Historians trace Siege of Sidney Street in Docklands Saturday seminar

EXPERTS on the infamous Siege of Sidney Street are running a one-day seminar tomorrow in London’s East End.

The centenary was marked in January with a plaque unveiling to a fireman who died as a result of the blaze which ended the siege in 1911, in which two anarchists burned to death.

It followed an earlier plaque unveiling at Houndsditch by the Lord Mayor of London to commemorate three policemen shot dead by the same gang during a bungled jewellery raid.

Donald Rumbelow, author of The Houndsditch Murders, is joined by other historians and archivists for tomorrow’s seminar organised by the Whitechapel Society at the Museum of London Docklands.

They trace the story of the Houndsditch Murders and the police hunt that led to the siege a mile away in Whitechapel three weeks later.

Russian-Latvian anarchists had shot their way out of the bungled raid and vanished into the maize of East End alleys—dragging one of their wounded conspirators who later died.

That opened the trail that led detectives to 100 Sidney Street. The siege began with 200 armed police and the Scots Guards called out from the Tower of London.

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The operation was directed by the-then Home Secretary Winston Churchill.

The house eventually caught light under crossfire, trapping two of the gang whose bodies were later discovered in the burned out house. A fireman searching through the rubble was fatally injured when a wall collapsed on him—bringing the death toll to seven.

But the anarchists’ leader, Peter Piaktow, known as ‘Peter the Painter’, had eluded capture.

Tomorrow’s seminar is 10.30am to 5pm at the Museum of London Docklands at West India Quay, Canary Wharf, price �20 (�15 concessions). Web details on: www.museumindocklands.org.uk

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