Poplar Rates Rebellion Mural

Popular Poplar politicians imprisoned for poverty protest

Poplar Rates Rebellion MuralThis mural, on the wall of the Tower Hamlets Parks Department depot on Hale Street, commemorates the Poplar Rates Rebellion, in which Poplar Borough Council refused to collect part of the rates payable by local residents, many of whom were living in extreme poverty. 30 local councillors - named on the mural - including George Lansbury (later leader of the Labour Party) were sent to prison for contempt of court, the men to Brixton, the women to Holloway. Despite this, Council meetings continued to be held, the female councillors taken by cab to Brixton Prison to meet their fellow tax rebels.

Originally painted by Mark Frances, the mural features four panels telling the story of the Rates Rebellion, mostly in words. It depicts George Lansbury and local residents holding 'Can't Pay Won't Pay' placards, in reference to the anti-Poll Tax campaign of the early 1990s, contemporaneous to when the mural was first completed. Names of the imprisoned Councillors feature along the bottom.

The mural was restored in 2007 by David Bratby and Maureen Delenian with help from local children.


Most of the mural is in good condition, having been restored in 2007. However, some large patches of paint are starting to peel away from the underlying brickwork on the right hand panel (adjacent to the Parks Department depot gate)

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This mural is in OK condition

Where to find it

Hale Street, Poplar E14 0AF

Head north from Poplar DLR station (away from the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf) along the footpath with Tower Hamlets College on your right, and sports courts on your left. Cross Poplar High Street onto Hale Street directly opposite. The mural is about 100m up Hale Street on the wall on the right.
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8 m x 2 m Person for scale


1990 1990
Started Completed


  • Paint: Paint

How to get there

15, 115, D6, D7, D8
Poplar or All Saints (DLR)

© London Mural Preservation Society 2021