Anorak | The Siege Of Sidney Street: When Anarchists Attacked (Photos)

The Siege Of Sidney Street: When Anarchists Attacked (Photos)

by | 16th, December 2010

YOU want anarchy on the streets of London? Real anarchy? Not a slogan, on an Arab headscarf and a bawdy chant about the police? You want real ultra violence backed by a fomenting rage against brutal oppression? On December 12, 2101, it arrived in London. On that day, Sidney Street, in Stepney, East London, became forever synonymous with the word “siege”.

Events began when three police were shot dead and two others crippled for life by a gang of Latvian anarchists marshalled by George Gardstein .

The group, fronted by the elusive Peter The Painter, aka Peter Paiktow, had been spotted trying to burgle a jewelers in Houndsditch in the City of London. The witness called the police. The unarmed police arrived. The gang fired.

Who Are These Fiends in Human Shape? ran the headline in the Daily Mirror. A £500 reward was posted. In the following days gang members were rounded up. Gardstein died, the victim of his side’s friendly fire.

Then a police grass saw the gang in Mrs Betsy Gershon’s flat in Sidney Street, Whitechapel. He told the police. On January 3 1911, the house was besieged.

Police fired at the building. But they were outgunned. The anarchists had German Mauser

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