Guide to East London

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Cable Street

Stepney, E1. Tube: Tower Hill, Shadwell. Docklands Light Railway (DLR): Tower Gateway

Some of the maritime industries which grew up in the riverside hamlets are remembered in local street names, such as Cable Street, where ships' cables and ropes were manufactured. The original street was only the length of a cable - 600 feet, but the road now extends from Royal Mint Street to Butchers' Row, near Commercial Road. The few Georgian buildings that remain are caught in the picture below. industries which grew up in the riverside hamlets are remembered in local street names, such as Cable Street, where ships' cables and ropes were manufactured. The original street was only the length of a cable - 600 feet, but the road now extends from Royal Mint Street to Butchers' Row, near Commercial Road. The few Georgian buildings that remain are caught in the picture below.

Cable Street is known for its 'battle' which took place there on Sunday 4 October 1936. The East End area was a melting pot of races and cultures. London's Jewish population was around 183,000 of which 60% lived in the East End with 52% of those living in the Borough of Stepney. Anti-semitism increased in line with the deteriorating social conditions in East London and Fascism was rearing its head across Europe.

The British Union of Fascists (BUF) organised against the Jewish community, seeing them as the cause of all the problems, and of being part of a world wide conspiracy of world domination as purported by the notorious forgery "The protocols of the Elders of Zion".

In the spring of 1936 Oswald Mosely targeted the East End as a focal point for BUF activity. The intended fascist parade through Cable Street parade was intended as being a show of strength.

The Labour, Communist and Trades Union movement responded with a campaign to "fight against fascism". The battle of Cable street showed that Mosely and his blackshirts that their brand of hate were not wanted. The battle is one of the most symbolic in working class history.

Around the corner from where the Battle of Cable Street took place, in John Fisher Street, there is a war memorial on the side of K Block on the Peabody Estate. This commemorates the bombing during the Blitz during which many people were killed.



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