The Anarchist Free School in Fitzrovia: guided walk

Author Lydia Syson will lead a 60-minute guided walk and talk about the life of her great-great grandmother Nannie Dryhurst, a teacher at the International School — an anarchist free school — set up in Fitzroy Square in the late nineteenth century by French anarchist and Communard Louise Michel.

Front of building.

Prime central London property is theft! The anarchist International School was founded by Louise Michel at 19 Fitzroy Square in the later 19th century. Next door was another anarchist household. (This is probably the wrong building. See editorial footnote.)

“My great-great grandmother Nannie Dryhurst volunteered there with her lover, the war correspondent Henry Nevinson. Discovering this, and the fact that Louise Michel spent her last years in my own neighbourhood of East Dulwich, led me to write my new novel Liberty’s Fire, which was published in May. The book is set during the Paris Commune but the final scene takes place in Fitzrovia,” says author Lydia Syson. 

The walk will also take in other sites in Fitzrovia which have a connection to the exiles of the Paris Commune.

Cover of book.

Liberty’s Fire, by Lydia Syson. Published by Hot Key Books.

After the walk Lydia Syson will do a book signing of Liberty’s Fire, a fictional account of the lives of four young friends during the events of the Paris Commune.

The Anarchist Free School in Fitzrovia: A guided walk and talk — 12pm Saturday 20 June 2015. Meet outside Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Centre, 39 Tottenham Street, London W1T 4RX. Free.

Editorial note, 3pm 20 June 2015: During the walk Lydia Syson pointed out that 19 Fitzroy Square is the incorrect address for the International School. The actual address from historical records reads: “19 Fitzroy Street, Fitzroy Square.” During the walk Fitzrovia News editors and Lydia Syson also had a discussion about a premises at 30 Goodge Street, believed to be a site of a 19th century anarchist bookshop. But according to one historical record the address was “Little Goodge Street”, later renamed as Goodge Place. Many London streets have been renamed and it is a common source of confusion.

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