Home East London Whitechapel banner marks Battle of Cable Street anniversary

Whitechapel banner marks Battle of Cable Street anniversary

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The 85th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street, which stopped Mosley’s blackshirts marching through Whitechapel, is being marked by a commemorative banner created by today’s East End youth. 

The banner is being unfurled today (October 4) in front of the permanent mural in Cable Street about the barricades. 

A civic reception is also being staged at the former St George’s Town Hall by Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs with Interfaith Forum’s Rev Alan Green and the Cable Street Group. 

Crowds block Whitechapel High Street at Gardiner's Corner.


Crowds block Whitechapel High Street at Gardiner’s Corner… tram far left abandoned to block blackshirt march

– Credit: Tower Hamlets Archive

In 1936, some 200,000 protesters from the Jewish and Irish communities initially blocked Whitechapel High Street to prevent a march by 2,500 blackshirts.

Entrance to Cable Street blocked by anti-fascist protesters


Entrance to Cable Street blocked by anti-fascist protesters

– Credit: Tower Hamlets Archive

But the crowd got wind that the march was being diverted and 20,000 activists headed for Cable Street, where vehicles were overturned and paving stones ripped up for barricades.

Police fail to clear Cable Street barricades... so Mosley told to call off march


Police fail to clear Cable Street barricades… so Mosley told to call off march

– Credit: Tower Hamlets Archive

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Police trying to clear a path were met by a hail of missiles and protesters chanting: “They Shall Not Pass.”

Around 175 people were injured, including police officers, and 150 demonstrators arrested.

But Mosley, who was held up at Tower Hill by police unable to clear Cable Street, was forced to cancel the march.

The retreat has gone down in East End folk lore in the 85 years since as a people’s victory against the rise of fascism. 

Paving stones ripped up by defiant dockers to barricade Cable Street


Paving stones ripped up by defiant dockers to barricade Cable Street

– Credit: Tower Hamlets Archive

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