This film is part of Free

The Battle of Cable Street

The notorious Battle of Cable St kicks off this film from 1936 which also shows young Basque refugees and a Communist Summer Camp in rural Kent

Home movie 1936 11 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Screen Archive South East


In this unique amateur film, by Lewis Rosenberg, we see large crowds of demonstrators amid a heavy police presence. An ambulance passes through the crowd and we see a man under arrest. We then see Basque refugee children with their UK sponsors at a fund raising event followed by a gathering of young communists at a summer camp in rural Kent. Delegates are seen socialising, attempting the French Apache Dance, ironing with a garden roller and indulging in boisterous horseplay.

The Battle of Cable Street took place on Sunday 4th October 1936 in London’s East End, an area of the city that had a large Jewish population. Lewis Rosenberg’s film shows the large crowds that had gathered to prevent a provocative march through the area by Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists. The government sent large numbers of police to escort the BUF along their route through Stepney and to keep anti-fascist demonstrators from disrupting the march. However, the march was abandoned after violence between the police and the demonstrators broke out resulting in more than 150 arrests.