Saturday 23 September 2023

Some October local history to look forward to

Guest blog by local historian Philip Grant


The Opening Ceremony for the 1948 Olympic Games at Wembley Stadium.


Brent Culture Service always has a good selection of events for both adults and children in the Council’s local libraries. You can find out about them, and book your place (usually free!), on their Eventbrite website. I thought you might like to know about a few highlights from its programme for October 2023.


I must declare a personal interest in the first of them, as I’m presenting the illustrated talk on “Wembley’s 1948 Olympic Games”, at an Ealing Road Library coffee morning on Tuesday 3 October, from 11am to 12noon. I did write a short piece about it last July, when I was giving the talk at Wembley History Society to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Games. The October listing wasn’t available then, but you can reserve your free place at this talk now, and you will be very welcome if you are able to come along to it.


Poster for “Tracing Black Ancestry” by Paul Crooks.


The following day, Wednesday 4 October from 6.30 to 8pm, Paul Crooks will be sharing his experience of discovering his roots, and the history of the transatlantic slave trade, in “Tracing Black Ancestry”. This free event is at Willesden Green Library, and you can “click” here for more details and to reserve your place.


Willesden Green Library is also the location for “Home from Home: Exploring the legacies of British-Nigerians in the UK”, on Tuesday 24 October. There will be two 1-hour sessions, beginning at 12noon and 2.30pm, with story-telling and arts and crafts workshops for children and families, ages 7+. Again, this is a free event, but you need to reserve your spot. You can do that here for the 12noon to 1pm session, and here for the 2.30 to 3.30pm session.


“Mary Seacole”, reading her story to children in a library.


Another event during the October half-term week, suitable for children and families, is “The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole”, the 19th century Jamaican nurse who lived the latter part of her life locally, and was buried in St Mary’s R.C. Cemetery at Kensal Green. These half-hour story-telling sessions, presented by the Florence Nightingale Museum, will take place at Kilburn Library. The date(s) and time(s) are not yet shown, but you can get further details and reserve places here.


A composite of Anti-Apartheid images.


On Tuesday 31 October, from 12noon to 1pm, there will be a lunchtime illustrated talk at Willesden Green Library on “Brent, London, and the struggle against Apartheid”. Long time Brent resident Suresh Kamath was Vice-Chair of the Anti-Apartheid Movement and chaired the organising committee of the two Mandela concerts at Wembley Stadium. I was privileged to hear him give this talk at a Wembley History Society meeting in January 2019, and wrote a piece for “Wembley Matters” ahead of it. If you have not heard Suresh speak about this important, and ultimately successful, struggle I can really recommend this talk. You can reserve your free place here.



It's not just Brent Libraries which offer history-based events, but the borough’s local history societies as well. Willesden Local History Society’s monthly meeting, at 7.30pm on Wednesday 18 October, has an illustrated talk on “Willesden’s Post-War Prefab Homes” (I must declare an interest again!). The meeting will be held in St. Mary’s Parish Church Hall, Neasden Lane, London NW10 2TS, and is free for the Society’s members. Visitors are also welcome, for a small charge.


Wembley History Society’s October meeting, on Friday 20 October at 7.30pm, is an illustrated talk, with some “finds”, by Dr Will Rathouse (Senior Community Archaeologist with the Thames Discovery Programme) on "The Archaeology of the Thames Foreshore". This meeting will take place at St Andrew’s Church Hall, Church Lane, Kingsbury, London NW9 8RZ. Again, visitors are very welcome to attend, for a contribution of £3 towards expenses of the meeting.

Philip Grant.

1 comment:

Philip Grant said...

Brent Culture Service have now got the details for "The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole" on their Eventbrite page.

There will be three sessions with Mary Seacole at Kilburn Library on Wednesday 25 October, at 11am, 2pm and 4pm.

This half-hour performance is suitable for all ages, and you can find more details at: