Then you should definitely try to get to the Lambeth Local History Fair. It promises to be a fantastic event focused on Black British history. 

I promise you will not want to miss writer and historian Steve Martin’s talk on A.B.C. Merriman-Labor at 2:30.

I had the honor of being on a panel with Steve at British Library last summer. Not only is he is a remarkable speaker with a vast knowledge of the history of the Black British experience, he is one of the few people in the world very familiar with Through Negro Spectacles–the book that got me hooked on Merriman-Labor. Both Steve and I believe it is an important work that has been vastly underated. 

So, if you can, do go to the Lambeth History Festival.

And be sure to go to Steve’s talk. I have no doubt he will share new insights that will make you so glad you went.



Lambeth Local History Fair
Saturday, 7 September, 10.15am – 4.15pm

11.30am The Sharp Edge of Hope. Hannah Ishmael, archivist for the Black Cultural Archives, talks about the growth of institutions and archives in London devoted to collecting Black history.

1.30pm Lambeth town hall Bill Linskey of the Brixton Society uncovers the history of the site now occupied by the town hall, the squabbles over its design and the history of the building since its opening in 1908.

2.30pm A B C Merriman-Labor: Black Before Britons. Steve Martin’s talk commemorates the centenary of the death of A B C Merriman-Labor, author of the comic novel Britons Through Negro Spectacles. Merriman-Labor was an important Edwardian Black writer who lived in Brixton.

old photo of gathering at Kennington3.30pm Radical politics in Lambeth 1790s to 1830s. Sean Creighton looks at the history of radicalism and dissent in Lambeth in the years leading up to the great Chartist meeting on Kennington Common. Throughout the day: Guided walks looking at the history and architecture of the buildings around Windrush Square; tours of the Black Cultural Archives.

The festival is sponsored by the Walcot Foundation which itself dates back to 1618 when its social purpose was “the relief of the Lambeth poor”. Nowadays the Foundation makes grants to local groups.