Revolution and the East End

Ref: C2419098

A hundred years after the Russian Revolution this course will explore the connections between radicals and the East End. Revolutionary leader Lenin spent time living in exile near Kings Cross. Here his organisation split into Bolshevik and Menshevik factions. Eleanor Marx, daughter of Karl, was a key figure in organising support for mass Dockers’ strike in 1889. She was a co-founder of the Socialist League with Walthamstow-born writer and designer William Morris. In the period immediately after the First World War society was thrown into such ferment that even the police in London came out on strike. Many early figures in the Communist Party also came from the East End. Labour councillor George Lansbury was imprisoned for leading a rates rebellion in Poplar. Communists and Jewish radicals were key to fighting fascism at Cable Street in the 1930s. With slides and discussions the course will examine how rebels here affected events abroad and how changing ideas shaped life in London.

Course aim

Understand the long connection between the east end of London and bolshie revolutionaries, both British based and living in exile

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Appreciate why revolutionaries came to London
  • Distinguish historical fact from fiction
  • Understand how socialists shaped historical events shaped the city

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • It will be helpful is students can take notes

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required, however it would be helpful to have read books on the subject such as David Rosenberg "Rebel Footprints: A Guide to Uncovering London's Radical History" or Lindsey German & John Rees "A People's History of London"

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full Course information sheet

Revolution and the East End


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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