How the broom army photo swept the web

 
The clean up in Clapham

Following the riots in London on Monday, Andrew Bayles' photograph of brooms being brandished in the air became an internet sensation.

The picture shows those who turned out the next day to clean up the street of Clapham Junction and at the time of writing has had nearly 400,000 views. Here's the story behind the picture and its popularity in Andrew's own words:

"On Monday night I was at home in Wandsworth and was watching the news and could hear sirens all over the place. The riots weren't on my doorstep as I live near Wandsworth Town - but I consider the whole area including Clapham Junction my home. The riots were shocking and I was really rocked to the core by what was going on. I have some friends living on Lavender Hill and was speaking with them throughout the evening checking they were OK.

"When I found out the next day that a clean-up operation was taking place I went down to help out despite the fact that I was working from home, but a very kind boss said I could go down there. The crowds were asked to wait for quite a while and we were watching the fire engines putting out the fire at the party shop opposite Debenhams.

"When the fire engines had finished the crowds started to cheer and some raised their brooms. All of a sudden everyone was raising their brooms and I managed to get the photo on my iPhone.

"On Twitter (Andrew's user name is @Lawcol888) I follow @JohnPrescott and he had asked for photos of the clean-up operation. I had sent him an earlier picture saying that we were there and that the turn out was good. I then replied to a message he had posted moments earlier with the tag line, 'we're ready'.

"Fortunately, he reposted the image immediately. @PiersMorgan, who I also follow, also reposted the tweet and as he has over a million followers it just snowballed from there.

"The next thing I knew my inbox was full and journalists were asking if they could use my photo.

"The 'Broom Army' tag and my photo is something that I think is very special. It is a movement of solidarity to stand up for everything that is good about this country. I am very proud to have been there to help in the clean up and very proud that the image is being used countrywide to inspire further support in the clean-up effort."

 
Phil Coomes Article written by Phil Coomes Phil Coomes Picture editor

Ten photos capture the UK in 2014

Picture editor Milica Lamb selects her favourite images by photographers from the Press Association in 2014.

Read full article

More on This Story

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 115.

    Never underestimate the power of the broom, especially when people have to be recalled from their holidays to wield it. Anarchist, rioter, prat, whatever you want to call yourself-the broom is coming for YOU.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 114.

    There were similar photos after the Vancouver riot a few months ago. The Canadian press was very quick to catch on to this side of the story and turned a negative story into a positive one. The British press, including the BBC have not pursued this postive side of the story enough and continue to dwell on the negative. The UK press has the ability to spin the story positively, but chooses not to.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 113.

    & May the God bring peace to us

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 112.

    Let us work for peace

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 111.

    One of their REAL complaints was lack of jobs. Idle hands/devils work etc etc. Instead of locking rioters up, how about putting them to work cleaning up and rebuilding what they destroyed. They'll get on the job training in a trade and be kept busy enough that boredom and excess energy won't be a problem. Plus, they'll earn enough money to support themselves AND pay restitution.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 110.

    Massive respect to the "Broom Army" only wish i live in ldn and could of joined them.

    Also this shows the good side of social networks ie twitter :-)

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 109.

    Very commedable. Get the rioters and looters sweeping too. And after? Send them back to school to improve their literacy, numeracy and knowledge of science. Turn them into engineers, lawyers, politicians and accountants. They won’t have time to riot; they’ll be too busy building a career, paying for a mortgage, paying for their kids’ education in private schools and making money.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 108.

    Yes, sweep, sweep, sweep. But! Many of the rioters and looters were school goers. They need a good talking to, a few days in after school detention and more homework. Their headmaster, community leaders, senior police officersand counsellors should should give them a an ear wagging and politicians should make more stirring speeches. Bring back the good old days.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 107.

    Doubtless the Tories will carry on regardless. These riots do not effect them personally, just the poor folks.

    The Tories do not have to worry about the electorate either because they were not elected, simply self appointed by default, and because the electorate voted no thank you very much, we do not want any of you. But the parliamentarians ignored the election results carrying on as usual!!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 106.

    It is no use Mr Cameron simply copying a US model. He and his fellows need to look inside themselves for the real answers. 'Class and privilege.' Cameron, Clegg have plenty of that.

    Root and branch. A Tory leader would be a very brave man if he started to tackle the real causes. All that class and privilege taken away, reversed. There would be a very different style of disorder if that happened

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 105.

    The Los Angeles model may not apply here. It is not the same culture. The US was born out of gangs, grabbing and racial warfare.

    The situation in UK is more to do with accumulation of goodies, but some poor youth being excluded from that and no one bothering to address the issue. Too embarrasing or inconvenient perhaps and easier just to keep the lid on. But the lid has popped off big time!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 104.

    It is not just as simple as sweeping up

    Too many women teachers is historical, dates from Edwardian times when teaching was one of few jobs for women. Go into any teacher training college. Very few blokes, lots of women. Men are wary of teaching because they are so easily accused. Discrimination over what is permitted and what is not. Very difficult work place for men. Hence no male role models

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 103.

    Could not agree more with Umbongo. It would be easy to criticise anyone (not just young people were present though they were the majority) involved here.
    However, where do we intend them to develop morality from when politicians receive lenient sentence for expenses fraud, or bankers take bonuses in spite of actions?
    http://realpolitikuk.blogspot.com/2011/08/025-england-riots-why-are-we-here.html

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 102.

    The broom army picture was iconic and showed the world a bit of "true Brit". But when the cameras have gone-what next? There are a host of organisations in the UK who desperately need volunteers willing to give up some of their time. And there are lots of families and young people who need help,guidance and mentors. Broom-brandishers arise, England expects!

  • Comment number 101.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 100.

    My name is Deniz Boro. I have no reason to adobt another name; if the need rises I shall ask your assistance :)

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 99.

    This is an European symbol. Actually at the end of the line when the women took to the streats.It all means "lets clean the society; if men can not do, than we will do it."

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 98.

    I am Canadian with British roots that run deep. Believe me we felt your hardships. The Brits can overcome any situation/ and will. The mass broom pic I saw reminded me of how your country endoured the " Blitz" and overcame a very dark period " chins up "

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 97.

    When I was 5, the difference between a Matchbox Dinky car made in England and anything else was significant. Britain was a powerhouse when it came to manufacturing. That industry must return to ths country. Be, buy and sell local. Stop dishing out perpetual benefits and making society dependent. To people who complain of jobs not being there, there are there if you get off your butts.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 96.

    Right Wrong We've been taught in school religion.. If we go off the rules we are guilty APART FROM the wealthy powerful LOOK AT THEM: no consciousness no values merciless looters antisocial racists Meanwhile separate people make debates so as to keep us busy eating each other while they rape our lives and steal our future Do you think they will allow you to have a future because you do the right?

 

Page 1 of 6

 

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.