On 13 August 1977, the far-right National Front attempted to march from New Cross to Lewisham in South East London. Local people and anti-racists from all over London and beyond mobilised to oppose them, and the NF were humiliated as their march was disrupted and banners seized. Instead of the intended show of white supremacy, only a few hundred bedraggled NF activists made it through to a car park in Lewisham with the help of a huge police operation. The day became known as 'The Battle of Lewisham' and has been seen as a turning point in the fortunes of the NF and the 1970s anti-fascist movement as well as in policing - riot shields were used for the first time in England.
To mark the 30th anniversary of the 'Battle of Lewisham' a series of commemorations are planned in the area where it took place. We want to:
- provide an opportunity for people to tell their stories about what happened;
- understand the events in the context of racism and resistance in the 1970s;
- reflect on the meaning of these events for today.
Three events are currently planned:
- a walk along the route of the march/counter-protest, including people involved at the time. This will start from Clifton Rise, New Cross at 3 pm on Saturday 15th September 2007.
- a Love Music Hate Racism gig at Goldsmiths Student Union on Saturday 27th October 2007.
- a half day event in New Cross on Saturday 10th November 2007 with speakers, films and a social event in the evening (date and venue to be confirmed).
Other ideas include a possible film, publication and exhibition.
Tell us your story
We particularly want to hear from people involved in 'The Battle of Lewisham'. Do you have any memories, leaflets, photographs, video footage or other material? If so please email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) or post a comment on this site. As well as the events of August 13th, we are interested in the build up of racism and resistance prior to the day, and the aftermath, such as court cases.
Lewisham '77 is being organised by an ad-hoc group of local historians, activists and Goldsmiths staff and students. If you want to be added to our mailing list, email us. We would also be interested in other ideas people may have to mark Lewisham '77.