Guide to East London

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The Soviet Connection

At the turn of the century the East End was a second home for many political refugees from Eastern Europe, Russia, Germany and France. The architects of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, Litinov, Gorky and others stayed in Whitechapel. In May 1907, the 5th Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, forerunner to the Bolshevik Party, took place in Fulbourne Street, opposite the London Hospital.

Whitechapel has been host to various people wanting to achieve social, political or religious change. From 1906 to 1914 you would find the Anarchist Club in Jubilee Street, frequented by the charismatic leader of the Jewish radicals Rudolf Rocker. He would speak at open air meetings outside the school in Buck's Row.

Lenin is known to have been in London for a year (1902 -1903) when he addressed at least two meetings in Whitechapel, the second one being on 21 March 1903 at the Alexander Hall in Jubilee Street. The obvious contrast between the affluent West End and poverty in the East End must have affirmed belief in class struggle by social agitation and strikes.

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