Battle Of Cable Street

The Battle of Cable Street is marketed as the day when the common people of the East End rose up and fought off the nasty Fascists led by Oswald Mosley, the head of the British Union of Fascists. The truth is very different. Communist agitators succeeded in gathering thousands(?) of like minded supporters, who were held back by the police. Oswald was told by the police to withdraw so he did being a law abiding sort of man. That is the position put by James Morton, a solicitor, one time editor of the New Law Journal. He wrote it up in Gangland Bosses: The Lives of Jack Spot and Billy Hill at pp. 65 et seq. He also gave us another book, Bent Coppers. His telling is substantially the same as the Wikipedia's - see the Battle of Cable Street ex Wiki. Mr Morton reads as honest, quoting sources helps. Mosley formed his own party latter. Recall that it was the Labour Party that treated the Jarrow Marchers with contempt.

Spartacus, a communist propaganda operation gives Oswald Mosley a fair sounding write up. He was big in the Labour Party and sympathised with the honest Working Man during the Depression years.

The Battle of Cable Street ex Wiki
The Battle of Cable Street took place on Sunday 4 October 1936 in Cable Street in the East End of London. It was a clash between the Metropolitan Police, overseeing a march by members of the British Union of Fascists,[1] led by Oswald Mosley, and various anti-fascist demonstrators, including local Jewish, socialist, anarchist and communist groups. The majority of both marchers and counter-protesters travelled into the area for this purpose. Mosley planned to send thousands of marchers dressed in uniforms styled on those of Blackshirts through the East End, which then had a large Jewish population.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews denounced the march as anti-Semitic and urged Jewish people to stay away. The Communist Party of Great Britain, under the leadership of Phil Piratin, led the opposition forces. Piratin's role was widely recognised by local people.[citation needed] The following year, he became the first Communist to be elected to Stepney Borough Council. In 1945, he was elected as a Communist MP for Mile End.

Despite the strong likelihood of violence, the government hesitated to ban the march and a large escort of police was provided in an attempt to prevent anti-fascist protesters from disrupting the march.

The anti-fascist groups built roadblocks in an attempt to prevent the march from taking place. The barricades were constructed near the junction with Christian Street, towards the west end of this long street. An estimated 100,000 anti-fascist demonstrators turned out, and were met by 6,000 police, who attempted to clear the road to permit the march of 2,000-3,000 fascists to proceed.[2] The demonstrators fought back with sticks, rocks, chair legs and other improvised weapons. Rubbish, rotten vegetables and the contents of chamber pots were thrown at the police by women in houses along the street. After a series of running battles, Mosley agreed to abandon the march to prevent bloodshed. The BUF marchers were dispersed towards Hyde Park instead while the anti-fascists rioted with police. About 150 demonstrators were arrested, although some escaped with the help of other demonstrators. Several members of the police were kidnapped by demonstrators. Around 175 people were injured including police, women and children.


Commemorative plaque in Dock Street

Many of the arrested demonstrators reported harsh treatment at the hands of the police.[3] Most were charged with the minor offence of obstructing police and fined 5, but several of the ringleaders were found guilty of affray and sentenced to 3 months of hard labour.[citation needed]

The Battle of Cable Street was a major factor leading to the passage of the Public Order Act 1936, which required police consent for political marches and forbade the wearing of political uniforms in public. This is widely considered to be a significant factor in the BUF's political decline prior to World War II.[citation needed]

In the 1980s, a large mural depicting the battle was painted on the side of St George's Town Hall. This building was originally the vestry hall for the area and later the town hall of Stepney Borough Council. It stands in Cable Street, about 150 yards (140 m) west of Shadwell underground station. A red plaque in Dock Street commemorates the incident.

Steven Berkoff's East (1975) includes a depiction of the event; an eponymous play commemorating the events was written by Simon Blumenfeld and first performed in 1987; and in 2006 a short film was produced featuring a remembrance from a grandfather to his grandson. The 2010 revival of BBC drama Upstairs, Downstairs included several scenes of the Battle of Cable Street, although the drama wrongly suggested that Protesters and BUF actually clashed, verbally if not physically.[citation needed]

For the 75th Anniversary in October 2011, there were numerous events planned in East London, including music[4] and a march,[5] and the Cable Street Mural was restored.

See also


Bent Coppers by  by James Morton
Tracing back to the earliest years of the police force in Britain, this book shows how opportunities for corruption have always existed, whether the temptation be money, the fabrication of evidence or the maltreatment of suspects. Controversial cases in recent years, such as the Guildford Four, the Birmingham Six and Broadwater Farm, have tarnished the force's reputation and resulted in the reluctance of juries to convict on police evidence alone. This survey of corruption, in particular within the Metropolitan Police, provides an assessment of the opportunities open to officers, and discusses the role played by some lawyers, magistrates and judges. James Morton, who for 25 years was a solicitor involved primarily in defence work, was a co-author of Nipper , the story of the man who brought the Krays to justice, and also wrote Gangland , a study of London's underworld.

About the author (1993)

James Morton edits THE NEW LAW JOURNAL, and has long experience as a solicitor specialising in criminal work. He lives in Barnet.

Gangland Bosses: The Lives of Jack Spot and Billy Hill by James Morton
If you have an interest in this era of London crime then there are some very informative parts of this book. The description of Spot's early days is good, as is the story of his fall. You also get a good picture of the street betting and racecourse action of the pre- and post-war eras, before betting shops were legalised.............

There is reference made to an incident involving Spot at a boxing bill featuring 'Randy Turpin vs Marcel Cerdan' which the author states probably never took place as Randolph never fought Cerdan. Correct, but Randolph's brother Dick fought Cerdan at the venue in question, so the story likely has some foundation. A quick lookup on a boxing site would also have shown that Cerdan didn't die in the year the author states! When you consider the amount of research he clearly did to produce this book and similar it's odd that he'd let that slip. But leaving that aside, the research notes are interesting in themselves, with a lot of extra detail.