Bust of Vladimir Lenin

Contributed by Islington Museum

Bust of Vladimir Lenin

Bust of Vladimir Lenin, Leader of the 1917 Russian Communist Revolution

This bust was the centrepiece of a monument erected in 1942 by Finsbury Council in London. It was designed by the Russian architect Berthold Lubetkin. The bust itself came from the Soviet Embassy. The monument stood in Holford Square, Islington, looking towards number 30 where Lenin had lived in 1902-3.

Lenin and his wife lived in Islington while he worked on his revolutionary newspaper 'Iskra' ('The Spark'), sharing the office of a socialist publisher on Clerkenwell Green. This building is now the Marx Memorial Library.

When Russia became Britain's ally in World War Two, Finsbury Council, a socialist borough, planned the monument as a sign of friendship. Some thought Communism should not be celebrated and the bust was vandalised. It was moved into storage in 1951 and eventually displayed at Islington Town Hall in the 1970s but was vandalised twice more when red paint was thrown over it. It became one of the symbols of what the press called a 'Looney Left' council in the 1980s.

The bust was transferred to Islington Museum in 1996 and it is now on permanent display.

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