Plaque commemorating Battle of Lewisham unveiled

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Goldsmiths, University of London, helped mark the 40th anniversary of the Battle of Lewisham with the unveiling of a Lewisham Council maroon plaque on Sunday 13 August.

Lewisham Council plaque on 323 New Cross Road

Lewisham Council plaque on 323 New Cross Road

The ceremony was part of a series of events arranged to commemorate the confrontations of Saturday 13 August 1977, when anti-fascist protesters clashed with both the National Front and the police during an NF march through New Cross.

The events began on Friday 11 August with a night of protest poetry and song at Goldsmiths Students’ Union featuring Attila the Stockbroker, Robb Johnson and Mark ‘Mr T’ Thompson.

Goldsmiths Head of History Dr John Price then led two walking tours taking in key locations from the Battle on Saturday 12 August.

The evening saw a screening of the rediscovered documentary ‘Aug 13: What Happened?’, which chronicles the events of the Battle, and had been rescued by the London Community Video Archive, based in the Goldsmiths Media & Communications department.

On the anniversary itself, the plaque unveiling was followed by the Battle of Lewisham Community Festival at the Albany Theatre, which featured a panel discussion including first-hand accounts of the clashes, a DJ set from Rock Against Racism co-founder Roger Huddle, and live music from Afro B and Smokey Joe.

Dr John Price, Head of History at Goldsmiths, said: “It was a great weekend of commemorations and it was fantastic to see so many people from the local community come out to mark such a momentous anniversary in so many different ways. The Battle of Lewisham can sometimes be forgotten in the light of riots in Notting Hill, Southall and Brixton in the same era, but it is a crucial moment in the history of both race relations and police practice in the UK. I am very pleased that we at Goldsmiths and Lewisham Council could recognise the events with the maroon plaque.”

Councillor Joan Millbank, Lewisham’s cabinet member for Third Sector and Community, said: “On 13 August 1977 residents from Lewisham stood together to oppose the attempt by the National Front to march in our borough. To mark the 40th anniversary we have funded a plaque to commemorate Lewisham’s response to the racism of the National Front. I am proud that Lewisham continues to celebrate diversity, promote equality and challenge inequality, a generation after this historic event.”

Watch the original film from the Battle of Lewisham.