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Documenting Dissent Celebrates centuries of local dissidence


The Farmers Arms, Lancaster ca 1975
The Farmers Arms, Lancaster ca 1975
Chris Satori

Global Link invites you to this event 'World War 1: Sowing the Seeds of Global Citizenship'. It marks the culmination of their latest Heritage Lottery funded project, charting movements for peace, internationalism and citizenship in the years following the First World War.  It will take place tomorrow, Tuesday 23rd January at 7pm at Lancaster Friends Meeting House. 

Project volunteers have researched stories of people, places and events in Lancaster, the North West and beyond to create a digital map, which will be featured on Global Link's Documenting Dissent website at

There you can already find stories of the pacifist Quakers of the 1650s, the Jacobite rebels of the 1740s,  the executed homosexuals of 1806 - and the gay rights activists of the 1970s. Of pacifists and conscientious objectors. Not many people know that Lancaster University's first vice chancellor, Charles Carter, had been imprisoned as a conscientious objector in the Second World War, or that Lancaster’s flourishing gay scene was in part founded on the work of Lancaster’s unconventional conservative MP Humphrey Berkeley, who had introduced the bill which legalised homosexual activity in 1967. Who has heard of the huge 'No More War' demonstration of 1922 in Lancaster that attracted thousands and went on for two days?  

Lancaster has a rich history of women campaigning for equal rights and for peace, and stories of their early struggle in Lancaster are documented here. You can also find stories of religious dissentors, going back for centuries. The histories are an account of people who faced up to intolerance and persecution, despite the threat of violence and even execution.  They say that history is written by the winners. At last it is the turn of those many, very different groups of people, who united against powerful and priviliged forces that oppressed them, to have the stories of their struggles told and understood.  

The evening includes a talk, ‘Radical ex-service organisations in the Great War and its aftermath,’ by Dr Nick Mansfield, Senior Research Fellow in History at UCLan. Almost forgotten today are the radical origins of the Royal British Legion. From 1917 to 1921 hundreds of thousands of ex-servicemen campaigned all over the country for proper pensions, trade union rights and nationalisation. Dr Mansfield will consider the effect of the increase in the franchise in 1918 on the growth of political activism, a trend reflected on the website's digital map.

The event is free. For more information, contact Global Link at or telephone on 01524 36201.

Image from the Documenting Dissent website.