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Angel Alley, Whitechapel

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syndicalist
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Dec 19 2011 13:08
Angel Alley, Whitechapel

I was just looking at the BLACK FLAME site and saw this photo of Freedom Bookshop, Angel Alley, Whitechapel: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-DSlqt6N1JuA/Ttz4EfOh0EI/AAAAAAAAAJ8/zoxf2pSK3eU/s1600/Freedom-Bookshop21.jpg

I gather the modern ediface at the read of the Alley is the Museum. I was there in 1984
and where this new musuem ediface appears to be were flats. And Angel Alley seemed to have ended at the end of the Freedom building.This seems to all have radically changed the look and feel the rear of Angel Alley (and hence the whole block).

Given this, am I to assume that the area around Freedom has been gentrified, etc., etc?

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Steven.
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Dec 19 2011 18:04

Yeah, it's "nicer" than it was, but Whitechapel is still pretty crappy, it is a poor part of Tower Hamlets, which is either the most deprived or second most deprived borough in the UK

syndicalist
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Dec 19 2011 18:23

Not by coincidence, but, in 1984, my recollection reminded me of being very much like the ghettos here in the US...OK, except the English was funny, the food not so good, the ethnic groups different and the comrades hospitable but at each others throats.

Angel Alley was grimmy and not so bright.Maybe it wasn't so bright, with the grime really being on the buildings. I was taken aback at how small the Bookshop proper was.

freemind
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Dec 19 2011 19:43

In the Whitechapel Library there is a portrait of Rudolf Rocker.

Battlescarred
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Dec 19 2011 20:08

That was a loooonngg time ago. Think the portrait is now in some basement somewhere.

freemind
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Dec 19 2011 20:56

Showing my age Battlescarred!

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Chilli Sauce
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Dec 19 2011 23:01

There was that whole thing of Freedom being firebombed by the fash. I know the first time I went to Freedom the bookshop was on the second floor and was God-awfully small. It's better now that it's back on the bottom floor.

syndicalist
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Dec 19 2011 23:08
Chilli Sauce wrote:
There was that whole thing of Freedom being firebombed by the fash. I know the first time I went to Freedom the bookshop was on the second floor and was God-awfully small. It's better now that it's back on the bottom floor.

Sorry about the firebombin', but, yeah, it was on the 2nd flr. when i visted .... before I got there, i was so excited to see what I long heard about. Got there, was so disappointed.

I'm thinkin' that Aldgate Press was on the main floor at that time. Can't really recall.

I just wish I knew more of the east End streets then, as I do now. That would've made stuff really cool.

Battlescarred
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Dec 20 2011 10:39

It was on first floor (that's 2nd floor to those of a transatlantic persuasion)

syndicalist
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Dec 30 2011 15:59

Anyone familiar with the long closed Bethnel Green "Metropolitan Working Men's club was at no. 265 Cambridge Road, where it remained until 1939. [and the] New Century Working Men's club existed in Mansford Street by 1918 but had gone by 1927"*

I am "familiar" (not really, but it exists) with the "Bethnal Green Working Mens Home"
which seems sotra hipster and sorta political.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
*From: 'Bethnal Green: Social and Cultural Activities', A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 11: Stepney, Bethnal Green (1998), pp. 147-155. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=22755 Date accessed: 30 December 2011.

syndicalist
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Dec 31 2011 17:48

Wiki writes: "The Working Men's Club and Institute Union is now the largest non-profit-making social entertainment and leisure organisation in the UK, representing the interests and views of six million club members."

Ah, so a "working mens club" might not be a radical workers educational center, say, like the Bernner Street Club was.

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communal_pie
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Jan 1 2012 01:37

Maybe before 1950, but pretty much a huge decline since then I guess, I wasn't about in the 70's obviously but more than a dozen people I know who were say that working men's clubs could be really unpleasant and in more than a few cases pretty right-wing. I think it depends entirely on which one and when to be honest. The modern bethnal green one seems to be pretty gentrified as I think you alluded to, which means it could probably have some decent people in it but not necessarily every night, or in every place. Many pubs are like that too,

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playinghob
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Jan 1 2012 10:19

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_men's_club

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_Men's_Club_and_Institute_Union

I started my drinking life in the grim 'workies' clubs in the equally grim parts of the north east of England circa 1970. They were easy places for under age drinkers to get served. and the beer was cheap.

They tended to be bastions of male chauvinism. If I remember correctly there was separate bars for women and some clubs were male only. Strippers were a regular feature. Once a week there would be mixed social evenings with live bands doing crappy cover versions of songs of the day. The premises resembled canteens with formica topped tables laid out in rows. Invariably there would be mass brawls at closing time.

Last year I visited one of the few remaining clubs in a place called Fatfield, County Durham and tbh very little had changed. Although now women drinkers stand shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. Their big thing now seems to be dodgy sports channels showing live football.

martinh
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Jan 1 2012 11:23

In Winchfield, Gloucestershire, there is a Conservative Working Mens Club. There may well be others elsewhere. Lots of clubs are/were affiliated to the CIU.

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playinghob
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Jan 1 2012 12:16

A slight variation of the CIU theme, which is quite interesting, was the CPGB Red Star social clubs. I visited one in the mid-70's. They were frequented by CP members, trade unionists and their families and friends. I don't think they exist any more but they were still around in the early 80's.

syndicalist
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Jan 1 2012 20:29

Thanks, I wonder if those I mentioned in the original posting we just the sort of men social clubs as others seem to be.

vanilla.ice.baby
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Jan 2 2012 09:49

I'm a member of my local "working men's club", as there are fuck all pubs in the area and those we do have are full of students, and I've not heard anything too dodgy, and so far seems fairly Labour/trade union leaning though it's CIU affiliated, my dad's one is affiliated to the Catholic church which is quite common, as is affiliation to the Labour party, or the Liberal clubs or as someone else said the Conservatives. Though I wouldn't take the affiliation to represent the politics or beliefs of the members.

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playinghob
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Jan 2 2012 14:44

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-KrzEeh5R4