Sunday, March 10, 2013

Book Launch at The Bishopsgate Institute

The flow of life meanders in different directions.
Sometimes it's all lecturing, sometimes illustration, sometimes music, and most recently, it's been bookish in direction.
Hilda Kean, one of the editors of The Public History Reader (published by Routledge, and alongside co-editor Paul Martin) invited me to the launch of the book on Saturday at the Bishopsgate Institute.
The iPhone Satnav got me hopelessly lost with a curved and twisted green direction line that looked more like a letter of the alphabet than a route indicator; once I'd decided to defy it I got to this wonderful building that snuggles between two premises in the middle of the City of London and which must make the city itch as though from a flea-bite, being as it is the home to much old fashioned (and refreshing in these times) left-wing activity.
Hilda's talk had started by the time I got there but she was showing a lovely little clip of a man who took ANC leaflets to South Africa in a false-bottomed suitcase. I couldn't find the original film but he made a second clip which you can find here
Apparently a museum in South Africa contacted him as he had the only suitcase like this in existence, and he has sent it over to them now (and no longer has a home for his Christmas decorations).
People there had done all sorts of research, from talking to sugar plantation workers to researching Hogarth's London.
The photographer Colin O'Brien was there too and he talked about the cover photograph of two young London lads leaning up against a car as though it's their own. His website is

It was a white day outside- forbidding and cold- and there was something very peaceful about sitting on folding chairs in a bright basement listening to academics talking about the value of public histories, carving out a Gove-free area that values the ordinary as much as anything else. The City was filthy, grimy and covered with litter. It was also very, very crowded, but I managed to snap this corner arcade and the Victorian doors inside the institute.


Anonymous said...

me & my bro have just 'nicked' this motor!

A FREE-LOADER! said...

Is the "Bishopsgate Institute" Meeting a free gig & can anyone go please put me on the 'guest list'& Where's the Bar!