Following the Paris Commune of 1871, around 3,500 Communard refugees and their families arrived in Britain, with the majority settling in the capital. This article is an exploration of these exiled Communards within the geography of London. The spatial configurations of London's radical and exile communities, and the ways in which Communards interacted with those they crossed paths with, is vital in understanding how some of the ideas that came out of the Commune permeated London's radical scene. Too often British political movements, particularly British socialism, have been presented as being wilfully impervious to developments on the continent. Instead, this article argues that in order to find these often more affective and ancillary foreign influences, it is important to think spatially and trace how the exile map of London corresponded with, extended, and redrew parts of the existing radical mapping of the city. In carving out spaces for intellectual exchange, Communard refugees moved within and across various communities and physical places. The social and spatial context in which British sympathizers absorbed and appropriated ideas from the Commune is key to understanding how the exiles of the Paris Commune left their mark on the landscape, and mindscape, of London.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.