October 7, 2023

A special day of activity at Oxford House celebrating working-class writers in 1970s East London.

The Basement Writers

In 1971, eight-hundred schoolkids from Stepney went on strike when their teacher Chris Searle was sacked for publishing a book of their poetry.

In 1973, Chris started The Basement Writers, an after-school club for local teenagers to continue to write about their own lives.

The project grew to include all kinds of extraordinary working-class people and became one of Britain’s first community publishers. Many former members still write today.

Stepney Words & Cockney Rebels marks 50 years of creativity led by working-class communities. Join us for a day of activities exploring stories old and new.

Line Up

12noon | A Bike Ride Through Black History with Mr Jones. (Postponed) 

3.15pm | Write Here, Right Now!

Creative writing workshop led by Basement author and writing tutor Roger Mills.

4.30pm | East Side Stories

Share your own poems, prose and stories about living in East London.

5pm | Michael Rosen in Conversation with Chris Searle

Both were East London teachers in the 1970s. Both are poets and advocates for the power of young imaginations. Join us for an informal hour with the acclaimed writer, broadcaster and former Children’s Laureate, Michael Rosen.

6.30 – 8.30pm | Down in the Basement

Join Chris Searle, BBC broadcaster Alan Dein, and the Basement Writers for a 50th anniversary celebration of working-class writing with an rebellious East End spirit.

All Day

Pop Up 1970s Archives |Brick Lane Bookshop | 1970s East End Photographs

Pay What You Can  £0/£3/£5/£7

See individual events for exact pricing. 


Stepney Words, Cockney Rebels is presented in partnership with Brick Lane Bookshop.  

Brick Lane Bookshop