Around London – 100 years since the Siege of Sidney Street;

December 16, 2010

It’s 100 years since the Siege of Sidney Street and the Houndsditch Murders and to mark the occasion, the Museum of London Docklands opens a special exhibition this Saturday.

The murders took place on 16th December, 1910, when a group of Latvian revolutionaries attempted to break into a jeweller’s shop in Houndsditch. Three City of London policemen were killed and two more disabled for life in the gunfight which broke out.

Two weeks later, on 3rd January, 1911, the Siege of Sidney Street began when more than 200 armed police and a detachment of Scots Guards besieged a home at 100 Sidney Street in Stepney where two of the Houndsditch gang were believed to be hiding.

The exhibition, which has been put together in partnership with the Jewish East End Celebration Society, features objects from the trial of suspected gang members as well as never-before-seen objects including guns taken from the crime scene and safe-breaking equipment. The overcoat Winston Churchill wore on the day of the siege – he attended in his capacity as Home Secretary – will also be on display.

London Under Siege: Churchill and the Anarchists, 1911, runs from 18th December to April 2011. Entry is free. For more information, see www.museumindocklands.org.uk.

• Meanwhile a plaque was unveiled today on the site in Cutler Street where three policemen – Sergeant Robert Bentley, 36, Sergeant Charles Tucker, 46, and PC Walter Choat, 34 – were killed during the gunfight with the gang. Two other policemen were disabled for life and a fireman, Superintendent Charles Pearson, later died after he entered the Sidney Street property which had been gutted by fire. A plaque will be unveiled in his honor on 6th January.

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