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Tower Hamlets remembers The Battle of Cable Street — 85 years on

Remembering the Battle of Cable Street

Remembering the Battle of Cable Street

Residents, community leaders and faith leaders came together on Monday 4 October, to remember the Battle of Cable Street - 85 years on.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Reverend Alan Green, Chair, Tower Hamlets No Place for Hate Forum, Unmesh Desai, London Assembly member,  and Speaker of Council, Cllr Mohammed Ahbab Hossain were joined by community representatives including Leon Silver, President of Nelson Street Synagogue,  Shadwell, and Dan Jones, member of the Cable Street Group, in front of the historic Cable Street mural where they unveiled a new commemorative banner created by community group Stitches in Time.

Mayor Biggs said: “In Tower Hamlets we have a long and proud history of taking a stand against all forms of hate and intolerance. The Battle of Cable Street saw huge political, economic and social shifts in Tower Hamlets and nationally. It is important that we take the time to remember those from our community who stood shoulder-to-shoulder to fight fascism in the Battle of Cable Street and came together to affect change.

“The Battle of Cable Street is part of the East End’s DNA. It is the symbol of what makes us such a tolerant and cohesive community. We shall not forget it and everything it stands for.”

The Battle of Cable Street took place on 4 October 1936 on Cable Street in the Metropolitan Borough of Stepney (now London Borough of Tower Hamlets).

On the day, the British Union of Fascists (BUF) led by Oswald Mosely planned to march through the East End of London, which was home to many Jewish people.

An estimated 100,000 local residents petitioned the then Home Secretary, John Simon, to ban the march because of the strong possibility that it would turn violent. Simon refused, sending police to escort the BUF in an attempt to prevent any anti-fascist protestors disrupting the march.

An anti-fascist group built roadblocks and an estimated 20,000 demonstrators turned out, which were met by 6,000-7,000 police (including mounted police) who attempted to clear the road to allow an estimated 2,000-3,000 fascists to march along Cable Street.

They were met by demonstrators and around 175 people were injured, including police, women and children and 150 demonstrators were arrested.

In the end, Oswald Mosley and his black shirts were forced to retreat, and the police escorted them back to Central London.

Reverend Alan Green said: “The Battle of Cable Street was an important victory in preventing the rise of fascism in this country in the years before the war. We must remain vigilant today so that in our wonderful diverse and vibrant borough there is No Place for Hate.

Created by local young people using funds from the Mayors’ Covid Recovery Fund. The commemorative banner will be on display at the Brady Arts Centre.


Posted on Tuesday 5th October 2021