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From Flat Caps to Benefit Caps

Anne McElvoy chairs a discussion about depictions of working class history in song, story and historical sources. The panel features Alison Light, David Almond and Eliza Carthy.

Anne McElvoy explores whether it is worth getting hot under the collar about blue collar history with historian Alison Light, David Almond and Eliza Carthy. Once upon a time the working class were heroes; their close-knit communities were celebrated. Has this working class disappeared along with the great industries - steel, coal and ship-building - that brought them into being? Is the working class now a figment of other people's dreams or nightmares?

Alison Light is the author of Common People: The History of an English Family, and a Visiting Professor in the School of English at Newcastle University

David Almond's novels for children and teenagers include Skellig, A Song for Ella Gray and My Name is Mina. His new novel for adults is The Tightrope Walkers.

Eliza Carthy has performed as a singer/songwriter and fiddle player for 21 years, presenting a range of music including ballads relating folk history. She is the current Folkworks Artistic Associate at Sage.

The discussion was recorded in front of an audience at BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival of Ideas at Sage Gateshead in 2014.

All the discussions and essays from the Free Thinking festival are available as Radio 3 Arts and Ideas downloads.

Available now

45 minutes


Role Contributor
Presenter Anne McElvoy
Producer Zahid Warley
Interviewed Guest David Almond
Interviewed Guest Eliza Carthy
Interviewed Guest Alison Light


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