Dr William ‘Lez’ Henry
Prof. Les Back
Lewisham Resident since the 70s
We were told to stay out of Lewisham that day”
Shirley was a teenager at the time of the Battle of Lewisham. She had been a Lewisham resident since coming over from Dominica with her parents in 1967. Shirley speaks passionately about the atmosphere leading up to the events; she describes Lewisham as a difficult place to live back in the 70s and 80s due to the rise in racial tension and discrimination. We hear her talk about what happened to many of her friends and her emotions towards the National Front’s agenda (NF) and the policing towards young black people at the time.
Lewisham Resident since the 70’s
“Racism was kind of popular back then; you had the National Front, then you had the British National Party (BNP) and then you had the everyday racism that you get and you just learn to deal with it.”
Delroy Migrated to Britain in 1969 from Jamaica. He and his family were living in Brockley at the time of the battle. He was present on the day and gives a very detailed account of what he remembers. First we see him talk about what it was like being a young black boy growing up in Britain at that time. He explains feeling targeted by the police and the growing presence of far right groups like the National Front and the BNP. He speaks vividly about the events of August 13th 1977; he recalls people taking physical action against the police and the NF to prevent them from reaching their destination of Lewisham town centre.
Dr William ‘Lez’ Henry,
Lecturer and Lewisham Resident since the 70’s
“The atmosphere was pretty tense leading up to the day; people had to remain circumspect about where they went especially on that day.”
Dr Lez is a renowned lecturer in Criminology and Sociology and was a young man living in Lewisham at the time of The Battle. He gives a very detailed account of his experiences of being targeted by racism during the 60s and 70s. He expresses how tense the atmosphere was leading to the National Front’s march and the bias that controlled the police that day. He gives a very personal recollection of the day from his point of view as a spectator who was present. Towards the end of the film, we see him talking from a more academic point of view, expressing the importance of this historical event to be taught in schools as part of the National Curriculum.
Activitist and Former Lewisham Resident
“It was the first time the police used riot shields on the mainland”
A long time activist and rock musician, Mitch was present on the day of The Battle of Lewisham. He speaks from an activist point of you and the necessity of their actions at the time. We see he revisited the route the march took giving a visual reference of what happened where. Mitch mentioned feeling affronted by the National Front which was not welcome in the area. Sadly, he was later arrested due to his involvement. When asked if he regretted his actions, he said that the NF and the police’s tactics meant that we had to resort to other methods in order to deter them.
Professor Les Back,
Lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths University of London
“It was an attempt to spread their version of white supremacist nationalism”.
Les is currently a lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths University of London, Les Back is an expert in his field and is well known for his presence as a local historian. He provides an academic perspective about The Battle of Lewisham and racism at that time. He explains about the Sus Laws and regulations that were particularly targeted at black people at the time. Les speaks about this event being a victory for the people and that contributed to the fall of the National Front. He agrees that this topic should be integrated into the National Curriculum.