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Happy 10th birthday to The Sparrows’ Nest anarchist archive and library

A decade of creating order, whilst sowing the seeds of dissent, in Nottingham since 2008!

The Sparrows’ Nest anarchist library and archive was launched in Nottingham in December 2008. Ten years later, we look after tens of thousands of documents focussing on the history of anarchist groups and individuals in the UK and beyond as well as the history of other social movements in Nottingham and the wider area. Our work aims to preserve such records and to make them available to interested audiences, furthering an understanding of past struggles and aiding struggles fought today.

The above article continues on the Sparrows’ Nest web site with links to recent and older interviews and photos including those from the launch event on 7th December 2008:



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More talks on anarchism in Nottingham – January and February 2019

After packing a room with 80 people at the 2nd Nottingham Radical Bookfair in November, Iain McKay will be back next year to deliver two exciting linked talks about anarchism, focussing on 12 libertarian thinkers and activists. They will take place on the 28th of January and the 4th of February 2019.

See below and this link for more info (and notes from previous talks too): Talks: The Meaning of Anarchism (Nottingham, 28/01/19 and 04/02/19) | Anarchist Writers

The Meaning of Anarchism, via twelve libertarians

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop 14a Long Row, Nottingham NG1 2DH. £3.00 on the door, including refreshments.

Anarchism is a much misunderstood and much misrepresented theory. Rejecting the chaos of capitalism and statism, it seeks to create the order of libertarian socialism, a free society of free associates. To discover more, please join Iain McKay (author of An Anarchist FAQ) for an exploration of libertarian ideas by means of six male and six female anarchist thinkers and activists.

Over two nights, the lives and ideas of the founding fathers and mothers of anarchism – including Michael Bakunin, Peter Kropotkin, Louise Michel and Emma Goldman – will be discussed and their continuing relevance highlighted.

Week one — Monday, 28th January: 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Founding Fathers, 1840 to 1940: Pierre-Joseph Proudhon; Joseph Dejacques;  Michael Bakunin; Errico Malatesta; Peter Kropotkin; Rudolf Rocker

Week two – Monday, 4th February: 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Founding Mothers, 1840 to 1940; André Léo; Louise Michel; Lucy Parsons; Emma Goldman; Voltairine de Cleyre; Marie-Louis Berneri

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Talks at Second Nottingham Radical Bookfair – Saturday 17th November 2018

Date/Time: Saturday, 17th November. 10:30 am – 5:00 pm

Location: Nottingham Mechanics Institute

Nottingham’s second radical bookfair, organised by Five Leaves Bookshop, featuring stalls by national and local publishers, second-hand booksellers and a full supporting programme throughout the day. Free, with free events. No need to book.

Speakers/events include:


“Diversity in children’s picture books”, with Troy Jenkinson (author of The Best Mummy Snails in the Whole Wide World, an LGBT children’s book) and Latina illustrator Erika Meza

It’s the work, the work, the working life… and how do we organise to make things better? Build the old unions, or create new? The recent long university strike and the success of independent unions in “organising the unorganisable” show what might be possible. Join the discussion with Alan Tuckman (author of Kettling the Unions)


Iain McKay on “Modern Science and Anarchy” – the life and work of Peter Kropotkin, prince, anarchist, geographer, whose funeral was the last public anarchist demonstration in Russia under the Bolsheviks.

Familiar Stranger: a life between two islands, a memoir by Bill Schwartz and the late Stuart Hall, the Jamaican-born cultural theorist, political activist of the New Left, and sociologist


Amrit Wilson on Finding a Voice: Asian women in Britain to mark the new edition of this landmark book

Owen Hatherley on his adventures travelling around eleven countries of the former Soviet Union – “Daffodils for Wordsworth. Deprivation for Larkin. A trashed tower block surrounded by a toxic landscape pocked with rust-pitted Ladas in a forgotten oblast 2,000 miles from Moscow for Hatherley.” – Jonathan Meades


Singing for Our Lives: Stories from the Street Choirs centres on more than 40 oral histories gathered from members of the UK’s many street choirs, supported by Nottingham Clarion Choir

The Fire Now: anti-racist scholarship in times of explicit racial violence, with Remi Joseph-Salisbury and Azeezat Johnson (editors) and Viji Kuppan (contributor)


Paul Hegarty gives a sound-illustrated talk on  Peter Gabriel, singer-songwriter, record producer and activist

Assembly Lines – poetry of the workplace by Jane Commane and Neil Fulwood. Jane runs Nine Arches Press, a poetry specialist press, and her own latest collection is from Bloodaxe. Neil is the author of No Avoiding It, a Nottingham geography of work and class

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Dates for your diary – events coming up in October and November 2018

These events are coming up in Nottingham …

At the Sparrows’ Nest:
Saturday 27th October at 2:00 pm:

The Second Nottingham Radical Bookfair, and lots of supporting events on the same day!
Saturday 17th November 11:00 am – 4:30 pm:

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The 1848 Revolutions: An Anarchist Perspective – Nottingham – 23rd June 2018

As part of its 10th anniversary series of events The Sparrows’ Nest presents, Saturday 23rd June at 3pm,

The 1848 Revolutions: An Anarchist Perspective

A talk by Iain McKay – visiting speaker, editor and co-author of the famous an Anarchist FAQ and Property is theft!: a Pierre-Joseph Proudhon reader.


The Revolutions of 1848 remain the most widespread revolutionary wave in European history. While remembered as essentially liberal in nature, aiming at ending the old monarchical regimes they were also note-worthy for the advent of the industrial working class as a factor in social struggle. So as well as political change, the social question was raised while the events of 1848 shaped the ideas of Marx and Proudhon. So on their 170th anniversary, we look at the 1848 revolutions and their lessons for today.

Saturday June 23rd 3pm at The Sparrows’ Nest, Nottingham.

Contact the Sparrows’ Nest if you need directions or have questions about accessibility.

Download a flyer for Iain’s talk: 1848_and Anarchism Talk on 23rd June 2018 at The Sparrows’ Nest Nottingham


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Two revolting anniversary events ending with 8 in Nottingham 3rd & 23rd June – come, & tell others!

Please come to, and tell lots of people about, these Nottingham based events on the subject of the hugely important 1968 and 1848 events put on by Nottingham’s People’s Histreh group, The Sparrows’ Nest archive & library,  and others.

Film showing of ‘If….’ with exhibition and panel discussion

On Sunday 3rd June (tomorrow!) join Nottingham’s radical history group Peoples’ Histreh for a film screening, an exhibition of original sources and a panel session of people sharing their memories of struggles fought here in Nottingham during that iconic year, which saw deeply-rooted conflicts erupt into open revolts all around the globe. Events start midday at the Broadway Cinema, Hockley, Nottingham.

The film screening is ticketed. You will be able to purchase tickets from Broadway Cinema at their usual rates from early May. The exhibition and the panel session are free of charge but spaces for the panel session are limited (first come, first served).


Midday-2pm: film screening of “if….” (ticketed as a typical film showing)

2-3pm: browse our exhibition (free)

3-5pm: panel session (free)


From Midday to 2pm there will be a screening of “if….”, followed by an hour (2-3pm) to have some lunch and browse our exhibition of fantastic source materials (pamphlets, newssheets, posters, unpublished correspondence, etc.) documenting the 1968 Revolts in Paris, Berlin, Prague (etc.), and of course events here in Nottingham. At 3pm we will get together for a panel session with people sharing some of their memories of the struggles fought in Nottingham in 1968 (spoilers: the struggle for equal pay and anti-racist work were already high on the agenda five decades ago!).

Then, Saturday 23rd June The Sparrows’ Nest presents

The 1848 Revolutions: An Anarchist Perspective

Follow this link for details.


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May 2018 – new publication and writing by the Anarchist Federation

Visit the AF website for blog articles with an anarchist viewpoint on the university pensions strike, persecution of the Windrush generation by the UK Border Agency and a 52-page issue of the lastest Organise! for Summer 2018, issue 90 (free download), all new since Mayday. All can be reached from the AF website blog:

uk border agenda billboard home of racism

Contents of Organise! 90

  • Editorial: “We fear change…” ( read in full here )
  • Cover art commentary
  • Transphobia as a Class Issue
  • Statement following London Anarchist Bookfair of October 2017
  • I’m Not Even Going to Try to Pass
  • Rest In Power, Ursula
  • Gendered Language in
  • Ursula Le Guin’s Gethen Stories
  • Assigned Male Comics
  • Social Anarchist Futures
  • Apologia for Killmonger
  • FALC: On Punching Left
  • June 11th
  • Anarchist International Solidarity with the
  • Mapuche Resistance: Marichiweu!
  • Campaign to Protect Pont Valley
  • CRIBS and Solidarity for Refugee Families
  • Education by Stealth
  • Subversive Cuisine
  • Listen Gamer!
  • Moscow Death Brigade
  • Super Happy Anarcho Fun Pages
  • Anna Campbell – RIP
  • AF publications


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