Hackney Changemakers: Toyin Agbetu

I met Toyin and heard about Ligali through the free festival of learning Antiuniversity. This 1968 Hackney phenomenon was recently revived – as education becomes more expensive and institutions become ever more business-like – and still has strong links to the borough. Toyin was researching local activism and is another character whose upbeat demeanour contrasts…

Hackney Changemakers: Amy Todd

Since 2012, I’ve been telling the remarkable story on walks of the Dissenters of Newington Green and a remarkable ‘church’ where anybody and everybody is welcome. You don’t even have to believe in God to attend the Sunday service (motto: “Believe in good”). Many of us will be familiar with the Enlightenment icon Mary Wollstonecraft…

Look Up For Inspiration: Alternative Statue Tour

We’re very lucky in Hackney to have a tradition of changemakers and pioneers. The history here is full of brave figures who stood up for everything from the Abolition of Slavery through to gender equality and no war. It carries on today, with a river of consciousness that manifests itself in contemporary activism and also…

When Mary Met Marcus: Virtue Returns

Today is Mary Wollstonecraft’s birthday. I can’t help thinking she’d be hugely impressed by the incredible phenomenon that is Mutual Aid groups

Journey to Future Hackney

If the exciting radical past of radical Hackney was the pizza of conventional tourism where I started, then eventually I would always end up with a big long stringy piece of cheese stretched out between it and my face. This was the future

Why Men Need IWD Too

What’s in it for men to celebrate International Women’s Day? Quite a lot actually. From doing the right thing and being allies to reinforcing the Lockean ideals of the Enlightenment that allow us all to be individuals capable (ish) of reason and conceptualising the notion of creating a better world… Nobody would dare suggest

Focus on the Positive – IWD 2019

This International Women’s Day, I will be offering another walk featuring the heroic Mary Wollstonecraft and other inspiring female writers and fighters in Hackney for social justice who don’t get the recognition they ought to, like

Never the Bride: Mary Wollstonecraft and the Crash of Wedding Symbols

Symbols matter. There’s a serious bit of state theatre going on this weekend apparently (Hackney Tours is too busy being out on the street to follow the media) and it’s all about reinforcing the ancient (feudal?) concept of monarchy. Apparently we’re paying for an elaborate spectacle that is designed to reassure us that being Subjects…

Mary Wollstonecraft: Transcending Gender

Why is a man leading walks about Mary Wollstonecraft in Stoke Newington and Newington Green and why does he think it’s important that she has a monument? Saturday’s walk (see below) sees half the funds go to two local causes including the campaign for a statue of Mary Wollstonecraft. Why? Many of us broadly accept…

Austerity: Paris Protest 1968 to Hackney Joy 2018

We established the personal is the political in the 1960s. It affects everything around us. Where the oil comes from, who makes our clothes, how our wealth is spent – and how we care for the most vulnerable in society. Whether we have a society… Tour guides are often told to steer clear of politics….

SHW the Group that Burned 10,000 Names

The KLF burned a million pounds on the isle of Jura in 1994 to make a statement and try (it’s said) to negate the all-pervasive power of money. On Tuesday on another island, Fish Island, Save Hackney Wick burned 10,000 names on a petition to mark the apparent failure (at the time of writing) to…