Parliament Square in those days; I think Trafalgar Square you had to go to.  And, that was…  So, so Caledonian Road was really quite involved in the anti-Falklands War activities.

  • Article

    1963

    Download the full document: 174

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Front page of Peace News published on 19 April 1963. The lead article 'The Spies Were Right' reports on the 'Spies for Peace' and the state's response to the group's uncovering of the government's secret preparations for the event of a nuclear attack.

  • Photograph

    2020

    A photograph showing the children's section in the basement of Housmans in 2020.
    Download image: The vaults

    Creator: Anoushka Chakrapani

    Donor: Anoushka Chakrapani

    Copyright: Anoushka Chakrapani

    Photograph taken in 2020 inside Housmans bookshop.

  • Oral History

    2020

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Nettie Pollard

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Nettie Pollard was interviewed by Rosa Schling in 2020. Nettie was a member of the Gay Liberation Front and also worked at the National Council for Civil Liberties, close to 5 Cally Road. In this clip she talks about Pat Arrowsmith escaping from prison and seeking sanctuary in the Peace News office at 5 Cally Road in 1974. Her full interview, in two parts, will be available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    Shall I talk to you about Pat Arrowsmith? She had been a peace activist pretty well all her life.  One of the things she did was, in her peace activism, was to break something called the Incitement to Disaffection Act.  The Incitement to Disaffection Act means you will not, must not incite people in the armed forces to leave the armed forces.  And, so, what Pat Arrowsmith did was to hand out leaflets to soldiers who were going to go to Northern Ireland, which is something she felt particularly strongly about, explaining how they could get out of the Army.  One of the ways you could get out of the Army was to say you were gay.  And anyhow, as it was against the law to incite disaffection, they promptly arrested Pat, sent her to Holloway, Holloway Prison in Pentonville Road in north London.  And, rather to her surprise, after a few weeks they sent her to an open prison.  Now of course she walked out.  Well I mean, of course she would.  And, then it came to the Saturday, and there was a big anti-fascist demonstration in Hyde Park, and, there was quite a, a lot of lesbian and gay people at it.

    And so Pat Arrowsmith turned up, having walked out of the open prison.  And, so she, so she got permission to speak, and, up she got.  And she made a rousing speech, and then she looked round, she wasn’t arrested.  She’d expected of course to be arrested immediately.  But wasn’t.  And…  So, she came down, and she was, ‘Well what shall we do now?’  And so, the lesbian and gay part of the crowd said, ‘Right, well, come with us then.’

    And then I think it was Pat said, ‘Well, why don’t we go to Housmans, you know, to Peace News?’  Oh.  Off we went to Housmans, who of course were delighted to see us all.  And we went up the back stairs, the, the entrance that’s, not the front door of the shop but another entrance.  And we walked all the way up to the top, the very top floor.  I think it’s a, a three-storey building isn’t it?  But anyhow, the very top.  And there was a big room there that was sort of, fairly empty.  And we thought, right, what are going to do now?  But she still hadn’t been arrested.  So we thought, I know what we’ll do.  We’ll ring the Daily Telegraph.  So we rang the Daily Telegraph, and said there’s a fugitive at Housmans Bookshop, 5 Caledonian Road.  And so, eventually, up turns the Daily Telegraph, and had a talk to us, and, took photographs, and there was a, there was a photograph of us all on Sunday’s, on the front page of Sunday’s Telegraph that week.  And, in no time the police turned up.  I think the Telegraph must have rung, rung them.  And, so they…  So there was various officers, about, five or six officers turned up.  And…  So we started sort of, chanting and making speeches.  And they tried, obviously they tried to get Pat, who sat on the floor, or lay on the floor, and what we did was, to hold on to her, hold on to a leg, hold on to an arm.  Just held on to her, several of us.  And so, so the police were sort of, dragging us off her.  And the moment that they dragged one of us off, another person stepped up and got hold of her.  And so we had this tussle for quite a, quite a long time.  I mean we knew we weren’t going to win; we were making a point, we were making a demonstration.  And, so, eventually, they managed to get her.  Of course, she wouldn’t, she refused to walk down, so they had to, had to carry her down all flights, three flights of stairs, which was quite [laughs] amusing.  And, so, we went out into the street, and I said, and other people said, you know, ‘Right, now, disperse instantly.’  So we did.  Because obviously that’s the point when the police then start coming to make trouble and trying to arrest, arrest the demonstrators.

     

  • Oral History

    2021

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Alexander Donaldson

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Alexander Donaldson was interviewed with Nigel Kemp by Daniel Gayne in 2021. When Nigel worked at Housmans bookshop, Alexander did some design work for Housmans and later worked at Peacemeal Wholefoods across the road when it opened in 1985. He now runs Judd Books with Nigel Kemp. In this clip he talks about ordering books in 1984 from a gay bookshop in Philadelphia, Giovanni's Room. The order never arrived: it had been seized by customs. Their full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    Yes, I found the letter I have still got from Giovanni’s Room, who started distributing books from American gay publishers to this country.  I can’t quite remember if they came over or just sent catalogues.  Anyway, Nigel asked me to do an order for their section.  There wasn’t, there were only a certain amount of books published in this country at the time.  And a lot of the books were American publications.  So I did an initial order with them, and then, it was quite a long time, and nothing appeared, and they must have phoned or written to them.  Got a letter back where they were not sure and they should have arrived, and they think if Customs have seized it, you get a note.  But shortly after that, we did get a notice from Customs and Excise saying they had seized the books.  And that was the same shipment as Gay’s The Word’s one that was seized.

     

    I see. 

     

    And they obviously fought the case, but, the board of Housmans didn’t want to get involved in another court case.  They didn’t see it as being central to their mission.  And they had only just got out of another court case, which involved Peace News in some libel case or something.  So they didn’t dispute the confiscation of the books.  But they were, they were involved in the general campaign with the Federation of Radical Booksellers.

  • Article

    1974

    Download the full document: 158

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Article about a squatted women's centre where women with small children were living, published in Peace News on 24 May 1974. The article was part of a series describing women's centres.

  • Document

    1984

    Creator: Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners

    Donor: Alexander Donaldson

    Copyright: Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners

    Ticket stub from 'The Enemy Within' (Pits and Perverts Benefit Ball, organised by Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners) at the Electric Ballroom. Ticket number 446. Donated by Alexander Donaldson.

  • Oral History

    2020

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Roberta Bacic

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Roberta Bacic was interviewed by Anoushka Chakrapani and Reece Evans in 2020. Roberta worked at War Resisters' International as Development Officer from 1998-2004, and was based in 5 Caledonian Road. In this clip she describes the culture of the building and how it facilitated campaigning against militarism, for instance how a group of activists witheld tax as a protest against the military. Her full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    The building had a very distinctive mark that, it was the way, the place we went to work, and the way we wanted to live.  So it was to live in the practice what we had as an idea.  So we were modest in what we had, we had the culture of sharing, and we had also quite a bit of fun.  I remember we were involved in not paying the tax that goes to the military.  So, we did it for many years, and we had a court case, and we were quite adamant to pursue it as far as we could.  And eventually it came to a deadlock, that we had to pay that money to the, to the taxman, because we couldn’t continue with the case.  But we had promoted it, and we had made it very visible, and we had got lots of support.  So, we had every month put the money that we should have paid for that in a little tin, and when they came to collect, we had lots of fun, because one of my colleagues prepared a rocket, and we stuck the notes of £5 and £10 on the rocket, and gave the man who came to collect the rocket, and a bag with coins.  Because we were not willing to draw a cheque saying ‘taxman’.  We had left the money aside.  So it was really a fascinating experience to, to come agreement, what we were going to do, how we were going to implement, and also think, what do we do if they don’t accept it, and start to think what the solutions were.  So there was a full year of, at lunchtime discussing the strategy on how to continue, and every time we had to go to court we shared it with our friends, and sometimes we stopped at the bookshop and they asked, ‘How did it go?’  Because we left the banners at the entrance, and…  So it was quite, quite relevant to have a reference group that was going to be connected to the principles that we lived.  We didn’t have to think we have to hide everything in our office, and we have to lock it.  We were very open about our actions, we felt safe and at home in the building

  • Article

    1961

    Download the full document: 177

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Front page of Peace News, published on 24 February 1961. Report on the Committee of 100's first public act of civil disobedience with the headline 'Triumph for Committee of 100'. 4000 people took part in a march and sit down outside the Ministry of Defence. The Committee's declaration was posted on the door of the Ministry and declared the beginning of a large scale campaign of civil disobedience, with the demand that nuclear weapons be rejected.

  • Document

    2011

    Black and white text, press release with details of an undercover police officer being outed at a conference
    Download the full document: 234

    Creator: London Greenpeace

    Donor: Dave Morris

    Copyright: London Greenpeace

    A press release from 15 October 2011, entitled 'Undercover Police Agent Publicly Outed at Conference'. The author was 'Stop Infiltration, c/o London Greenpeace. The release gives an account of how the group confronted the 'most senior-yet police spy responsible for infiltration environmental and social justice campaigns', Bob Lambert, when he was speaking at an anti-racist conference in Central London.

    More information on the infiltration of 5 Cally Road 1984-1996:

    London Greenpeace, based in 5 Cally Road during the 1980s and 90s, was subjected to systematic and highly scandalous infiltration by the Metropiltan Police and the McDonald's Corporation between 1984 and 1996. During the 1994-97 McLibel trial the group was able to expose the 6 private McSpies which had infiltrated the group from 1989 to 1991. Directly instructed by the company's Vice President seeking to suppress the group's anti-McDonald's campaigning, they had attended dozens of meetings in the building, attended protests, had a fraudulant 'relationship' with a member of the group, obtained secret access to the whole building, and stole letters posted to the group.

    However it wasn't until years later that the group uncovered and unmasked additional Met Police spies, commissioned to try to undermine environmental, animal rights, anti-fascist and anarchist campaigning. Bob Lambert [see the attached press release] pretended to be a core activist in the group from 1984-1988, doing all the same things the McSpies did but also becoming group treasurer, helping to write leaflets and organise protests, and manufacturing a number of abusive 'relationships' with women in and around the group - even fathering a child before 'disappearing' from the scene. He was replaced from 1988-91 by another police spy, John Dines, who manufactured a 2 year-long 'relationship' with London Greenpeace's Helen Steel, one of the two McLibel defendants, before also 'disappearing'. A third police spy later infiltrated London Animal Action from 1994-96, who also had an office at Cally Road. He was entrusted with a key to that office. He also attended McLibel Support Campaign activities.

    Campaigners efforts across the UK successfully brought to light a widespread secret political policing operation targeting over 1,000 left wing campaigning groups over 50 years. This resulted in widespread media and public outrage, and forced the Government to order an Undercover Policing Public Inquiry.

  • Download the full document: 077

    Creator: Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War

    Donor: Michael Randle

    Copyright: Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War

    Letter from Direct Action Committee against Nuclear War asking for support for the 20 people spending Christmas in prison after the 'rocket base demonstration at Swaffham'. Requests supporters to send postcards or visit.

  • Oral History

    2021

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Nigel Kemp

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Nigel Kemp was interviewed with Alexander Donaldson by Daniel Gayne in 2021. Nigel worked at Housmans bookshop from 1982, and now runs Judd Books with Alexander Donaldson. In this clip he talks about how Housmans was an important place to source alternative literature, with a customer base that included a woman from MI5. Their full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    It was the place for, apart from the books and the stationery, what was, it was very important in, in the area of magazines, pamphlets, things like that.  And there was an enormous number of these things coming out all the time.  Fanzines came in, and…  So we got people coming in regularly.  We didn’t sell perhaps as many books as we might have done, but they certainly came in for the, to see what was new, what was available.  And, [laughs] as Sandy pointed out, we had a woman from MI5 who used to come in every fortnight or so, and she was one of our best customers.  She used to spend £30 or £40 on, which was quite a lot of money then, perhaps it’s about £80 now, on, on whatever was new she hadn’t seen before.  We sort of knew where she had come from, but…

  • Oral History

    2020

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Diana Shelley

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Diana Shelley was interviewed by Honor Morris and Laura Toms in 2020 and 2021. Diana was a journalist and writer with Peace News amongst others, an activist with Committee of 100, the squatting movement and campaigns against the development of Kings Cross. In this clip she describes the the march to Aldermaston in Easter 1963.The 'Spies for Peace' had published a pamphlet 'Danger! Official Secret' which revealed a network of bunkers meant to house the government in the event of nuclear war. Diana describes how she helped divert part of the march to protest at one of these bunkers, RSG-6. Her full interview, in seven parts, will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    Easter 1963.  Aldermaston march.  A friend of ours from one of the anarchist groups had said to us, ‘Oh, there’s going to be something happening on the Easter march.  Keep an eye out for it, and see what you can do to kind of, get involved.’  And, what happened was, Spies for Peace, the publication of the pamphlet called Danger! Official Secret, which revealed the network of bunkers that would allegedly house a dispersed Government in the event of nuclear war.  On that morning, on the King’s Meadows in Reading, this leaflet was going round, and I thought this is really kind of, amazing, and, serious, and we’ve got to do something.  And one of the things that the leaflet would have said was, of course, that RSG-6 was very close to the route that we were about to march that day.  So we decided we were going to form the RSG contingent to go and see this place. So we formed up, saying this is the RSG contingent. The CND leadership, Peggy Duff and Olive Gibbs, came and told us that we couldn’t form up, because, London was in the magenta contingent, and Oxford was in the green contingent, and so we couldn’t do this.  And they were pretty upset.  And it was, it was a moment when I probably rather rudely said, something like, ‘Well we’re going to form up, and if you don’t let us form up, we’re going to sit down at the,’ it was quite a, single gate exit as I recall it from the King’s Meadows, ‘and your march won’t get out of here.’  So they let us form up the RSG contingent. At the place where we needed to turn off, Peggy Duff was sort of, stood on a little platform or something, going, ‘Not this way marchers.  Lunch is that way.  Keep going, keep going.’  And everyone said, ‘Sorry.’  [laughs]  Well not everyone, because not everybody went.  I mean that’s fine.  You know, it’s a very big march.  We didn’t expect everyone to go; we just wanted a reasonable number of people.  And we walked up there, and there was this bunker.  And we sat down outside it for some time.

    And it was, of course, a complete massive revelation.  It was on the front of every newspaper.  And, subsequently, there were many, many editions of the Danger: Official Secret, some of which got printed abroad.  So you had sort of, typed, typed copies with as many carbon copies as you could get reasonably off it, and, you know, duplicated, printed, whatever.  And, it spread, the actual thing spread.  It was genuinely very shocking, because the premise was that, a nuclear war could be fought, and you would put your politicians and your civil servants into these bunkers, and they would survive the nuclear war. But the general gist of it was, and we don’t give a damn about the peasants out there, you know, they, they can, they can fry.  And I think that became part of that summer of we’ve got your number, you know, the upper classes.

     

  • Document

    1990

    Creator: London Greenpeace

    Donor: Dave Morris

    Copyright: London Greenpeace

    The McLibel trial, which began in 1990 became the longest and one of the most famous and controversial cases in English legal history. This is the front cover of the original info sheet, which led to McDonald's libel claim against four members of London Greenpeace.

    In defiance of McDonald's efforts to silence campaigners, leaflets were distributed in millions across the UK and in over 20 languages all over the world - making a later version of the leaflet shown here probably the most widely distributed leaflet in history.

     

  • Document

    1997

    Creator: London Greenpeace

    Donor: Dave Morris

    Copyright: London Greenpeace

    The McLibel trial, which began in 1990 became the longest and one of the most famous and controversial cases in English legal history. In defiance of McDonald's efforts to silence campaigners, leaflets like the one below (usually with the 5 Cally Road address at the bottom) were distributed in millions across the UK and in over 20 languages all over the world - making it probably the most widely distributed leaflet in history.

    *** Note re accuracy of the above: Most of the UK leaflets were printed by London Greenpeace or Veggies in Nottingham as a publicised service to campaigners - the McLibel Support Campaign calculated that at least 3 million were printed 1992-1999, including for the long-planned protests outside 500  McDonalds UK stores on the Saturday after the 1997 trial verdict. The McLibel Support campaign also were sent from all over the world copies of translations in 23 languages during that period.

    Every year on October 16th saw Worldwide Anti-McDonald's Day - on UN World Food Day - mass leafleting and protests. In 1999, the only year in which the campaign systematically monitored where the protests took place, they recorded 425 protests and pickets in 345 towns in 23 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, England, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Romania, Scotland, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, USA.

  • Article

    1974

    Black and white text. Article with headline Where the action is - blast it!
    Download the full document: 186

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Article published in Peace News on the 29 November 1974 reporting on the bombing of the pillar box outside 5 Caledonian Road on November 25.

  • Document

    1978

    Download the full document: 064

    Creator: Campaign Against Arms Trade

    Donor: Ann Feltham

    Copyright: Campaign Against Arms Trade

    Leaflet produced by Campaign Against Arms Trade in 1978 about the UN Special Session on Disarmament and the British Army Equipment Exhibition, which were coinciding in June 1978. In 2021 CAAT is going strong and continuing its work opposing the arms trade. They moved out of 5 Caledonian Road to new offices in 1986.

  • Photograph

    2020

    A photograph of a colourful mural of clouds, books and a rainbow in the window at Housmans
    Download image: Window

    Creator: Daniel Gayne

    Donor: Daniel Gayne

    Copyright: Daniel Gayne

    Photograph taken in 2020 inside Housmans bookshop.

  • Article

    1973

    Download the full document: 166

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Front cover of Peace News published on 8 June 1973. Headline is N Ireland: End the Union! Withdraw the Troops!

  • Article

    1974

    Download the full document: 155

    Creator: Peace News

    Donor: Peace News Trustees

    Copyright: Peace News

    Article describing the women's liberation workshop published in Peace News on 24 May 1974. The article was part of a series describing women's centres.

  • Photograph

    1982

    3 people standing in the doorway of Housmans bookshop. Black and white photograph.
    Download image: Workers outside Housmans

    Creator: Alexander Donaldson

    Donor: Alexander Donaldson

    Copyright: Alexander Donaldson

    Nigel Kemp, Dennis Gould and Malcolm Hopkins standing in the doorway of Housmans bookshop.

  • Photograph

    2001

    Creator: Roberta Bacic

    Donor: Roberta Bacic

    Copyright: Roberta Bacic

    Roberta Bacic worked at War Resisters' International as Development Officer from 1998-2004, and was based in 5 Caledonian Road. Photograph shows her granddaughter, Eva Gonzalez, and a volunteer from Germany, in the WRI meeting room. In 2021, War Resisters International have an office in 5 Cally Road.

  • Oral History

    2020

    Creator: On the Record

    Donor: Clifford Williams

    Copyright: On the Record / Bishopsgate Institute

    Clifford Williams was interviewed by Zuza Wolfram and Tania Aubeelack in 2020. Clifford was a customer of Housmans, a punk and the son of a Housmans volunteer and peace activist, Frank Williams. Here he tells an anecdote about visiting the bookshop with his friend, who lived in a squat nearby.and explains why he always felt at home there. His full interview will be made available at Bishopsgate Institute.

    I remember one occasion we, we were out around King’s Cross, and we went into Housmans Bookshop.  I used to go in there to see if I could buy badges, or get copies of Peace News, or things like that.  So I went in with Phil.  And we went up to the counter, which, those days, when you went into the shop, the counter was like, facing you.  It wasn’t on the side, on the left, like it is now.  You went into the shop, and it was like, in front of you.  And we were chatting to the guy behind the counter, and, Phil was saying something like, ‘Oh yeah, I live round the corner in Wicklow Street.’  And at that time…  The guy behind the counter was, was signalling to Phil to say, ‘No don’t, don’t say any more.’  You know, you know, keep quiet.  And the reason was, I turned round and there was a policeman behind us, a policeman in uniform.  So the guy behind the counter was obviously concerned that Phil the punk, friend of mine, is going to say where they were, and this would be further information that the policeman might take back to his police station, write down, you know, ‘There’s a punk squat at No. 36,’ or whatever it was.  ‘And therefore, I think we can go and raid that for drugs or something.’  Dunno.  The policeman was probably, it was probably his beat, you know, and he had to pop into Housmans to see how things were going, but he was obviously going to be interested in some of the radical political activity going on there, because a lot of it, you know, might have breached the law, or was of interest to the police.

    But I always remember that episode.  I used to pick up copies of Peace News in Housmans, because, they still do it today, or they did last time I went in there, when the copies are out of date, like a couple of months out of date, they used to put the old copies out, and you can just help yourself.  So I used to take some of the old ones and take them up to the friends’ squats and that, and I used to leave them with copies of Peace News.

    Housmans was like, you’re going to be accepted in Housmans.  If you walk in as a punk to WH Smith’s, they might keep a, a very close eye on you, or they might ask you to leave.  But if you go into Housmans, I felt, oh, this is a place I can feel at home, because my dad helps here, and, my dad is into Housmans, and they’ve got all this peace literature and all this stuff that I’m familiar with.  And there’s always good stuff to browse.  So, no, I was, you know, perfectly comfortable to be in Housmans and to talk to them.  Because they would have posters about activities going on that we might get involved with or we might go to.  They would do advertising for gay events for example.

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