“Sites of Resistance”: Radical Bookselling

Banish those winter blues next year and join us on Tuesday 9th February for the third Applied History event, at  UCL’s Institute of Archaeology, Room 6.12 (London,WC1H 0PY). As usual, the event is free but booking is essential. You can book through our Eventbrite page and don’t forget to tell everyone.

The event will be looking at the importance of radical bookshops as “sites of resistance.”  The 1970s saw a peak in the numbers of bookshops dedicated to providing access to alternative publications covering the growing anti-racist, LGBT+ and feminist movements, amongst others. Many of these bookshops also acted as meeting places and support centres for new and established groups, and offered a template for encouraging further grassroots and community activism and campaigning. More recently, the numbers of these vital “sites of resistance” have closed due to increasing rents, funding cuts, the growth of online bookstores and competition from larger bookshops.

Although bookshops have been a core element of campaigns, as a subject this seems to have been neglected by researchers and historians of social history. Key questions that we will cover are: has the internet already filled the space left by these important centres? What is the future of activism and campaigning? And the future of radical bookshops?


Sarah Garrod – Archivist, George Padmore Institute

Nik Gorecki –  Co-ordinator, Alliance of Radical Booksellers and co-manager of Housmans

Ken Worpole – Author

Rosa Vilbr – Oral historian and founder of On the Record


Tickets available here!

This event in supported by the Raphael Samuel History Centre and the Public History Discussion Group



The second Applied History Network event will be held at the Marx Memorial Library (London EC1R 0DU) on Tuesday 1 December at 6.30pm. We will be discussing why labour history still matters. This event is again free but registration is required. Please sign up on our Eventbrite page.

Labour history was central to many constructions of radical history in Britain in the twentieth century. Since the 1980s, however, the decline in the strength of the British trade union movement alongside intellectual trends away from the centrality of class have coincided with an apparent ‘crisis’ of labour history. Yet trade unions still have 6 million members in this country, work is still a central experience of everyday life, and antagonism at the point of production must still have a role in radical politics. But what place does recounting the experience of labour in the past have to play in this process? This session will bring together people who have engaged with the history of labour and trade unions from a variety of approaches to engage with this question.


This event in supported by the Raphael Samuel History Centre