St John's Square 1900's..

George Gissing: The Nether World - London Fictions:


The district’s craftsmen had fostered a culture of artisan radicalism which still found powerful expression in the 1880s. The Patriotic Club on Clerkenwell Green (the eighteenth century building is now, appropriately, the Marx Memorial Library) was one of the most active and advanced of London’s many working class radical clubs. As the decade progressed the most energetic of the new socialist groups, the Social Democratic Federation, found an audience among less skilled Clerkenwellians for its campaigns on unemployment, housing and trade unions for the unorganised. Clerkenwell Green itself was a forum for radical oratory, and a venue of notoriously turbulent popular protests.