Attlee Remembered Mini-Festival

Attlee Remembered Mini-Festival

Clement Attlee: “the twentieth century’s greatest prime minister’’ according to an IPSOS-MORI poll of historians and political scientists (2004)

“Attlee’s political genius was to give people a sense of hope, a clear route map out of depression, war and austerity towards the social and economic justice they craved. His government rebuilt Britain, and the next government needs the political courage to do the same – including giving working people a voice so we can help build a more equal, more democratic country. We must not miss the chance again.”
— Frances O’Grady, Gen Sec TUC (The Guardian, 26/4/13)

Clement Attlee died 50 years ago on 8 October 1967. Attlee Remembered was a weekend of film, discussion and theatre that celebrated the man, his life and the domestic achievements of his 1945-51 Labour Government. The festival was hosted by Sands Films Studios in historic Rotherhithe.


Attlee Remembered Festival  Contributors

Francis Beckett

is an author, journalist, broadcaster, playwright and contemporary historian.

His nineteen books include biographies of four Prime Ministers, and he edited a series of 20 biographies, Prime Ministers of the Twentieth Century. His latest play The London Spring enjoyed a three week London fringe run early in 2012.  Francis Beckett is the editor of Third Age Matters, the national magazine published by the University of the Third Age, and writes for national newspapers and magazine.  He has been president of the National Union of Journalists and has worked on national newspapers and magazines, as well as for trade unions and for the Labour Party.  Francis will be joining us for discussions ‘Attlee then and now’  (Saturday) ‘From Hardie to Attlee to the present day’ (Sunday)  and performance ‘In Clem’s Own Words’ (Sunday).

About Francis Beckett’s biography: Clem Attlee: Labour’s Great Reformer


‘Beckett gets near to the essence of Attlee, and does so in an easy, flowing narrative.’ – Independent

‘More government records have been opened, and Beckett has used them to great effect.’ – The Times

‘An engrossing personal biography of Attlee.’ – History Today‘Anyone interested in British history will enjoy Beckett’s book … a slow read in the best possible way.’ –Huffington Post

‘I have thoroughly enjoyed [this] biography of Clem Attlee … It will be central to my introductory chapter to the third edition of British Social Trends.’ – Prof A.H. Halsey

Professor Sally Tomlinson

Sally Tomlinson started her career as a social worker and infant school teacher and has worked in higher education for over thirty-five years. She has held Professorial Chairs at the University of Lancaster, England;  University of Wales, Swansea; and as Goldsmiths Professor of Education Policy and Management at Goldsmiths, University of London. From 2000 she is an Emeritus Professor at Goldsmiths, and an Honorary Fellow in the Department of Education, University of Oxford, and is also an Associate in the Department of Sociology University of Warwick. Sally Tomlinson has followed Attlee’s story and closer to home, has a cousin who worked under Attlee.

More recently she co-authored a piece for the Guardian with Professor Danny Dorling, Is Corbyn as lacking in drive and personality as Attlee? Let’s hope so.

Ken Loach

was born in 1936 in Nuneaton. He attended King Edward VI Grammar School and went on to study law at St. Peter’s Hall, Oxford. After a brief spell in the theatre, Loach was recruited by the BBC in 1963 as a television director. This launched a long career directing films for television and the cinema, from Cathy Come Home and Kes in the sixties to Land And Freedom, Sweet Sixteen and The Wind That Shakes The Barley in recent years.  Attlee Remembered is in large part inspired by Ken Loach’s ‘Spirit of ‘45’ film about the post war Attlee period and government.  We are screening that film and Ken will join us for the post film discussion (Saturday)

Cat Hobbs

Cat Hobbs is the founder of We Own It, a new organisation that aims to be a voice for public service users and public ownership. Cat previously worked at Campaign for Better Transport where she lobbied nationally on behalf of bus and train passengers. She has also campaigned locally in Bristol and Oxford

We Own It was launched in 2013 to be a positive, forward-looking voice for public ownership. It campaigns against privatisation to stop government plans for sell offs and outsourcing. We Own It has helped to stop the privatisation of Network Rail, the Land Registry and NHS Professionals.  And it makes the case for public ownership to show that public ownership is both doable and desirable.

Cat Hobbs will join us for the post Spirit of ’45 discussion on Saturday.
Cat Hobbs articles for The Guardian

John Christensen

is an economist and forensic auditor. He is currently the chair of the Tax Justice Network, which he co-founded. He is a former economic adviser to government of Jersey. In addition to his work with TJN he is a board member of Tax Inspectors Without Borders @TIWB_news. He has been described by theGuardian as “the unlikely figurehead of a worldwide campaign against tax avoidance.” His research on offshore finance has been widely published in books and featured in a number of TV and film documentaries. John joins us for the post ‘Spirit of 45’ discussion on Saturday ‘Can Labour surpass the achievements of the Attlee government?’

Melissa Benn

is a writer and campaigner. Her journalism has appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines including The Guardian and other publications on a range of social issues, including education. She is a founder of the Local Schools Network, and chair of Comprehensive Future.

Her books include School Wars: The Battle for Britain’s Education; One of Us; and What Should We Tell Our Daughters? The Pleasures and Pressures of Growing Up Female. She is co-author of Debunking the Seven Myths of Education. Her website is here.  She will be joining us for the discussion on Sunday ‘What Makes a Great Labour Leader?’

Rachel Holmes

Rachel Holmes is a cultural historian whose work combines meticulous biographical research with an ability to bring the lives and times of her 19th-century subjects vividly to life. She is the author of the highly acclaimed Eleanor Marx: A Life published by Bloomsbury in 2014, described by Golden PEN Award winner Gillian Slovo as “a dazzling account of a woman and her family, an age and a movement, that grips from the first page to the last.”  Here she on BBC’s Meet the Author is, discussing the book.

In 2010 she received an Arts Council cultural leadership award as one of Britain’s Fifty Women to Watch. Rachel Holmes has worked with and for British Council literature festivals and international programmes since 2000. Since 2012 she has been the UK chair of the Iraq Literature Festival. She was recently chosen to be one of the writers on the literary tour for the UK – Russia Year of Culture.

Rachel writes on contemporary politics at The Guardian and is currently writing a book about Sylvia Pankhurst.

Rachel Holmes will join us for ‘From Hardie to Attlee to present day: what make a great Labour leader’ on Sunday.

Jeremy Hardy

became a stand-up comedian in January 1984. His BBC Radio 4 work includes Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the NationThe News QuizI’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue and You’ll Have Had Your Tea.  He’s been in three films: Mike Figgis’s Hotel with Burt Reynolds, Oliver Irving’s How to Be with Robert Pattinson and Leila Sansour’s documentary, Jeremy Hardy v the Israeli Army . He has written columns for The Guardian and Red Pepper and has written three books. He performs his one-man show in theatres and arts centres throughout Britain and Ireland and is also part of the live touring version of I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue. A kind soul in The Guardian wrote of him, “In an ideal world, Jeremy Hardy would be extremely famous, but an ideal world would leave him without most of his best material.”  Jeremy joins us for ‘In Clem’s Own Words’ on Sunday evening

Kika Markham

has had a long career in the cinema, television and theatre as an actress. Most recently she was in ITV’s ‘Fearless’ with Helen McRory and among her television appearances are roles in Edward & Mrs. SimpsonThe Life and Times of David Lloyd George,  A Very British Coup CrackerAgatha Christie’s Poirot and Mr Selfridge. Her films include Bunny Lake Is Missing, François Truffaut’s Two English Girls The Blood of HussainWonderland, Killing Me Softly.  Kika Markham was married to actor Corin Redgrave.  Kika joins us for ‘In Clem’s Own Words’ on Sunday

Professor Jonathan Dickens

Jonathan Dickens is professor and head of the school of social work at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. He is a qualified social worker. Previous jobs, before joining UEA in 1998, include community worker in Peterborough, social worker in Rotherhithe and Bermondsey, and three years living and working in Romania as a social work consultant and trainer. Jonathan’s research interests are to do with child and family social work, particularly the interface with the law, in child protection work, care proceedings and work with children in care. His teaching areas are social work and social policy, and child care law. Jonathan is the author of numerous research papers and reports, and two text books: Social Work and Social Policy: An Introduction, and Social Work, Law and Ethics. His paper on ‘Clement Attlee and the social service idea: modern messages for social work in England’ was published by the British Journal of Social Work in April 2017.

We are delighted to have him in conversation about ‘Attlee Social Worker before MP and PM’ on Sunday.

Judith Moran

Judith Moran is director of the anti-poverty charity Quaker Social Action. QSA have worked in east London since 1867 and in this, their 150thanniversary year, have reflected on the changing nature of poverty – and of responses to poverty – across those years.

Judith’s career has been spent within the voluntary sector and she currently serves on a number of boards, including the Equality Trust, the charity founded by the authors of The Spirit Level, which demonstrated that unequal societies damage all of us.Judith’s contribution to the sector has been recognised this year, with a place on the shortlist for the pending Third Sector awards, where she has been nominated for the UK Charity Chief Executive of the Year. Judith joins us for the discussion ‘Attlee then and now’ on Saturday​. Find out more about how QSA work has changed​ over the past 150 years. Copies of a publication celebrating 150 years of Quaker Social Action can be found ​here.

Adjoa Andoh ​

is a British film, television, stage and radio actress. She is known on the UK stage for lead roles at the ​RSC​, the National Theatr​e​, the Royal Court Theatr​e​ and the Almeida Theatr​e​, and is a familiar face on British television ​(including​ two series of  Doctor Who ​and BBC’s long-running medical drama Casualty​)​. Adjoa  is the voice of Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency and won “Audio Book of the Year” for Tea Time for the Traditionally Built.​ She made her Hollywood debut in autumn 2009 starring as Nelson Mandela’s Chief of Staff Brenda Mazibuko alongside Morgan Freeman as Mandela in Clint Eastwood’s Invictus.​  Adjoa joins us for ‘In Clem’s Own Words’ on Sunday evening​.

Richard Attlee

​Richard Attlee over a long career has ​appeared in numerous ​f​ilm, ​tv​ and​ t​heatre productions​ as well as being known as the voice of Kenton Archer in BBC 4’s long running radio drama, The Archers. He has also appeared in shows such as Call the Midwife, ​The IT Crowd, Silent Witness and My Mad Fat Diary along with films such as ​Burnt, My Week With Marilyn​ and the 2004 drama-doc Dunkirk (playing deputy PM Attlee)​​. Richard is currently in the cast for latest stage production of Witness for the Prosecution which opens in October.​ Richard is a grandson of Clement Attlee and we are delighted that he can join us on Sunday evening for ‘In Clem’s Own Words’.

Pablo Navarrete

is a British-Chilean journalist and documentary filmmaker. He is the founder and editor of, a website covering Latin America related issues such as politics, media and culture and is co-editor of Alborada Magazine. His first feature-length documentary ‘Inside the Revolution: A Journey Into the Heart of Venezuela’ was released in August 2009 by Alborada Films. The television version of his second documentary‘The Colombia Connection’ was released in November 2012. He is the producer of the documentary ‘Chile’s Student Uprising, released in February 2014 and the director of Hip Hop Revolución, both released by Alborada Films in November 2015. He is the co-director of the documentary ‘Truce‘ which will be released in mid-2017.

He was the Venezuela researcher for John Pilger’s documentary ‘The War on Democracy‘ (2007) and ​ has spoken about and covered contemporary Latin American political issues for various media outlets, including the ‘BBC‘, ‘Al Jazeera English’, ‘HuffPost Live’ ‘Russia Today‘, ‘The Guardian‘, ‘The New Statesman‘, ‘Counterpunch‘ and ‘Open Democracy‘  and BBC World News.


Over the past few years we have seen more and more references to Clement Attlee in relation to Jeremy Corbyn and, prior to him, Ed Miliband. This is all to the good, as Attlee has always been eclipsed by Churchill and Attlee is far from being the household name he should be. The wider public (especially younger generations) – in as far as they have heard his name – will have no comprehension of the relevance and timeliness of his story: as a Mayor, as MP, as deputy wartime leader, as Prime Minister and the fact that he remains (despite many attempts to remove him) the longest serving Labour Party leader (1935-55).

Clement Attlee’s government shaped our society for seven decades to come. How do we want the next seven to seventy years shape up? How do we prize and protect the notion of ‘generosity towards the future’ so powerfully embodied in the Attlee administration?

Read more on the background and the project here.