“East End Siege - Detectives inspecting the Burning House”


Cortenberg Ltd. [London]

8 3/8 x 5 3/8 inches (Sepia-toned photograph)

Item Number: 442



Winston Churchill was Home Secretary in Prime Minister H.H. Asquith’s government on 3 January 1911 when he received word that a group of heavily armed “anarchist” burglars, who had earlier killed three policemen, were now trapped in a house in the East End of London at 100 Sidney Street. Churchill immediately raced to the crime scene himself, while ordering in a detachment of Scots Guards.

When the building caught fire Churchill gave the order to let it burn. “I thought it better to let the House burn down,” Churchill later wrote to the Prime Minister,“ than spend good British lives in rescuing those ferocious rascals.” “The Siege of Sidney Street” became a titanic media event in Great Britain. Postcards of it were sold in large numbers and the fire fight was even filmed and screened as a newsreel in early cinema.
This card is in very good condition, with a brief ink message on verso.