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Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Survivor History Bulletin

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

The next meeting of The Survivors History Group will be on Thursday
27.9.2012 in the Together offices, 12 Old Street, London, EC1V 9BE
(nearest tube: Barbican). Please notice that the day has been moved
to a Thursday as no room would have been available that week on the

Everybody is the welcome. We provide refreshments. The agenda for the
meeting is fixed at the meeting so that you can raise issues that
interest you.


We have been starting our meetings with a report from Peter Campbell
on the progress of the research he is leading on the history of
Survivors Speak Out. Peter is analysing his archives and writing the
history of Survivors Speak Out as a chronological story (narrative).
His archives analysis and narrative history have been circulated for
comment and a composite draft research article has been developed
from these.

Part of this was published in Asylum magazine, Summer 2012. We have
copies at out meetings and you can also buy a year's subscription (4
issues) for £15 from

I attach the most up to date version of the composite article

"Peter Campbell's history of Survivors Speak Out and its connections,
By Peter Campbell and other members of the Survivors History Group."

We hope you will have time to look at this and give feedback. Peter
has covered the period from January 1986 to the Edale Conference in
September 1987 and the working party in February 1988 that made
recommendations about the inaugural meeting in September 1988. He
has also written about the constitutional history of Survivors Speak
Out. Apart from constitutional issues, the period from 1988 to 2000
remains to be drafted.

Two recent additions to the composite include a photograph of people
at the fourth Minstead Lodge meeting (Friday 31.7.1987-Sunday
2.8.1987). There are several people on this photograph that we still
need to identify. Can you help? The second is a memorial to Ivy
Buckland (1930-2011) written for us by Rick Henneley.


In June, 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". The second
day of our visit was focused on their archives and we have been told
that we can have a copy of the archive catalogue. Later in June,
Fabian Tompsett and Andrew Roberts attended the sixth Community
Archives and Heritage Group national conference at London University.

Graham Estop has supplied us with a catalogue of some of the material
stored in his archive in Sheffield. Anne Plumb and Graham met in
Sheffield over the summer to look at this, and discuss archiving and
cataloguing, They are hoping to include Terry Simpson and the United
Kingdom Advocacy Network archives in their discussions at some stage.


We have not made much progress on our history of the Scottish
movement that was to be centred on our visit to the archives.


Anne Plumb and Andrew Hughes met in the third week of August to
clarify some detail on the service-user movement in Greater
Manchester - of which Andrew, with his involvements over many years,
knows a great deal. On the basis of this meeting, and her own
extensive knowledge, Anne wrote a narrative memo on service-
user/survivor involvement in Manchester, covering the 1980s and early
1990s. Although only written as a memo to three other members, this
is a very clear and considered document and could be edited for
general distribution if Anne and Andrew are willing.

Our Norfolk blogger Mike Cox (micoxpplog.blogspot.co.uk) has been
publishing Survivor History Group newsletters and, as a result,
relatives of Tony Riley (1947-2012) have contacted to help with his
life story. With the help of several people, Andrew Roberts is
researching Tony's life in relation to the history of the survivor
movement in Manchester from the time of Tony's early involvement with
activities like Manchester PNP (People Not Psychiatry - People Need
People) in the early 1970s, through 42nd Street and Rochdale and
Manchester Mind to the Disability Awareness Training Agency in the
later 1980s, to Having a Voice and many related groups since 1990.
Andrew needs to contact more people who knew Tony. Asylum magazine,
who asked for an article on Tony's life, have offered two pages in a
future issue and the Newhaven Journeyman will consider a much fuller
article. The research paper that Andrew is working on can be adapted
to both.


One of the problems for Glenn Townsend and others researching the
contribution of Bristol and south west England to the survivor
movement is how deep and solid the historic roots of it are. They
relate equally to Bristol's long history as a major asylum city and
to the Bristol Women's movement.

The first open meeting of Bristol's "Women and Mental Health", which
brought together well over 50 women in 1984, was quite a late
development in the women's movement in Bristol. In 1973 a magazine
produced by Bristol mental health patients and workers included two
pages on "Woman's Realm" put together by Bristol Women's Liberation
Group. Feminist activity was centred for many years on the Women's
Centre in the basement of Ellen Malos's house in Waverley Road. In
1975 the Women's Centre was described as "only tenuously involved"
with mental health. The story of how that involvement increased and
its contribution to the national survivor movement has yet to be
researched much.

Vivien Lindow have been suggested as someone who might help. Andrew
Roberts has secured copies of Vivien's publications in the 1990s to
help with this history and that of other parts of England and the
world that they relate to.


The first edition of The Newhaven Journeyman, to be launched on
27.9.2012, contains a long article by Andrew Roberts that looks "at
the poetry of Charlotte Mew and her relationship with her sister
Freda who was incarcerated in an asylum in the early twentieth
century, using Charlotte's poetry, Freda's asylum case notes and a
review of the eugenicist beliefs of the time". This has been
developed from the short outline published in Time Together in
2009 (See http://studymore.org.uk/FredaMew.htm), but is about five
times greater in length and (I hope) substance. The lead article is
one by Ben Watson on "Psycho Politics: writing about Peter Sedgwick's
book Psycho Politics, and reflecting on his own thirty years of
Socialist Workers Party membership, an organisation Watson left in
2009. With the help of reflection on Mad Pride and free
improvisation". See http://www.eleusinianpress.co.uk


Premila Trivedi has agreed to help with a two page article for Asylum
magazine on the legacy of SIMBA (Share In Maudsley Black Action).
Most Maudsley patients first heard of Simba when mysterious notices
warned that "the tiger is coming". These led on to the first official
meeting of SIMBA ("let the tiger roar!), a Black
Patient/User/Survivor group, held in the Visitor and User Centre on
17.12.1998. Innovative presentation and tactics continued to mark the
development of the tiger, and if ever a member was tempted to adopt
conventional forms of behaviour, they were reminded of their stripes.
They were tigers. They brought their cubs (children), and when
management set traps, they sprung across them with poetry and song.
We have in mind an article on Simba's creative example based on
its newsletters and on articles that Premila wrote or participated
in, with recollections and reflections on their significance for the
whole movement.

We have not made any further progress with the article on the legacy
of Tower Hamlets African and Caribbean Mental Health Organisation
(THACMHO) which we planned to develop from a short article by Philip
Morgan already published in Time Together.


One of my problems thinking about the history of the survivor
movement in the twenty-first century is the extent to which "top-
down" activities have played a part. Coming from the grass-roots of
mental patients union in the 1970s, I find that even terms and
concepts like "user-involvement" which dominate discussion of the
movement in the 1990s and since are difficult for me to grasp. In
21st century England and Wales, the activities of key survivors
employed at the top of leading charities became very important in the
formation of a national survivor network. The language used in
relation to this kind of process baffles me. David Kessel has drawn
attention to the difficulty some of us have understanding many of the
chapters in the book Critical Perspectives on User Involvement. To
get our heads around this problem, it has been suggested that we
might write an article in plain English about the formation of policy
on user-involvement in the charity Together that led to the
formation of the National Survivor User Network. Members with an
inside knowledge of what happened, including Anne Beales and Peter
Beresford, have offered to help.


The agenda for the September meeting could include a review of our
present objectives and how projects we are or may be involved in fit
in with them.

Our first meeting this year (25.1.2012) followed the successful
launch of the book Critical Perspectives on User Involvement in
November 2011 with the first chapter "Survivors History Group takes a
critical look at historians". I attach a copy of this chapter in case
you have not seen it. You will notice that it includes a history of
the survivor movement. What it does not contain is an outline of the
body of survivor written history of the movement, a body of research
that has not been noted by the academic community. When this had to
be omitted for reasons of space, we resolved that we would develop
the omitted work elsewhere.

After our critical perspective on academic historians of the
movement, several members thought that it was time (as a group) to
move on to writing our own history (or histories) in narrative form.
Judi Chamberlin, Peter Campbell and others have done so as
individuals and we have the chronological archives of Anne Plumb and
others as well the work of On Our Own Terms (2003) and our own
website (http://studymore.org.uk/mpu.htm), which includes "the
story/stories of the movement in the form of a timeline" and
"individuals' stories inter-related to the story of the movement".

The word we used to describe the conversion of timeline and archival
work into a story (or stories), as in the old fashioned conventional
history, was "narrative". In January 2012 we "agreed to focus our
development work on: networking and archiving (as agreed 30.3.2011)
and the development of our narrative history based on histories
written from different perspectives and interlinked".

It seemed to many of us that Peter Campbell was in a good position to
lead this project, in terms of his access to archives, movement
experience, and achievements as a writer of narrative histories of
the movement. In the spring of 2012, the group gave overwhelming and
unanimous support (by email consultation) to a project to enable
Peter to do this for (initially) a year. Peter's narrative history
has been very productive, not only in itself, but also in stimulating
the work of other members.

The intention was to work from the history of Survivors Speak Out to
a history of the movement. It may be that some who read this got over-
excited by the long term vision because in May 2012 Peter Campbell,
Anne Plumb and Andrew Roberts received an invitation to consider
writing a book about the whole history of the movement. We all said
we would consider this. Anne decided, on reflection, that she would
prefer to assist rather than be one of the authors. Peter and Andrew
are still considering the proposal. The simple outline of the
proposal at the moment (although alternatives are being discussed)


1) Introduction: Who we are, why we are writing and what you can do.


2) 1845-1969

3) 1970s

4) 1980s

5) 1990s

6) Second millennium

7) Critical reflections and ways forward




Thurstine Basset, one of the series editors and a founder of the
Survivors History Group, Anne Plumb, Peter Campbell and Andrew
Roberts, had a meeting about the proposed book at the Together
offices on Wednesday 15.8.2012. Most of the discussion concerned
alternative suggestions for its form and content. Discussion since
that meeting has moved more towards the practicality of the

We were planning to submit a proposal by the end of September 2012.
Andrew and Peter have drafted possible content outlines that appear
compatible. It feels, however, that not enough time has been allowed
for the group to discuss the book and that the book schedule may be
placing more of a burden on Peter and Andrew than is manageable.
Thurstine has said that the proposal could be submitted at the end of
October 2012 or, if later, it would be considered for publication a
year later than planned.

There are 20 books in the series of which ours might be a part. They
will be published at the rate of approximately five a year from 2015
to 2019. So we could choose to defer the proposal towards publication
in 2016, 2017, 2018 or 2019 (if we all live that long).

I (Andrew) envisaged the book as a development of the narrative
history in which we are already engaged. I imagined the articles that
we have written or are engaged in drafting to be research that would
contribute to the book. The articles we are working on or planning
may now be appearing more as competition, and so it may be useful to
discuss priorities and our schedule at the September meeting.

We need to bear in mind that we are approaching the time when we
write our annual report and summarise our accounts and that we have
left some of the work on previous years to be completed this year.


Our website (http://studymore.org.uk/mpu.htm) relates individuals'
stories to the story of the movement. Everybody's story is relevant
so people do not need to think about how "significant" their story
is. To weave individual stories with the general story, I use a date
from which I can index the entries about the individual. Date of
birth is the easiest and least confusing, but some people do not want
this on the web so I can use another date early in the person's life.
If you are willing to be mentioned in our web archive, or are already
mentioned without an index, could you let me have a date?

[All of whom are members of the Survivors History Group]
6.30 - Doors open for 7pm start - Kingsley Hall, corner Powis and
Bruce Roads, London, E3 3HU. Nearest tube station: Bromley-By-Bow.

Joe Kelly, West London activist, on "a new vision of disability"

Peter Barham, author of Schizophrenia and Human Values on "some
schizophrenic survivors"

David Skull, an organiser of the Mental Health Resistance Network on
"new strategies in resistance"

28.11.2012 1PM AT TOGETHER


Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton BN1 1YD. Key speakers: Robert
Whitaker, Sami Timimi, Lucy Johnstone, Anne Beales

Flyer attached. It costs £60. To book a place go to

The flyer says "a number of free places have been allocated to
Service User Groups and cannot be booked through this site". It may
be worth asking a service user group (such as the Survivors History
Group) to ask about this if you are interested and broke.

Best wishes, Andrew

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