Make Bread not War: the Conscientious Objectors Bakery

60A Fort Road was home to the local Independent Labour Party offices in Bermondsey. As well offices, it was also an Institute, where members could socialise and listen to lectures and concerts. During the war this address became well known in the area, and across London, as a centre of anti-war campaigning: lots of pamphlets were printed here and the ILP held peace services and lecture to drum up support for their cause. After concsription, they founded the bermondsey branch of the No Conscription Fellowship. As well as protesting, this supported conscientious objectors and their families, particularly those who found themselves imprisoned. They also opened the "Labour Co-operative Bakery" to provide work of 'national importance' to conscientious objectors. By 1918, 8 out of 20 roundsmen (who delivered the bread to local shops and people) and other employees were well known to be 'conchies.' The bakery was also turning out 30-35,000 quartern loaves per week and had to open another shop due to the demand. Perhaps due to the popularity of the bakery, but also a more general war weariness in the population, the ILP's Institute once again started to attract large crowds to their weekly lectures and open air gatherings.

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