Was held on Saturday, 11th June, and Sunday, 12th June, 2005 at the Concordia Hall, Church Road, St Leonards-on-Sea. Nearest BR station St Leonards, Warrior Square. click here for map

Saturday, 11th June

10.30. Hall opens for refreshments

11.00. Official opening by Pam Brown, Mayor of Hastings

11.15. Talk on 'Annotating Tressell: In search of Sir Graball." given by Peter Miles, University of Wales, editor of the forthcoming Oxford University Press edition of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.

12.15. Brion Purdey, popular local Hastings historian on the General Election of 1945 in Hastings.

13.00 Lunch

13.45 Visit to Hastings Museum to view Tressell artefacts.

15.00 Well known man of letters and socialist historian, Keith Flett speaking on 'The Origins of Socialism in Europe, and the Politics of Robert Tressell'.

16.00 Break for tea

16.30 Mike Smith-Rawnsley on the role of women characters in the Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.

The Festival was officially opened by The mayor of Hastings, Cllr Pam Brown with Hastings' MP, Michael Foster (right) and leader of Hastings Council, Cllr Jertemy Birch (left)

Sean Curtis, our favourite Irish musician and singer, back by popular demand.

Pauline Bradley, singer, songwriter, sings her own brand of socialist songs - talking to Susannah

The Mad Hatters, legendary energetic jazz band

Sunday, 12th June

10.30. Hall opens for refreshments.

11.00 Tristram Hunt, Guardian writer and commentator, recently editor of the new Penguin edition of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.

12.30. Lunch

15.15. Assemble to join start of Robert Tressell walk round sites in Hastings with Dr Trevor Hopper from Brighton University, and author of Robert Tressell’s Hastings.
The walk will end at Ladies Parlour on Hastings West Hill, where we will enjoy a birds-eye history of Hastings with local historian and journalist, Steve Peak.

The rest of the day was spent by another visit to Hastings Museum, and gathering at the Concordia Hall for discussion and ideas for forthcoming festivals

Brion Purdey

Keith Flett

Mike Smith Rawnsley
Steve Peak and Peter Miles chat with Dr Julie Cairnie, a visitor from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada
Dr Trevor Hopper presents a Tressell Badge to Tristram Hunt

Refreshments, including light lunches were available throughout the weekend, plus licensed bar on the Saturday evening.

The video of Give Us This Day, the dramatised version of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists was shown and there were also book signings by Peter Miles and Tristram Hunt.

The Robert Tressell Festival is sponsored by The Co-Operative Group South East and the Senlac Guest House, Cambridge Gardens, Hastings. We also gratefully acknowledge the help given by Kevin Boorman at Hastings Council Tourism and Leisure Department

For further information please e-mail: or phone 01424 460735.

Somewhere to stay? - Senlac Guest House

More information about Hastings? - Hastings Borough Council


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