can't wait

January 18th, 1981

was the day of the New Cross Fire in Southeast London

these are one of those events on the African / Black British calender that I’ve always been aware of but never fully involved in physically or mentally. it’s sad that typing that feels like a never-ending cliché. it’ll end however pretending is pointless and I’m not going to

distant memories reporting the event cling together in my memory with episodes of CrimeWatch, a general grey London dankness, stop and search and other things yet the sadness and heavy sense of grief at yet more unanswered justice (now seemingly buried underneath brothas like Chipmunk and Tinchy or groups of mixed ethnicity such as N-Dubz receiving chart success or heavy media visibility) still stinks and should continue to. no charges? no classification of arson? IT STINKS

obviously not enough though as families and loved ones continue to needlessly grieve…but exist because……they have to

January 14th is the date of a REMEMBERING THE NEW CROSS FIRE – 30 YEARS ON event happening at The Albany, Deptford starting at 07:30pm / 19:30pm SHARP until 11pm / 23:00pm. for more details click here or phone on 020 8692 4446. tickets cost £10 with concessions being £7

the following is text copied from the email (with a few slight formatting edits by myself for presentation and emphasis) being circulated which hipped me to this event. it was originally sent out by Bishop T, a presenter at community station Hot Digital Radio Uk. the pictures in this post are taken from the email also:

“Featuring MENELIK SHABAZZ‘s documentary Blood Ah Go Run and a second documentary from the George Padmore Institute archive on the New Cross Fire, this will be a night of remembrance and review. The evening will close with live performances from the ‘Queens of Lovers RockJANET KAY and CARROLL THOMPSON

PROFESSOR GUS JOHN, author of Time to TellThe Grenada Massacre and After, organised and mobilised support for the Black Peoples Day of Action from the North of England and ALEX PASCALL OBE, through his radio show Black Londoners, commented on the fire and helped to raise valuable funds for the victims and their families”


“The New Cross Fire killed 13 young black people during a birthday party in a house in New Cross, Southeast London on Sunday January 18th, 1981

The party was a joint birthday celebration for Yvonne Ruddock and Angela Jackson and was held at 439 New Cross Road, going on throughout the night. There was a fairly high degree of racial tension in New Cross, as it was well known that the far right group the National Front were active in the area. It has been claimed that there had been early complaints about noise from the party leading the police to deduce that the house had been bombed either as a revenge attack or to stop the noise

When arrests were not forthcoming, the black community was shocked by the indifference of the white population, and accused the London
Metropolitan Police
of covering up the cause, which they suspected was
an arson attack motivated by racism. The protests arising out of the fire led to a mobilisation of black political activity, but nobody has ever been charged in relation to the fire and the Police now claim that this was not an arson attack

In addition to the original 13, Anthony Berbeck died after falling from the balcony of a block of council flats in South London on July 9, 1983. He was at the party and became disturbed following the death of his best friends”

Victims of the New Cross Fire:

Andrew Gooding
(18 / 02 / 1962 – 18 / 01 / 1981)

Owen Thompson
(11 / 09 / 1964 – 18 / 01 / 1981)

Patricia Johnson
(16 / 05 / 1965 – 18 / 01 / 1981)

Patrick Cummings
(21 / 09 / 1964 – 18 / 01 / 1981)

Steve Collins
(02 / 05 / 1963 – 18.01.1981)

Lloyd Hall
(28 / 11 / 1960 – 18 / 01 / 1981)

Humphrey Geoffrey Brown
(04 / 07 / 1962 – 18 / 01 / 1981)

Roseline Henry
(23 / 09 / 1964 – 18 / 01 /1981)

Peter Campbell
(23 / 02 / 1962 – 18 / 01 / 1981)

Gerry Paul Francis
(21 / 08 / 1963 – 18 / 01 / 1981)

Glenton Powell
(18 / 01 / 1966 – 25 / 01 / 1981)

Paul Ruddock
(19 / 11/ 1960 – 09 / 02 / 1981)

Yvonne Ruddock
(17 / 01 / 1965 – 24 / 01 / 1981)

Anthony Berbeck
(17 / 08 / 1962 – 09 / 07 / 1983)

read, typed and posted with heaviness by Nii-Teiko via the Nokia N900 and MaStory

p.s the Facebook page for this event is the best way to stay informed about its goings on. much props to Gbontwi Anyetei for letting me know. tickets are at low availability now so please read up or make use of the phone number if you wish to attend. thank you for reading


4 thoughts on “January 18th, 1981

  1. Rah says:

    I’m sad to say that I’d never heard of this incident. I guess we’re so busy trying to live and keep them off our a$$es where we are that we don’t know as much as we should about the happenings of our Brothers & Sisters in other places. Thanks for making me aware. Good story/info…


  3. I remember this event clearly. My brother was to have attended and as luck would have it, he went to a different party. I remember the grieving and the crosses all those people bore. I did not know the people who died but I had friends who did and it was a difficult experience for all and for those that lived in the neighbourhood and understood the tragedy. St Paul’s was the venue for several of the funerals. A packed occasion. Hopefully people have learned from this tragedy and will no longer ‘cover’ or ‘hide’ those responsible for such crimes.

    • Dani – apologies that it has taken me so long to reply to this comment. Thank you for contributing to this…really thank you

      The Almighty’s Blessings

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