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The Wanstead Tap logo

Past event held on Thursday 25 April

Andrew Whitehead in conversation
Newham Bookshop logo (2015)
A Devilish Kind of Courage by Andrew Whitehead
A Devilish Kind of Courage is published by Reaktion Books in hardback at £15.99.

Andrew Whitehead

A Devilish Kind of Courage

Anarchists, Aliens and the Siege of Sidney Street

On 3 January 1911, in the heart of London’s mainly Jewish East End, police discovered Latvian revolutionaries wanted for the murder of three officers. A six-hour gunfight ensued, with a fire consuming the besieged building. Winston Churchill, then Home Secretary, arrived at the scene and ordered the blaze not to be extinguished.

Afterwards two charred bodies were found; the elusive Peter the Painter, believed to have been the ringleader, remained at large. This gripping episode, known as the Siege of Sidney Street, was a nationwide sensation and ignited fierce debates on immigration to Britain, political extremism and law enforcement. This book unravels the full story of the siege, the Latvian émigrés and their ties to the vibrant anarchist movement in London’s East End.