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Five men, six days: Pentonville voices


Following the arrests, supporters of the Five set about getting dockers in smaller ports, and as many workers in other industries as possible, to come out on strike. These extracts describe the robust methods they sometimes used.

Micky Fenn (swearing): “if you don’t like it we’ll chuck you in the river” (2:48)

After seeing their bosses confronted by the London militants, Newhaven dockers decide to join the strike.


Ian Olley (swearing): “the feeling was that strong . . . we just went piling in” (2:31)

Visits to other work places to secure support, including Whitechapel postal sorting office, the newspapers of Fleet Street and Charrington’s brewery.

The march on Pentonville


On 25 July a mass protest march went through the streets of London to the prison.

Bill Chapman: “I don’t think anything could’ve stopped that that day” (1:29)

Revival of war-time camaraderie; building workers leave their site to join in; the emotional need to show affinity with the Five.


Maurie Day: “you was alive inside ya . . . it was terrific” (2:26)

A “beautiful” march followed by skirmishes outside the prison possibly provoked by the police.


Tony Merrick: “they could see that the gates of Pentonville were going to go through at any moment” (1:50)

The sound of a Welsh miners’ choir and the “hubbub” of supporters; warders terrified of the prison being stormed.



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