By Carol Mills
It’s midsummer and many of us are headed for the seafront.
We are so fortunate to live in such a beautiful place.
Do you recognise this artwork inspired by Eastbourne’s wonderful beach? Who painted it? Where did it used to be sited in Eastbourne?
Some of the Trade Unionists amongst us will recognise it. There used to be a fantastic International Workers Mural in the dining area of The View Hotel, formerly the Transport and General Workers Union Recuperation Holiday and Conference Centre (TGWU).
It was painted by an Arts Collective that included Michael Jones, son of the Great Trade Unionist Jack Jones.
The Mural is now in boxes awaiting reinstallation at the new Unite Conference Centre in Birmingham. The Engels in Eastbourne Campaign is keen to ensure the knowledge about the Mural is not lost in time to Eastbourne residents and our many visitors.
Working with the View Hotel, plans are underway for a pull-out brochure of the Mural. But beyond the brochure how ambitious should we be in celebrating our Trade Union past?
For example, would you like to see a full-sized copy of the Mural in a prominent public building in Eastbourne? Until relatively recently, our town was one of the most important National Centres for Trade Unionism in this country.
At the time of its creation in 1922, the TGWU was the largest and most ambitious amalgamation brought about within trade unionism. Would you be interested in an exhibition about this Trade Union history, and more generally of the radical history of our town?
For example, did you know that Paul Robeson, the world-famous American bass baritone concert artist, played to sell-out crowds 10 times at the Winter Gardens; and that, by the way, he was also one of the greatest Civil Rights activists of all time? Did you know that Karl Marx stayed in a guest house in Terminus Road with his wife Jenny?
And, you have probably heard by now that Marx’s mentor and friend Friedrich Engels’s had his ashes scattered off Beachy Head.
But did you know that his favourite seaside town was Eastbourne, and he spent the last 12 years of his life visiting here often along with members of Marx’s family and many of his Socialist friends? He wrote his last ever letter in Eastbourne.
You can find this and much more of our Radical History documented as a self-guided Radical History Walk on the Eastbourne Pilgrimage Project Website: – Local pilgrimage walks (and soon to be added on the Council’s Walking Festival Hub). The walk will also feature as a guided walk in the Walking Festival starting on 17th-26th September 2021.
The Engels in Eastbourne Campaign aims to uncover and to celebrate our town’s radical history. Please see our website for more on Radical Eastbourne: – Radical Eastbourne | Engels in Eastbourne
This website has an article on the Mural: – https://blogs.brighton.ac.uk/engelsineastbourne/2021/02/06/the-international-workers-mural-that-eastbourne-should-not-forget/
Also, our Facebook Page: – https://www.facebook.com/EBEngels/
For information on the Walking Festival: – https://www.visiteastbourne.com/walking-festival/
Engels In Eastbourne Campaign