Skip to main content

Greenwich Outrage 130th anniversary event: a panel discussion about the Greenwich Outrage, followed by a screening of Alfred Hitchcock's "Sabotage" (1936), which was loosely inspired by the incident

When: Wednesday, February 14, 2024, 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Where: Royal Observatory Greenwich, Romney Road, Greenwich, London, SE10 9NF


A part of On Direct Action series of events marking the 130th anniversary of the Greenwich Outrage, to consider the ways that revolutionary pasts can inspire contemporary praxis

About the event series "On Direct Action"

‘Pray… / For Boudin, blown to pieces’, wrote TS Eliot about the anarchist killed in 1894 when a bomb he was carrying detonated accidentally in Greenwich Park. Martial Bourdin’s intentions that cold winter’s morning have always been unclear – was he really trying to blow up the Observatory, site of the Prime Meridian line, in the name of revolutionary anarchism? ‘It would be really telling if one could throw a bomb into pure mathematics’, joked Joseph Conrad in The Secret Agent, his fictional account of the event – ‘an act of destructive ferocity so absurd as to be incomprehensible, inexplicable, almost unthinkable; in fact, mad’.

Incomprehensible, inexplicable, unthinkable, mad: these are the clichés often used to describe direct action in the media, where ideological gestures always also appear as oddly aesthetic forms of symbolism and spectacle. Now, from museums and galleries to sport and infrastructure, from performance art to strikes and sabotage, groups such as Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil have put direct action front and centre of contemporary political engagement.

Two days of creative performances, workshops, film screenings and talks will take the 130th anniversary of the ‘Greenwich Bomb Outrage’ as an opportunity to bring organisers, activists, scholars and artists together in order to consider the past, present and possible futures of direct action.

These events are generously funded by the Raphael Samuel History Centre, the British Association of Victorian Studies and QMUL's IHSS Early Career Workshop Funding Scheme.

For other events in this series, visit the Eventbrite page.

Please book tickets via Royal Observatory Greenwich web page

Back to top