New Cross Fire anniversary march organisers call for big turnout

Thousands of people marched through London to protest against the Metropolitan Police’s handling of the investigation of the New Cross Fire. McNee was the then Metropolitan Police commissioner David McNee.
Photo: Tim Ring/Alamy

To mark the 40th anniversary of the New Cross Fire and the Black People’s Day of Action which followed it, a commemoration march is taking place on Tuesday 2 March.

Starting at 11am from the Moonshot Centre in New Cross, supporters will follow the original day of action march route to Hyde Park.

The fire resulted in the tragic death of 14 young Black people.

Six weeks after the fire, on 2 March, the Black People’s Day of Action took place – an act of community resistance that saw some 20,000 people, many of them from Brixton, march across London to demand justice, bringing several parts of the capital to a standstill.

Black People’s Day of Action made history as one of the most significant political demonstrations to take place in Britain and marked a turning point in the struggle for racial equality.

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On Tuesday 2 March this year, at 11am, the commemoration march will start from the Moonshot Centre, Fordham Park, Pagnell Street, SE14 6AY, passing the house at 439 New Cross Road where the fire happened and ending at Hyde Park.

The centre is on the site of the Moonshot Youth Centre where 2,000 people met a week after the fire and set up the New Cross Massacre Action Committee.

Organisers aim to create maximum impact on the day this year with strength in numbers, and ask for details of the march to be shared as widely as possible with family and friends.

Many people believe that the Metropolitan police “Swamp 81” operation in Brixton, which led to the Uprising/riots of April 1981, was a response to the march.

Almost 1,000 people were stopped under the notorious “Sus” law and nearly 200 Black youths were arrested.

To mark the 40th anniversary of the 81 Uprising, individuals, community groups and organisations have come together to create 81 Acts of Exuberant Defiance. Visit the website for details of upcoming events.

Remembering all those who lost their lives as a result of the fire:

  • Patrick Cummings, 21 September 1964 – 18 January 1981
  • Andrew Gooding,18 February 1966 – 18 January 1981
  • Peter Campbell, 23 February 1962 – 18 January 1981
  • Gerry Paul Francis, 21 August 1963 – 18 January 1981
  • Steve Collins, 2 May 1963 – 18 January 1981
  • Patricia Johnson, 16 May 1965 – 18 January 1981
  • Rosaline Henry, 23 September 1964 – 18 January 1981
  • Lloyd Hall, 28 November 1960 – 18 January 1981
  • Humphrey Geoffrey Brown, 4 July 1962 – 18 January 1981
  • Owen Thompson, 11 September 1964 – 18 January 1981
  • Yvonne Ruddock, 17 January 1965 – 24 January 1981
  • Glenton Powell, 18 January 1966 – 25 January 1981
  • Paul Ruddock, 19 November 1958 – 9 February 1981
  • Anthony Berbeck, 17 August 1962 – 9 July 1983