It was apparently a tradition for London's apprentices to attack bawdy houses on Shrove Tuesday. (A reminder that tradition is not always a good thing.) In 1668, these attacks erupted into five days of unrest. Up to 40,000 rioters were involved and the disturbances stretched from Poplar to the West End. Fifteen of those involved in the Bawdy House Riots were convicted on charges of high treason, perhaps inspired by the increasingly political slogans of the rioters; four of them were hung, drawn and quartered.
Deptford saw violent unrest about dockyard chips in 1786 - these were offcuts of wood the dockyard workers were allowed to take home. It proved to be a rather expensive perk, since 'chips' could be up to six feet long. When the dockyard bosses tried to end the perk, workers were so angry that first one party of soldiers, then a second, and finally 'all the troops from the Savoy that could be spared' were needed to restore peace.
In 1809, the Old Price Riots lasted for several months - triggered by a rise in the price of theatre tickets. On the first night, calling in soldiers and police only inflamed the situation; protests then continued nightly but were apparently largely good-natured with little damage to property. (The frugal rioters took to arriving at the theatre only for the second half of the performance, when prices were reduced.) The protests only ended when theatre manager John Kemble reduced ticket prices to their old levels and apologised.
The March 1919 Battle of Bow Street saw large numbers of American, Canadian and Australian servicemen fighting the police following an attempted arrest over a game of dice. Canadian soldiers, unhappy at not having returned home many months after the First World War had ended, would riot again at Epsom on 17 June, killing a police officer.
Perhaps this long and varied history (there's a fuller list here, many much better-known) will also remind us that the causes of and solutions to riots can be too complex for instant answers. For the moment, let's just hope that London soon becomes calm and safe again.
These articles might interest you :
The Mayor's Story of London festival has always been a mixed blessing, involving much rebranding of existing events and a hard-t0-navigate website. Read moreBy Carolineld
The best-known London architecture from the early 1950s is probably the Festival complex on the South Bank. However, they were just one example of concrete... Read moreBy Carolineld
ARCHITECTURE, CULTURE, HISTORY
After spending last week looking at the Festival of Britain, I enjoyed watching these film clips which show London in the same period as it left the 1940s. Read moreBy Carolineld
One of London's great assets is its specialist tour guides. For in-depth local knowledge, you can rely on those with badges from the City of London, Clerkenwell... Read moreBy Carolineld
If you ever feel nostalgia for simpler times, when there were fewer distractions and less crime, then this century-old advice to tourists will sweep it away. Read moreBy Carolineld
Sadly, I missed the display of vehicles from this year's London to Brighton Veteran Car Run. However, here's a look back at my visit to this fabulous event in... Read moreBy Carolineld
Last night was the official relaunch of the new, improved London Remembers. This amazing website maps an enormous number of London memorials of all kinds, and i... Read moreBy Carolineld
MOST POPULAR FROM CULTURE
- The Brexit vote to leave Europe was a lie. Percentages were more like 10/90. by Thejohnfleming
- Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – Mercy (2014) by Newguy
- Industrial soul of Sulcis: giants by Artborghi
- Holiday! by Ashleylister
MOST RECOMMENDED IN CULTURE
- redThread™ Exclusive: Diversity in Wine | A Conversation with Glynis Hill by Binnotes
- Recipe: Masala Chai by Englishwifeindianlife
- Finding my Maybelline Roots in Morganfield Kentucky by Sharriewilliams
- From Texas With Blood: An Interview With “Sons of Perdition” by Comicspolitics