Historian worried over ‘missing’ manuscript locked up in Centerprise
A 90-year-old author is distraught after his unpublished manuscript was left locked up in a community bookshop seized by the council.
Morris Beckman, who was born and raised in Hackney, says that he cannot access the only copy of his manuscript entitled The Hatemongers which he left at the Centerprise book store and community hub.
The 42-year-old store was evicted from its premises in Kingsland Road, Dalston in the early hours of November 1 after a long-running battle with landowners Hackney Council.
Mr Beckman, whose lost book charts the evolution of fascism and racism throughout the 20th century, said:
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“I want to get it back. I’m really concerned about the fact that I’ve worked very hard on it and may lose it. It belongs to me, not Hackney Council. I want them to open the door so I can get my manuscript back.”
Mr Beckman is best known for his book The 43 Group, which is about the fight against fascist groups in England.
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He said his relationship with Centerprise extended over many years. “My first involvement with Centerprise was 40 years ago”, he said. “They published my book The 43 Group. They were very taken by that. We were getting a lot of people wanting to buy and see it. I found myself doing a lot of talks by the group there.”
The former Hackney Downs pupil was one of the co-founders of the anti-fascist movement in 1945, which was set up by a group of Jewish ex-servicemen. Group members broke up far-right meetings, infiltrated fascist groups and attacked the fascists in street fighting. Hairdresser Vidal Sasson was a member before he set up his hair cutting empire.
A council spokeswoman said every effort was being made to assist third parties in removing possessions. She added: “We have also asked Centerprise to provide a list of any other organisations and individuals that have possessions in the building.”
Centerprise CEO of Emmanuel Amevor said: “We are working through all the problems we have so that all the writers’ manuscripts in the building are safe. The council has threatened to destroy them if we do not take them away.”