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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Britain’s Last anti-Jewish Riots Send Post-war Ripple through Harringay

This minor but unpleasant episode of racist unrest followed violence again British soldiers in Palestine. Harringay's synagogue on Wightman Road (where the mosque now is) suffered some damage (see the second item below).

The first excerpt is from an article by Daniel Trilling in the New Statesman.

In Birkenhead, near Liverpool, slaughterhouse workers had refused to process any more meat for Jewish consumption until the attacks on British soldiers in Palestine stopped. Around Merseyside, the anger was starting to spill on to the streets as crowds of angry young men gathered in Jewish areas.

On Sunday afternoon the trouble reached Manchester. Small groups of men began breaking the windows of shops in Cheetham Hill, an area just north of the city centre which had been home to a Jewish community since the early 19th century. The pubs closed early that day because there was a shortage of beer, and by the evening the mob’s numbers had swelled to several hundred. Most were on foot but others drove through the area, throwing bricks from moving cars.

Soon the streets were covered in broken glass and stones and the crowd moved on to bigger targets, tearing down the canopy of the Great Synagogue on Cheetham Hill Road and surrounding a Jewish wedding party at the Assembly Hall. They shouted abuse at the terrified guests until one in the morning.

The next day, Lever said, “Cheetham Hill Road looked much as it had looked seven years before, when the German bombers had pounded the city for  12 hours. All premises belonging to Jews for the length of a mile down the street had gaping windows and the pavements were littered with glass.”

Staffordshire Sentinnel, 4 August 1947

Read the full Trilling article at www.newstatesman.com/2012/05/britains-last-anti-jewish-riots.

More about the Wightman Road Synagogue here.

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Replies to This Discussion

Fascists were still marching and trying to hold meetings in Tottenham in 1949. In March of that year the Union Movement (Oswald Mosley's group) tried to march from Dalston to Tottenham. When they were approaching Tottenham Town Hall they were met by thousands of protesters and a battle ensued. The police eventually ordered the fascists to disperse. Fighting carried on into the night. These details are from Daniel Sonabend's book, 'We fight fascists: The 43 Group and their forgotten battle for post-war Britain' (Verso 2019). Well worth reading.

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