Sunday, April 22, 2007

Louise Michel in East Dulwich

An interesting East Dulwich resident...

Louise Michel (1830-1905) was a celebrated figure in 19th century French politics, an anarchist who fought at the barricades in the Paris Commune of 1871 and was subsequently exiled to New Caledonia. Returning to France in 1880 she was frequently in conflict with the authorities, and decided to flee France for London in July 1890, shortly after being arrested following May Day riots.

She stayed temporarily in lodgings at 59 Charlotte Street, Fitzroy Square - an area where many radical refugees hung out. She then moved to East Dulwich, where she seems to have remained until returning to France in November 1895. According to Edith Thomas's biography, she was interviewed there a number of times by French journalists and also visited by fellow Communard Charles Malato, who found the then 62 year old Michel surrounded by cats, dogs and a parrot that cried 'Long live anarchy!'.

Thomas gives the address as 79 Arspley Terrace - I can't find any trace of this today. Has anybody got any idea where this was. It is possible there is a spelling mistake, although I have also loooked under Aspley Terrace.

2 comments:

RUINIST said...

it's a classic historical fuck-up...there was no such address or anything like it there...i tried to find this st a few years ago in the s'wark archives but didn't get very far...?
frustrating eh?
bet someone know where?

Transpontine said...

Yeah this is a bit of pain, probably just a transcription error. The Victorian streets index (http://homepage.ntlworld.com/hitch/gendocs/lonstr_a.html) lists these
possible matches:

- Apsley Cottages, Downes Street, Camberwell;
- Apsley Road, South Norwood SE25