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The Siege of Sidney Street

Posted in Anniversary, Famous battles on Thursday, 23 December 2010

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picture, Siege of Sidney Street, Churchill, Peter the Painter

The Siege of Sidney Street with, inset, Churchill and Peter the Painter, reputed leader of the anarchists. Illustration by Leo Davy

3 January marks the anniversary of the Siege of Sidney Street in 1911. A gang of Latvian revolutionaries attempted to break into a jeweller’s shop in Houndsditch, London, in December 1910 but were heard; when the police went to investigate the burglary, two constables died in a shoot-out.

On 2 January, the police were informed that some of the gang were hiding out at 100 Sidney Street in Stepney and Churchill authorised the Scots Guards to assist the 200 police officers sent to cordon off the area. A lengthy gun battle ensued and eventually the house caught fire, killing two members of the gang. Eventually seven gang members were arrested and tried, although all were acquitted or had their convictions overturned.

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