This Day In London’s History
1887: ‘Bloody Sunday’ - thousands of demonstrators are beaten to a pulp by police and troops in central London.
Not to be confused with the day of violence in Derry in 1972, this particular ‘Bloody Sunday’ refers to the events that unfolded on 13th November 1887, as the Social Democratic Federation attempted to stage a large demonstration in Trafalgar Square. The government banned the meeting, deploying large numbers of police and troops to prevent the demonstrators from entering the square. The ensuing clash was exceptionally violent, resulting in large numbers of casualties, as witnessed by Edward Carpenter:
The crowd was a most good-humoured, easy going, smiling crowd; but presently it was transformed. A regiment of mounted police came cantering up. The order had gone forth that we were to be kept moving. To keep a crowd moving is I believe a technical term for the process of riding roughshod in all directions, scattering, frightening and batoning the people.
Organisers John Burns and Robert Cunninghame-Graham were later imprisoned for six weeks for organising an “unlawful assembly”.
Despite their various run-ins with the law, both John Burns and Robert Cunninghame-Graham served as members of parliament in the House of Commons at some point in their lives. Cunninghame-Graham, notably, was suspended from parliament only two months prior to the events of ‘Bloody Sunday’ (for using the word “damn” in the House of Commons).
Londoner Of The Week
Despite Londonist’s renowned nonpartisanship, we have to welcome ex-boxer Winston McKenzie’s bid to become the next
Champion Mayor of London, if only because we appreciate the knockout opportunity for boxing-related puns that it provides…
One Thing You Must Do In London This Week
Well the West End had Jordan and Peter Andre switching on the Christmas lights last week, so this week it’s the turn of the City of London to start enjoying its festive illuminations. Catering to an obviously less adolescent crowd than last week, the ‘celebrity switcher’ here is the new Lord Mayor, Alderman John Stuttard. So if you fancy partying with the grownups, get down to Leadenhall Market for 5:15 on Friday evening.