The Lenton 150th and the Book Launch weekend:
The Book Launch weekend was preceded by a Radio Nottingham interview with Christopher Richardson on Friday 21st June 2013, with the emphasis on the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Lenton Industrial & Provident Society in 1863, the events arranged to mark the event, and the publication of the book.
The Book Launch took place on the afternoon of Saturday 22nd June at the Sparrows Nest in St Anns, a library and archive specialising in anarchist and anti-authoritarian writings: a suitable venue at which to celebrate some previously untold events from Nottingham’s turbulent history.
The author, Christopher Richardson, gave an illustrated overview of the book, with special reference to Susannah Wright and her freethought bookshop in Goosegate, Nottingham in 1826; Emma Martin and her expulsion from the Assembly Rooms by the Rev. Joshua Brooks in 1844; and the formation of the Lenton Indstrial & Provident Society in 1863. The audience was attentive and appreciative and was followed by discussion, good food brought by attenders, and Fairtrade wine.
Sunday afternoon saw a good crowd assemble for the Secular Walk, a two hour stroll around Hockley and the Lace Market, stopping at sites of buildings and events featured in ‘A City of Light…’.
Stopping points included the possible location of Susannah Wright’s infidel bookshop in Goosegate, the site of the Chartists’ Democratic Chapel, The Theatre where Robert Owen and Margaret Chappellsmith spoke in 1840 and 1841, and the Assembly Rooms where Emma Martin, Social Missionary, was thrown out by Rev Joshua Brooks of St Mary’s in 1844.
The following Saturday the book made its appearance at the Lowdham Book Festival with other publications from Loaf on a Stick Press courtesy of space provided by Ex-Libris the masked booksellers.
The following Thursday there was return to the village for the re-opening of the co-operative store. Reminiscences were exchanged with local people doing their shopping – and one book was sold!
The Co-operative Group had made a grant towards the publishing of the book, as part of a larger grant to Nottinghamshire Local History Association for the staging of events to mark the Lenton Co-op 150th anniversary.
Meanwhile the Nottinghamshire Archives at Castle Meadow Road and the Nottingham Local Studies Library at Angel Row put on small exhibitions to mark the ‘Lenton 150th’.
On the third weekend:
On the third weekend there was a special showing of the European Confederation of Worker Co-operatives‘ film Together, to mark International Co-operative Day, with a talk and discussions with Andy Woodcock, co-operative business adviser, from Co-operative Business Consultants at Broadway cinema.
Andy Woodcock is on the right in the photograph.
And on the fourth:
Saturday afternoon and it was time for another talk, this time at the Local Studies Library. A well attended event but circumstances conspired to render it difficult to deliver, and Christopher was not happy with his performance.
Sunday afternoon was a complete contrast. A beautiful day for the annual Cuba Organic Garden Party in Alexandra Park, and the 13 books sold that afternoon (with more than a little help from Roger, a man with a loud voice) still stands as the record for the largest number sold on a single day.
This was the last of a busy series of events since the books were collected from Russell Press in late May. By this time around 150 books had been sold at events, bookshops, and by post. Sales were already about double the number Christopher had expected to sell and there were still more events on the autumn horizon.