Between 1932 and 1940 the British Union of Fascists established a vigorous and active presence in East London and South West Essex. This text considers the emergence, development and character of local Mosleyite fascism from a perspective sensitive to the region's varied municipal environment.
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Between 1932 and 1940 Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists established a highly vigorous and active presence in east London and south-west Essex. The East End of London, in particular, was a centre of intense fascist activity, a development that has inspired much comment by historians. Despite an enduring interest in the Mosleyite presence in this region by scholars, two important features of this phenomenon have remained in need of investigation. Firstly, the need to consider the emergence, development and character of local Mosleyite fascism from a perspective that is sensitive to the region's varied municipal environment. By focusing on local Mosleyite branches and cadres as they contested political power within this municipal context, this book stresses the pluralism and diversity of Mosleyite fascism in this region. Secondly, there has been no previous study of the BUF's membership and support base in this area. During these years large numbers of local individuals were recruited into BUF branches in east London and south-west Essex. However, beyond one or two high profile local Mosleyite officials who featured in the earlier literature on the BUF, our knowledge of this numerically large following has been almost non-existent. By identifying various 'sociological types' who pledged their support to Mosley, this book attempts to compensate for this absence. The related question of motivation is also considered, through an examination of the ideological and psychological disposition of local 'joiners'.
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