London was in a revolutionary ferment in the years before World War One. Anarchists in exile from France, Germany, Russia and Italy eked out a precarious existence in the streets of Fitzrovia, east of Tottenham Court Road, spied on by their various authoritarian governments. Lenin visited London six times before the Russian Revolution, describing the reference services at the nearby British Library as the best in the world. A generation before Marx had studied at the same Library and wrote his Communist Manifesto for a club which met in Fitzrovia.
The explosion at Greenwich Observatory in 1894, where a French anarchist blew himself up brought Special Branch attention to the Autonomie Club in Great Windmill Street, but overall the British state remained splendidly unconcerned about the revolutionaries in its midst, until the Sidney Street siege of 1911. Visit key sites of anarchist and communist London, as we take you back to the dreams of revolutionaries of a different, better world.
The walk begins at Goodge Street Station and ends near Oxford Circus.