Talks and Events

Alexander Baron’s Manor: A Stoke Newington walk

Date /Time:Sunday, 5th September, 2021, 3pm – 5pmSo We Live book cover

The novelist Alexander Baron (1917-1999) grew up in Stoke Newington, a district he loved, in a city he loved. A communist in his youth, he wrote about the life-and-death issues of the mid-twentieth century: war; communism; the Holocaust; and the fraying of the social democratic post-war settlement. Nearly all of his novels – including the war novels – refer back to life in Hackney, and many have real-life locations: Shacklewell Lane Primary School, Ridley Road Market, Simpson’s Clothing Factory, Walford Road Synagogue, Coronation Avenue, and many other familiar streets and buildings. This walk - led by literary historian and critic, Susie Thomas, writer and broadcaster, Andrew Whitehead, and writer and social historian Ken Worpole - re-traces Baron’s steps on his home territory, discussing how his novels help us understand the turbulent history of Hackney’s street life and politics, before and after the catastrophe of the Second World War.

Information & booking: www.commonpeople2021.eventbrite.co.uk
Venue: Starting and finishing at the Unitarian Chapel, Newington Green, London N16 9PR

No matter how many skies have fallen: back to the land in wartime Britain

Housemans bookshop

Date /Time: Wednesday 29 September, 2001. 7pm - 8.30pm

On ‘Lady Day’, March 1943 a group of Christian pacifists took possession of a vacant farm in Frating on the Essex Tendring Peninsula. They established a working community, inspired by their association with The Adelphi journal, where D.H.Lawrence, John Middleton Murry, Vera Brittain, Iris Murdoch, George Orwell and others shared ideas for the future with European religious radicals such as Nikolai Berdyaev, Martin Buber and Simone Weil. Frating Hall Farm provided a settlement and livelihood for individuals and families (as well as a temporary sanctuary for refugees and prisoners-of-war), and over time became a successful arable and livestock land-holding of more than 300 acres.

In his new book, No Matter How Many Skies Have Fallen, writer and social historian Ken Worpole tells the lost story of Frating Hall Farm, through the reminiscences of those who grew up on the farm, together with photographs, letters and organisational records, never before seen or published. Ken will be in conversation with writer Anne Johnson.

Information & booking: www.housmans.com
Venue: Housman's Bookshop (online event)

 

 

Burford Literary Festival:
No Matter How Many Skies Have Fallen (Little Toller Books, 2021)

Date /Time: Sunday, 26 September, 2021. 12 noon - 1pmHay cart

In 1943 a group of pacifists took possession of a vacant farm in Frating on the Essex Peninsula. There, they established a working community, inspired by their association with The Adelphi Journal where D.H. Lawrence, Vera Brittain, Iris Murdoch, George Orwell and many others had shared their ideas. Over time it became a successful arable and livestock farm. In his new book, writer and social historian, Ken Worpole, has written a kaleidoscopic history and an enquiry into the religious and political ideals of the back-to-the-land movement in post war rural England, about which New Statesman Editor, Jason Cowley, has written:'Worpole is a literary original, a social and architectural historian whose books combine the Orwellian ideal of common decency with an understated erudition.'

Information & booking: www.burfordlitfest.co.uk/authors/ken-worpole
Venue: Burford, Oxfordshire



Stour River Festival 2021

Talk & Guided Walk: A duty towards the land

Date /Time: Saturday, 14 August, 2021 2 – 4pm Old Hall

In his 1953 memoir, Community Farm, the writer and social idealist John Middleton Murry, wrote that 'work on the land is necessary to the life of man in a way no other work can be.' He was associated with a number of 'back to the land' projects on the Essex/Suffolk border in the 1930s and 1940s, initially at Langham near Dedham in the Stour Valley. In this illustrated talk, writer and social historian Ken Worpole will focus on post-war initiatives such the proliferation of Land Settlement Association small-holdings around Ardleigh, the foundation of Old Hall in East Bergholt, the Frating Hall Farm community, and other experiments in creating more sustainable forms of farming and human settlement as we face a challenging rural future.

Information & booking: further details and booking
Venue: Old Hall, East Bergholt Old Hall, Rectory Hill, East Bergholt, Colchester CO7 6TG