In October 2003 the Latvian press carried a number of articles about the Latvian anarchist Janis Zhaklis. These were largely based on the work of Philip Ruff who, after twenty years of research into the Siege of Sidney Street has identified Zhaklis as the most famous Latvian in London: Peter the Painter. His hunt through the archives continues but before the full story is published we thought it worth posting this article to whet your appetites. Pauls Bankovskis, who wrote this piece is a well-known journalist and novelist. His 2002 novel, Mister Latvia, was based on some of the characters involved with the events around Sidney Street.
Originally written for the Freedom building fundraising blog as part off a history series kicking off the campaign, this article looks at the anarchist links of Ossulston Street, London, which runs down the western flank of the British Library.
This extract is from a centenary history of Freedom, published in 1986. Written by "H B" (probably Harold Barclay), it offers as full a biography as we're likely to find of Keell, who was for decades a key organiser at Freedom Press and provided a generational link between the Freedom group of the early 20th century to that of Vernon Richards, Marie Louise Berneri et al.
Freedom's been up to a fair bit this year, so ahead of the London Anarchist Bookfair on October 29th I thought I'd do an update on how the Press is doing, what we're publishing, and how on Earth we're going to raise £40,000-odd for repairs.