Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Undercurrents - 1970s radical snippets

Undercurrents, 'the magazine of alternative science and technology', was published in England between 1972 and 1984. Christopher Squire was one of the editors and he has performed a great service to historians of radical movements by creating an online archive of the journal. I have had a preliminary look through for SE London content but I am sure if you have the time you could find lots more of interest there.

As explained in an article, 'How it All Got Started', early issues of the magazine were printed at the house of Ann Ward: 'Ann was a Labour councillor in Southwark who, with the aid of some money she’d inherited, had installed in the basement of her house a litho printing press, complete with plate­making and typesetting facilities, which she made available virtually free to non-profit groups. So the first Undercurrents (subtitled "the magazine of alternative science and technology”) was produced for little more than the cost of paper, with the aid of Ann Ward and of one Pat Coyne who came along to print the local community newspaper and was cajoled into helping us print Under­currents. He stayed'.

So here's a few local bits and pieces...

Albany Fire

In July 1978 there was a fire at the Albany Theatre in Deptford, then based in Creek Road. As Undercurrents reported, it 'was the focus of local opposition to the National Front and a regular venue for Rock Against Racism', and it was generally supposed that the fire was caused by a fascist arson attack.

Undercurrents, Oct-Nov 1978
Lewisham World Shop

This shop opened at 1 Sydenham Road SE26 in 1978, 'concentrating on world development issues' and selling 'wholefoods such as brown rice, peanuts, kidney beans' etc. It seems to have been a trailblazer in promoting 'fair trade'-  people involved with it also set up the 'Campaign Co-op' to import coffee direct from farmers co-operatives in East Africa (the address of the Co-op, in 1978, was 72 Rosendale Road, SE21).

Undercurrents, April-May 1978
Free-wheel Cycle Club

In 1977 the Free-Wheel Cycle Club was heading off to Shoreham (presumably typo in magazine) on a bike ride from Clifton Rise in New Cross. 'All anarchists/socialists' were welcome.

Undercurrent, December 1977-January 1978

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