Posts Tagged ‘Ian Bone’

We Need A New Party

Friday, April 29th, 2022

We Need A New Party: If you spend any time thinking about politics in the UK you are likely now to be feeling pretty depressed. We don’t really just need a new party, we need a new system and particularly a new system of voting. First past the post is long past its use-by date.

We Need A New Party
Class War arrive at Buckingham Palace for their 2015 manifesto launch

First past the post (FPTP) was designed to give stable government and also to provide a firm bond between the voters in their constituencies and parliament via their MP. But that is a bond which has in many areas been broken by the actions of the two main parties, particularly in the imposition of party candidates against local opinion. But FPTP has also led to the development of a political class whose experience, aims and interests are often very different to those of the people they supposedly represent.

We Need A New Party - Adam Clifford
Westminster candidate Adam Clifford speaks in front of Buckingham Palace gates

Our geographical constituencies also lead to inequalities in the representation of voters, some simply a matter of the ways that populations have grown up around centres of employment, but also the party influences on the drawing of boundaries.

We’ve also seen, particularly since the 1970s, a central government that has increasingly hobbled the activities of local government, with some disastrous effects, particularly over the provision of social housing. The abolition of the GLC was perhaps the most public expression of Westminster’s disdain. Devolution in recent years has done something to reverse this, though not in the English regions, and the introduction of directly elected mayors has largely been ineffectual (and sometimes poisonous.)

We Need A New Party - Ian Bone
Ian Bone of Class War

Attempts to form new parties to challenge the rule of Conservative and Labour have been largely unsuccessful, as although the Green Party may have achieved 2.7% of the vote in the 2019 it only ended up with one MP, rather than the 17 an equal election system would have given. There have been many proposals for a better voting system and some which better retain the link between the the elected representative and a local area. But perhaps we need to go further, taking steps that remove the idea of a political class. We should get the continuity of government that we need from a professional and non-political civil service, not from representatives who feel they have a right to continue in office year after year until they become senile.

Labour did offer the electorate a choice in both 2017 and 2019 – and came close to winning in 2017, defeated largely by the actions of party officials and right-wing Labour MPs. Since then the party has lost much of its membership income and has moved towards being a party financed by wealthy individuals, losing much of its connections with the grass roots. It seems to be aiming at becoming a Tory clone in order to win back voters who deserted it over Brexit in 2019.

Perhaps a new party will emerge from those Labour grass roots and others on the left for our next election, and there are some areas where it could become popular, particularly if Labour put up candidates in opposition to currently serving left Labour MPs as seems likely. But it seems unlikely to gain the kind of support that would allow it to challenge the system.

Possibly if Labour continue on their current dysfunctional path they will create a new ‘Livingstone moment’ by de-selecting their former leader. It might just shake him out of his life-long dedication to the party enough to stand under a new label, and given his popularity and record as a constituency MP he would almost certainly win. It could be the spark which ignites a new politics nationwide.

A new party won’t of course be Class War, who became a political party for the 2015 general election, standing in seven constituencies. As I wrote, “None expected to get many votes, but it was an opportunity to generate some interest in working class attitudes and issues. And Class War and its candidates and policies certainly attracted far more media attention than the various small left wing groups who stood candidates.”

Class War had a manifesto, with six simple points:

  • Double Dole,
  • Double Pension,
  • Double Other Benefits,
  • 50% Mansion Tax,
  • Abolish the Monarchy,
  • Abolish all Public Schools.

UK benefits are mean, and state pensions probably the lowest in Europe, so calling for massive rises makes a lot of sense. And if you want to tackle the class system in the UK then abolishing the monarchy and public schools is certainly a good start. The mansion tax may seem a little excessive, but what we really need is a land tax, though perhaps at a rather lower level. But somehow that didn’t come to mind when the manifesto was being written on the short walk from the pub to a Poor Doors protest.

Class War – and others including the Monster Raving Loony Party, Count Binface and Lord Buckethead – at least make our general elections more interesting, adding a little fun. And I sometimes think they would have made a better job – as Lord Buckethead claimed – at negotiating Brexit than Theresa May and particularly than Boris Johnson.

The manifesto launch took place at Buckingham Palace, where Westminster candidate Adam Clifford was refused entry to canvas the 31 voters registered there, and was filmed by a team from BBC News although I don’t know if any of it was ever broadcast. The event ended when police began to take rather too much interest in what was taking place.

More pictures at Buck Palace Class War Manifesto Launch.


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis

London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall. Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


Class War Notting Hill Pub Stroll

Saturday, March 5th, 2022

Class War Notting Hill Pub Stroll. The peaceful pub crawl on Saturday 5th March 2016 by a small group of Class War supporters revisiting sites important in the early years of the movement attracted rather more police than participants; several venues closed for the event and Notting Hill Foxtons was fully boarded up.

The event had been widely publicised as ‘Historic – Riotous – Fun’ although it lived up to the first and last of these three words, it was never likely to be more than a little good humoured horseplay.

The event started with something of a whimper; unfortunately the Ground Floor Bar, formerly the Colville Hotel at 186 Portobello Road on the corner of Talbot Road which was the advertised starting point was unavailable as the whole pub had closed down shortly after the event was conceived and was boarded up awaiting sale. It did reopen briefly a few months later before becoming The Ginstitute.

Class War’s first conference was held in a private room at the Colville on 27th August 1983, shortly after the second Class War magazine had been published, and according to the speech Ian Bone made outside the closed pub it ended with a fight between Sean Mason and the landlord. In his entertaining memoir ‘Bash The Rich‘, still available, Bone writes “To be honest, I doubt if anyone who was there can really remember what the fuck happened” over the course of an 8 hour lock-in when even the landlord joined in the political arguments over “Stonehenge, IRA, sexual politics“, though he does give considerable detail.

Class War has been described as “fearless, hilarious and, for the rich and powerful of this benighted isle, absolutely terrifying” and this still appeared to be the case with their activities of a small handful of people in Notting Hill on this afternoon being closely watched and followed by a small team of police who appeared on every street corner. Class War found the second pub on the trail, ‘The Castle’ mysteriously ‘closed for maintenance’ as they arrived, though the staff were still working inside and it was open as usual later in the afternoon, with staff trying hard to scrape off an number of Class War stickers from its frontage.

The Castle was once Portobello Road’s the Warwick Castle, but it was sadly gutted some years back, gentrified and is now called simply ‘The Castle’. You can read about its heyday in the book by book ‘3000 Hangovers Later’ by Ray ‘Roughler’ Jones, another Class War stalwart who briefly joined the event later.

It was at the Warwick Castle that Ian Bone saw Joe Strummer of The Clash drinking, came up on the spot with the idea of a ‘Rock Against the Rich’ tour, and found the man to be enthusiastic for it – prepared not only to take part, but put money into it. Class War recorded the event by putting up a number of ‘Blue Plaques’ to Strummer and to Rock against the Rich – actually ‘Blue Plates’, paper plates fixed to the windows and walls with Class War stickers.

The Duke of Wellington had remained open, though perhaps with rather more bouncers than usual on the door, but they let us in and Class War settled down for a pint or two, with several more joining the group, including Lisa McKenzie who made a dramatic entry, throwing off her coat to reveal her ‘Class War Womens Death Brigade’ t-shirt. This used to be the main H H Finch’s bar on the Portobello Rd but was subjected to an entire refurbishment after being taken over by Young’s in 1991, now catering to the tourist trade.

Class War after a few expensive pints were led out again by Rita the Raven down Portobello Road where they danced briefly outside at the record stall before settling in the only remaining real pub in the area, the Earl of Lonsdale, a Sam Smith’s pub that was once Henekey’s. Sam Smith’s in many of their pubs have gone to a great deal of trouble to keep or recreate the character of a real British pub, and then their bitter was reasonably cheap (for London) as was the chips and other food.

Class War had published a route with timings for the afternoon but of course were running well behind. Despite this some supporters managed to find them and join in, though others I met at another event the following day had tried but failed. Most of us made it out of the pub to walk down to George Orwell’s former house – a venue that had gone viral with a faked image on social media showing a photoshopped CCTV camera next to its blue plaque. Here Lisa McKenzie gave a speech praising George Orwell, a scholarship boy at Eton, for recognising the nature of the war by the elites against the working classes.

Next came a visit to the Notting Hill branch of Foxton’s, securely boarded up for the day, outside which Simon Elmer of Architects for Social Housing spoke about the housing crisis and the role of estate agents in gentrification and the Foxtons sign gained a few stickers.

After he had been speaking for around ten minutes a number of police vans and motorcycles drew up noisily to reinforce the small group of officers who had been watching all afternoon from a polite distance of a few yards, and Class War quickly melted away into a nearby pub and I went with them.

An hour later, after the unexpected bonus of seeing a Class War make-up demonstration for a comrade it seemed unlikely that they would complete their tour with visits to the homes of Tory Chancellor George Osborne and his father and the Daily Mail, and I left for home.


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis

London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall. Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


Epiphany Rising Against Monarchy

Thursday, January 6th, 2022

Epiphany Rising Against Monarchy
Relatively few nowadays observe the 12 days of Christmas which come to an end on January 6th with Epiphany. Traditionally in the UK and some other countries it was when Christmas decorations were taken down, but also a feast day celebrating the arrival of the Three Kings with their gifts. Nowadays most seem to put up decorations even before the start of Advent and often take them down by the New Year.

Ian Bone holds a picture of Thomas Venner

Epiphany gained a new importance in literature and moved to entirely lower case in the work of James Joyce, where his hero Stephen Daedalus defines it as “a sudden spiritual manifestation, whether in the vulgarity of speech or of gesture or in a memorable phase of the mind itself.” Epiphanies are moments of revelation that change the the way a character or person sees life or a particular situation, suddenly seeing things in a new light. I think all great photographs are epiphanies.

Ian Bone speaks

But getting back to the 6th of January, and in particular the 6th of January 1661 which was the subject of a partial re-enactment on the 6th of January 2013, we need to remember the centrality of religion in those times. Though many might now protest against the monarchy, particularly in recent days over the ennobling of a war criminal and the alleged criminal acts against minors by one of the royal family, few would now do so for the kind of religious reasons that led Thomas Venner and his fellow Fifth Monarchists to carry out a bloody armed insurrection in the City of London.

As I wrote in My London Diary:

The Fifth Monarchists were an important religious movement in England during the rule of Oliver Cromwell, seeing the execution of King Charles as being part of the fulfulment of the Biblical prophesy in the book of Daniel about the end of the four kingdoms of history being followed by the “rule of a son of man” for a thousand years (which they took as the rule by the Pope) after which would come the Christ’s reign on earth. For this to happen, the old order had to be ended by violence – as had begun with the beheading of the king.

They included three of those who had signed the execution warrant, but they soon become disillusioned with Cromwell, who they saw as trying to make himself a king and they began to agitate against him. Thomas Venner was imprisoned for several years for plotting to overthrow Cromwell, but released when Richard Cromwell became Protector.s

They were incensed by the restoration of the monarchy, and in particular by the savagery shown by the new order against the ‘regicides’, including Fifth Monarchist Major-General Harrison who showed great bravery during his gruesome public execution by hanging, drawing and quartering.

My London Diary

Like Venner’s the re-enactment began at Swan Alley (now Great Swan Alley) and with around a similar number of his 50 or so followers, and were variously armed with pikes and other weapons. The event in 2013 began with a speech by Ian Bone about the history of the earlier event, followed by several other anarchists and socialists whose comments related the it to our current times. The event was for a short film, Epiphany, with Ian Bone as writer working with director Suzy Gillett.

I suspect Venner’s address was rather more fiery, but we did have a very fine banner, with a heraldic lion and the text ‘Who shall rouse him up?’, and as in 1661 the mob was led out of the yard by a young woman bearing a pike and the battle cry “King Jesus and the heads upon the gates“. Among those taking part was Sam, grandson of Philip Sidney Noakes, the last of the Muggletonians, another of the radical seventeenth century religious movements with his daughter Rachel.

Sam, grandson of Philip Sidney Noakes, the last of the Muggletonians, with his daughter Rachel

There were other anarchist banners and black and red flags and banners and people shouted some of the old slogans, ‘King Jesus‘, ‘Heads On Pikes‘ and ‘Nobility In Chains’. Though some were carrying axes and hammers, certainly illegal offensive weapons, none were put into use into what was a rather tame stroll with a number of stops to allow the film director Suzy Gillett to move the camera into position on the way via the Guildhall to the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral.

There the group were content with posing for photographs, rather than following Venner’s example and storming in and holding it for several days, along with other parts of the city, until finally the army was sent in against them. Most were then killed and the others captured after a long and bloody fight. Venner himself was wounded in 19 places before he was finally overpowered.

Together with ten others after a brief trial he was sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered; the sentence was carried out in front of the meeting place of his congregation in Swan Yard on 19 Jan 1661. Many other Fifth Monarchists who had taken no part in the rising were hunted down and hung or imprisoned, and draconian laws were enacted against dissenters but this did not end the movement.

You can read a fuller account of the event in Epiphany Rising Against King on My London Diary, and even more detail in a post on the Bristol Radical History Group site.


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis

London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall. Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


Catalonia & Levitation

Thursday, October 21st, 2021

I began work on Saturday October 21st 2017 with a large group of Catalans at Piccadilly Circus, demanding immediate release of the political prisoners Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez, and end to the repression and the start of dialogue to accept the electoral mandate of the Catalan Referendum.

After several speeches they set of to march to Trafalgar Square for photographs and then on to Downing St where they called on the UK Government to condemn the violence towards civilians during the referendum vote in Catalonia and to support a democratic solution.

In June 2021 the nine separatist leaders who had been jailed for sedition in 2017 were released, and talks finally restarted in September, with the Catalan government demanding an amnesty for the many pro-independence politicians still facing legal action over their part in the 2017 independence referendum and for the Spanish government to acknowledge their right to hold a referendum on self-determination, both demands still resisted by the government.

March in Solidarity with Catalonia


I left the Catalans at Parliament Square, where it wasn’t clear if their protest was ended but I was on my way to meet Class War’s Levitation Brigade of Ian Bone and shaman Jimmy Kunt (aka Adam Clifford) who were celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Yippee levitation of the Pentagon during anti-Vietnam War protests with a similar action at Kensington Town Hall.

Standing on the steps of the entrance to the town hall of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the council responsible for the disastrous fire at Grenfell Tower, Adam called out the demons of councillors including Nicholas Paget-Brown, Rock Feilding-Mellen & Elizabeth Campbell and attempted to levitate the town hall to a height of over 70 metres. “Out, demons, out! Out, demons, out!

A security officer told them that they couldn’t do that here, but they told her it wasn’t possible to stop a levitation or exorcism and the ceremony went ahead.

Afterwards Ian Bone repeated a well-known quote from 1967 “You mean you didn’t see it, man?”

Class War levitate Kensington Town Hall

Flushed with success the Levitation Brigade decided to cross Kensington High St and repeat the exorcism and levitation at the offices of the Daily Mail, standing on the pavement outside between the offices and a highly polished Rolls-Royce.

Security staff there reacted angrily to Class War calling out the demon of Paul Dacre and their attempt to raise the building by over 70 metres, perhaps fearing it might damage the Rolls-Royce parked outside, but the levitation ceremony went ahead despite considerable interference.

Class War levitate the Daily Mail

Security here reacted rather more aggresively, coming to push the crew away and telling me I could not take photographs. I was standing on the pavement and told them I had every legal right to photograph whatever I chose, but had to move back rahter smartly to avoid getting fingerprints on my lens.

Class War of course found the over-reaction by the Daily Mail extremely amusing and continued to bait the security for some minutes after the levitation before leaving as you can see on My London Diary.

Class War levitate the Daily Mail
Class War levitate Kensington Town Hall


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis

London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall. Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


Class War Occupy Rich Door 24 Sep 2014

Friday, September 24th, 2021

A few days ago I had to sit down and write some explanations to a friend who lives on a smallholding in rural France who doesn’t have a computer or internet access. It made me realise how much has changed for most of us since some time in the 1990s, when we all began to be connected by the World Wide Web and browsers such as Mosaic which really made the breakthrough to something like the web we now know and most of us spend large parts of our life in.

Some time ago I’d sent him a copy of my book – or rather ‘zine’ – ‘Class War: Rich Door, Poor Door‘ I published in 2015:

“A photographic account of the protests from July 2014 to May 2015 at One Commercial St, Aldgate, London against separate doors for rich and poor residents. The book includes over 200 images from 29 protests. ISBN: 978-1-909363-14-4”

It is still available, and at the very reasonable price of £6.00, though given Blurb’s postage rates it only makes sense to buy it if you get together with a few mates to order several copies.

More recently my wife sent him a copy of a postcard with my picture from 2014, ‘Vigil for Ferguson, US Embassy – No Justice, No Peace’ and he wrote back asking who Ferguson was – and included a couple of questions about the Class War book.

Google of course would have supplied him the answers in the twinkling of a mouse click, and told him Ferguson was a town in Missouri where riots had followed both the shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer and the failure to indict the officer for the murder. He could have got the answer even quicker on my own web site, My London Diary, where putting ‘Ferguson’ in the search box at top right on most pages returns links to the Solidarity with Ferguson vigil, Hands Up! Against Racist Police Shootings protest following the shooting and this Candlelit Vigil for Michael Brown following the decision not to charge Darren Wilson with his murder.

His second question was about the Class War banner with its message “We must devastate the avenues where the wealthy live” Lucy Parsons 1853-1942, and was simply to ask “Who was Lucy Parsons”. Again Wikipedia and other web sites such as the IWW Archive would have given a fast and far more comprehensive answer than the brief reply I wrote.

The final question was one that amused me. “Who, ” he asked, “was that elderly gentleman with a walking stick” and “why was he being arrested and being put into a police van in one of the pictures“. It was of course Ian Bone, and again my web site contains much about him on many occasions, including pictures and an explanation of his arrest on Wednesday 24th September 2014.

When the building manager had held open the ‘Rich Door’ for a resident to go through, the person holding one end of the Lucy Parsons banner had stepped in front of it to prevent him closing it. He made the mistake of walking away to the concierge desk, probably to ask the concierge to call the police, but leaving the door open and unguarded. So Class War walked in unopposed, bringing two banners with them and continued to protest in the the foyer.

Ian Bone talked to the building manager, then held up a couple of framed notices from the desk, and talked about them and the objections to social tenants being made to use a separate door on a dirty alley at the side of the building, before putting them back carefully on the desk next to a vase full of flowers. Others spoke briefly and people loudly shouted slogans.

And then “there was a crash and the vase of flowers was no longer on the reception desk. Ian Bone had knocked it off with his walking stick, which he had been swinging around rather wildly as he spoke. I only saw it out of the corner of my eye and couldn’t tell if it was deliberate or accidental.” Though I was fairly sure it would have been on purpose.

Shortly after, the police arrived, and there was some discussion; I went outside and a few minutes later the protesters followed and the protest continued as usual on the pavement, with more speeches and noise. Eventually the protesters decided it was time to leave and were moving away when a police office approached Ian Bone and told him he was being arrested as the CCTV in the ‘rich door’ foyer showed him breaking the vase. There was considerable argument as he was led away and put in the van, but no attempt at resistance.

Later we heard that Ian Bone had agreed to pay £70 for a replacement vase and the building owners had decided not to press charges. And at the following week’s Poor Doors protest Class War brought along a couple of vases of flowers to play with and to try and get the building manager to take, though as they probably came from a Pound Shop they “they were perhaps a little plastic and tacky looking compared to the one that had been broken the previous week.”


The building manager refused to take the replacements, but later made the mistake of grabbing hold of one which was thrust in his face, “probably by reflex. His face when he found himself holding it was interesting, and he quickly put it down, placing it on the desk in the reception area in the same place as the one knocked off last week, complete with its with a ‘Toffs Out!’ Class War card.” And I was just able to photograph it through the window there on the desk.

More on My London Diary:
Class War Occupy Rich Door
Class War Poor Doors Week 10


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Rich Door, Poor Door: 2014

Friday, July 30th, 2021

A foot in the Rich Door

I used the text for this protest on 30th July 2014 as the opening text for my ‘zine’ ‘Class War: Rich Door. Poor Door‘ published in 2015 and still available from Blurb. It was the first in a series of around 30 weekly protests (and a couple of special events, pictures from most of which are in the zine, by Class War at this block in Aldgate where the small proportion of social housing tenants have to use a door down a side alley rather than the plush entrance on the main road for those in the private flats.

Class War arrive for their first protest

The series of protests had some success – it had immediately resulted in the alley being cleaned up and later it was given much better lighting and it placed the whole idea of ‘poor doors’ firmly on the national and architectural agenda – but eventually failed to resolved the issue for this particular building.

And put up posters and stickers

Here’s that text, written on 30 July 2014:

Class War, including three of their candidates for the 2015 General Election, protested at 1 Commercial St in Aldgate against London’s new appartment blocks providing separate ‘poor doors’ for the affordable flats they have to include to gain planning permission for the development. Class War characterise this as ‘social apartheid.’

The building manager removes a poster

The front entrance on Whitechapel High St (One Commercial St is the name of the block) has a hotel-like reception desk, and is staffed. It leads to the lifts for the expensive flats, many owned by overseas investors. Like most such buildings, some of them are empty and seldom used, while others are short term holiday lets.

Arguments continue over the door

There is apparently no internal connection* between this part of the building and that containing the social housing, which has been given a different name and a separate door some way down the alley on the west side of the building. Their door, the ‘poor door’ has a card entry system which leads to a bare corridor with some mail boxes on one side.

Lisa makes her views clear

The alley is dark at night, and even though today it was unusually clear of rubbish, it smelt strongly of urine. Certainly a far less friendly place than the well lit main street on which the ‘rich door’ opens. There seems to me to be no reason why all those who live in the building cannot share the same entrance even if their flats are on different floors or different sides of the building, and certainly no reason at all to hide the poor door down a mean alley like this.

Police try to persuade the protesters to move across the road

The protesters arrived with a banner carrying a quotation from the radical US labour activist Lucy Parsons (1853-1942) “We must devastate the avenues where the wealthy live“. The Class War posters – with their skull and crossbones – had the message “We have found new homes for the rich” and showed long rows of grave crosses stretching into the distance, and they were stuck on the windows around the poor door using Class War election stickers with their promise of a 50% mansion tax.

But the protesters are unmoved by the police arguments

A few people were still entering and leaving the building, with the protesters talking and shouting at them but not actually stopping them, and at one point the protesters grabbed the door when it was open. There followed a brief tug of war with several from inside the building, including one of the residents as well as those from the ‘concierge’ attempting without success to close it. The protesters made little attempt to enter the building but wanted those inside to be able to hear the protest through the open door.

The Poor Door. When I visited a few days earlier the alley was filthy

By the time a couple of police arrived and hurried into the building to talk to the people inside around a quarter of an hour the protesters had stopped holding the door. The police came out a few minutes later and tried with little success to get the protesters to move further away from the door.

The rubbish had gone but it still stank of urine and had no lighting

The protest continued until after an hour or so Class War decided they had made their point and left, some for the pub. I went around the building to find the poor door and photographed it and the alley it was in.

Class War – Rich Door, Poor Door

* This was a lie by the building manager. On a later occasion I was taken inside the building by one of the private residents, and after taking me to her flat we then went down and out through the ‘poor door’ which she told me she used when taking her dog for a walk.


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Jack the Ripoff

Saturday, June 19th, 2021

Tower Hamlets council were pleased to apporpve a planning application in 2014 to convert an empty Victorian building in Cable St into a ‘Museum of Women’s History’, particularly since Whitechapel’s Women’s Library had closed the previous year. Owner Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe’s application featured pictures of suffragettes and trade union campaigners and promised the museum would be “the only dedicated resource in the East End to women’s history” and “recognise and celebrate the women of the East End who have shaped history, telling the story of how they have been instrumental in changing society. It will analyse the social, political and domestic experience from the Victorian period to the present day.” (Quoted in Wikipedia.)

On the basis of these promises the architects were persuaded to carry out the work for a lower than normal fee, and various others provided consultancy services at no cost. All, including the council, where shocked and felt duped when the covers were removed from the site in 2015 to reveal instead a ‘Jack the Ripper’ museum glorifying the unknown murderer of a number of working class women in the East End in 1888.

There were various protests organised outside the museum including some backed by the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, who found his council unable to take any real action over the deception, various women’s groups and Class War. Finally the local council did refuse retrospective planning permission for the shop front and ordered changes to the shop’s signage and the removal of a metal roller shutter installed after a window was broken during protests in 2015. The shop owner appealed against the decision and lost. The projecting sign was removed at some time in 2017-8 but I think the shop has failed to comply with some other aspects.

On Sunday 19 June 2016 Class War and supporters including London Fourth Wave Feminists in cat masks, protested outside with toy plastic hammers offering to take down the shutter which had been declared illegal.

Police guarded the shop and prevented the protesters going inside but seemed generally fairly relaxed about the protest, with at least one making clear his distaste for the tacky tourist attraction they were having to protect. At one point they and the protesters were engulfed in red smoke after a couple of black-clad men arrived to join the protest, quickly fading away as the smoke cleared, with the protest then continuing in good spirits.

The good news is that the shop was put up for sale in April 2021 and is expected to close and take on some new use once sold. I’m not aware of any plans for its use and it will quite likely end up as some kind of offices, but it would be rather more satisfactory if it were bought and actually opened as a ‘Museum of Women’s History’. As I write it appears to still be unsold.

Rip Down the Ripper Facade!


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


6 Years Ago: 24 Sept 2014 Poor Doors

Thursday, September 24th, 2020

Six years ago Class War were holding weekly protests outside One Commercial St in Aldgate against the seperate entrances to the building for those in social housing and private residents. The private residents came into a spacious foyer with comfortable furniture and a reception desk with a concierge on the main street, while social housing tenants entered a bleak corridor down a filthy and badly lit alley at the side of the building.

This was the ninth weekly protest and I think the eighth I’d photographed in the series, which continued for around another 20 protests. Although it didn’t succeed in its main aim, the protests did take the issue onto the national agenda, and the alley leading to the poor door was cleaned up, resurfaced and given new lighting.

When the building manager came and escorted one of the residents out through the rich door, one of the protesters standing close to it moved in front of it, preventing it being closed. The manager made the mistake of moving away back towards the reception desk, and the protesters walked in.

They brought their banners in with them, and Ian Bone of Class War began to speak about the protest. The protesters made no attempt to stop residents who walked in or out past them, mostly taking little interest in what was happening.

Some of them were tourists staying a week in flats that are let on Airbnb; other flats in the building are permanently empty or only used for perhaps a week a year from foreign owners who hold them as investments, taking advantage of rising London housing prices to earn a good income when they sell.

Ian Bone had picked up the framed notice from the concierge desk as he spoke, reading out from it and making comments about how differently the rich were treated compared with the poorer residents. The woman who had been at the desk (it has someone on duty 24/7) had retreated with the building manager and was watching from a distance. He replaced the notice carefully beside a vase of flowers on the desk when he finished speaking, and stood beside them.

Later as I was photographing others I thought I saw out of the corner of my eye Ian hook the curved end of his walking stick around the vase, and we all heard the vase shatter as it hit the floor.

A few minutes later a couple of police officers arrived and talked with the protesters and the building manager.

After a few minutes of argument the protesters left the foyer and continued their protest on the pavement outside. There were more speeches, including from a local resident who stopped as he walked past to talk with the campaigners and backed their protest.

More police had arrived, and as the campaigners decided it was time to end the evening’s protest and began to walk away, a woman officer stood in Ian Bone’s way. Other officers came to surround him, and after some talking he was arrested, put in a police van and driven away.

At the police station he was shown CCTV of him pulling the vase from the desk and then admitted he had deliberately broken it. He was made to pay compensation for the broken vase, but no charges were brought against him.

Class War Occupy Rich Door

May Day

Friday, May 1st, 2020

Today’s May Day will be very different, with no march in London, no meeting in Trafalgar Square and none of the other activities we have seen in recent years. There will be online events, but it really isn’t the same. And I think I will take few if any pictures.

Until 2000, I was working on May Day most years and missed the May Day celebrations, except, when as in 1999 they fell on a weekend. In 2000 things were a little different, and while doubtless the usual trade union celebrations went on, rather more of us gathered in Parliament Square on May Day, a Monday, for an anti-capitalist protest, indulging in a little guerilla gardening. It wasn’t as the BBC and newspapers recorded a riot, but a good-natured protest with people having fun and a little minor law-breaking and only became nasty when the police charged in after windows were broken at a McDonald’s. I went home as I didn’t want to be kettled.

It was 2003 before I returned to photograph May Day events, and I wrote:

may day has perhaps settled into a rather predictable event now. the socialist left – and what is left seems to be a few unions and a number of ethnic communist party groups – march from clerkenwell to trafalgar square, while anti-capitalist protestors do not a lot around town.

My London Diary

and the few images I put on line reflect this. My coverage the following year, 2004, was a little more upbeat, perhaps because I met up again with the Bristol Radical Cheerleaders who certainly livened things up, but also because I was getting better at using a digital camera. But most of my coverage then was still in black and white and I still haven’t added the pictures I said would follow.

I photographed May Day and the march again in 2005, but the highlight of the day was provided by the Space Hijackers who had challenged our 600 odd MPs to an Anarchist Cricket match to be held in Parliament Square.

I wasn’t surprised when no members of the opposing team actually turned up, but their absence didn’t detract from the event.

2006 was perhaps my busiest May Day ever, beginning with the launch of the London Citizens Workers’ Association at Westminster Cathedral, then photographing the London May Day March, which included a strong autonomous anti-capitalist bloc.

Among the speakers at Trafalgar Square, though not on the main platform was Ian Bone of Class War, once labelled the most dangerous man in England, and even at this event attracting considerable police attention.

I went on from Trafalgar Square to the Bank of England where the Space Hijackers were holding their Police Victory Party. Unlike at their cricket match there was a large attendance by the opposition, though they didn’t really join in the party organised for them.

Long Live May Day!


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Mother Hysteria and Mogg

Sunday, June 9th, 2019

Starring Adam Clifford as Jacoob Rees Mogg and Jane Nicholl as Mother Hysteria the cast got together in a pub a short walk from the London Palladium where a full house of mugs were paying £38 a head to come and listen to Mogg.

Together with a small team of supporters the pair walked down to the Palladium, where early comers were queing to get into to the show and told them what they had come to see – and evening with a religious extremist.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20190226-d1138.jpg

It was almost certainly more entertaining than anything that was coming later in the evening when they got inside the theatre, but there were a few in the queue who got a little upset at Class War. The police too showed they lacked a sense of humour and were soon insisting that Class War move further away to the other side of the road.

The protest continued there, with some longer speeches from a few of those present, including a well-known Whitechapel anarchist, although I wasn’t sure how many of those largely out-of-town punters across the road would appreciate the rhyming slang of his placard, ‘Jacob Rees-Joey Ronce.’

Nor for that matter, its accuracy. ‘Mogg-Tax Dodging Snob’ on another placard was however doubly to the point. Behind his backing for Brexit is undoubtedly both the fact that he stands to make millions if not billions from it, and as another placard pointed out, he is truly ‘Lord Snooty’ personified.

The evening then descended further into farce as the police threatened Mother Hysteria with arrest for possession of offensive weapons in the form of some novelty stink bombs. They took her to one side and held her against the wall and searched her, after which the sergeant concerned retreated into a nearby shop and spent at least 20 minutes trying to think of something to put on the notice for her that didn’t sound entirely ridiculous.

I took a lot of pictures, but not all of them were usable. It was yet another occasion when the many buttons and the two control dials on my Nikon cameras attracted my wandering digits, and I found myself suddenly having taken a series of exposures at far too high a shutter speed for the lighting or too slow for the subject movement. I had problems too with flash, and one of my cameras had a problem with the hot shoe, which I think was not making proper contact with the flash resulting in it firing at full output and totally overexposing some frames.

But as you can see at Class War protest Rees-Mogg freak show, plenty came out OK.


There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

To order prints or reproduce images