An exhibition of artefacts and photographs from the notorious ‘Siege of Sidney Street,’ a gun fight between police and burglars which took place on 2nd January 1911, goes on show at the Museum of London Docklands on Saturday.
The siege, sometimes referred to as the ‘Battle of Stepney, had been preceded two weeks earlier by the Houndsditch murders, a raid on a jewellery shop which resulted in the shooting of four policemen by a gang of Latvian revolutionaries led by Peter Piatkow aka Peter the Painter.
When officers were tipped off that members of the gang and possibly even Peter himself were hiding out at 100 Sidney Street two hundred police officers cordoned the area off and the siege began.
The resulting standoff lasted six hours and was witnessed first hand by the Home Secretary William Churchill. When a fire started Churchill is thought to have refused entry to the fire brigade and the charred remains of two members of the gang were later found, although there was no sign of Peter the Painter.
The exhibition commemorates the 100 year anniversary of the incident.
Read more from on the subject from Andy McSmith here.
London under siege: Churchill and the anarchists, 1911 opens on 18 December 2010 and runs until April 2011 at the Museum of London Docklands, entry is free, museumindocklands.org