Jubilee Calendar

North East Labour History Society Jubilee – Calendar of Events

We are most grateful to the North East Area Miners’ Social Welfare Trust Fund for their support for these NELH Jubilee events.

Thursday 22 June 2017

Professor James Walvin:  Slavery in Small Things: Slavery and Modern Cultural Habits

6:30pm: Literary and Philosophical Society, 23 Westgate Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 1SE

We are expecting a lot of interest in this talk so, to ensure your place, please call the Newcastle Literary and Philosophical Society on 0191 232 0192. There is no charge for attendance.


Tuesday 4 July 2017

Michael Chaplin:  Hame – My Durham, Collected Works of Sid Chaplin

7:00 pm: The Miners’ Hall, Flass Street, Redhill, Durham, DH1 4BE

This talk will be preceded by a guided tour of the Miners’ Hall at 6:00pm. If you would like to come to this tour please let us know on .


Saturday 16 September 2017

Day School:  Fifty Years of Labour and Social History

A collaboration between NELHS and the Histories of Activism group at Northumbria University

9:30am Coffee and Registration, University of Northumbria


7 November 2017

Professor David Saunders will talk about Rudolf Abel

6:30 pm: Literary and Philosophical Society, 23 Westgate Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 1SE

David will be speaking about Rudolf Abel, the subject of the film Bridge of Spies on the actual 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution.

‘Rudolf Abel’ (Willie Fisher), the Soviet spy exchanged for the American U2 pilot Gary Powers in 1962 (after having been in prison in the USA since 1957), was born at 140 Clara Street, Benwell, on 11 July 1903. He was the son of immigrants from Russia to Newcastle. His father, a fitter at Swan Hunter, was called Matvei Fisher, or, to give him his full name, Genrikh Matveevich Fisher (or Heinrich Matthäus Fischer, for the father was himself the son of an immigrant from Germany to Russia).



 Event Details:

Professor James Walvin: Slavery in Small Things: Slavery and Modern Cultural Habits

Professor James Walvin

This talk will explore the cultural legacy of slavery through commonplace daily objects. It will trace the relationship between slavery and modern cultural habits through an analysis of such objects that include sugar, tobacco, tea, maps, portraiture, print, and more. It utilises common objects to illustrate the cultural impact and legacy of the Atlantic slave trade.

Professor James Walvin is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Professor Emeritus at the University of York, and formerly a Visiting Fellow at Yale University. His books include Black Ivory: Slavery in the British Empire, 2E (2001); The Trader, The Owner, The Slave: Parallel Lives in the Age of Slavery (2007); A Short History of Slavery (2007); Britain’s Slave Empire (2008); The Zong: A Massacre, the Law and the End of Slavery (2011); The Slave Trade (2011); and Crossings: Africa, the Americas and the Atlantic Slave Trade (2013).

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Michael Chaplin: Hame – My Durham, Collected Works of Sid Chaplin

This talk is also part of the Education4Action Gala Week activity Programme at Redhills.

Michael Chaplin

The son of a miner who became a pitman himself, Sid Chaplin’s early work brilliantly chronicled the mining life he observed around him. To mark the centenary of his birth in 1916, this new collection of stories, essays and poems features the very best of this work, with essays and commentary by his son, Michael Chaplin, tracing the early life of his father and the story of the villages which meant so much to him. An affectionate evocation of landscape, people and place, captures the culture which created the modern North East but which is now lost forever.

Sid Chaplin

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Professor David Saunders: Tyneside, Rudolf Abel

Professor David Saunders

David will be speaking about Rudolf Abel, the subject of the film Bridge of Spies on the actual 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution.

‘Rudolf Abel’ (Willie Fisher), the Soviet spy exchanged for the American U2 pilot Gary Powers in 1962 (after having been in prison in the USA since 1957), was born at 140 Clara Street, Benwell, on 11 July 1903. He was the son of immigrants from Russia to Newcastle. His father, a fitter at Swan Hunter, was called Matvei Fisher, or, to give him his full name, Genrikh Matveevich Fisher (or Heinrich Matthäus Fischer, for the father was himself the son of an immigrant from Germany to Russia).

Matvei Fisher, Abel’s father, was a committed socialist. He speaks in his Russian-language memoirs of the ‘Newcastle Socialist Society’, a free-standing socialist club which came into being in the 1890s and was sometimes affiliated to the Social Democratic Federation. He participated in a covert gun-running operation from Newcastle to Russia in the course of the Russian Revolution of 1905-7 (storing the weaponry at 42 Leazes Park Road), and agitated on behalf of socialism among the Russian crews who were sent to the Tyne by the tsarist government in the course of the First World War.

The Fisher family stayed in north-east England until 1921, moving from Benwell to Eleanor Street in Cullercoats in about 1908 and later to nearby Lish Avenue in Whitley Bay. Then they moved to post-revolutionary Russia, where the future Rudolf Abel, or William Fisher to give him the name on his birth certificate, was recruited by what is now the KGB in the later 1920s.

At the point of his arrest in 1957, Abel had been working as a commercial artist in New York for some eight years. What he had really been doing in his time in north America has never been fully explained, but since he was skilled as a radio operator he was probably somehow transmitting to the USSR information collected by other Soviet spies in the USA.

After returning to Russia in 1962, Abel died there in 1971 and is buried with his father and other members of his family at the Donskoi Monastery in Moscow.

Professor David Saunders introduced Russian history to Newcastle University in 1979 and compulsory World History in 1998. Although his specialist interests are still in the history of the Russian Empire (and to a lesser extent the history of the Soviet Union), he has tried increasingly in recent years to relate what he knows in detail to what he knows in general terms about historical patterns in other parts of the world. Themes that particularly attract him include ethnicity, individuality, cross-cultural linkages, the environment, social interaction, and the consequences of the fact that genetic change is Darwinian in nature but cultural change Lamarckian.

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