Thursday 12 September 2024

Date: September 12, 2024
Location: ❑ Andrew Whitehead : A Devilish kind of courage

The Siege of Sidney Street in Stepney in 1911 was the most sensational shoot-out in London’s history. Two Latvian anarchists held out for six hours against armed police and army sharpshooters. About a thousand bullets were fired in total; tens of thousands of East Enders flocked to the scene; the cast list includes Winston Churchill, then the Home Secretary in a Liberal government, and the East End anti-hero, Peter the Painter. This talk by the locally based historian Andrew Whitehead – whose book A Devilish Kind of Courage: Anarchists, Aliens and the Siege of Sidney Street has recently been published to terrific reviews by Reaktion – looks at who the gunmen were, why they resorted to armed crime and how they were eventually overcome. He will also examine the uncomfortable contemporary resonances of the Sidney Street drama: the poisonous antisemitism unleashed by the incident and the chorus of concern about mass immigration and controversy about the right of asylum for those facing political and religious persecution

We’re delighted to welcome Andrew Whitehead back to CEDu3a. He is a historian, lecturer and freelance journalist who spent 35 years with the BBC as a correspondent, presenter and Editor of BBC World Service News. He is an honorary professor at the University of Nottingham and teaches American undergraduates in London for Global Education Oregon; he’s also a visiting professor at the Asian College of Journalism in Chennai, South India

□ Copies of A Devilish Kind of Courage will be available for sale at the talk