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More banners on the Thalia Campbell to view

In the early 1980s The British Council commissioned two replica Greenham banners to be included in their Black and White Photo exhibition "A Woman's Place" 50 years of photos of women
It traveled around the world for five years.,Men at the Council tried to stop the banners being included and it caused division in the Council and an inquiry by Mrs Thatcher. The banners were Greenham Common Womens Peace Camp now on display in the V&A, soon to travel to Sydney Australia and Womens struggle won the vote, Use it for disarmament,

Celebration Cake

Celebration Cake

Fings ain't what they used to be ! © 1982

Fings ain't what they used to be !  © 1982



rish dung fires
On our September camper tour of Ireland a few years ago we often stayed on small creeks, beaches and estuaries where there usually was an old derelict wooden boat and a rusting winch.|One evening I fulfilled a long held plan and lit a fire from crisp dried cattle dung. The heat was sustained, fierce and clean burning. We sat by the fire as the sun set over the golden turquoise sea. It reminded me of the sky news visit to the Greenham camp on the 10th birthday when they challenged us about living in the open around our fire . We told them that this was the normal situation for most of the world. Sky also completely distorted what we said when interviewed around the fire when it went out on the evening news we felt used and abused, no internet then

Sky at G.common
After the Sky News Event around the fire they sent a large car down from London to take two of us to go out live on the news. They chose me as an original marcher and a woman living at the camp. We were made up, powdered, sprayed and perfumed, hair tidily turned under with hot tongs. and sprayed... I objected and insisted on natural coloured lipstick and told the girl I had not worn make up since the 1950s. We laughed. Once again coercive questioning to their Agenda. Earlier round the fire they had asked me what I thought of the Scruffy Lesbians at the Camp . They knew I was married with children. I said had I arrived at Greenham when I was younger my life could have been different hinting I could have been one of the women they wanted me to condemn .. this was not broadcast.

Banner - Thalia Campbell

Banner - Thalia Campbell
Soon after the nuclear industry started putting up their enormous stall at L.P.Conference one year women MPs MEPS And Delegates decided to wrap up the stall in peace banners so it could not be seen. we encircled it holding the banners....we had also wrapped up some of the men on the stall in peace banners . Because we were women it did not escalate into violence. It was us Bringing Greenham to the Conference. we had lively debates with the men on the stall.

This is a badge I painted 30 years ago, they were photocopied then cut out with a circle cutter and hand painted before being put through a hand pulled badge maker. Hamish

Original Leaflet given out on the March 1981

Original Leaflet given out on the March 1981

This banner was made by Hannah Tyrrel, Lucy Campbell and other girls who walked 120 miles from Cardiff to Greenham Common in September 1981. Lucy and Hannah slept under this Banner at the Main Gate at Greenham Common Air Base on 5 September 1981.



See their Greenham pages



Article from Western Mail - Wales - April 2011

This is a parody of a real event. When we did the Big December Demo
decorating the fence with items of meaning in our lives and held hands
thirty thousand of us around the nine mile fence. the women at Greenham
organising the event tried to book a skip firm to supply skips around
the base to hold rubbish. Newbury council told the skip firm they would
cancel council contracts if they supplied the Greenham women.. women
then organised black plastic bags at intervals around the base..
Women used them and tied the tops tidily and left them leaning against
the fence. We had an inspiring day in the mud and cold, there were
wedding dresses, family photos, photos of peoples fathers, grand
fathers and great grandfathers who were killed in wars, flowers,
clothes, poems, quotes , tea services, baby clothes, dolls, teddy bears,
baby's bottles, baby's bootees and banners all fastened to the fence.
As it got dark we held a nine mile circular candle lit vigil. Most
women went home but a few stayed. We stayed in our camper. We were woken
by the council rubbish trucks and council workers ripping all the
material off the fence After some hasty Soul Searching I rescued an
esperanto banner and couple of Dutch Banners.
The TV arrived, saw all the neat black plastic bags. Cut them open and
strewed rubbish everywhere and then filmed it with a snide misogynist
voice over... How filthy Greenham women were .etc .It went out on the
evening news . We were sitting with Ian's Mother house watching . She
believed the TV not our eye witness account.

A link to The Guardian interactive Greenham website click

fence Thalia looking at the empty misile silos
Year 2000 Green Gate Greenham
Cutting down the fence big time.....

This event was planned by word of mouth, no email then, We had a code
for boltcutters "black cardigans". The women living at the camp had made
preparations for the day by quietly cutting the lower two fixings of
the fence to the concrete posts. We had decided to dress up as witches.
It was Halloween . We had tea parties all around the fence. The police
and military had some idea we planned an action but thought it was to be
at night and we were going into the base. So when at Four o clock
hundreds of us got out our bolt cutters and started to cut down the
fence there were very few police on the outside of the fence but the
inside they had placed extra rolls of razor wire and lots of US
and UK personnel ready.
My folding bolt cutters were borrowed from a sculptor in N. Wales. The
were historic. His grandfather had used them to cut barbed wire in the
trenches in the first world war.
We only had to climb on each others shoulders and snip the top wire
fastening and the fence came tumbling down, miles of it. The police
spent a long time in sheer panic arresting a woman letting her go,
arresting another then another but it was a complete failure for about
twenty minutes . Then they had the bright idea of taking the wire
cutters off the women and throwing them into the base, This took time
and we got seven miles of fence down. The personnel inside the base
could not get out to stop us which was just as well as many of the
Americans had completely lost control of themselves and were jumping up
and down and screaming. They were armed with electric cattle prods,
pepper spray and side arms. As we cut down the fence in the woods out
side the base they took to their helicopters and flew so low at us to
try and blow us to the ground. It was surprising that none of the
helicopters got caught in the trees and people killed. The police
eventually took my wire cutters. I wrote letters to the police to ask
for the cutters back without success so I was nnable to return them
We were not going to go into the base, This enraged them as their entire
plan was to stop entry.

We made the fence at greenham beautiful with life afirming art works as well as powerful banners with links to history and international campaigns, and we cut it down , miles of it. it soon looked like moth eaten unravelling knitting......THE POLICE AND MILITARY COBBLED IT BACK TOGETHER
The firm who provided the fence came and sat around the fire having a cup of tea and told us the construction of the fence the strengh of the wire and the concrete and told us we could rock it back and forth and the posts would snap THEY DID snap !!!!!!
he wanted the contract for a new fence .....
the old victorian bottles deep green and royal blue were to show they were poisonous or corrosive
Thalia ....

badge Take a look at Your Greenham website click to view

Greenham Common remembered, 25 years on

Helen Carter
Wednesday September 6, 2006
The Guardian

A bit of the original perimeter fence at Greenham Common forms part of an exhibition at the Guardian Visitor Centre in London marking the 25th anniversary of the largest women's demonstration in modern history.
On August 27 1981 a group of 36 women, four men and several children set out to walk to Berkshire from Cardiff to protest about the imminent arrival of 96 American cruise missiles. It took them 10 days to complete the walk. They carried a leaflet which said: "Why are we walking 120 miles from a nuclear weapons factory in Cardiff to a site for cruise missiles in Berkshire?" On its reverse it showed a picture of a dead baby, deformed by radiation, in Hiroshima.
At the height of the peace camp in December 1982, 35,000 people turned up linking hands and arms and surrounded the nine-mile perimeter fence.
The exhibition includes 50 photographs, cartoons by Posy Simmonds, badges, posters and court documents - including papers where protesters attempted to take action against the then president Ronald Reagan and his deputy George Bush snr through the US federal courts. The exhibition also contains articles from the Guardian and Observer at the time to show how the protest was reported.

Among the well-known actors and politicians who visited the camp were Julie Christie, Yoko Ono, Neil Kinnock, Michael Foot and Sheila Hancock. Many of the original Greenham women went on to protest against Trident at Faslane in Scotland.

· Greenham Common 25 years on. September 6 to October 20 at the Newsroom, Guardian and Observer Archive and Visitor Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London. -


The Little Chef and Greenham

There are few places I'm less likely to eat these days than a Little Chef. Its problems are to do with class and history. People no longer use the A roads where most Little Chefs are situated.
The Newbury branch was a god-send in the days when I was up and down to the peace camp providing hot food and drinks and a pay phone where I could phone my copy to the office in London.
One bitterly cold new year's morning, longer ago than I care to remember, I went straight from a party in London and watched women from the camp break into the American air base at dawn and dance on the missile silos. After a while there were complaints from other customers (or so we were told) and the peace women had to stop using the Little Chef loos to wash off mud and grime acquired around the camp fire. But it was still a relief for journalists like myself to turn into the welcoming car park dashing betweeen the peace camp and the local magistrates' court.

Joan Smith - The Independent 02.01.2007

It started with a group of women with a passionate desire to secure their chidren's future - and became one of the most successful protest movements ever. Thalia was one of the original 36 who marched to the camp.

The women went to Comiso. They came back with broken arms and fractured skulls.
What ever our police did they were not so violent apart from one girl killed by a police horse box and another broke her ankle in the dark in a deep unmarked ditch at orange gate dug by the council. She did get compensation years later... it was a very bad break.
The only violence I ever suffered was when they tried to break my fingers as I tied the banners on the fence and when we blockaded the Base for a day when they threw us in the ditch repeatedly from 6am til 4pm the day after we had decorated the fence with precious
symbols of life photos of first world war grandparents, babies bootees, wedding dresses and such like things. there is so much to say about Greenham ... Thalia

Link to a comprehensive Greenham and Peace website click to view

My Involvement with Music was most active on the march and at Greenham.
We made up songs and reused old songs with new words. By singing at the
top of our voices with often spontaneous righteously angry words we
often held the police at bay for as much as four hours before they moved
in to remove us or arrest us. Singing was a powerful weapon at Greenham.
On the Greenham March on the way to the largest store of Nuclear Weapons
in Europe at Welford (we had deviated from our route) we had no
breakfast or much lunch and sang "Pack up your missiles in your Old Kit
bag and Leave boys leave" and other similar ditties. That day we walked
25 miles instead of Eight!
We presented the US Commander of the base with a bunch of Wild flowers
including Nettles, Brambles and Thistles. So showing him we cared about
the Environment with the presentation of this uncomfortable Bouquet.
At Brawdy In N Pembrokeshire where the US And UK monitored the
underwater movements of Nuclear submarines, Fourteen of us sang songs
for four hours whilst chained to a large anchor out side the Military
base others of us were singing whilst blockading the Main
(ONLY] Entrance for four days/nights sitting under the banner Womens
struggles won the vote .....Some police were moved to tears. After they
cut us from the anchor. They carried us very gently across the road and
put us gently on our Sleeping bags on the grass verge. Singing broke
down the "Us and them" with the police. Thalia

Leaving Cardiff on 27th august 1981.
That banner now lost
It is important that we acknowledge our art of social activism as an important historical record. Banners have been part of our activities for decades. Thalia Campbell, a banner maker and a founder of Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp, was inspired on the initial march to Greenham to organize the creation of a banner from a sheet. After the women made the banner, it continued to be used as a bed, a shawl, a screen and a baby-changing place. Campbell integrates her political convictions and her artistic talent; she makes dozens of banners and encourages others to make them as well. At a recent workshop in Victoria, she showed slides of 100 years of UK Women's Banner Making," based on her years of searching through archives and attics to exhibit this neglected political art form. This record of unnamed women in co-operatives, suffragettes, suffragists, peace groups, international solidarity, miners' strikes and childhood sexual abuse movements is an inspiring testimony to social event largely ignored by mainstream historians. At her workshops, Campbell develops a collective process in which participants design their own banners. After her workshop I made my first banner - for Hiroshima Day. At our next banner making workshop we want to make a banner with the powerful words of U.S. novelist Alice Walker: Resistance is the Secret of Joy.
From The Integration of Art and Politics
By Theresa Wolfwood

Link to the Danish Peace Academy Website

Extract from the book:
August 28th 1981 - The sun shone hot. We made friends - a woman called Thalia Campbell had brought her daughter Lucy and big felt pens and banner making things and someone had even thought to make our own postcard showing the route of the march. We were whipping up an infectious , mad-cap spirit of optimism. On walking to Devizes Thalia performed cartwheels , at which she was exceptionally good.
Read more.......
ISBN 1 870206 762


Banner designed by Thalia

Banner designed by Thalia
Early on the ten day greenham march we visited the first military base at Caerwent just before the severn bridge.We had not had much time to get to know each other and we surprised ourselves and the police and the military by treating them as men had often treated us with lewd verbal abuse at the top of our voices. It was GREAT FUN, powerful and quite heady. The men were very distressed. embarrassed and surprised...THEY DID NOT KNOW WHERE TO LOOK..AND BEING ON DUTY COULD NOT WALK AWAY. As we left we discussed how inappropriate our behaviour had been. we decided we had to win the hearts and minds of everyone and this was not the way.

From the Daily Mirror 2nd September 2006

From the Daily Mirror 2nd September 2006

"I wasn't involved in the early evictions at the local court, but I did happen to be at Greenham the day the council officers came round to take the names of the people to evict when it was going to the High Court. I was at the Yellow Gate and these two men in suits turned up and I was the first woman to speak to them and foolishly I gave them my name, which meant the action in the Royal Court in London was Newbury District Council and 17 named others. The other women after that didn't give their names and they had great trouble in finding their names. So I had the experience of going through an eviction procedure for Greenham in the High Court, which was quite terrifying really. I came home and decided to hide away, because at that time the law said that an eviction had to be placed in your hand. But the Conservative government had just changed the law and it meant that the eviction notice could be nailed to your premises. So I came down here and hid away in various farms in the hills thinking that I couldn't be evicted if they couldn't find me to give me my eviction notice. But I decided to go up to Greenham to support my friends and when I got there we found there were these big brown envelopes nailed to the trees with our names on them like the wild west. When I went up there to support my friends in the court I found I was the first one in the court and had I not gone up there I wouldn't have even known I was in court because it was nailed to a tree at Greenham, my eviction notice. So I rang my son and he said "Mum will I ever see you again?" I think he had visions of me going straight off to prison and he was quite worried as well, I was quite worried too really." Thalia Campbell

Art without content is mere decoration

Art without content is mere decoration


A Video - the making of a Monument

 A Video - the making of a Monument

The organisers of mass protests against nuclear weapons recall how they mobilised thousands of women during the 1980s at the Greenham Common airbase. This was a peculiarly British stand against the presence of US 'Cruise' missiles at the nominally UK but actually US controlled Berkshire airbase. As the story of the protest is recalled a monument is being constructed in memory of the well-known women's peace camp.
Ian and Thalia Campbell's dense and textured video about the making of the Greenham Common Monument.
The monument is a life sized bronze sculpture that commemorates the Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp and their 19 year effort to prevent guided nuclear missiles from being sited at the Greenham Common Air base in Berkshire.
Thalia recalls their presentation: "It was very thrilling to see the response of the Audience to our Video 'Greenham the making of a Monument.' It seemed to be appreciated by all ages and both sexes, academics and non academics alike.
Watching the video as part of the audience in Sheffield, I realised how rarely we hear unmediated women's voices. We do see women on TV and hear them on radio, but I always feel it’s not their agenda or / their script! Apart from Woman's Hour that is!! We did wonder how the women speaking about the Greenham march with the sculpture being made simultaneously would work, but it did work and quite well we thought. We had worked so hard for so long and were so close to it!"
The video worked a treat and during question time a range of other activists came out of the audience and saluted Ian and Thalia's sterling effort.

WW2 On 9th July 2005 Thalia attended
the unveilling by the Queen of the memorial statue
dedicated to the Women of World War Two
in Whitehall London

I saw it on the web site and it did not look good
A million pounds of our Money so it certainly should

I got on the bus from Wales before dawn
Still dark, cold dew on the lawn

Woman, woman where have you been?
I've been up to London to look at the Queen
Meeting the women of world war two
Celebrating the work they had to do.

She unveiled a monument, What a to do!
The women asked each other does this represent you?
The emotional message made women feel sore.
Its bizarre ,weird ,disturbing, insulting , women belittled sad, black and dour,
It's like an old clothes shop, or a lynching and hanging in any past war
It's ,disappointing and not what we want. The police thought so too.
We would have liked something better , for our brave and our bold,
Our hopes and our fears, our faces, our bodies, our children too.

Those hanging colourless uniforms with no bums or tits
Too much was left to the old establishment male gits
(Not how I normally speak of men but the rhyme was irresistible!)
A failure of them and us once again!

Women wrote letters to say what they thought
Often unanswered they all came to nought.
Public Meetings would have been good!
The artist what say did he have?
More on TV and a real dialogue
Were women in Wales asked what they wanted?

Woman, Woman. What did you do?
I took up some leaflets to share with you.

Young women fly past in helicopters and tornados
The songs, bands and speeches wove a magic spell.
I just can't share these leaflets. Oh Hell!!
If I take them back home my man will say I'm a wimp!

Because of the bombs we stood far off with a few,
Many silver haired and fragile too
An ATS woman who stood for hours with no chair
said have you some leaflets to spare?
Give me some leaflets, we'll pass them around.
Yes I agree with you It's got to be said
We were promised three bronze figures right from the start
One for of each of the services, A real work of art.
Its our work that should celebrated not our return to the home.
Our fortitude, bravery and comradeship should be seen.
Our jobs could be in words carved on the plinth.

After so many years it's all that we've got.
Will it speak to the Future? I rather fear not.
In beautiful bronze figures our spirit and humanity should be there for all time

Written on the bus coming home 11.July 2005

Thalia Campbell ©