Thursday, September 06, 2018

'Folk Songs for Peace' at Lewisham Town Hall (1964) with Ewan McColl & Peggy Seeger

In February 1964, famous folk singers Ewan McColl and Peggy Seeger performed at Lewisham Town Hall (Concert Hall) in Catford at a 'Folk Songs for Peace' benefit concert. I believe the couple were living in SE London at this time (and for many years later) at 35 Stanley Avenue, Beckenham BR3 2PU.

tickets from Janice Edmunds,  56 Vicars Hill, SE13 (Ladywell)

McColl and Seeger pictured at home in Beckenham, 1964 (source: Getty Images)

Proceeds from the event were for the London Committee of 100, the early 1960s non violent direct action body which organised sit down protests against nuclear weapons. It arguably peaked in December 1961 with simultaneous demonstrations at military bases including RAF Wethersfield in Essex where 850 of the 5000 demonstrators were arrested. Six organisers, the "Wethersfield Six", were charged with offences including conspiracy and incitement to breach the Official Secrets Act.  They were later jailed for 18 months. The same paper which reported the Folk Songs for Peace concert also reported on a Committee of 100 protest in January 1964 outside Wandsworth Prison, where one of the Wethersfield Six, Terry Chandler, was imprisoned.

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