Alternative information centre

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For the Palestinian/Israeli NGO, see Alternative Information Center.

The alternative information centres were a feature of the anarcho-pacifist attempt at social engineering from the bottom up which took place from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s and which was referred to as the alternative society. One of these centres was in West London and was called BIT, a name which is a pun on the computer term for the smallest possible unit of information and 'Beta IT' as it was started by activists allied to "International Times". Another centre was in east London and was called simply East. The one in Manchester was called M.A.G.I.C. (Manchester Alternative General Information Centre) and there was also one in Glastonbury, Somerset.

The centres were promoted through the underground press alongside of the drugs information centre at Release. The clip seen in the image above is the Community Services listing from International Times of September 1971 and shows listed the following alternative information centres:

  • Amsterdam: Release
  • Brighton: Bit by Bit
  • Bristol: Buzz
  • Cardiff: Rib
  • Cornwall: Ohm
  • Devon: Ark/Dwarves
  • Glasgow: Gap
  • Hull: Outsider Projects
  • Lancaster: Shop
  • Leeds: Lip
  • Lincoln: Oasis
  • Liverpool: Open Projects
  • London: Advise, Agitprop, BIT, Nightline, Release
  • Manchester: Magic
  • Preston: (no name listed, only a phone number)
  • Portsmouth: Community Advice
  • Rochdale: Axis
  • Stoke-on-Trent: Cleveland Wrecking Yard
  • Uxbridge: Unit One