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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 LMA/4462/J
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1977-1983
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 0.66 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Bookshop Joint Action Committee


Administrative/Biographical history:

The committee was formed in October 1977 in response to a series of attacks on Black run, community, independent, and socialist bookshops in London. One of the first known attacks occurred in 1973 against Unity Bookshop in Brixton which was firebombed. Throughout 1977 Bogle-L'Ouverture, Atlas Books, Bookmarks, New Beacon, Centerprise, Corner House, the Other Bookshop, Unity Books and the Bookplace were all systematically attacked. Black run organisations and bookshops in Leeds, Bradford and Nottingham also came under attack. The graffiti and 'calling cards' left by the attackers indicated that it was the work of the National Front and the Ku Klux Klan.

Bookshop Joint Action Committee was comprised of 7 of 10 bookshops which wrote letters of complaints to the Home Office. They held a press conference on 17 October, 1977 to bring public attention to the attacks. The police were seen as colluding with, if not perpetrating some of the acts, and letters to the Home Office clearly state this.

Jessica Huntley and Bogle-L'Ouverture were active in the formation of the group which organised:
- A Bookshop Defence Fund
- Distribution of materials and information about the attacks
- Press and publicity
- A picket of the Home Office:
They called on individuals to "Raise this matter {the attacks and lack of response} within their organisation. Write to the Home Secretary expressing anger and concern about these fascist attacks made on bookshops and his total indifference."
- Bookshops "Flying Work Party" for London:
This group of volunteers were sent to damaged shops to repair and get them up and running again as quickly as possible.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Bookshop Joint Action Committee, including correspondence between bookshops and to the Home Office; witness statements of attacks on the Bogle-L'Ouverture bookshop and notes written at the time of the incidents; letters of support from organisations and bookshops in Britain, America and the Caribbean; press cuttings and magazine articles about the events; letters, stickers and publicity materials sent to or left on shops by the National Front and the Ku Klux Klan (LMA/4462/J/01/009), and copies of photographs of damage done to the bookshops.

'Fourth Idea Bookshop' set up the 'Fascist Information Centre' to collect information about the attacks and to create a fund to assist the shops involved. A questionnaire was distributed to collate materials for a report and photocopies of documents are contained in the series. They aimed to compile a dossier of attacks and to start a security fund to assist with damage to bookshops.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

These records are arranged into six series:
LMA/4462/J/03 FLYERS;

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information may be subject to access restrictions.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to these records rests with the depositors.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Their archive collections were the first deposit from the African-Caribbean community to be made to the London Metropolitan Archives, in 2005, with additional deposits since that time.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
November 2009 to February 2010

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