Film on Scottish queer communist teacher showcased in New Cross

Ray Woolford introducing his new film. Pic: Imogen Adam

The first screening of a made-in-Deptford film about a Scottish queer communist teacher took place in Hatcham House, New Cross over the weekend.

The maker of the film Liberty, Ray Barron-Woolford, 64, is an activist and the co-founder of We Care Community Hub, a foodbank and second-hand shop based in Kath’s Place on 50 Friendly Street, Deptford.

The film focuses on Kath Duncan, a Scottish schoolteacher, and communist, who was part of the National Unemployed Workers Movement and Hunger marches during the 1930s.

Hatcham House’s live stream of Woolford’s introduction. Pic: @hatchhubs

Woolford says little was known about Duncan when he first started writing her biography, The Last Queen of Scotland.

During the 1931 general election, Duncan was the communist party candidate for Greenwich, where she received over 2,000 votes. She lived at 68 Ommaney Road, New Cross, during this period.

Woolford’s film also includes details of the fight for LGBTQ+ rights in the UK as Duncan herself was queer and married for convenience.

Woolford told ELL: “It’s been a difficult film to make because I want to fairly represent lots of people. I am humbled and delighted with the positive feedback”.

Hatcham House, Grade II listed building in New Cross and the site where the film was first shown. Pic: Imogen Adam

Stephen Carrick-Davies, Director of Hatcham House, told ELL: “A film like this shows the power of ordinary stories. Real people who had nothing but still put their heart and soul into making changes.”

The grade II listed building, where the screening took place, is of historical significance; it’s the site where 1930s working class marches for Southeast London were organised.

Moira Harbord, a retired teacher, and an audience member said: “I was thrilled to be able to watch this film. My daughter and I were talking about working-class women who were never recognised for their activism and Kath Duncan is one of those. I am proud to spread the word about Kath Duncan and try to get her story into the National Curriculum”.

The film is due to be screened again in Deptford, June 11 at Hatcham House, as part of a Pride event.

See the film’s trailer here.

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