Talks and Events

No matter how many skies have fallen
Back to the land in wartime Essex

Date /Time: Tuesday, 7 February 2023, 10.30 - 12.00Frating farm

In this talk, based on his book, No Matter How Many Skies Have Fallen (Little Toller Books, 2021, reprinted 2022), writer and social historian Ken Worpole tells the ‘lost’ story of Frating Hall Farm, a pacifist community on the Tendring peninsula in Essex of more than 50 people established in 1943. It is based on the reminiscences of those who grew up on the farm, together with photographs, letters and organisational records, never before seen or published. The book is a kaleidoscopic history of a farm during its eleven-year occupation, and an enquiry into the passionate religious and political ideals of the back-to-the-land movement in wartime and post-war rural England. The Frating community won respect not only through their farming achievements, but having established a touring theatre company and choir, for bringing new life to the villages and churches around them.

'What Worpole's account attests to is the paradise of making paradise, of meaningful labour, and especially of a deep relationship with the land.' Olivia Laing, Times Literary Supplement

Information &
Venue: Essex Record Office, Wharf Road, Chelmsford CM2 6YT

Dig Where You Stand

Date /Time: Wednesday, 22 March 2023, 7pmDig where you stand book cover

On the 45th anniversary of its initial publication in Swedish, Sven Lindqvist’s polemic on history, politics and power is finally available in English for the first time. A how-to guide that inspired an entire movement, it makes the case that everyone – not just academics – can learn how to critically and rigorously explore history, especially their own history, and in doing so find a blueprint for how to transform society for the better.

Social historian and topographer Ken Worpole will be chairing a discussion of this classic work with Vron Ware, author of Return of a Native and the volume’s editors Astrid von Rosen and Andrew Flinn.

Information & booking:
Venue: London Review Bookshop, 14 Bury Place, London WC1A 2JL


Essex Talks: Tim Burrows in conversation with Hana Loftus & Ken Worpole

Date /Time: Thursday, 16 February 2023. 7pmMap

Tim Burrows, architect Hana Loftus (Director of HAT Projects) and writer Ken Worpole (author of 350 Miles: An Essex Journey) discuss the Essex Flood of 1953 – one of the worst natural disasters in British history.

On 31 January 1953, a high spring tide and a severe European windstorm over the North Sea caused the sea to breach over 1200 sea defences along the East Anglia coast, with Essex sea walls breached in 300 places. 104 people died in Essex. Thousands more were left homeless.

Tim, Hana, Ken discuss the impacts of this tragic event across Essex and its legacy 70 years on, reflecting on how we can approach the risk which still exists, while ensuring communities affected are supported equitably.

Venue: Lewis Gardens, High Street,Colchester, Essex, CO1 1JH
Information & booking:



Quiet Revolutions: A Celebration of Radical Bookshops

Date /Time: Saturday, 26 November 2022
Centerprise Bookfair: 10am - 4pm
Talks & activities: 10am - 18.30

Ken will be chairing one of the two discussions about the past, present and future of radical bookselling, with contributors from Five Leaves, Gay's The Word, Housman's, New Beacon Books, Newham Bookshop, Race Today Collective, Silver Moon, Sisterwrite, on a day of memories and thoughts for the future. Organised by Rosa Schling of On The Record and the Alliance of Radical Booksellers.
Speakers include Farrukh Dhondy, Juliet Jacques & Sheila Rowbotham.

Information & booking:
Venue:The Barbican Library, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS
[Photo courtesy of:]