Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.
Event Series Event Series: Regional Speakeasies

FSU Manchester Speakeasy – Free Speech: A Radical History

July 20, 2023 at 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm UTC+0

SPEAKERS: FSU Manchester Speakeasy with local historian Michael Herbert of Red Flag Walks, Dr Cheryl Hudson of University of Liverpool and Jonathan Schofield, writer, Manchester tour guide and editor of Manchester Confidential.

DATE: Thursday 20th July 2023

VENUE: Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount St, Manchester M2 5NS

7PM – 8.30PM (followed by social at The Britons Protection).

EVENTBRITE LINK: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/free-speech-a-radical-history-tickets-643681587957?aff=oddtdtcreator

Join us on Thursday 20th July at the Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount St, Manchester M2 5NS, followed by a social at The Britons Protection.

Historically, from communists to slavery abolitionists, suffragettes to religious minorities, freedom of speech was considered an indispensable value for radical movements, and indeed democracy more generally. Yet today, free speech is more likely to be considered a potential problem than a core value, and concerns about free speech are often dismissed as a right-wing talking point.

Freedom of speech is, and has been throughout history, used to challenge injustice, overturn tyrannical regimes, expose crimes and corruption, challenge orthodoxies, and drive scientific debate and progress. At its broadest, free speech implies the right to decide for yourself what is right and wrong, true or nonsense, beautiful or ugly, good or evil.

Manchester’s radical past provides plenty of examples of how the struggle for free speech is always at the heart of political struggles against injustice and oppression. We have an expert panel of speakers who can help us explore the lessons we can learn from the bravery of our forebears.

Michael Herbert is a freelance historian who first came to Manchester in 1973 to study history at the University of Manchester. His published work includes Never Counted Out!, a biography of Len Johnson, the Manchester boxer and Communist; The Wearing of the Green, a political history of the Irish in Manchester; “Up Then Brave Women”: Manchester’s Radical Women 1819-1918 and “For the sake of the women who are to come after” Manchester’s radical women 1914-1945. He is compiling an anthology of the journalism of Madeline Linford (1895-1975), the first woman on the editorial board of the Manchester Guardian. He writes about radical history on his blog Red Flag Walks and about science fiction on his blog “Fantasies of Possibility”.

Dr Cheryl Hudson is a lecturer in US Political History at the University of Liverpool, and is former director of the academic programme at the Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford. Her research focuses on the histories of citizenship and political culture in the US and on the philosophy of history. She is co-editor of Ronald Reagan and the 1980s (Palgrave MacMillan, 2008) and Why Academic Freedom Matters (Civitas, 2016). Her forthcoming book is titled Citizenship in Chicago: Race, Culture and the Remaking of America Identity.

Jonathan Schofield is a Manchester tour guide, writer, broadcaster and public speaker. In 2021 he was awarded the Medal of Honour by the University of Manchester for services to the city and region. There have been fewer than fifty recipients of this medal. Jonathan has been a registered Blue Badge Guide since 1996 and is the Editor-at-Large of Manchester Confidential the city’s largest independent magazine. He is also the Editor of Manchester Books Limited and has written several books on the North West. He is a regular broadcaster on local and national radio.

There will, of course, be plenty of time for discussion, as well as socialising with fellow free speech supporters.

Tickets are £5, but FSU members can book FREE of charge.

Members receive free speech support and discounts for live events as well as exclusive access to online content, so do consider joining the Free Speech Union. Membership starts from as little as £2.49 per month.


July 20, 2023
7:30 pm - 8:30 pm UTC+0
Event Category:


The Free Speech Union
020 3920 7865
View Organiser Website


Friends’ Meeting House
Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount St
Manchester, M2 5NS United Kingdom
+ Google Map