The Angry Brigade

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For the play, see The Angry Brigade (play).
The Angry Brigade
Angry Brigade Resistance Movement
Participant in the Opposition to US involvement in Vietnam and The Troubles
Logo associated with the Angry Brigade, used on the cover of The Angry Brigade by Gordon Carr
Active 1968–1970, 1980s
Part of Irish Republican Socialist Movement

The Angry Brigade were a left-wing revolutionary group responsible for a series of bomb attacks in England between 1970 and 1972.



In mid-1968 demonstrations took place in London, centred on the US embassy in Grosvenor Square, against US involvement in the Vietnam War. One of the organisers of these demonstrations, the well-known radical Tariq Ali, has said he recalls an approach by someone representing the Angry Brigade who wished to bomb the embassy; he told them it was a terrible idea and no bombing took place.[1]


The Angry Brigade decided to launch a bombing campaign with small bombs – in order to maximise media exposure to their demands while keeping collateral damage to a minimum. The campaign started in August 1970 and continued for a year until arrests took place the following summer.[2]

Targets included banks, embassies, the Miss World event in 1970 (or rather a BBC Outside Broadcast vehicle earmarked for use in the BBC's coverage) and the homes of Conservative MPs. In total, police attributed 25 bombings to the Angry Brigade. The bombings mostly caused property damage; one person was slightly injured.[3]

Resurfaced Angry Brigade of the 1980s[edit]

In the 1980s the Angry Brigade resurfaced as the Angry Brigade Resistance Movement – part of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement (IRSM).[4][5]


Jake Prescott, whose origins were in the mining community of Dunfermline, was arrested and tried in 1971. Melford Stevenson[6][7] sentenced him to 15 years imprisonment (later reduced to 10), mostly spent in maximum security jails. Later he said he realised then that he "was the one who was angry and the people [he] met were more like the Slightly Cross Brigade".[8] The other members of the group from North-East London, the "Stoke Newington Eight", were prosecuted for carrying out bombings as the Angry Brigade in one of the longest criminal trials of English history (it lasted from 30 May to 6 December 1972). As a result of the trial, John Barker, Jim Greenfield, Hilary Creek and Anna Mendleson received prison sentences of 10 years. A number of other defendants were found not guilty, including Stuart Christie, who had previously been imprisoned in Spain for carrying explosives with the intent to assassinate the dictator Francisco Franco, and Angela Mason who became a director of the rights group Stonewall and was awarded an OBE for services to homosexual rights.[9]

In February 2002, Prescott apologised for his role in bombing Robert Carr's house and called on other members of the Angry Brigade to also come forward.[10]

On 3 February 2002, The Guardian reported a history of the Angry Brigade and an update on what its former members were doing then.[11]

On 9 August 2002, BBC R4 aired Graham White’s historical drama, The Trial of the Angry Brigade. Produced by Peter Kavanagh, this was a reconstruction of the trial combined with other background information. The cast included Kenneth Cranham, Juliet Stevenson and Mark Strong.[12]

In March 2009, British family care activist and novelist Erin Pizzey reportedly declined to comment on the temporary withdrawal by its publishers of the book Andrew Marr's History of Modern Britain following her complaint it had falsely linked her to the Angry Brigade.[13][14]

Cultural influence[edit]



  • Graham White, The Trial of the Angry Brigade, BBC Radio 4. Produced by Peter Kavanagh and broadcast 9 August 2002.


  • Gordon Carr, The Angry Brigade: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Britain's First Urban Guerilla Group (DVD), BBC, January 1973. Released on DVD in 2008 by PM Press.
  • Gordon Carr, The Persons Unknown (DVD) 1980. Features as a DVD extra on the January 1973 BBC documentary The Angry Brigade: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Britain's First Urban Guerilla Group.
  • Our Friends in the North (BBC TV drama series, 1995), features a storyline in which a main character joins a fictional left-wing terrorist group based on the Angry Brigade.
  • On 16 September 2013 the BBC’s The One Show aired a short documentary on the Angry Brigade, stating: "Joe Crowley discovers how the violent tactics of the Angry Brigade lead to the formation of the bomb squad."[15]


  • Void, "The Angry Brigade",
  • Wax Dolls (John Watts), Fischer Z, "The Angry Brigade", 1978
  • The Bear Quartet, "Angry Brigade"
  • Architect & Heiress, "The Angry Brigade"
  • War Criminal George Pt. 1, "The Angry Brigade"
  • Rome, "The Angry Brigade"


  • The Angry Brigade: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Britain's First Urban Guerilla Group, (DVD), Gordon Carr, BBC, January 1973. Released in 2008 by PM Press.
  • The Persons Unknown (DVD) by Gordon Carr, 1980. Features as an extra on the January 1973 BBC documentary, 'The Angry Brigade: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Britain's First Urban Guerilla Group'.

See also[edit]



  • Horspool, David (2009). "Grovenor Square and the Angry Brigade". The English Rebel: One Thousand Years of Troublemaking from the Normans to the Nineties. London: Viking. pp. 384–386. ISBN 978-0-670-91619-1. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]