This exhibition documents the Sidney Street Siege in east London—where Lithuanian anarchists had a raging gun battle with police in 1911.
This was an exciting time in the East End. Radicals, communists, anarchists and socialists from across Europe—including Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin—filled East End cafes and social clubs.
The ruling class led a backlash against the “aliens” who came to London and plotted the downfall of Britain’s allies, but the local community frequently offered solidarity.
The exhibition shows a replica of a solidarity poster advertising a meeting organised by trade unionists and communists.
But in general the exhibition minimises the radicals’ side, preferring to concentrate on the incident where two police officers were “brutally murdered” by anarchists.
It fawns over what an “impressive figure” Winston Churchill made when he appeared on the scene.
The accompanying magazine is much better.
It was produced by the Jewish East End Celebration Society.
It has articles about the siege, and in depth political information and analysis of the area and the exhibition.
London under siege: Churchill and the anarchists, 1911.
Museum of London Docklands.