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The Siege of Sidney Street

10th April 2024 @ 8:00 pm

The Siege of Sidney Street
From the book cover of A Devilish Kind of Courage by Andrew Whitehead

The siege of Sidney Street in Stepney in 1911 was the most sensational shoot-out in London’s history. For an incredible six hours, two Latvian anarchists held at bay not only the London police but army sharpshooters as well. The two Latvians were wanted for the murder of three London police officers, shot dead when they interrupted an attempt by armed robbers to burrow into a City jewellery store.

Winston Churchill, then the Home Secretary, rushed top-hatted to the scene of the siege. When the besieged house caught fire, Churchill personally instructed the fire brigade not to douse the flames. The charred bodies of the two Latvians were found in the embers of the burnt-out building.

The incident has a disturbingly topical resonance – the shoot-out prompted a flare up of antisemitism and loud demands to restrict immigration and the right of asylum.

Today’s speaker, HHS member Andrew Whitehead, is the author of a new book on the incident, A Devilish Kind of Courage: Anarchists, Aliens and the Siege of Sidney Street.

Union Church Hall

Corner of Ferme Park Road/Weston Park
London, N8 9PX United Kingdom
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Free For members

Recommended donation for non-members is £5. Cash preferred.

The event is also available for members on Zoom.

Image credits

From the book cover of A Devilish Kind of Courage by Andrew Whitehead,