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Liverpool Peace Weeks

Olaf Stapledon, keynote speaker
"Bluecoat Chambers, Liverpool Arthur John Picton

“Bluecoat Chambers, Liverpool
Arthur John Picton

There were two Peace Weeks held in 1936 (September) and 1937 (5-13 June). In 1936, the keynote speaker was Olaf Stapledon, an author, who had been a pacifist in World War 1. Born on the Wirral, he had left-wing political affiliations and told the audience at the Bluecoat Chambers, Liverpool, that he believed that disarmament was the best strategy, but a heroic and risky one, for achieving peace. (1)

Stapledon also spoke to the pupils at Merchant Taylors’ Boys’ School in March 1937 on the topic of ‘Europe in the Melting Pot.’ He gave an analysis of present-day world political trends and a description of the Brailsford Plan for revitalising the League, which reportedly generated an interesting discussion. The school was also involved in the Peace Weeks. In the 1937 Peace Week, the play ‘Alice in Blunderland’ was performed twice and pupils from the school acted as stewards. They also helped at the Peace Shop, which was located on South Road and Mr T. C. Archer of the League of Nations Union, keynote speaker for the Peace Week, gave a talk at the School entitled ‘Why are the Nations Re-arming?’ (2)

References/Further Reading:

(1) R. Crossley, 1994. Olaf Stapledon (Utopianism and Communitarianism). Syracuse University Press.
(2) Merchant Taylors’ Review, June 1937 & Nov 1937. Merchant Taylors’ Boys’ School Archive.