The 40th anniversary of the Battle of Lewisham is being commemorated by a series of events, starting this Friday (11 August), led by Goldsmiths, University of London.
On 13 August 1977 a march by the far-right National Front through South East London led to clashes with anti-fascist groups, and later between demonstrators and the police, in what became known as the ‘Battle of Lewisham’.
The clashes, in which police deployed riot gear for the first time on the UK mainland, saw at least 111 people injured, including 56 police officers, and 214 people arrested. The protests prevented the National Front march from reaching its destination.
Goldsmiths, working with local partners, has organised exhibitions, film screenings, talks, as well as poetry and music events to mark a crucial moment in the history of race relations and policing in the UK.
See the full programme of events.
Ahead of the anniversary a free exhibition (‘What are you taking pictures for?’) brings together photographs from the protests, many of which have never been displayed together before. The programme of live events begins on Friday 11 August with an evening of protest music and poetry, followed on Saturday 12 August by guided walks of the area and a screening of films about the 1977 clashes and their legacy.
On Sunday 13 August, Goldsmiths representatives will be joined by Labour Councillor for Telegraph Hill, Cllr Joan Millbank to unveil a maroon plaque to commemorate the anniversary. It has been funded by the Mayor of Lewisham and Lewisham Council and will be installed at 323 New Cross Road on Clifton Rise, where the resistance to the National Front march began. The ceremony will be followed by a free community festival, including talks and music, at the Albany Deptford with the weekend’s events rounded off by an anniversary gig presented by Love Music Hate Racism.