Monday, 8 October 2012

Quotation Station

"Life is nothing without enthusiasms."

Richard Pankhurst (Richard Marsden Pankhurst 1834 - 1898)

I can`t claim to be an expert on the Pankhursts, and if anything I`m inclined to think the two Richards may actually be the more interesting characters.

 A quick skim around the net did produce this handy guide to the Pankhurst family, which may be of interest ;

I believe their are some items relating to the life of the younger Richard (grandson of Richard Marsden Pankhurst) on You Tube.


News From Hoonaloon

Just a quick note to let you know that our monthly newsletter is online now and can be found at .

A number of recent additions to our stock are highlighted in the newsletter, whilst details of some others can be found at , and .

If you want to see details of our entire stock, click here ;


Nick + Ann-Marie
Hoonaloon Books

Monday, 10 September 2012

Community Concern Erewash

Back in March I mentioned Community Concern Erewash.

 CCE is  based in Cotmanhay, said to be the most deprived area in Derbyshire, and provides services to some of the most vulnerable people in Erewash, whilst giving volunteers the chance to acquire  practical skills into the bargain.

CCE and an associated project, Bright Street Laundry, are 20 years old this year and are looking for new ways to raise their profile and also to raise funds.

With this in mind they have now taken out a page on the website

To see their page, click here ; .

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Samuel Morley 1809 - 1886

This is `Nottingham Arboretum : Bust of Samuel Morley` by photographer John Sutton (

Morley was a prominent 19th century British social reformer, anti-slavery campaigner and trade union sympathiser.

To find out more about him, see my article `Samuel Morley of Nottingham` at .

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Hoonaloon News September 2012

Among his many other interests, Harold H Mather was noted for taking an active interest in conservation, preservation and the history of Nottinghamshire, with a particular interest in industrial heritage.

His `Clock and Watch Makers of Nottinghamshire` is just one of the titles featured in the current Hoonaloon News. To find out more. click here ; .

Friday, 31 August 2012

News From Hoonaloon 31 August 2012

During July we had a sale during which all the stock we were offering via ABE was discounted by 25%.

At the end of July we entered into an arrangement with ABE whereby all the stock discounted in that sale remained on offer at the discounted price but all new stock added after the end of July went online at the full price.

As August comes to an end, we`ve decided to continue that arrangement a little longer.

All the items we still have in stock that were part of the July sale are still being offered at the sale price - a 25% discount on their `normal` price - but all stock added after the end of July is online at the full price.

We can`t afford to continue with this offer indefinitely, so don`t look a gift horse in the mouth,  strike now while the iron`s hot, make hay while the sun shines and generally seize the day.

But above all else - Respect the Book !

Monday, 23 July 2012

Action Mesothelioma Day 6 July 2012 #4

This year`s Action Mesothelioma Day has now taken place.

I posted short articles on some of the events that took place around the country earlier today at and If you would like more information about the day, please contact either Liz Darlison or Tracey Heseltine at

I had intended to post a fourth bulletin on the subject of AMD on this blog before it happened, but with one thing and another it didn`t get done.

Slightly belatedly, I will just now mention a couple of sources that I`d intended to highlight in that bulletin.

One is a report on asbestos in schools from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Health and Safety. As you might know, APPG`s are informal groupings of MPs usually from the Con,Lab and LibDem parties who share an interest in a particular issue or subject.

Although the APPGOHS has close links with the trade union movement, if you thought it was Labour-dominated you`d be wrong - as far as I can see, it is divided evenly between Labour and Coalition MPs.

The report can be found here ;

The other couple of items I`d wanted to mention are here ;

As I`ve said before, anything anyone can do to help publicise the issues surrounding asbestos, by means of blogs and social networking sites would be very much appreciated.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Hoonaloon Books July 2012

Just to let you know, the latest Hoonaloon Books Newsletter is online and can be viewed at

As mentioned previously, the current Hoonaloon Books Sale is already underway, and ends on 27 July 2012.

Respect the Book !

Monday, 2 July 2012

Hoonaloon Books Sale July 2012

Once again, I need to introduce a note of sordid commerce into the proceedings !

The latest Hoonaloon Books sale is already underway and runs from 1 July 2012 -  27 July 2012.

During that time, all the items we have on sale via ABE (roughly 4,000 titles) will be discounted by 25%.

The prices shown for our stock on ABE sites have already been adjusted automatically so all you need to do is choose your books and place your order.

Any questions, just ask.

Happy shopping !

Nick & Ann-Marie
Hoonaloon Books

P.S. While you await the next newsletter, here are some of our `forthcoming attractions`. These aren`t showing up online as yet, but should appear within 24 hours.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Butterflies and Brownfields

We often assume that housing and other developments should take place on brownfield sites in order to relieve the pressure on green belt land and open spaces.

Sometimes that`s right, but look a little deeper and you soon start to think, as the song says, "it ain`t necessarily so".

Brownfield sites can be something of a lifeline for rare and endangered insects and invertebrates.

As I understand it, there are two main reasons for this ;

One is that changes to agriculture and the countryside mean that some species no longer prosper in rural areas where they used to be common.

The other is that the wildflowers that some species feed on can actually do quite well in an arid environment (because they have a chance to thrive without competition from more vigorous plant types which rely on richer soil).

The organisation Butterfly Conservation points out that  "low nutrient, thin or contaminated soils, with areas of bare and uneven ground...can provide a habitat with an abundance of  nectar-rich wildflowers and foodplants" but notes that "these are the type of sites often overlooked for their wildlife value and are often ear-marked for development or landscaping." 

All is not lost, however, and they also state that current legislation and planning guidance means that "developers and planners can no longer ignore brownfield invertebrates."

Fortunately, they have found that "brownfield wildlife can co-exist with industry and regeneration."

I believe that the Wildlife Trusts* provide some information and advice on this, but for now we will return to Butterfly Conservation who are running a Butterflies and Brownfields Project which focuses on former industrial sites such as quarries, railway lines, former collieries, demolition sites and former landfill sites.

 Two leaflets of theirs, `Brownfields for Butterflies` and `Butterflies in Towns and Cities` can be downloaded from their site.

Butterfly Conservation can be found at .


Sunday, 24 June 2012

Annesley Community Committed to Ensuring Sustainable Settlements (ACCESS)

Here`s an extract from an article written by a member of the Ramblers* recently concerning Oak Wood at Annesley in North Notts recently ;

"Last November, Taylor Wimpey acquired the wood from the Forestry Commission. However, their intention was not to leave the wood as it stood...Instead, a planning application was made for a large soak-away** which will waterlog part of the area and require the removal of a large number of trees, thus destroying its` wildlife.

The first application was turned down but a revised scheme has now been submitted.

Local residents have got together to fight and save the wood : they have claimed several paths in it, applied for tree protection orders, and tasked a professional to prepare an Environmental Impact Assessment.

This is an excellent example of why our woods should not be sold off."

Chris Thompson - Saving our Woods and Forests, Area Footpath Secretary`s Report, Nottinghamshire Walker, Spring/Summer 2012.

A quick search shows up that the area in question is also known as Little Oak Plantation, Little Oak Woods and/or Bluebell Woods and that the local people mentioned by Mr T are in fact ACCESS (Annesley Community Committed to Ensuring Sustainable Settlements), a well-respected local group with some experience in these matters.

The group appear to have no website, but I have found some articles online that may be of interest. The most recent is ;

Unsigned - Campaigners Fight to Save Woods - , 11 April 2012

And these two may be of interest for background ;

Unsigned - Campaign to Save Ancient Woodland -, 17 Nov 2011

Unsigned - Annesley Residents Call for Woodland to be Protected -, 2 Nov 2011

Articles on the group`s other activities have appeared  in The Chad from time to time if anyone wants to seek them out. Surprisingly, there seems to be little or nothing online from group members themselves (unless I`ve missed it !).

For want of a better way to end the article, here`s another picture of Reggie the Hedgehog.

* For more on the Ramblers see and/or .

** Taylor Wimpey have plans to build on land adjacent to the wood, hence their desire for a `soak way`.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Action Mesthelioma Day 6 July 2012 #3

During the run-up to Action Mesothelioma Day, I want to do as much as I can to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos.

For the third of this year`s postings on the subect, I`d like to draw your attention to the British Lung Foundation`s Take 5 and Stay Alive campaign.

Details can be found here ;

For more links and information about this year`s event, please see my previous articles on the subject. Over the last three years, I`ve posted regularly on this subject on this blog and also at Cheers.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Bradford Odeon

Bradford Odeon closed as a cinema in the year 2000.

Planning permission for demolition of the building was granted in November 2001 but the building is still (thankfully) standing, due in large part to campaigning by the Bradford Odeon Rescue Group,  a group whose aims are shared by Bradford Civic Society and the Theatres Trust.

There have been various changes of ownership of the Odeon during the period in question, which makes the recent history of the building a rather confusing saga. However, an important point to note is that, despite earlier claims to the contrary, a structural survey in June 2008 found no major defects. Internal photos taken by `urban explorers` during the period 2006 - 2008 show a building in a state of neglect as one would expect but also highlight many features that to my mind would be worthy of preservation.

I`m planning to ask the BORG if I can use a couple of pictures from their site to illustrate this article, but in the meantime, here are the websites of the relevant groups ;

...and here are details of a recent newspaper article ;

Jane Merrick, Elsa Nightingale - Hockney Joins Battle to Save Derelict Cinema, 20 May 2012 at

Friday, 15 June 2012

Undershaw Preservation Trust

The Undershaw Preservation Trust is a campaign to preserve Sir Arthur Conan Doyle`s former home in Hindhead, Surrey.

The building of Undershaw was commissioned by Doyle and it contains a number of features that he himself designed.

The building is standing empty at present, and the current owners, a firm called Fossway,  intended to divide it internally into separate properties.

The UPT opposed these plans and at a recent judicial review it was ruled that Waverley Borough Council had acted wrongly in it`s handling of the planning permission application.

Waverley Borough Council have not appealed within the time allowed but Fossway are doing so.

For an update on the campaign, see here ;

Unsigned article - The Judicial Review - 10 June 2012 at .

The UPT itself can be found at .

Action Mesothelioma Day 6 July 2012 #2

I`ve previously commented on this year`s Action Mesothelioma Day and it`s theme of calling for a global ban on asbestos (this blog, 25 May 2012).

Encouragingly, it seems to be well supported, with events planned in Dundee, Sheffield, Liverpool, Manchester, Southsea, Leicester, Plymouth and Newcastle Upon Tyne.

To find out about events in your area, or to publicise an event of your own, please contact either Tracey Heseltine or Liz Darlison at Mesothelioma UK (

Anything anyone can do to publicise the day by sharing details on Facebook or Twitter or by mentioning it on their own blog, that would be great.


Wednesday, 13 June 2012

War Memorials

Having looked at the work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in my previous post, I want to turn now to the question of UK war memorials.

There is an interesting history to the whole question of war memorials. From 1915 onwards, it was UK government policy that the bodies of services personnel who had fallen abroad were not brought home. This was partly for practical reasons , especially questions of hygiene and matters of logistics, but also due to a policy of treating all families fairly - while the wealthy could afford to transport their fallen relatives, the poor could not hope to do so.

A great number of war memorials were created after World War One, so that families had a place at which to mourn, in the absence of a grave.

Surprisingly, that situation continued until the Falklands War, and only in 1982 did it become the norm to bring home the bodies of fallen servicemen and women.

At present, as we all know, the nation`s war memorials are under threat from thieves who try to steal metal plaques etc to sell for scrap. The scale of the problem is not actually as bad as I had imagined - there are around 100,000 war memorials in the UK and on average one a week is targetted by thieves. However, that is still too many.

There have been various responses, both locally and nationally.

In Derbyshire, the City and County Councils work with the Royal British Legion, the War Memorials Trust and the National Inventory of War Memorials to help preserve memorials in the area. A good suggestion that has come from them is that community groups which maintain a particular memorial should keep a record of the names recorded on it so that there is still a record to work from even if the plaque is stolen and not retrieved.

Nationally, the War Memorials Trust and the Smart Water Foundation have launched In Memoriam 2014, a scheme whereby plaques are treated with smart water, which helps prove where it has come from if it is found by the Police, and also hopefully acts as a deterrent by making it more difficult for offenders to avoid conviction.

It may well be that we can tend to take war memorials for granted, but they are at least as worthy of preservation as the woodlands, historic buildings etc that I usually comment on. For any interested parties, there are a number of sites which can provide information and assistance ;

National Inventory of War Memorials ; and

War Memorials Trust ;

In Memoriam 2014 ;

Quotation Station ; Jane Addams on Patriotism

Unless our conception of patriotism is progressive, it cannot hope to embody the real affection and the real interest of the nation.

Jane Addams

When I selected a group of quotes for future use, I had no particular thought of using them in a topical way at all, and it is purely co-incidence that this one was next on the list so quickly after H M The Queen`s Diamond Jubilee.

By the same token, I had no intention of adding any comment of my own, but planned to let them stand alone for others to interpret as they see fit.

On this one occasion, I`m going to make an exception to that rule. It`s no secret that the Queen wanted the recent jubilee to be used to promote the Commonwealth (The Commonwealth of Nations), of which she is the Head.

Slightly belatedly,  I`m going to make my own contribution to that by highlighting the work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

As the name implies, the CWGC commemorates the 1,700,000 men and women of the Commonwealth forces who fell during the two world wars.

I think it`s perfectly proper that they should be commemorated, but the point I`d like to make is that, certainly for World War Two, there was no conscription in the Commonwealth, all the Commonwealth forces were volunteers. 

Anyway, I like to keep these things short so without more ado, I shall just point out that the CWGC can be found at ;


I have previously posted items concerned with the Commonwealth both on this blog and at the Webdub blog. As it`s turned out, the ones posted on this blog have not been widely read whereas the others have done OK, so in future I`ll be confining any Commonwealth material to the other blog, which can be found at .


Monday, 11 June 2012

Caruth Calls Cuts into Question ; An Archaeologist Unearthed

"With local government having to make swingeing cuts across the can be hard to see why anyone except archaeologists should worry about cuts to local government archaeology services. However anyone with an interest in our history should be concerned about the long-term impact of these cuts."

To learn more, see the rest of this article ;

Jo Caruth - Why Local Government Cuts to Archaeology Matter to All of Us, 4 June 2012 at .

Jo Caruth writes as a representative of Rescue - The British Archaeological Trust, in part to promote their Fighting Back campaign. She makes her case well, though I must admit that the role of the local government archaeologist is unfamiliar territory to me - prior to reading her article I was unaware that such a post even existed !

Given that Leicester County Council have recently made a Community Archaeologist redundant, one wonders whether it might be viable for neighbouring local authorities (in this case, say Leics, Notts and Derby) to pool resources and co-finance a sort of tri-county archaeology service. However, I don`t claim to any special wisdom on the subject.

Certainly it`s right that these sort of matters should be the subject of democratic debate, so I hope that Ms Caruth`s article is widely disseminated amongst interested parties.

Useful links 

Rescue/BAT ;

All Party Parliamentary Group on Archaeology ;

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Return of the Lumberjills

The Women's Timber Corps existed during World War Two and was an offshoot of the Land Army.

It consisted of female lumberjacks (known jokingly as `lumberjills`) who carried out forestry work, filling in for the young men who were away in the armed forces.

The timber was used for pit props, aircraft manufacture etc.

The WTC are seen as one of the last unrecognised stories of World War Two, and in my personal opinion, theirs is a story that deserves to be more widely known. It`s worth remembering that the work was far more labour intensive in those days - there were no chainsaws and trees could only be felled with a saw or an axe.

The Forestry Commission is gathering information on the `lumberjills` and is currently keen to hear from anyone who served in the WTC in the North Yorkshire woods, or from family members of anyone who did so.

The WTC were active in a number of wooded areas in North Yorks, particularly Dalby and Cropton (near Pickering), and Boltby and Kilburn (near Thirsk and Helmsley).

The current appeal for information and contacts follows on from a similar project earlier this year concerning WTC activities at Chopwell Wood, near Gateshead.

Details of the current appeal are contained in Forestry Commission  Press Release number 15486, dated 7 June 2012. The contact point for members of the public is Petra Young, while media enquiries should be addressed to Richard Darn.

Useful links ;

The Forestry Commission

Women`s Timber Corp (tribute site)

Although the current appeal relates specifically to N Yorks, the impression I have is that they would be happy to hear from anyone with information etc concerning wartime WTC activities.

Enlightened Self-Interest

In a spirit of enlightened self-interet, perhaps I could take this opportunity to mention that the Hoonaloon Books newsletter for June  is now online and can be viewed at

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Star Saves Heritage

Doncaster newspaper The Star is part-way through an impressive Save our Heritage campaign, aimed (as you might imagine) at preserving that city`s architectural and industrial heritage. The campaign works in partnership with Mayor Peter Davies and others.

Buildings featured in the campaign so far include the Grand Theatre, St James` Baths, St George`s Minster and the empty High School for Girls building.

Inevitably there have been some setbacks and some questions of practicality - doubts have been raised about the viability of converting the High School for Girls building into a hotel, for instance. Nevertheless, handled correctly this project could combine preservation and regeneration in a very positive way.

A number of articles from the paper may be of interest, and here are a few ;

Minster Repairs Need Millions - 8 Feb 2012

Saving our Historic Baths (reader`s letter) - 9 Feb 2012

Industrial Heritage Saved by Lotto Cash - 19 March 2012

Save our Heritage (reader`s letter) - 10 April 2012

Doncaster Grand Theatre Talks Stall - 28 May 2012

For more details, click here ;

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Matlock Bath Grand Pavilion

For some time now, this blog has carried links to the sites of  campaigns connected to Matlock Bath Grand Pavilion, a purpose-built theatre dating from 1910.

The lower part of this building is occupied by the Peak District Mining Museum and some council offices. For a time (1993 - 2008), the upper part was used as a night club and I understand that the proprietors did little towards the upkeep of that part of the building.

Following the closure of the night club, the upper part of the building stood empty for a while and it would seem the owners, one of the local authorities, did no preventive maintenance but only responded to situations as they arose.

Eventually, a group of local people formed Save the Grand Pavilion, a campaign which I assume is self-explanatory. Admirable though that was, it was just the start as STGP evolved into The Grand Pavilion Limited, which acquired the lease on the building and then became a registered charity.

Following on came the formation of a supporter`s group, Friends of the Grand Pavilion and I understand that approaches have been made to potential large donors such as the Lottery.

Having followed these events with interest, I was glad to have the chance to see inside the  building over the Bank Holiday when it was opened to host an art exhibition with live music.

The art exhibition featured a range of styles, with the best known artist being Pollyanna Pickering, one of the Patrons of the charity, though I personally preferred Caroline Appleyard`s colourful evocations of Matlock and Whitby. There may be a touch of bias on my part as these are two places I visit frequently and which are very close to my heart. However, the quirky good  humour of her work is very appealing.

There was also much innocent amusement to be derived from the examples of "artist speak" in the accompanying brochure. Funnily enough I`ve never really thought in terms of "dystrophic brutalism" myself !

An unexpected bonus came in the form of live music from youthful folk musicians The Harker Sisters. As you might imagine, these are three sisters whose surname is Harker. They look terrifyingly young, but perhaps that`s because I am not so young ! As I`ve mentioned before, I am not a huge folk fan by any means, but these tuneful siblings impressed me very much. The younger members of our party were also enthusiastic, so if the Harkers ever decide to play for an audience of under fives, they might well have that market cracked !

Back to more serious matters, and I have to say I was shocked to see how much needs to be done to get the Pavilion back into a serviceable condition. However, it`s clear  that the Pavilion`s supporters have determination by the bucket-load and don`t shrink from a challenge.

To learn more about the Pavilion and the campaign to restore it, use the links already provided at the side of this page, or visit the websites of the Theatre`s Trust ( and/or the Matlock Mercury ( .

I`d like to close with a quote from another of the Pavilion Group`s Patrons, Simon Groom, a TV presenter who, if you`re anything like me,  may be inextricably linked in your mind with sticky-backed plastic and old Palmolive bottles ;

"As a young son of a Derbyshire hill farmer, the Pavilion was a window to the world outside Dethick. It helped me to enter that world and shape it in some small way. Seeing the building re-open and begin to be used again gives me hope. I feel sure that the larger project, for it`s restoration and re-opening, will not be more than a few years away. With that completed, the window to the outside world will be re-opened and inspire others, as it did for me."

Saturday, 26 May 2012

One Coast for All ; Campaign for the English Coastal Path

Natural England has announced it`s intentions regarding the proposed English Coastal Path.

I`ve covered the background to this some time ago (see `Don`t Cut the Coastal Path - Claim the Coast`, this blog, Sat 2 Oct 2010), which is handy as it means I don`t have to go over it again !

The current plan aims to ensure that you can walk the coastline from Hull to Dorset via Hadrian`s Wall Path and the Welsh Coast (Does this make sense ? Geography was never my strong point.) by 2017.

Public consultations are underway in Cumbria, Durham Sunderland and Hartlepool concerning proposals for the path in those areas.

The first stretch of the path (near Weymouth) is expected to open during July.

This progress has led an emboldened Ramblers to relaunch it`s Coastal Path campaign under a new name ; `One Coast for All - the Campaign for the English Coastal Path`, with an accompanying petition in support of the path. 

For more information, visit and/or . Requests for more information can be e-mailed to the Ramblers Campaign Team on .

Friday, 25 May 2012

Action Mesothelioma Day 6 July 2012

Regular readers of this blog will know that I regularly plug Action Mesothelioma Day and other  events/activities aimed at raising awareness of issues connected with asbestos.

Action Mesothelioma Day (AMD) takes place on the first Friday in July each year, so pretty obviously this year`s event will take place on Friday 6 July 2012. The day is aimed at "raising awareness and supporting and remembering those who have lived or have been affected by mesothelioma.". For me personally my motivation is connected with "remembering those who have lived" and with "raising awareness".

Each year the theme for the day is set by the British Lung Foundation (, and the theme this year is to call for a Global Ban on Asbestos.

I`m sure the many organisations involved with this issues can make their case more effectively than I could, so here are some links which may prove helful ;

If everyone who reads this posting could take a couple of minutes to check out one or two of these sites and learn more about the issues, then that would be great.

As an afterthought, perhaps I could also mention that Mesothelioma UK are asking anyone organising a local event for AMD, or anyone who knows of an event in thir own area, to inform them so they can update their site accordingly. Cheers.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

The People`s Pledge

The People`s Pledge is a cross-party campaign for a referendum on membership of the European Union.

It takes no position on the kind of outcome it would like to see from such a referendum, but simply believes that this kind of decision needs to be made by "the people, not the politicians".

When I last checked, 65 MPs had signed up to the pledge, including Mike Hancock (Lib Dem), Natascha Engel (Labour), Nigel Mills (Conservative), Caroline Lucas (Green) and  Sammy Wilson (DUP).

Just for good measure, the campaign`s Advisory Council also includes representatives of The Liberal Party and the Scots Nats.

The Pledge campaign is neither Europhile or Eurosceptic.  Labour`s Keith Vaz has made it clear he would campaign for a `yes` vote, whereas Conservative  Andrew `Potato Man` Bridgen  opposes further Europen integration and was involved in a campaign against the euro even before he became an MP. Nevertheless, both have signed up to this campaign.

One of the more telling points the People`s Pledge team make is that no-one under 55 has had any chance to express their view over Europe. I personally would add that with both the two main parties containing both pro- and anti- wings, there is simply no dependable way to know how those party`s voters feel on the subject.

More information on the People`s Pledge can be found at .

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Save the Women`s Library

Founded in 1926 as the Fawcett Library, the Women`s Library at London Metropolitan University houses artefacts charting the Women`s Movement from it`s earliest days, with a wealth of material on the Suffragette movement but much more than that, including the archive of the National Women`s Register and, bizarrely, a book of Recipes for Lovers by Barbara Cartland !

Now the LMU is seeking "a new home, owner or sponsor" for the library and in the interim is looking to cut opening hours, allegedly from five days a week to one. The decision has provoked an outcry and  a spirited campaign to save the collection is underway, endorsed by Sandi Toksvig and others.

Sadly this interesting campaign obliges me to draw attention to two things I particularly dislike in life, one being The Guardian newspaper and the other being campaigns which feature celebrity endorsements !

It has to be said that the campaign itself assumes it is preaching to the converted and therefore makes little attempt to detail the contents of the collection. Whether I like it or not, the best source I can find for this is Caroline Davies` article Women`s Library Campaign Boosted by Celebrity Support, Monday 30 April 2012 at

There are numerous other sources of info online. Here are just a few ;

Alan Gibbons - Importance of Women`s Archive - 5 May 2012 at

Alan Gibbons - Campaign and Petition : The Women`s Library - 6 May 2012 at

National Women`s Register - .

Unison -

Save the Women`s Library -

I understand that the LMU is also looking to dispose of the TUC Library but as yet I can find no equivalent campaign in respect of that - all I can suggest there is to use the Unison branch link provided above.

Clearly, the LMU is looking to either dispose of the collection or get some sort of sponsorship to help with the cost of mantaining it. There is no particular reason why it has to be in London as far as I can see. The chief issues here would seem to be preservation of the collection, sensible arrangements for public access and the future of the staff. I must be remembered that the collection`s assets are not only documents and artefacts but also the staff, some of whom have years of experience in dealing with the collection and building up familiarity with the stock.

The future, as they say, is unwritten.

Small Charities Week 2012

The grandly-named Foundation for Social Improvement is a small charity that exists to support small charities, for instance by providing free training and advice, and by helping with the costs of accessing these services.

One of the highlights of their year is Small Charities Week, which takes place during June.

This year they will be holding an SCW online sale in  conjunction with E-Bay, to take place 11 - 15 June 2012. I understand that participating groups are on the look-out for items to sell as part of this, particularly items with a celebrity connection.

To find out more, visit the group`s site at , or to learn more about one of the small charities concerned, see my article Return of the Equine Quadrupeds*, posted a few days ago at

*An equine quadruped (pic courtesy of the Fforest Uchaf Pit Pony Sanctuary, Pontypridd)

Friday, 27 April 2012

Mercury Rises as Knight Visits Brewery

Sir Peter Soulsby is no stranger to this blog.

When we first encountered him (The WAG Man Returns / Lodge House Controversy Continues, this blog, Fri 1 Oct 2010) , he was Sir Peter Soulsby, MP, heading up the Labour contingent in an excellent show of cross-party support for Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen`s `Buffer Zone` bill in respect of opencast mining.

Now he is Sir Peter Soulsby, Mayor of Leicester, and could be found recently in the pages of the Leicester Mercury visiting  the derelict All Saints Brewery where he met with heritage groups and Leicester City Council Conservation and Building Control Officers.

The plan is to draw up a conservation strategy to save Leicester`s industrial heritage.

The Mercury article can be found here ;

Unsigned - "I Don`t Want our Industrial Heritage to Crumble Away - Wed 25 April 2012 at .

It`s worth pointing out that a number of other sites of particular interest are also mentioned in the article.

Three heritage groups are mentioned, and I`m happy to give details of their web sites ; .

Thursday, 19 April 2012

More From the Commonwealth

We looked briefly at the Commonwealth last month (Celebrating the Commonwealth, 15 March 2012).

The current issue of Global magazine features an interview with Lord David Howell, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in which he put forward his views on the way forward for the Commonwealth.

 Necessarily, the views  he expresses are likely to be indicative of the current government`s position.

All I would want to say on that issue is that this blog doesn`t go in for party politics, except in the sense that I tend to prioritise campaigns and other initiatives that have cross-party support. 

Other than that, the interview can be found at .

Sunday, 8 April 2012

The Hoonaloon Big April Books Bonanza

At this point I have to interrupt all this (relative) high-mindedness to introduce a note of sordid commerce (or at the very least a note of enlightened self-interest !).

As you may know, Hoonaloon Books holds regular sales throughout the year, and one is currently underway (ends 27 April 2012).

You can view our catalogue using the link on the right-hand side of this page  - the sale discounts have already been deducted from the prices shown.

Having chosen the book you want, you can either order via ABE Books or deal with us directly  - our email is

In the meantime, here are a few of the more picturesque items to be found among the 4,000 or so books we currently have on sale ;

                     448 - L F Salzman - England in Tudor Times

                                                      450 Eleanor McDougall - Lamps in the Wind

                                                        456   Derek Hudson - The Forgotten King and other Essays

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Meanwhile, Back in the States #4

Fight Crime, Invest in Kids (California) is one of the more unusual campaiging groups I have come across (and I`ve encountered a few oddities in my time !).

Made up of an association of Police Chiefs, District Attorneys and survivors of violent crimes, the group opposes cuts to California`s education budget, particularly with respect to pre-schools.

While it may seem far-fetched, they draw on what appears to be very impressive body of research to support their case, that pre-school education leads to higher levels of achievement and lower levels of criminality in later life.

To learn more about them, see Katy Murphy - Oakland Police Chief : Early Education Key to Crime Prevention, posted 27 March 2012 (updated 28 March 2012) at . Ms Murphy`s article also appeared in the Oakland Tribune.

The group`s website is at .

Quotation Station

"If we like a man`s dream, we call him a reformer ; if we don`t like his dream, we call him a crank."

William Dean Howells, American writer.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Democracy in the Dales

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has launched a six week consultation exercise, asking Dales residents and businesses to contribute their views/suggestions for the National Park Management Plan for 2013 - 2018.

Sources ;

Unsigned - National Park Scheme, 21 March 2012 at .

Unsigned - 5 Year Development Scheme Sought for Yorkshire Dales, 20 March 2012 at .

Interested parties are asked to visit the authority`s site at . When I tried to visit earlier today, they did appear to be having problems with the site. If you experience any difficulty, try googling the phrase Your Yorkshire Dales National Park, and that should sort it out.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Fields in Trust

Parks-and-playing-fields charity Fields in Trust has issued it`s response to the selling-off of publicly owned recreational land in the London area.

In a statement provided to the BBC, the FIT commented ;

"There is finite provision of outdoor recreational space in this country, particularly in cities, with London a prime example. Given these statistics*, it is vital that the future of the precious remaining  spaces are assured for community use. The potential quick monetary fix which a disposal might provide should be resisted because these places have a value far higher than the price they command at sale, today or any day."

To learn more about the FIT and it`s proposals to safeguard public spaces, click here ;

*The organisation was asked to comment on news that "parks, playing fields and allotments equivalent to the size of 67 football pitches have been sold by London councils over the last three years."

Celebrating the Commonwealth 2012

I`ve left it a little late to acknoweldge Commonwealth Day (12 March 2012) and the subsequent  Commonwealth Week events.

Undeterred, earlier today I posted a brief background etc under the heading `Celebrating the Commonwealth 2012` at .

However, if you can`t be bothered with me waffling on, you could skip that and try visiting these sites ;

I would not advocate uncritical support for every part of the Commonwealth. Apart from anything else, my experience of another, quite separate, organisation has made me think that too much uncritical support can be a poisoned chalice, leading to complacency and insularity. I do think the Commonwealth has a lot of potential, even if in places that potential is only imperfectly realised. But that`s another issue !

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Quotation Station ; Olympia Snowe

"For change to occur, our leaders must understand that there is not only strength in compromise, courage in conciliation and honour in consensus-building - but also a political reward for following these tenets."

Olympia Snowe, American politician.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Get Shirebrook on the Map

Get Shirebrook on the Map is a community-based campaign to promote this small market town on the North Notts/South Derbyshire border.

Shirebrook was once a mining town and, like many comparable areas, fell into decline after the pit closures of the 1980s.

Campaigners claim the area has now  bounced back, but that the grim reputation it acquired is proving hard to shake off.

The campaign was acually begun by a local schoolboy, Daniel Warriner, who applied for funding from the 02 Think Big scheme, which aims to give young people financial support for a project that benefits the whole community. 

Young Daniel`s project, which aims to generate interest in the history of the area and in the surrounding countryside, is supported by the local Town Council and by Shirebrook Academy.

The campaign`s site is at .

I wouldn`t normally do this, but just to make a suggestion, if anyone felt inclined to promote young Daniel`s cause by, eg, adding the `Get Shirebrook...` site as a link to their own blog/site, or by sharing it on Facebook etc, I for one would think that was a good thing.

Racing to Runnymede

Race relations charity the Runnymede Trust is what I always think of as a `Lord Pitt` organisation (Britain`s first black peer, Lord Pitt used to say, only half jokingly,  that radical elements found him too cautious and conciliatory, whereas more moderate types suspected him of being a closet radical. As he was being shot by both sides, he assumed he must be doing something right !).

Formed in 1968 by Jim Rose, who you may have heard of as Wing Commander Eliot `Jim` Rose, one of the World War Two Bletchley Park codebreakers,  and Anthony Lester (now Baron Lester of Herne Hill), the Trust`s main body of work is as a `think tank`, but it does some campaigning work and some work with schools. It is by no means a `protest` organisation, but it can assert itself when it needs to.  I am not generally a lover of the `think tank` type of organisation (I don`t even like the phrase), but I`ll admit to having a soft spot for the Trust.

Much of the group`s work involves commisioning reports on various issues from academics and researchers. It undoubtedly provides a much needed independent voice on what can be contentious issues, and generally a trustworthy one.  It does face difficult questions, particularly as regards legitimacy (who does it represent ? in what way is it accountable ? Does it talk to minority communities, or about them ? ). These concerns no doubt lie behind comments made recently by one of the Trust`s leading lights, Dr Omar Khan ;

"It`s important to be as clear and concise as we can and avoid language that is too distant from the reality of how people speak. We need all the allies we can get and shouldn`t alienate people needlessly."

One area in which the Trust is finding allies is with it`s work with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Race and Community. The Trust already publishes the work of representatives of the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Scottish Nationalist parties, in the Runnymede Platform series and in the book Achieving Race Equality in Scotland, but it`s work in the APPG (RC) takes this collaboration to a new level.

It may seem strange that an organisation whose leadership includes contributors to the anti-Coalition  Left Foot Forward blog should be working so closely with Conservative and Liberal Democrat politicians, but there again strange alliances are sometimes the most fruitful. As I often say, some people build barricades, some people build bridges. I know which approach I prefer.  

More details ;

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Community in Cotmanhay

Earlier this year (20 Feb, to be exact), BBC TV`s Inside Out programme visited Cotmanhay, said to be the most deprived area in Derbyshire.

Presenter Marie Ashby noted that a quick trawl through the BBC`s archives showed that news teams only ever seemed to visit in pursuit of bad news. The Inside Out programme  actually broke with that tradition, looking at the work of the Cotmanhay-based Erewash Community Concern. 

Without wanting to sound cliched, this excellent organisation was formed `by local people for local people`, and has managed to recruit a `workforce` of 65 volunteers.

The basic way the charity works is that volunteers perform a variety of tasks in the community, usually to help elderly residents, and in so doing, acquire new skills and work experience.

Their work with the elderly has helped many local people who would otherwise be in care stay in their own homes. However, their efforts are not confined to the elderly as they provide support for young parents and assistance to those in the area who need help to undertake courses.

The group has been the subject of a study by academics Irene Hardill and Sue Baines, `Broadening the Base of the Volunteer Workforce` (funded by the Economic and Social Research Council*) and Professor Hardill appeared on the programme to describe them as "the Big Society from the bottom up". My natural instinct is to poke fun at that sort of thing, but on reflection, maybe it`s not such a bad description.

Funding comes in the form of private donations, suport from the Lottery etc and from the efforts of the volunteers providing DIY/laundry/gardening services in the surrounding area on a non-charitable basis in order to raise money.

ECC`s website is a touch out of date (they`re looking to launch a more up-to-date site in the not-too-distant future), but they can be found at  . Inside Out can be found at and  and is that rare beast, a BBC current affairs programme that actually understands the world outside Westminster !

*The Economic and Social Research Council are at , for anyone who wants to see the report. 


Monday, 5 March 2012

Humanists Revisited

The British Humanist Association has welcomed the launch of an All Party Parliamentary Group which aims to ensure that "every young person experiences a personally inspiring and academically rigorous education in religious and non-religious worldviews."

Humanists subscribe to a non-religious worldview, but the BHA supports in the project in the interests of giving youngsters the chance to make an informed choice, and as an initiative that may tend to counter religious extremism.

The BHA is a member of the Religious Education Council of England and Wales, which also supports the new group,  and has informal links with the All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group.

The BHA can be contacted at .

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Campaign for Ilkeston Train Station

A Derbyshire man has called for an "all-party community campaign" for the proposed train station at Ilkeston.

Peter Ball`s letter to one of the Derby Telegraph group of papers was prompted by a rather peevish little squabble in the local press between Cllr Helen Clark (Labour) and Jessica Lee MP (Conservative). While Mr Ball clearly tends to side with Ms Clark, the rest of us probably don`t really care which of the two, if either, came out best in the exchange.

More importantly,  Mr Ball points out that Ms Lee`s predecessor, Liz Blackman (Labour) was also a campaigner for the station, and that Cllr Howard Griffiths (Lab) "has pushed to get local cash committed to the station."

He points out that recent campaigns relating to train manufacturer Bombardier united Labour MPs, councillors from all parties on the local city council, trade unions and "a wide section of the community".

He ends his missive with a heartfelt plea for "an all-party campaign for a station everyone wants."

For anyone wanting to read his letter in it`s entirety, here are the details ; 

Peter Ball - Station Campaign Must be Fought by all Parties (reader`s letter) , 24 Feb 2012 at and .

I am presuming Mr B has no objection to my using his letter and mentioning his name as both already appear on two sites that are far more widely read than my humble effort.

Local paper the Ilkeston Advertiser has been running it`s own `Back on Track` campaign, and their coverage seems to confirm cross-party support at a high level ; 

MP and Minister to Discuss Station (11 Dec 2011)

 Shadow Minister Backs Station Plan (29 Feb 2012)  

(both at ).

It is unusual to see cross-party consensus at the upper levels of the two major parties and rivalry and petty point-scoring at the local level (normally it`s the other way around). This probably reflects the fact that both major parties need to demonstrate a commitment to the area tout suite if they want people`s votes.

Opposition has come from local campaigners Greensqueeze, who  have indicated their opposition to the HS2 rail link generally and point out the impact of a line in and out of Ilkeston on the local environment.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England* have indicated that they don`t currently see how the link can be achieved without a massive impact on the countryside, but are content to wait until there are concrete proposals available before making a judgement.

For more on the rail link issue see ;

*CPRE nationally has been fairly postive about HS2, with CPRE Chief Exec Shaun Spiers welcoming  the Government`s  "commitment to Britain`s railways" and stating that they have been "sensitive to the impact that HS2 will have on communities and the countryside", but acknowledging "there is still much more work to be done." (press release 10 Jan 2012).

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Asbestos Awareness 2012

As I`ve mentioned before, a friend of mine died a couple of years ago as the result of having worked with asbestos in younger days. This site was in fact named after his favourite J B Priestley novel as a kind of tribute to him.

I think I`ve also mentioned that the Ripley and Heanor areas of Derbyshire have an unusually high number of asbestos-related deaths due to the number of retired industrial workers in the area.

Under the circumstances, I like to use this blog to draw attention to the issue at least once a year.

Anyone interested in this issue might like to see this article concerning an event planned for 7.00pm on 29 Feb 2012 at Derby Cathedral  ;

Unsigned - Cathedral Tribute to the Asbestos Victims - Ripley and Heanor News, 23 February 2012 (

and/or visit these sites ;

and .

Thursday, 9 February 2012

National Park Consultation Continues

Natural England has begun the final round of consultation over plans to extend the boundaries of  the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District National Parks.

Article/links/contact points ;

Unsigned - Natural England Consults on Extending Boundaries of  Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District National Parks - Craven Herald and Pioneer, 5 Feb 2012 ( ).

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Meanwhile, Back in the States #3

From Sheffield we turn our attention now to New York City.

If you have heard of Lily Brown before, the chances are that either you live in NYC or that you`ve heard of her in connection with her husband, Lloyd L Brown (Lloyd Louis Brown, Lloyd Dight) who is remembered among other things as author of the novel Iron City and as Paul Robeson`s personal assistant.

Whether Lily shared her husband`s Marxist leanings I do not know, but clearly she was, in her own quiet way,  remarkable in her own right.

A teacher with a particular interest in remedial reading for disturbed children she was a community activist and one of the founders of a group called the Neighbourhood Action Coalition, which united a number of  smaller groups to push for civic improvements.

Her activities were uncontroversial and she herself was known for her self-effacing nature. Nevertheless, she deserves a little recognition.

In the later years she was involved with the upliftement of a local playground, which has been named in her honour.

For more details on her life, see ;

Owlthorpe Community Forum

Some time ago, I noticed an article in the Sheffield Telegraph which I thought might be useful for blog purposes.

At the time it didn`t get used as for a period I put other interests aside to concentrate on work and family matters.

Nevertheless, the article is still interesting.

Although the article was principally about a descision by the Yorkshire in Bloom people to give a discretionary `Community Champion` award to Owlthorpe man Roger Marsh, it is clear that he does not wish to be given sole credit for the work of the Forum in cleaning up the area and launching numerus environmental projects (he comments that the award is "in my name, but it`s for the Forum. I have not done all the work on my own !") , and stresses the need for collaboration, with Clive Betts MP, with public sector bodies such as the Police and City Council, particularly Environmental Planning Officer Sally Pereira, and with Sheffield Landscape Trust.

Nevertheless, it is clear Mr Marsh`s background as a project manager in steelworks and at power plants has given him useful experience.

He stresses that most Forum members are retired ("Peoople who work just don`t have the time during the week."), which makes me feel better as I don`t do a fraction of the work for the community that he does, despite being over 20 years younger !

Anyway, the article, headed Community Champion Who Took the Bull by the Horns, is by journalist Peter Kay and appeared in the Sheffield Telegraph Thursday 29 Sept 2011.  The title refers to the innovative use of Highland cattle to graze derelict farmland. The cattle are moved from field to field, which encourages the growth of wildflowers on fields they have vacated.

The Sheffield Telegraph can be found at . The Owlthorpe Community Forum appear to have no website, but Sheffield Landscape Trust, which is a venture jointly run by North Sheffield Conservation Group, Sheffield Countryside Conservation Trust and Sheffield City Council, can be found at .

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

More Voices for Libraries

Saturday 4 February 2012 will be National Libraries Day.

Targeted at library staff, library users, library support groups etc, the campaign calls for those involved to organise an event, or simply visit their library on 4 Feb or during the week leading up to it. 

For further info, visit .

Tuesday 13 March 2012 is the date set for a lobby of Parliament by a variety of groups calling on politicians to protect vital library services.

Those involved in calling the lobby include UNISON, The National Federation of Women`s Institutes, Voices for the Library, The Library Campaign, Campaign for the Book and the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. Further details can be obtained from those organisations.

The rather stylish illustrations accompanying this post are by Phil Bradley, and are free for interested parties to use to publicise National Libraries Day. Phil can be contacted at . I for one am grateful to Phil for his generosity and talent.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Hospital Happenings

As we enter 2012, hospitals are very much in the news.

In Newark, Nottinghamshire, the group formerly known as Save Newark Hospital, which we`ve looked at before, has re-invented itself as Say Yes to Newark Hospital, "a non-party political group providing a voice for the population of Newark and District."

The new group plans a relaunch this month and it`s aims and activities are already being reported in the local newspaper at . The group`s new web address is .

Somewhat further south of the Trent. we find an interesting campaign developing in Teddington, Surrey.

Teddington Memorial Hospital is currently run by Hounslow and Richmond Healthcare NHS Trust. This body is currently applying for Foundation status with effect from 2013, and the proposal is for ownership of the Hospital to pass to the new body.

It must be stressed that there is no immediate threat to the hospital. However, local doctors and community groups fear that such a proposal will diminish local accountability. "We are fighting to make sure that it stays as a local hospital serving local needs" comment the Friends of Teddington Memorial Hospital, a community group mainly given over to fundraising and voluntary work, but which also has an impressive record of campaigning assertively (though very politely) when the need arises. 

Other concerns are that the Hospital and grounds, currently valued at over £12m, could be sold or used as collateral for a loan in the future. There is particular concern that the proposed Foundation Trust might be too small to be viable and might merge with another similar body, thus further diluting local accountability and exacerbating current concerns over possible disposal of the Hospital and it`s site.

I`m sure the various interested parties can express themselves without further help from me, so I shall point you towards a document headed  Community Briefing 2012 at and similar postings at in the and .