Showing posts from March, 2015

David Mead's inaugural lecture on protest studies

Following on from my last post, I've just read David Mead's transcript of his inaugural lecture at UEA,
Read it all here:

It's a whirlwind tour around all aspects of law relating to protest, and also historical precedents. It thinks along many of the same lines as I do, not least about the deliberate ambiguities of private open spaces and their policing. Indeed, Anna Minton's book gets many mentions (as it does in the intro to my new book) that (to follow on a theme from a recent post of mine) it is becoming canonical, though there have been many equally perceptive studies of the privatisation of public space by American scholars.

David was generous to give me a small mention, and then tweet at me that he'd done so. He tweets at @SeethingMead
He came to one of the protest history workshops that I helped organise a few years ago, and was invaluable for helpin…

Manchester Library Walk and public space

So as @SaveLibraryWalk have announced today, the Public Inquiry into the Stopping Up order for Library Walk in Manchester have concluded that the development on the site is here to stay. The city council have erected glass 'gates' or doors at either end, to be closed at night, for the reason of preventing crime (though I expect within a few years the council will propose putting more 'commercial opportunities' in it).

How many times have I walked along that sweeping corridor between the town hall extension and the central library on my way to the archives and local studies?

The decision has so many parallels and ironies with the history of Manchester I don't have room to list them here. Manchester liberal reformers, many of whom were veterans of Peterloo - which happened on the very site of the library walk - set up one of the first ever associations against the stopping up of footpaths in the mid 1820s. The freedom to move and to meet was an integral right defend…

Anna Clark, The Struggle for the Breeches

Just a quick thought about Anna Clark, The Struggle for the Breeches: Gender and the Making of the British Working Class (Rivers Oram, 1995).

Every time I try to write something about the role of women in popular politics in the early nineteenth century, I ask myself, 'What did Clark write about this woman/year/event?' I pick up Clark's book from my shelf, look in the index, then in the relevant chapters 8 to 10, and inevitably find very little about what I'm looking for.

The book is in fact not about radical women at all. Certainly for the period 1816-20, there are very few radical women in it. I was trying to look up Jemima Bamford - she's not in the index, and Samuel her husband, the more famous radical leader who wrote reams about his relationship with her in his Passages in the Life of a Radical (1849) is only mentioned once. We don't hear the voices of the female radical societies that proliferated in 1819 nor do we read their many addresses published in …