Home Office

Photo Of The Day

IMAGE: JAMES JARCHE/FOX PHOTOS/GETTY IMAGES. The Home Secretary, Winston Churchill (left, in top hat), during the siege of Sidney street in Stepney, East London, 1911.

The Home Secretary, Winston Churchill (left, in top hat), during the siege of Sidney street in Stepney, East London, 1911.

The Siege of Sidney Street

A Ferocious Urban Gun Battle, with Churchill Himself

On 16 December 1910, a resident of Sidney Street in London’s East End heard mysterious hammering noises at a house nearby and notified the Police. This was the beginning of a bizarre incident in which the Home Secretary, Winston S. Churchill, would take a direct hand – incurring no little criticism and ridicule at the time, and for years afterward. It was, like several other Churchillian escapades, only partly understood and greatly misinterpreted. Nevertheless, it makes for an exciting story.

A gang of refugees from Russian Latvia were responsible for this and other sensational crimes in London during 1909-1911. There was the “Tottenham Outrage” of 1909, the Houndsditch murders of 1910, and the famous gun battle on New Year’s Day 1911, around the Sidney Street house in which two of the gang’s members were barricaded.

The story began with the “Tottenham Outrage.” On 23 January 1909, two Latvian refugees of London’s East End assaulted a messenger carrying the wages for a local rubber factory. In the course of the struggle shots were fired and overheard at a nearby police station. A police chase ensued, the armed robbers enjoying a substantial advantage initially, as the use of firearms by police or criminals was then virtually unknown. The police hastened to arm themselves, however, and ran the criminals to earth after a six-mile pursuit in which two people were killed and 27 injured.

Read more »

This is not going to work

? Sydney Morning Herald

Travelers are getting fed up with long queues at Heathrow and are starting to cause trouble. As is typical the bureaucrats have come up with a non-solution:

London Mayor Boris Johnson said two-hour immigration queues at Heathrow Airport were giving a “terrible impression” of Britain as the furore escalated yesterday, just weeks before the Olympics.

The British government was forced into making an emergency statement in parliament late yesterday on passport checks at the world’s busiest international passenger airport, which will be the main gateway for the 2012 London Games.

Delays of up to two hours for passengers from outside Europe were reported last week.

Frustrated passengers resorted to slow hand-clapping and jeering, while one fed-up traveller marched through the gates without showing his passport, according to reports.

The airport owner started distributing leaflets urging passengers to complain tot he Home Office and the Border agency then threw a wobbly about it all:

Marc Owen, the director of UK Border Agency operations at Heathrow, said the leaflet was “not all right with us” and threatened to take it up with the government.

“It is both inflammatory and likely to increase tensions in arrivals halls especially in the current atmosphere,” he said in an email to BAA, according to the?Telegraph.

“Please refrain from handing out or I will escalate with ministers who are likely to take a very dim view.”

He also urged BAA to stop passengers photographing the queues, after images and footage appeared in British media.

Yeah that’ll work…stopping passengers from taking photos and using social media to get the message out that Border processing at Heathrow sucks.