Search

Former East London Advertiser reporter recalls Wapping dispute 25 years on

15:17 26 January 2011

Pickets during the Wapping dispute

Pickets during the Wapping dispute

Nic Oatridge

A FORMER East London Advertiser reporter has recalled how he wrote one of the first stories about media giant Rupert Murdoch’s plans at Wapping.

Wapping dispute, photographed by Nic Oatridge

Mike Jempson, who worked at the Advertiser in the 1980s, spoke at a meeting to mark the anniversary of the beginning of the Wapping dispute which pitted unions against management.

He described how he had been ferreting around trying to find out what the plans were at Wapping but had been told by unions that they didn’t know what he was talking about, the plans were so secretive.

At the lecture at St Bride’s Institute on Tuesday evening, he remembered Michael Delaney, the 18-year-old who died after he was struck by a lorry at the junction of Whitehorse Road and Commercial Road during the dispute.

Mr Jempson lived in Thomas More Street, Wapping, and described the atmosphere there during the year-long dispute.

He said: “The people from the local estates sat down on the picket lines and played a crucial role, because we were behind the (police) lines. At that time the gates cut us off and we were an island.”

Mr Jempson, now a senior lecturer in journalism, remembered how residents with a bird’s eye of the dispute used walkie-talkies to let others know the progress of vehicles in and out of “Fortress Wapping”.

St Brides’ Institute, off Fleet Street, was packed with former print workers at the event organised by the National Union of Journalists and the Campaign for Press and Broadcast Freedom. But Mr Jempson was probably the only speaker who had been on the picket lines dressed as a clown.

Latest East London News Stories

39 minutes ago

A cute little gosling waddling around Canary Wharf has won the hearts of a tough panel of judges, with this charming picture they voted as this year’s overall winner of the east London business district’s second annual photo contest.

13:57

Primary schoolchildren are to get free breakfasts before they start lessons each day at 57 more schools around Britain in a campaign launched today in London’s deprived East End.

11:13

Teenager Eleanor Pettem never had a maritime career on the Thames on her ‘radar’—but now has a taste for it when she leaves school after her work experience on patrol with the Port of London Authority.

09:42

The Lord Mayor of London has visited east London’s famous Mildmay Hospital to see the work of the medical staff and to meet patients at the end of its 150th anniversary year.

Yesterday, 19:00

Our nightly lookback at some of the news the East London Advertiser has reported since 1866, marking our 150th anniversary this year, reaches 1926 and the effects the General Strike had on the East End. The strikers paralyse the London Docks, force closure of London Hospital Outpatients and hijack motorcars to hurl into the River Lea. Nowhere is safe...

Yesterday, 17:58

Church leaders are having to subsidize living accommodation for their missionary workers because of London’s rocketing rents which are forcing many out of the deprived inner city parishes where they’re needed.

Yesterday, 10:50

Detectives have arrested a man in east London on suspicion of “encouraging terrorism and dissemination of terrorist publications”.

Yesterday, 09:09

The government’s threatened ‘Pay to Stay’ rental housing tax charge has been rejected in London’s deprived East End and won’t be adopted by Tower Hamlets council.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now