Sunday, 28 March 2010

Cable Street

On Sunday 4 October 1936 Oswald Mosley and his Black Shirts tried to march through the East End, down Cable Street, to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the fascist British Union movement. Over 100,000 counter demonstrators stopped them. Mosley was “denied the streets of Stepney”

It’s generally thought that the Battle of Cable Street was fought between Black Shirts and the people of the East End but the fight was really between the entire London mounted police force plus 6,000 foot police against many separate groups, all anti fascists. Police led baton charges against the protesters but were unable to clear the way and rioting broke out. Mosley, who was to be married the next day in Goebbels’s Berlin home (Hitler was a guest), was afraid of being arrested and so called off the march.

Anti fascists won the day and Mosley was humiliated.


The mural was completed in 1981 and painted by Ray Walker, Paul Butler and Desmond Rochfort. Dave Binnington had originally planed the project but quit after early attempts were destroyed by vandals (or should that be modern day fascists).

Wilton’s is the oldest surviving music hall building in England. It was built by John Wilton in 1858 in Graces Alley, just off Cable Street and was used as a Music Hall for over thirty years. From 1888 to the 1950's it was used as a Wesleyan Mission Hall and destined for demolition in 1964 until successfully rescued by a campaign championed by John Betjeman.

Wilton’s still stages events despite its crumbling appearance and has featured in films such as The Krays and Interview with a Vampire.

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