William Morris was an active socialist as well as artist and writer. His well-documented life gives an insight into the extent of socialist and radical movements in South East London during the 1880s and 1890s, as well as artistic and musical scenes. The following extracts from The William Morris Internet Archive : Chronology cover his South London engagements in this period (I have not included his house in Bexleyheath or his workshop in Merton).
22 February 1884: Morris was scheduled to deliver 'Useful Work versus Useless Toil' before the Invicta Club at the Club's rooms in William Street, Woolwich. 9 May 1884 : Morris wrote to Henry Cornelius Donavan declining his request to stand as a candidate for the board of Greenwich Zoo [where was Greenwich Zoo? - sounds like a case for the Phantom]. 8 September 1884 : Morris delivered 'Misery and The Way Out' before the Borough of Southwark Branch of the Social Democratic Federation (SDF) at the Queen's Bench Coffee Rooms, 23 Southwark Bridge Road, London. 25 January 1885 : Morris gave an unnamed lecture to the Woolwich Branch of the SDF in Woolwich. The Daily News printed an article in which it was stated that `Mr. William Morris, the poet of English Socialism - and of other things besides - will issue the first number of his new journal The Commonweal next Wednesday.' 22 February 1885 : Morris was scheduled to deliver 'Useful Work versus Useless Toil' before the Southwark Branch of the Socialist League (SL) at the Forester's Arms, 62 Blackman Street, London. 29 October 1885 : Morris was scheduled to give a lecture at a meeting sponsored by the South London Branch of the Socialist League at the Camberwell Radical Club, Gloucester Road, Peckham. It is unlikely that this lecture was given as he was still suffering from gout. 7 January 1886 : Morris was scheduled to deliver 'How We Live and How We Might Live' at a meeting sponsored by the South London Branch of the Socialist League at the Camberwell Radical Club, Gloucester Road, Peckham. 12 January 1886: Morris delivered 'Socialism' before the Peckham and Dulwich Radical Club at 144 Rye Lane, Peckham. 12 May 1886: Morris was scheduled to give a lecture at a meeting sponsored by the Woolwich Branch of the Socialist League at Woolwich. 9 February 1887 : Morris delivered a lecture before an unnamed 'goody-goody literary society' at a schoolroom on Peckham High Street. The meeting started with prayers and ended with a blessing. Canon Ripley was chairman of the meeting. 31 March 1889 : Morris was scheduled to deliver 'Equality' at a meeting sponsored by the Southwark and Lambeth Branches of the SDF at the Nelson Coffee Tavern, Westminster Bridge Road, London. 4 June 1889 : Morris was scheduled to deliver `Monopoly' at a meeting sponsored by the Northern Radical Club and the Southwark and Lambeth Branches of the SDF at 108 Westminster Bridge Road, London.
7 January 1894 : Arnold Dolmetsch had lunch with Morris and Burne-Jones to discuss the prospect of the Kelmscott Press publishing an edition of early English songs (this project was never completed). Dolmetsch introduced Morris to early instrumental music around this time. He wrote: 'One memorable day, in 1894, Burne-Jones brought Morris to one of my old English performances in Dulwich. He understood this music at once, and his emotion was so strong that he was moved to tears! He had found the lost art! (c.f. 21 September 1896).' 14 January 1894 : Morris lectured on 'Early England' at a meeting held at the South London Art Gallery, Peckham Road, London.