Blog > Fascism in the East End

Fascism in the East End

In October 1936 violence erupted on the streets of the East End. The British Union of Fascists, inspired by Hitler’s Blackshirts, decided to stage a march through the largely Jewish East End. They were met at Cable Street by 100,000 anti-fascist protestors and driven out, but even after the Battle of Cable Street the Fascists remained popular in Bethnal Green. At Oxford House, the residents watched with alarm. Writing in the aftermath of the battle, they said, ‘There has been an amazing increase of feeling against the Jews and such an undesirable state of affairs cannot be ended by pretending it does not exist’.

‘Endless meetings and demonstrations’ generated strong public feeling. ‘An impartial observer must admit that the ordinary man in the street gets better value from the Fascists than from their opponents … Promises of a better world and prosperity all round are received in silence, the audience has heard all that before, but abuse of the Jews is warmly applauded’.

The theology students of Oxford House blamed the popularity of the Fascists on the poor quality of life in the East End, speaking of ‘the resentment and fear of losing his livelihood’ of ‘the average East Ender’. For unemployed youth, they claimed;

‘Pleasure and excitement are the sole objects of existence, gambling has become an ingrained habit, and the sense of duty has not been developed in any way. The widespread ideals (through films and cheap American magazines) of success through violence and smartness have influenced their outlook, and this claim is a prolific ground for the growth of hooliganism and predatory activities.’

Poster advertising the march against fascism. Wikipedia.

Poster advertising the march against fascism. Wikipedia.

It was this ‘sense of duty’ that Oxford House tried to develop, providing Men’s’ and Boy’s clubs to educate and entertain the community. Despite their efforts, however, the Fascists won 23% of the vote in Bethnal Green in the 1937 local elections, and their popularity would prevail until the outbreak of war.

Text: Lucy Valsamidis and Mira Koplovic

1: Poster advertising the march against fascism. Wikipedia.




Oxford House in a Changing World Workers and Welfare: Living Conditions of the 1800’s East End On This Day... 30th November 1891 WANTED: Archivist for heritage project Fascism in the East End The Blitz The Original Oxford House Conscientious objectors The Welsh Schools The Excelsior The Effects of World War I in Oxford House War Memorial The Inauguration of the Oxford House Building 1892 From Oxford House to Local and International Stardom In the Spotlight: the Repton Boxing Club and Oxford House Hensley Henson, Oxford House leader The Kray Twins Alfred Soord, The Crucifixion. Oxford House Chapel Women and Oxford House Oxford House and its Clubs Why you should donate to save our secret chapel The Bethnal Green Tube Tragedy The Webbe Boys’ Club Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It’s Super Kid (a.k.a. Eddie Marsan) Save Oxford House's 'Secret' Chapel Oxford House and Arthur Foley Winnington-Ingram Our resolution? Raise all the funds to start our major heritage project Post War Regeneration of Bethnal Green Weavers’ Fields and the Huguenots Guy Clutton-Brock: from Oxford House to hero of Zimbabwe WWI: Zeppelins or ‘Take me back to dear old Blighty’ The Hidden Gem: Oxford House Chapel History in the making Oxford House and Ben Uri Gallery The Chapel Oxford House Musical and Dramatic Association 1903 Oxford House Arms: Dominus Illuminatio Mea Why is Oxford House listed as Grade II Heritage? Heritage Lottery Fund - 'Oh! ‘wins’ the lottery' Who designed Oxford House? The Boys and Men’s Clubs in the 19th and early 20th century Why a new building in 1891? Rise under Rev. Winnington-Ingram How it all begun. Clubs and activities at Oxford House 1884 Who created Oxford House? What is a settlement? 130 Not out! Our pre-history: The Oxford Movement From Victorian Gap Year to Community Hub
archive categories
Oxford House
Derbyshire Street,
Bethnal Green,
London E2 6HG
020 7739 9001

Sign up for eNewsletter
© oxford house by bethnal green 2014 . copyright . all rights reserved . powered by devstars
Charity Number: 208582 . Company No: 59858 . VAT Registration No: 752 0306 67