Address:St. George’s Town Hall, Cable Street, Tower Hamlets.
Size: 60′ x 55′
Materials: Keim Silicate paints.
Commissioned by: Dan Jones, Tower Hamlets Council to commemorate the original Battle of Cable Street, 1936.
“On 4th October 1936 the people of the East End halted a march by fascists in what has gone down in history as ‘The Battle of Cable Street’. People from the Jewish community, communists, trade unionists, Labour Party members, Irish dockers and labourers joined forces to oppose the march through Stepney planned by Sir Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists (BUF) and thousands of his followers, known as ‘Blackshirts’. Their uniforms echoed those used by their counterparts in Italy and Germany and the arm-raised salute was used as a symbol of their political allegiance.
The planned route was through an impoverished area with a high concentration of Jewish residents and was seen as a deliberate provocation. The government of the day refused the request by Jewish, local and community groups to ban the march and on the day over 250,000 East Londoners took to the streets to bar the way to British fascism. The Spanish Civil War had begun a few months earlier and opposition to Mosley’s Blackshirts was seen as the same struggle as that being fought by the Spanish Republicans against Franco’s German and Italian backed Nationalists. The slogan used by the Republicans in the defence of Madrid was adopted at the barricades in Cable Street – They Shall not Pass (No Pasaran).
The ensuing action ensured that Mosley’s marchers were turned back – and political history was made. One resulting legacy was The Public Order Act of 1936, banning the wearing of political uniforms in public. More importantly, on the day itself, the fascists ‘did not pass’ and the people of the East End played a crucial role in the defeat of organised British fascism for decades to come.” Taken from an information board adjacent to the mural.
The mural was restored in 2011 by Paul butler.
Funded by: Arts Council of Great Britain, Greater London Arts Association. Vincent Harris Mural Trust. London Borough of Tower Hamlets. restoration works funded through Section 106 funds by developers Ballymore.