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)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day 2008

Bomber Command Memorial

We need to acknowledge the past. The proposed memorial for the 55,000 men of Bomber Command who died is needed because, unless we are informed by the past, we will not be able to make a better future for all mankind.

Many men and women from overseas lands came to aid Britain against the fascists and many chose to join the RAF. We should be proud of the thousands of Australian, New Zealanaders, Canadians, Polish, Czech, Irish, Indian, Zimbabwean, South African, Tanzanian, and Malawians who joined the RAF.

In RAF Bomber Command alone, 6,000 ground crew and 400 air crew were from the Caribbean, of which over 100 were decorated.

RAF tail gunner (photo).


Brendan "Paddy" Éamon FitzPatrick Finucane. born Dublin 16th October 1920. His family moved to Richmond, Surrey. Paddy joined the RAF in later 1938. In January 1942 Finucane was given command of 602 Squadron (Hornchurch), aged just 21, he was the youngest ever Wing Commander. RAF Spitfire Ace. His Spitfire was painted with a shamrock.

Finucane shot down numeous German planes during the Battle of Britain, 32 in his career, however he was finally shot down off the French coast on 15th July 1942 and killed, after an attack upon German shipping in Ostend. Model airplanes of his spitfire with vivid green shamrocks sold in Piccadilly Circus and the Strand in London.


500 British Honduran (Belize) women were employed cutting wood in the Scottish forests

Dr Arundel Moody son of Harold Moody founder of the League of Coloured Peoples 1931 became the first black commissioned officer when he became a lieutenant in the Royal West Kent.

Noor Inayat Khan, British "SOE" Secret Agent operated in Paris 1943, betrayed and shot at Dachau.

Manouchian Group

On the afternoon of February 21, 1944, 23 members of a Communist Resistance movement, the Francs Tireurs et Partisans - Main - d'oeuvre immigrée (FTP-MOI), were executed at Mont Valerian. The one-day trial of these men and women, who were to become known as the Manouchian Group (after the leader of the Parisian section of the organization, the Armenian activist and poet Missak Manouchian),

It is in recognition of this that every year a gathering is held in their memory at the burial place of most of their members, the Parisian Cemetery of Ivry. And on their graves figure the words: “Mort pout la France.” Died for France.

(poster known as the Red poster was printed by the Vichy collaborationists)

The members of the group were:

Celestino Alfonso — Spaniard
Olga Bancic — Roumanian
Joseph Boczov — Romanian
Georges Cloarec — French
Rina Dell Negra — Italian
Thomas Elek — Hungarian
Maurice Fingerczwajg — Polish
Spartaco Fontano — Italian
Imre Glaz — Hungarian
Joans Geduldig — Polish
Leon Goldberg — Polish
Szlama Grzywacz — Polish
Stanislas Kubacki — Polish
Arpen Tavitian — Armenian
Cesare Luccarini — Italian
Missak Manouchian — Armenian
Marcel Rayman — Polish
Roger Rouxel — French
Antonio Salvadori — Italian
Willy Szapiro — Polish
Amadeo Usseglio — Italian
Wolf Wajsbrot — Polish
Robert Wichitz — French

Uxbridge ILP Leader Killed

Leanold W Spencer Uxbridge Independent Labour Party Secretary (Belmont Road, Uxbridge) was also killed, 1st September 1915.

Shot in the head aged just 26. He had been a founder member of
Uxbridge Labour Party, first Labour Councillor in Uxbridge and was the first man to motor cycle up Snowdon, Wales.

L.W Spencer, Regiment took major loses and he underwent terrible ordeal suffer from hunger, thirst, sleepless nights and 7 months on constant bombardment, he slept with his motorcycle by his side doing his Christian socialist duty.

He was in the 13th Kensington Battalion, Cyclist Orderly he is buried at Longuenesse St Omer.


Carl Siebenhuhner, German Prisoner Drowned at Denham, Buckinghamshire. (a village just outside West London)

While bathing in the river Colne at the prisoner of War camp, Denham Lodge, on Saturday 9 August 1919, a German prisoner named Siebenhuhner got out of his depth.

He was unable to swim, and seeing that he was in difficulties, his comrades immediately went to his assistance, but without success and the body disappeared. Dragging operations were at once instituted, and the body was recovered from the water in less than a hour,

At the inquest held at the Lodge on Tuesday evening, by Mr A. E. Charsley coroner for South Buckinghamshire a verdict of accidental death was returned.

The deceased, who was twenty seven years of age was a single man, and had been a prisoner of war since 1916. the accident was particularly unfortunate as he was expecting to return to his home in Germany shortly.

The funeral of private Carl Siebenhuhner took place at Denham on Wednesday,

The coffin covered with a flag, and surmounted with a couple of wreaths of holly and evergreens from his comrades, was placed on one of the motor lorries, and the cortege moved off from the camp at Denham Lodge with a firing party of the Royal Fusiliers leading and the whole of the Prisoners of War numbering about forty, following behind the coffin.

In addition to the two wreaths on the coffin, one of the German prisoners carried a beautiful wreath of white carnations subscribed for by all his comrades.

The first portion of the burial service was conducted by the Rector, the Rev G.C Battiscombe, was taken in the church and afterwards six of his comrades, specially chosen because of their near residence to him in Germany bore the coffin to the grave. Here the rector concluded the burial service, three volleys were fired by soilders from the Royal Fusilers and the last post sounded.

The coffin bore the inscription Siebenhuhner, Carl 133rd Infantry Regiment, died August 9th 1919, aged 27, One of the wreaths was from his friend Erde.

In the 1960's the German War Graves Commission established a permanent site in a pine forest at Cannock Chase, Staffordshire.

Siebenhuhner was reinterred 24th November 1962

Karl Siebenhuhner - German Prisoner of War, World War One.


Kamal Chunchie, born Kandy, Sri Lanka
1886. A policeman from Ceylon joined the Middlesex Regiment in WW1 and was wounded twice. After the war on 9th February 1926 he opened the Coloured Men's Institute in Canning Town, probably the first community organization of its kind.
Died 1953

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Socialist republic of South Yorkshire

Socialist Republic
South Yorkshire