Skinhead Poetry 1971


Stepney Words was a collection of poems by Stepney schoolkids aged between 11 and 15. It’s publication in 1971 led to the teacher who put it together being fired and and over 500 kids going on strike and marching to Trafalgar Square to demand his reinstatement.

North London And East London

East London lives only for violence,
And Jack the Ripper started its reputation.
As they walk through the streets of Stepney
In uniforms,
Levi jeans, boots, Crombies, Ben Shermans –
The skinheads, smart but hard
Walk in twos and threes
But never alone,
There here there there there everywhere.
When I reach King’s Cross
I’m in a different world.
Still skinheads, but not so hard and many –
There’s more trees and space.
When I reach Highgate, I’m out, out completely.
Another school day has ended,
Another nightmare vanished
Till tomorrow,
Then I die again.

Peter Kett




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