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Portrait of Tower Hamlets hero donated by the Lansbury family

42Tower Hamlets Council was presented with a portrait of former Poplar mayor George Lansbury at the Local History Library & Archives.
Nigel Whiskin, the great grandson of George Lansbury was joined by the Mayor John Biggs who formally accepted the portrait on behalf of the council.
The oil painting by John Flanagan was recently exhibited at the history library as part of the council’s 50 anniversary celebrations.
Lansbury became mayor of Poplar in 1919. He famously led Poplar councillors in refusing to pay what they believed to be an unfair burden of rates, in a campaign that eventually led to the Local Authorities (Financial Provisions) Act which equalised the responsibility for poor relief across London boroughs – but not before he and fellow councillors were jailed for their defiance.
Lansbury went on to become leader of the Labour Party between 1932 and 1935, and dedicated his political life to the causes of peace, women’s rights and social justice.
Today members of the Lansbury family alongside residents interested in local history and the George Lansbury Memorial Committee help keep his legacy and principles alive.
Mayor John Biggs said: “George Lansbury is one of the most interesting and significant figures to come out of this borough’s rich political history. I am grateful and humbled to accept this portrait on behalf of the borough, and hope that events like these rekindle an interest in our shared heritage.”
Cllr Asma Begum, cabinet member for culture, said “George Lansbury’s tireless efforts on behalf of the most vulnerable people in our society is something that all of us can admire regardless of political background. It’s fantastic that we have people like those in the Lansbury Memorial Committee to keep alive the memory of a man who gave so much to our community.”