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New exhibition honours Islington’s Spanish Civil War heroes

'Banners for Spain' exhibition 1

'Banners for Spain' exhibition 1

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A gripping new exhibition shares the stories of Islington’s valiant men and women who made the arduous journey to civil war-torn Spain between 1936 and 1939 to fight the fascists.
The display – by Islington Museum and the Marx Memorial Library – features six striking banners from the ‘Aid Spain’ movement in the UK, set up to raise funds for food and medical supplies, as well as aid for refugees fleeing the brutal conflict. 
The standards became symbols of protest at marches against the British government’s policy of ‘non-intervention’ in the war and were used to rally support for those fighting the fascists in Spain and for Spanish civilians left destitute.
The exhibition showcases tales of local heroes such Islington East MP, Leah Manning, who, in 1937, was instrumental to the evacuation and settlement of 4,000 refugee children in Britain, from the Basque region in Spain.
Visitors can discover the compelling tale of Bosco Jones, who busked with a barrel organ in the streets of Finsbury to raise money for the anti-fascist cause before travelling over the Pyrenees to fight in Spain.  
Also on display are photographs, flyers, and newspaper articles from Aid Spain events – including Islington’s 1937 and 1938 ‘Spain Week’ – as well as moving memos from members of the International Brigades – volunteers from Britain and Ireland who supported the Spanish republic during the civil war. 
In addition to the exhibition, Islington Museum and the Marx Memorial Library are hosting a number of free Spanish Civil-themed film-screenings, guided walks, workshops, and much more. 
Islington Council’s Heritage Manager, Cheryl Smith, said: “We’re delighted to be hosting this fantastic presentation of the personal and powerful stories of local people whose efforts were pivotal in the fight against fascism in Spain, in one of the darker chapters of Europe’s history.”   
Meirian Jump, Archivist and Library Manager at the Marx Memorial Library, said: “These newly conserved banners – on display for the first time in decades – tell a fascinating and inspiring story of international solidarity. We hope that their exhibition at Islington Museum, accompanied by local accounts, brings the experiences of activists, volunteers and artists to life.”
The exhibition is hosted in partnership between Islington Council’s Heritage Team and the Marx Memorial Library and will run from 5 May to 8 July 2017 (except Monday 29 May – closed). 
The banners can only be displayed thanks to conservation funded by Textile Society and the General Federation of Trade Unions.
Islington Museum is open from 10am to 5pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday every week. Entrance is free.

For more information contact:

Eugene Grant
Senior Media Officer
0207 527 2530


'Banners for Spain' exhibition 2

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'Banners for Spain' exhibition 3

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