After Cable Street

On October 4 th 1936, Oswald Mosley and his British Union of Fascists (known as the Blackshirts) attempted to march through the streets of East London. Although the march had permission from the Home Secretary and massive support from the police, the local people (predominantly Jewish at that time) succeeded in turning the provocative march back. This event has gone down in history as the Battle of Cable Street.

Although it couldn’t turn back history in the same way, this event at least alerted British people to what was unfolding in Europe at the time – fascist dictatorships in Italy and Portugal, the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, the rise of Hitler – and the dangers and consequences of nationalism and racial or religious intolerance. Now, after two generations of largely successful European post-war reconstruction, reconciliation, coexistence and social harmony, we seem to be heading that way again.

Remembering Cable Street is more than a nostalgic exercise or routine historical commemoration, therefore – it is something of a wake-up call.

Our week-long programme at the beginning of October, culminating in two spectacular shows (at St John's Church, Bethnal Green and Rich Mix, Shoreditch), embraced the whole spectrum of East London’s cultural communities today as contributors, participants or audiences.

We have now developed AFTER CABLE STREET into a powerful one-hour stand-alone show, reflecting on the recent rise in hate crime, xenophobia and racial and religious intolerance. Available until further notice.

Here are dramatic documentary photos from the Battle of 1936, interspersed with images from the famous mural.


Stay In Touch