Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hayes Cottage Hospital Work-in

Hayes Cottage Hospital Occupation (Work-in) for 24 hours circa 1990 organised by COHSE Hillingdon & District Branch. This was the second occupation in opposition to the proposal to sell off Hayes Cottage Hospital and was successful in securing redeployment for all staff within the NHS.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Return of the International Brigade 1938

The Return of the International Brigade

70 years ago today ( 7th December 1938) remnants of the International Brigade returned to London after fighting fascism in Spain for two years.

Those that fought or nursed in the International Brigade knew why they went to Spain, they went to fight the evil of fascism and the consequences for Britain if fascism triumphed.

A consequence paid for heavily by the British people during the Second World War.

We must never forget that the British Conservative Government and Winston Churchill colluded with German and Italian fascism to ensure the democratic progressive Spanish Government was defeated by Franco.

At Victoria Railway Station

Wednesday 7th December 1938

From News Chronicle, December 8 1938

When it was all over and the station was almost quiet again, the oldest porter to be found was asked if he had ever seen anything like this. "No", he said, "I saw nothing like it even at the end of the last war" Replying to speeches of welcome to the returning Brigadiers, Sam Wild, Commander of the British Battalion said:

"We intend to keep the promise we made to the Spanish people before we left — that we would only change our front and continue to fight in Britain for the assistance of Spain "These extracts from "newspapers of the time convey the atmosphere as the Brigadiers returned home:

From the Daily Worker, December 8, 1938

At last the train steamed into Victoria Station;, and from its windows there waved the flags of fifty-two nations. Even before it stopped, mothers and sons, wives and husbands were re-united.

As they left the train, headed by Battalion Commander Sam Wild, Political Commissar Bob Cooney and Quartermaster "Hookey" Walker, they were welcomed by Mr Attlee, leader of the Labour Party. With him were Will Lawther of the Miners Federation, Mr William Gallacher, M.P., of the Communist Party, Mr J. R. Squance, Railmen's Union Leader, Sir Norman Angell, Lord Strabolgi, Sir Stafford Cripps and Tom Mann."

From the evening paper Star December 8 1938.

Led proudly by their wounded comrades, the men marched into London. With them marched the spirit of Byron, the Tolpuddle Martyrs, the Chartists, Keir Hardie ... Britain's bravest fighters for liberty through the centuries. Behind and around them marched twenty thousand British democrats- Men as well as women wept and cheered alternately; It was no political affair for all parties were represented, both on the platform and in the crowd. It was British democracy spontaneously expressing its abhorrence of Fascism and its appreciation of bravery.

These men have made history, by forming part of the greatest international democratic army the world has ever known. They have inspired the world by their example.

Something of this seemed to enter into everyone who was at Victoria last night, and the memory of it will never be eradicated"

Sam Wild commander of the British Battalion of the International Brigade, was quoted as saying:

"The British Battalion is prepared to carry on the work begun here to see to it that our 500 comrades who sleep for ever beneath Spanish soil shall serve as an example to the entire British people in the struggle against fascism.

Those who were killed included member of the nursing and ambulance volunteers sent by the Spanish Medical Aid Committee (SMAC) established 1st August 1936.

The following SMAC personnel died in Spain.

Percy Batson: Ambulance Driver - Feb 1938

Julian Bell: Ambulance Driver July 1937

Anthony Carritt: Ambulance Driver July 1937

George de Groode: Ambulance Driver July 1937

George Green: Ambulance Driver/Orderly Sept 1938

Vincent Hunt: Ambulance Driver July 1937

Emmanuel Julius: Hospital Stores Oct 1936

Issie Kupchik: Ambulance Driver June 1937

Ruth Ormesby: Nurse April 1938

E. Petrie: Ambulance Driver July 1937

Randall Sollenberger: Doctor July 1937

Halcrow Verstage: Ambulance Driver 1937


Below video of
Maxine Peake reading the "
Farewell to the International Brigade " given originally by Dolores Ibarruri in 1938.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Lansbury Estate 1951 - Its what Labour Council's do

The Lansbury Estate 1951

The Lansbury Estate in Poplar was one of the largest post war municipal housing schemes undertaken by the Labour controlled London County Council (LCC) and later the Greater London Council (GLC).

The Estate was named after the great Poplar Labour Councillor and MP George Lansbury.

The first building began in December 1949 and was built on a site North of East India Dock badly bomb damaged during the blitz in World War II.

the first tenants Mr & Mrs Albert Snoddy and their two children moved in on the 14th February 1951 at a rent of £1 and nine shillings a week (rates included)

It was a showpiece estate, built as it was based on "neighbourhoods" and of a good standard. The first phase formed the basis of the Live Architecture Exhibition, part of the Festival of Britain of 1951.

Lewis Mumford, the great American writer on urban planning, was enthusiastic about Lansbury Estate, writing in the New Yorker, he stated that Americans 'might profitably consider this masterly effort as a guide to our thinking' on public housing.


The 1951 Festival of Britain

Architecture Exhibition

Furnished Flat

Landsbury Estate - Poplar

The object of the London Co-operative Society in furnishing the Show Flat, Lansbury Estate, has been to choose schemes of decoration, furniture, fabrics and fittings to make the most of available space.

The selections have been made in close collaboration with the Council of Industrial design. The furniture has been specially designed and made at the C.W.S. factories and combines hard-wearing qualities with beauty of line and reasonable price. Most of the articles shown are tax free.

Mrs Grace Lovat Fraser has designed the colour schemes and interior decoration and as selected furniture and fabrics in consultation with members of the staff of the London Co-operative Society Ltd.

The treatment of a room depends on its aspect and the amount of money available, and both these factors have been taken into consideration when planning the interior decoration and furnishing of the rooms.

The living-room is colour washed in peach, the woodwork being of a deeper shade. The two armchairs and settee are covered in leather cloth with contrasting cushions in an attractive colour.

The three-piece is of entirely new design, consisting of a settee, one armchair, intended for the man—comfort being the key-note—and the other for the woman, which gives firm support to the back and ample elbow room for sewing, knitting and the other spare-time occupations which fall to the lot of the housewife.

The carpet is a seamless chenille Axminster with a fawn ground featuring a contemporary design of detached leaves in brown with off-white spots.

The curtains are of rayon and cotton fabric in a wove

n plaid pattern, green and beige predominating with a black and red thread running through; they are lined with casement for extra strength.

The television set is a "Defiant," as is the table radio shown above, This model is not included in the flat, but is illustrated, as television is not yet everybody's choice.

The dining suite is made in natural mahogany with semi-matt finish, and is mahogany lined throughout. This method of finishing modern furniture has a twofold purpose—to bring out the full beauty of the wood and to prolong the " good looking " life. Unlike highly polished furniture, surface dirt can be easily cleaned off and scratches, abrasions and other marks are not so noticeable.

The chairs are upholstered in a soft fabric of pleasi

ng colour. The lines of the suite are clean and uninterrupted by meaningless decoration and, therefore, will not date. The drawers in the sideboard have rounded corners and sides which prevent the collection of dust and dirt.

The group of crockery shown below has been selected from the Utility range made at the C.W.S. Potteries at Longton, This is available from time to time at all L.C.S. stores the keynote of simplicity is maintained and effect is achieved by placing the plain white pottery on a coloured table-cloth.

The earthenware has a full white colour and the design ensures maximum stability combined with good line and shape.

The dinner service consists of six meat plates six dessert plates, six cheese plates, two vegetable dishes and two meat dishes. the fruit set has a large round bowl and six small bowls which can be used for soup or individual sweet

s. The tea set comprises a teapot, six cups and saucers, six plates a bread and butter plate, milk jug and sugar basin.

Striped Australian walnut is the wood chosen for the principal bedroom suite which consists of a double bed, fitted wardrobe and dressing table is lined mahogany throughout. The built-in cupboard dispenses with the large wardrobe.

The same simplicity of line is observed and the job of cleaning has been anticipated—all the pieces are lifted from the floor. The grey carpet is a made-up hair-cord, which gives a sense of luxury at a comparatively small outlay.

The curtains are of blue and white printed spun rayon lined with blue casement and reflect the colour of the ceiling. The bed-spread is made from blue and white woven cotton in a honeycomb design, topped by a blue covered quilt. Walls of pale lavender grey and ivory woodwork complete the restful colour scheme, the dash of contrasting colour being introduced in the chair seat which is a pastel shade described as dusty The pillow slips, sheets and blankets are utility Maryland brand.

The household linen with which the flat has been equipped has been taken from ordinary stock. Each bed has an interior spring mattress and two pillows,

one pair of sheets, two blankets, two pillow slips (the double bed four), a quilt and bedspread.

In the bathroom are two hand towels, a bath towel and bath mat. There is a rubber mat on the floor and one fitted with rubber suction pads in the bath.

The kitchen is equipped with floor cloths, dusters, hand towel and six glass cloths.

All the curtains have been made in our workrooms and most of them are lined with casement for added strength and wear. The colour arrangement of patterns of the textiles gives a key to the types of fabric, and the other illustration gives a good idea of the draping qualities of the materials.

An original note has been introduced in the bathroom by the use of ordinary hand towels as curtains. This innovation has much to recommend it as they are easily washed and do not deteriorate in the heat and steam.

Moreover the wearing quality is extremely good and the price comparable with curtain material.

Colour schemes have been chosen for the kitchen which are cheery and gay, as a great deal of the time of the housewife will be spent in this room. Ivory walls and woodwork with skirting, window frames and door frame in signal red, shelves lined with thick turquoise American cloth with a small white star, and curtains lined with cream casement of gaily flowered cretonne, make the kitchen a room that is far removed from the drab routine "workroom" of so many houses.

A contrast is made by the red floor covering in coir matting, which is easily lifted for cleaning. As the cooker is electric, the aluminium saucepans are heavy duty with ground bottoms.

Having catered for the grown-ups we now turn to the child's room. This has been planned to be equally suitable for a boy or girl.

Walls and ceiling are washed a clear sunny primrose and the woodwork is of ivory. The predominating colour in the printed linen curtains is dark pink on white with the sprigged pattern picked out in brown and lime green. The bedspread is of pink and white woven cotton and rayon, the same colour being repeated in the quilt.

The furniture is light oak, wax polished and is specially designed to hold the belongings of a teenager. The floor covering, which is a made-up square of coir and sisal matting in a chevron pattern, is easily rolled up for cleaning and allows for plenty of hard wear.

Owing to technical difficulties, it was found impossible to produce the combination dressing-table and cupboard shown in the artist's impression of the child's room, A-simpler version has therefore been substituted.

A team of craftsmen and designers has been working at the various C.W.S. factories producing the furniture for the Festival. Flat. Facsimile suites are on show at some L.C.S. showrooms, where it is possible to study these fine examples of workmanship in greater detail and with more leisure.

All the cupboards in the kitchen are fully stocked with non-perishable foodstuffs,

Domestic equipment and cleaning materials comprise a refrigerator, a Co-Op Society carpet sweeper, broom, wall brush, soft and hard hand brush, scrubbing brush, set of kitchen cutlery, a half set of table cutlery, carving knife, fork and steel, wooden spoons, sieves and .strainers, mincing machine, scales, oven wear, pressure cooker, sauce-pans, frying pans and full range of waxes, cleaners and polishes.

The packets, jars, bottles and tins which stock the kitchen are familiar to Co-operators and are a reflection of their own larders and cupboards. The Council of Industrial Design has approved the outside, and 1,000,000 members have expressed satisfaction with the contents. A price list of the articles is given on the loose leaf, and these are the prices at the time of going to press.


54, Maryland Street, STRATFORD

42, King Street, HAMMERSMITH

la, High Street North, EAST HAM

19, Junction Road, HIGHGATE

159, Upper Street, ISLINGTON

54, Southchurch Road, SOUTHEND-ON-SEA

277, Hoe Street, WALTHAMSTOW

638, High Road, TOTTENHAM

220, High Road, ILFORD, Essex

33/35, South Street, ROMFORD, Essex

353, Fore Street, EDMONTON

23, Staines Road, HOUNSLOW, Middx.

34a, High Road, KILBURN

202, High Road, WILLESDEN

1, Falcon Road, BATTERSEA

The Broadway, BURNT OAK, EDGWARE, Middx,

High Street, CAMDEN TOWN


High Street, ACTON

High Street, UXBRIDGE


Issued by:

The Public Relations Officer. 54, Maryland Street, E.15 Tel.: Maryland 42011

Lansbury Council House co-operative price list July 1951 (click to enlarge)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Paris Expo 1937 -Soviet Pavilion

Exposition Internationale des Arts

et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne

25 May - 25 November 1937

Paris, France

Champs de Mars, from the Trocadero, to the banks of the Seine

The admission fee is six francs

The exhibition is open from 9am until midnight

The Paris Exposition attracted 31 Million visitors

The Soviet Pavilion

(From the Official Exposition Guide)

At the end of the central way, you will find on the right, on the bank of the Seine, the Pavillion of the U.R.S.S. (Pavillion de l’ U.R.S.S.) (Architect : M. B. M

Iofan. French collaborators; M M. Coquet, Bonneres, Jossilevitch, architects).

The whole pavilion is built above the new passage beneath the Quai de Tokio.

One can well call the Russian Soviet pavilion a monolith composition of sculpture and architecture.

Relatively low, its height increases as the principal façade towards the Lena bridge is reached. It culminates in the fine tower, built half in concrete, half in metal, and covered with Garzan marble, completely unknown in Western Europe.

A monumental statue, equal in height to a six storey building, representing a young worker and a young peasant girl, one brandishing a hammer, the other a sickle, tops the structure.

Two huge frescoes, "1917 and 1937" ornament the vestibules of the principal entrance, which leads you to the five exhibition rooms.

The first, where there is a sculptured group of Lenin and Stalin, will give you an idea of the extent of the Soviet territory, its natural resources and i

ts industry, by means of maps with electrical contrivances, diagrams, decorative panels, enabling you to comprehend the Stalin constitution, illustrated by an artistic documentation, showing measures for the protection of labour, of public health

, the mother and child.

The second section will give you an idea of the fruitful activity of science in Soviet Russia. A diagram indicates what are the books most asked for in the libraries by the workers.

The work of Maxime Gorky and the centenary of the poet Pushkin are represented on two stands. In this second hall and in the third, the theatre occupies an important place, especially the popular theatres of the Red Army, children's

theatres, and peasants' theatres. (Cinema, 400 seats).

The situation of the Soviet pavilion above a subterranean passage decided its pr

oportion 5oo feet in length and 65 feet in width.

The originator of this design is the chief architect of the pavilion,

Mr. Boris Iofan (in charge of construction of the Soviets Palace at Moscow) and in tracing the lines he has been inspired by the force and creative impulse which mark the economic,

cultural and social activities of the U.R.S.S.

The same ideas inspired Madame (Vera) Mukhina, author of the sculptured group “Workman and Farm girl” (known also as Worker and Kolkhoz Woman) which crowns the Pavilion. This group 75 feet in height, is in stainless steel and weighs 65 tons.

The Technical execution is the work

of the Central Institute of .Research in Mechanics and Metallurgy of Moscow, under the direction of the engineer Lvov.

The facade of the Pavilion is decorated with tiles of different coloured marble, from the Ural, Central Asia,

On each side of the entrance rise buttresses decorated with bas relief’s, work of the sculptor Tcha Kov.

The great door is decorated by the professor Favorsky. The interior arrangement of the Pavilion was entrusted to the artist Souetine.

We may add that the Pavilion was constructed almost entirely by trench workmen from French materials.

The objects shown in the vestibules and halls Pavilion give a synopsis of the development of art and technique in the eleven republics forming the Union of the Soviets, in the Twentieth year of its existence.


The Worker and Kolkhoz Woman statute became
the world famous centre piece of the Soviet Pavilion at the Exposition in Paris in 1937, and would later become the iconic symbol of “socialist realism” in art.

Workers across France flocked to see the statue and show solidarity with the Soviet people. Support for the Left in Europe was on the rise and France at the time bei

ng governed by left-wing Popular Front

government which included Communists.

It total over twenty million people visited the Soviet Pavilion

The sculpture was designed by Vera Ignatyevna Mukhina born in Riga 1st July 1889, she had been inspired by classical work such as Harmodius and Aristogeiton, the Victory of Samothrace and La Marseillaise.

The sculpture was made of stai

nless steel and new method of spot welding

After the Paris Expo the sculpture was moved to Paris and placed outside the All Soviet, Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy.

Vera Mukhina died 6th October 1953

The statute is presently being restoration


The other major attraction for socialists and workers at the Paris Expo was the Pavilion of Spain (The Popular Front government being engaged in a civil war against fascists). The Pavilion stood on Central Way.

Pavillion of Spain was designed by Jose Luis Sert with the assistance of Luis La casa. Opening was at the 12th July 1937. French collaborator M. Abella stand on the side of the central way.

In the pavilion was displayed Pablo Picasso’s famous

Guernica” painting, which illustrated the bombing by German fascists of the Basque town of Guernica on 26th April 1937

Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT)


In the building the House of labour (Maison du Travail (Architect: M. Henry) on the opposite side, the Confederation Generale du Travail in collaboration with the Chambre Syndicate des Techniciens du Batiment, des Travaux Publics et des Matteriaux de Construction. sought to demonstrate to the public the role and the imporatnace of the CGT, to establsih within the Exhibition a meeting place for workers (fetes, lectures etc) as well as a centre of information, to organise labour's contribution to the economic structures of the country, and to make known the history of Labour and its emancipation. It includes an enterance hall in which stands a statue of Peace, and six rooms and dioramas reserved for the principal Industrial federations. On the first floor a reception room and offices. in the basement is a room in which books and papers dealing with technical, syndicalist, social and historical questions may be consulted.


Means of

transport: Metro, bus, tram, train and riverboat

Electric train: (seat 16) mounted on rubber tyres make a circuit of the exhibitions

Six first aid stations

There categories of restaurant

1st above 30 francs

2nd 15-30 Francs

3rd Below 15 Francs

The Restaurants are situated on the two banks of the Seine with a few Barges, at the Champs de Mars and on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower

Most French Regional Pavilions have restaurants, serving national and regional exotic dishes, also many Cafes and bars

Daily International Radio Programme known as “Heure Internationale” International hour – visitors will be able to hear at a given hour a news broadcast transmitted from the capital of their country. In their own language, giving the days news.

Twelve principal entrances to the exhibition, the principal entrance being the Trocadero (Porte 15)

Interpreters wear armlets and services can be purcha

sed for 15 Francs per hour and 20 Francs at night

The use of hand cameras and hand cinematograph apparatus is free

The Exhibition covers more than 250 acres

42 nations participated (others state 52)