This information panel (picture), written by Janine, has been posted by Tower Hamlets Council to accompany the newly-renovated Hale Street mural, which pays tribute to the Poplar councillors. The text is below.
After the ‘Great War’, London’s East Enders lived in extreme poverty.
At 3pm, Janine speaks on a panel about Minnie Lansbury and the Poplar rates rebellion in a seminar taking place immediately before the premiere of a new play on this subject at 5pm.
Venue: RADA Studios, 16 Chenies Street, London WC1E 7EX
A century ago, in August 1921, Labour Councillor Jack Wooster told crowds demonstrating in support of Poplar's rebel councillors that "Sympathy without relief [the name back then for welfare benefits] is like mustard without beef".
Sympathy without relief
is like mustard without beef
or lettuce without leaf
One hundred years ago, a big movement grew in the east London borough of Poplar, headed by thirty councillors who went to prison rather than levy extortionate rates or cut services to the working-class population that elected them. ‘Poplarism’ won.
Why did Poplar win? Here are ten key points, which contain lessons for today.
Long before ‘Black Friday’ became the name for the first day of the Christmas shopping season, it was the name that the labour movement gave to the day on which trade union leaders inflicted a defeat on their own movement. It happened exactly one hundred years ago, on 15 April 1921.
Our story is set just after the first world war in Poplar, an east London borough with a population of 160,000 people crammed into the docklands in the bend of the River Thames (Poplar) and the area just north of it (Bow).
Janine gave this illustrated online talk about the Poplar Rates Rebellion for the TUC Tolpuddle Radical History School on 12 January 2021.