Remembering and reflecting on the 'Battle of Lewisham' in August 1977, when a mobilisation by the far-right National Front in South East London was met by mass opposition

Friday 19 October 2007

Darcus Howe on the Battle of New Cross

Darcus Howe in the New Statesman:

The crowd, black and white, pounced on this vanguard of racism and inflicted on those reactionaries a merciless hiding. And how they ran away!

Early on Sunday morning, 14 October, the writer Farrukh Dhondy, my friend of more than three and a half decades, phoned and invited me to turn to page 75 of the Sunday Times Magazine. Tucked away at the bottom of the page was a photo of a group of young black people assembled as part of a mighty throng. It was part of a six-page spread taken by the photojournalist Don McCullin, described in the piece as "the Charles Dickens of photography".

The caption of the photograph read: "New Cross 1977: anti-fascists address the crowd at the battle of Lewisham in south London." "They were excited because they realised that they'd defeated the National Front," McCullin notes.

Only one person on the platform was holding a loudhailer. It was me. I cannot remember being excited that August afternoon in 1977. Passionate? Yes. Pleasantly victorious? That, too.

That was 30 years ago...
Read the rest in the New Statesman.

You can read the piece on McCullin here, unfortunately without the photos. Here's the bit that mentions Lewisham:
Of course, McCullin being McCullin, among his photographs of England are scenes of conflict and strife. He witnessed the posturing of Sir Oswald Mosley and his supporters in the 1960s, and saw right-wing extremism rear its head again at the Battle of Lewisham on Saturday, August 13, 1977, when the National Front took a battering from its opponents in south London. “I went right into the lion’s jaw that day,” he remembers, “which suited me fine. I always used to like photographing confrontation. If I didn’t do it in somebody else’s country, I’d look forward to doing it here.”

Thursday 18 October 2007

Lewisham 77: 30 years on

Lewisham '77: the main event, Saturday November 10th 2007, 1 pm - 5 pm.

Love Music Hate Racism gig

Love Music Hate Racism Gig commemorating the Battle of Lewisham, with sets from DJs including the legendary Grammy Award winning Don Letts, N-type and Hijak, Ben UFO, HT, W.A.R. Martial, Lloydie B and live bands The China Dogs and New X super-group (The Moon, Public Enterprise and Cormac Heron) playing Reggae, Punk, Rock, Indie, Dubstep, Drum and Bass, UKG & Grime.

Goldsmith Student Union, Dixon Road, London SE14 6NW, 8pm-2am, £5 /£3 Students/Unemployed.

Tuesday 16 October 2007

Photos by Homer Sykes

The photographer Homer Sykes took these pictures at Lewisham in August 1977. The one at the bottom is of National Front Chairman John Tyndall speaking at their rally. (Photos reproduced with permission.)

Sunday 14 October 2007

Clifton Rise Picture

This image shows the view at the top of Clifton Rise on 13th August 1977. The New Cross Inn is on the left. There appears to be a line of police at the bottom of Clifton Rise, and contingents of police both outside the pub (on the left) and at the other corner of Clifton Rise/New Cross Road. Reproduced from 'Changing Times', a booklet produced by children from Childeric Primary School in 1993 (published by Deptford Forum Publishing)

Thursday 4 October 2007

Tuesday 2 October 2007

Lewisham '77 - November 10th conference

The main Lewisham '77 event is a half-day conference on November 10th 2007 at Goldsmiths College in New Cross. The conference will provide an opportunity both to remember the events of 1977 and to reflect on their significance for today. It will include a photographic exhibition, videos, and a panel of speakers. Confirmed to take part so are:

-Professor Paul Gilroy - sociologist, ex-Goldsmiths lecturer and author of Ain't No Black In The Union Jack and The Black Atlantic;

- Balwinder Rana and Ted Parker - veterans of Lewisham '77 and the Anti-Nazi League;

- Martin Lux, author of Anti-Fascist: A Foot-Soldier's Story;

- Dr William(Lez) Henry - former Goldsmiths lecturer and South London reggae DJ, author of What the Deejay Said: A Critique from the Street.

- speakers from Lewisham Anti-Racist Action Group (LARAG) and No One is Illegal.

The event starts at 1 pm, admission is free. To be added to the mailing list with details of the event, please email