WELCOME TO ALL FELLOW CAMPAIGNERS for DISABILITY RIGHTS - a pan disability blog connecting my work with, EQUAL LIVES, the National Survivor User Network (NSUN) and the Survivor History Group.

Protest, Norwich Job Centre

Protest, Norwich Job Centre
Fatso Gets Militant!

Monday, 23 July 2012


>From Andrew Roberts
Secretary Survivors History Group
telephone: 020 8 986 5251
home address: 177 Glenarm Road, London, E5 ONB

Survivor History Group Summer 2012 Newsletter

The July London meeting of the Survivors History Group will be held on Wednesday 25.7.2012 from 1pm to 5pm at Together, 12 Old Street, London. Everybody is welcome and refreshments will be provided.

The September meeting has had to be moved from a Wednesday to Thursday 27.9.2012 (subject to approval by this Wednesday's meeting) because of the availability of a room at Together.  


The agenda for the July meeting will be drawn up at the beginning of the meeting, but it will include Peter Campbell's regular report back on the research he is leading on the history of Survivors Speak Out and discussion of material received from other people about Survivors
Speak Out.  Rick Hennelly has sent us some photographs of people at Minstead Lodge in July/August? 1987, and part of the meeting will be seeing who we can recognise on them. Peter Campbell and Mike Lawson are easy to recognise. We should be able to make a photo feature in
the web archive.


There will also be discussion of our visit to Oor Mad History in Edinburgh. Anne Plumb (Greater Manchester), Graham Estop (Sheffield), Carole Murray (Sussex) and Andrew Roberts (London) went to Edinburgh for two days of intensive meetings on "Oor Mad History". We met Anne
O'Donnell, Be Morris, Colin Murray, Jimmy Osborne, Kirsten Maclean, Lin Clarke, Mark Gallagher, Renata Edge, Rhian Thompson, Steve Tilley and others and have since been put in contact with Adrienne Sinclair Chalmers.  

Kirsten Maclean is the Community History Worker for Oor Mad History, a project based at CAPs (The Consultation and Advocacy Promotion Service). The Oor Mad History archive was developed from the papers accumulated in the CAPs basement since 1991. Papers from other groups have been added to it. We visited this archive and Carole took photographs of us opening the filing cabinets and reading what was in the folders. Anne O'Donnell is the Chair of Oor Mad History Steering group.  

Be Morris, Colin Murray, Adrienne Sinclair Chalmers, Anne O'Donnell and Jimmy Osborne feature strongly in the book Oor Mad History: A Community History of the Lothian Mental Health Service User Movement. They will be invaluable contacts in putting together our chronological history on the web.  

Oor Mad History covers the Lothians, the area of Scotland around Edinburgh. Rhian Thompson works for the Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance, established in May 2002 to represent all of Scotland. Through her we have been put in contact with Barbara Brown who is recording a history of independent advocacy in Scotland over the last 30 years - That is, from the 1980s onwards. The Alliance calls this project "Inspiring Our Future". In some respects, survivor movement history in Scotland is more advanced than in Canada or England. It is, however, patchy in that it is strong in the Lothians compared to other parts of Scotland. The Inspiring Our Future Project should redress this balance.  

Mark Gallagher is starting a Ph.D at Glasgow University in relation to the recording, documenting and theorising of the history of Scottish service user activism since the Scottish Union of Mental Patients (SUMP) in the early 1970s. The SUMP archives were deposited
by its founder, Thomas Ritchie (born about 1928) with Andrew Roberts. We were able to make three fairly good photocopies of these: one for Mark, another to be kept in the Oor Mad History archive in Edinburgh, and the third to make further photocopying easier.  

Steve Tilley is a nurse academic connected to the University of Edinburgh. His links with  David Reville and Kathryn Church from the School of Disability Studies at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, have been important in establishing Oor Mad History and he is now helping the Survivors History Group as well.  

Lin Clarke and Renata Edge did a lot to make us welcome. Renata took some of us on an tour of the sights of Edinburgh.  


Chrys Muirhead, Convener of Peer Support Fife, was unable to attend the Edinburgh meetings, but keeps in contact. You will find a great deal of informative information on the Peer Support Fife website


Kyoko Hamasima returned to Japan earlier this year and was, therefore, unable to come to Edinburgh with us. She will, however, be reading about the visit with interest. We hope we can keep in contact.  


Fabian Tompsett and Andrew Roberts attended the sixth Community Archives and Heritage Group (CAHG) Sixth national conference at London University on Wednesday 27.6.2012. Ian Ray-Todd was unable to do so because the conference was fully booked by the time he heard
about it. This is the second national conference the group has attended and it proved as useful as last year (Andrew) or not as interesting as last year (Fabian). Amongst the points that we both appreciated was the opportunity to find out more about the  Planned Environment Therapy Trust Archive and Study Centre in Gloucestershire. We secured further brochures about its history and methods and watched a presentation of how they brought people together to discuss archive material about issues they had been involved in and also dramatised issues with the help of young people.


Time Together, the house magazine of Together for Wellbeing, has provided the Survivor History Group with two page history spreads since 2008. These have been especially valuable for focusing on relating individual survivor lives to the movement and for being designed an presented in a visually attractive style by professionals. Articles have dealt with "The Story of Valerie Argent"  - "The Story of Joan Hughes" - "The Story of Freda and Charlotte Mew" - "A Celebration of Survivor History" - "The Story of Frank Bangay" and recently health and history in relation to Tower Hamlets African and Caribbean Mental Health Organisation (THACMHO) and Sadie Gower's discussion of the impact of family history research. Sadly for us, the changing form of Time Together means it is not longer able to provide us with a platform for our research.  

Issue one of Newhaven Journeyman - A Haven For Dilettantes will be launched on 27.9.2012 at a party in the Newhaven Fort, Fort Road, Newhaven, East Sussex. as the name of the venue suggests, they have to know you are coming if you are to be let in.

Newhaven Journeyman is a periodical book of substantial (5,000 word) articles edited by Survivor History Group member Alastair Kemp. The theme of the first issue is "Finding a Voice" as the articles relate to "the subaltern voice, the feminine voice, finding a voice, the political voice, the excluded voice and the voice of the other". What those articles are has not been revealed yet but one, we know, is a history article. It is a substantial extension, by Andrew Roberts of the story of Freda and Charlotte Mew, first published in Time Together. Keep in touch with the progress of the Newhaven Journeyman at
http://www.eleusinianpress.co.uk, the website of "Eleusinian Press - Where Music, Madness and Politics Meet". There will be four issues of Newhaven Journeyman every year and Alastair is currently seeking contributions for issue three.


Asylum, the magazine for democratic psychiatry, was started in 1986 and re-launched in March 2010. Volume 19, issue 2 features the article "Survivors Speak Out: 1986-2000" by Peter Campbell and his poem "The Mental Marching Band" that he wrote for Survivors Speak Out. Anne Plumb has an almost complete collection of Asylum and she has indexed articles of special interest to survivors and survivor history on the Survivor History group website. Anne has had letters published in Asylum and a review of Demons in the Age of Light; A Memoir of Psychosis and Recovery, by Whitney Robinson (2011) in the Spring 2012 issue (19:1).  

We have discussed Asylum several times at Survivor History Group meetings and on the internet forum. Each time it has been discussed there has been considerable enthusiasm for promoting its sale and (if possible) contributing to its content. Asylum is usually on sale at
Survivor History Group meetings. We will have copies of the last two issues for sale at the next meeting. Because we receive a bulk discount, we can sell them at £3 each instead of the cover price of £4.   

At this meeting, we will also have copies of all issues since the re-launch for inspection. This should let us reach conclusions about the promotion of back issues and about possible contributions to the magazine. To help analyse the content of Asylum for our web history, we have also subscribed to electronic copies from the re-launch. Clarifying finance will be on the agenda for this meeting.  

Since the re-launch Asylum has not published a great deal on survivor history,  but its editors have given indication that they are interested. The most substantial contribution so far was an edition in Spring 2011 (18:1) edited by Clare Crestani and devoted entirely to Mad Pride. Anyone who has seen the publications of Mad Hatters of Bath, also edited by Clare, will not be surprised to know that this edition was exceptionally striking and attractive in its layout and illustration as well as it content.  

Asylum's policy of special issues generally worked against survivor history. The group offered a regular feature when the magazine was re-launched, but were offered a special issue instead, which did not materialise. An article on the group by Julia Sorribes and Phil Ruthen was eventually published in the fourth issue (17:4) with a supporting article by Mark Cresswell on "Survivors's history and the symbols of a movement". The editorial said "people still kept sending in material and so this issue is made up of submissions from the last few years". The preceding issue (Autumn 2010, 17:3) published two pages of recollections of "Judy Chamberlin (1944-2010) Psychiatric Survivor Activist" by Louise Pembroke, Jan Wallcraft and Andrew
Roberts.  This was important as it helped us document the inter-relationship between the USA and UK movement. The same issue re-published the two-page "Story of Joan Hughes 1928- 2008" from Time Together.  

Communications between Andrew Roberts and two Asylum editors suggest Asylum may be willing to consider publishing a two page, illustrated article submitted by the Survivors History Group in one issue of Asylum each year. Helen Spandler says that she is willing to consider
the possibility of more.  The present proposal appears to be that we prepare articles on the following topics: The Lothians' Oor Mad History project and related issues, for
sometime in 2012 or 2013. The legacy of Tower Hamlets African and Caribbean Mental Health
Organisation (THACMHO), for sometime in 2013 or 2014.  The legacy of SIMBA (Share In Maudsley Black Action), for sometime in 2014 or 2015.  

To order Asylum direct go to

To find out more go to


Anne-Laure Donskoy has  sent us the attached article about the French Mental Health Laws. The issues she raises are not restricted to France. In her covering note she says "The fact is that what is happening in France is happening in most countries in the sense that most if not all mental health laws fail to comply with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2008). The UK has also signed and ratified it.... My starting point is human rights
Their starting point is that the law is a hindrance".  

I do not really understand the issues relating to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and mental health laws, so any feedback on this document would help me. (Andrew)  


In the 1980s, Tony Riley was a service user member of a local MIND group in Greater Manchester, with Andrew Hughes. With Andrew and Anne Plumb, he was one of the founders of Distress Awareness Training Agency (DATA) in May 1988. By 1995 he was part of Having A Voice, an advocacy service financed by the Health Authority in North Manchester. He attended a meeting of the Survivor History Group in Manchester  on Thursday 14.4.2011 with David Reville from the History of Madness course at Ryerson University, Toronto. Tony was already
ill and his funeral was on 18.6.2012 at St Edwards Catholic Church, Thurloe St, Rusholme, Manchester. We have a number of memories of Tony from different people but lack the basics for an obituary like his date of birth (or age when he died), family relationships and dates and date he died. If anyone can provide these it will be much appreciated.  


Survivor History Group member Dina Ibraham has graduated with honours in Sociology from Middlesex University. Dina helped with the Mental Health Training and Education conference at Middlesex University in September 2009 and sold the Asylum relaunch issue at our Pageant of
Survivor History at Kingsley Hall in March 2010. Dina is one of our youngest members, but she plans to work on her life story exploring what it is to be a survivor in the Sudan and in London.  


Survivor History Group member David Armes married Julie Nash at Rouge Valley Mennonite Church in Markham, Ontario, Canada on Saturday 7.7.2012. We wish them every happiness. David now lives in Canada and links English survivor historians with Canadian.  


Andrew apologises to people who have contacted him but not received a reply. I am suffering from depression and am just managing what I can. I am not expecting this to change rapidly, so please bear with me.  


Given Andrew's last paragraph I'm amazed he has managed this amount of work. I think we all owe him much thanks and applause. More power to your elbow Andrew and hopes for a good climb out in the near future.



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