On a bright Sunday morning seventy-five years ago today the East End became a battlefield in the continental struggle between Fascism and democracy that would engulf the world three years later. The Battle of Cable Street (external link) now rightly enjoys legendary status. Looking at the grainy images of the day’s events is a powerful reminder of a time when so much was at stake and how an East London conflict could have global resonance. On October 4th 1936 Oswald Mosley intended to commemorate the fourth founding anniversary of his British Union of Fascists by marching around 3000 ‘Blackshirts’ into the heart […]
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The story of London Tweed
So this is how the story goes. In 1826 a London merchant decides to buy some cloth from a weaver in Hawick, a town in the Scottish borders famous for its cloth production. Very happy with his order, he decides to get some more but – crucially – misreads the weaver’s dashed handwriting. Instead of ‘twill’ this Londoner reads ‘tweed’, and assumes this new cloth must take after the River Tweed which runs fast and clear through the textile areas of lower Scotland. ‘Tweed’ and not ’twill’ has been the term used ever since.
A few weeks ago I found myself surrounded by fascists. I was on my way to the West End when at Tower Hill station a large group of French-speaking men with assorted girlfriends and wives (I presume) entered my tube carriage.
Christina Broom: A pioneering photographer
It is almost a year now since I first laid eyes on an extraordinary private collection of photographs by Christina Broom.