History of History Workshop

History Workshop 18

History Workshop 18 took place at Moat Community College, Leicester between 16 and 18 November 1984. Unlike most previous Workshops, no overall subject was selected for the weekend, with a number of different topics under discussion. Cultural events such as theatrical performances and films, as well as a History Workshop Market, were scheduled throughout the event. This Workshop was organised in a similar manner to its immediate predecessors, with a specially-formed local collective running the event before handing on to a collective elsewhere to organise the next Workshop.

image of publicity material for history workshop 18
Publicity for History Workshop 18
© History Workshop Archive, Bishopsgate Institute

As with most Workshops in this period of the movement’s evolution, discussion took place around a number of parallel themes. These included ‘The 1944 Education Act and After’, ‘Working Class Health, Housing, and Diet’, ‘A Radical Childhood’, ‘Boxclubs and Benefit Societies’, ‘Working-Class Novelists’, ‘Popular Culture and People’s Experience’, ‘Anarchism and the British Labour Movement’, ‘Visual History’, ‘”The Home Front”: Conditioning of Women’s Experience’, ‘Irish Labour at Home and Abroad’, ‘Working Leicester’, ‘Chartism and Popular Movements 1832-48’, ‘Poverty’, ‘White Collar Unionism’, and ‘Racism and Imperialism’. Papers included Robert Tressell, Industrial Bladder Cancers, Working Women in the First World War, and “They Will Forget that I’m an Irishman”.

As had become an established element of History Workshops at this time, speakers from a variety of backgrounds gave papers, including professional historians, members of local history groups, and political campaigners. Groups such as Television History Workshop, which had been inspired by the History Workshop movement, also took part. In addition, the Workshop’s identification with the labour movement was more evident during this event than for the previous Workshop. The presence of trade union speakers and the benefits and collections held during the Workshop for the miners’ strike fund showed that relations with the labour movement had not been cut. This interest in the miners’ strike was further developed when a special Workshop was held at Ruskin College on 23 and 24 March 1985, just after the end of the strike.

image of a letter inviting raphael samuel to give a paper at history workshop 18
Letter inviting Raphael Samuel to give a paper at History Workshop 18
© History Workshop Archive, Bishopsgate Institute

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