Address: 54.573075, -1.253924
Site Type: Street
Condition: Partly demolished
Cannon Street stands on the western side of Middlesbrough, nowadays next to the motorway and surrounded by industrial buildings. Once, it was lined with Victorian terraced houses and classed as one of the toughest neighbourhoods to grow up on.
The houses were overcrowded, and sadly, because of many reasons like unemployment and lack of support, lots of drinking and fighting took place. Sometimes when this happens, groups can often blame another group. Communities which practice different religions or cultures can often be the victims of this grievance, as especially in the 1960s there was a lot of change in Britain due to people from the empire settling in towns like Middlesbrough for jobs and a better life. Changing communities can sometimes leave people feeling insecure or scared as they are not used to it, but we know our community works best when we listen and learn from people from all walks of life.
Sadly, on Cannon Street in 1961 a group of white teenagers traded insults with a group of Asian men, and seconds later a fight had broken out, involving a man named Hussain Said defending himself against the group of youths.
After the fight, the police decided to ask one of the nearby clubs, which catered for the Pakistani community, to close early to avoid further fights. It is thankful they did, as a crowd of several hundred walked from Cannon Street to the club and fought the police who were attempting to defend the building. The group tried to set fire to the club and vandalised everything in sight.
Nine police officers were hurt, and even the next day a crowd of over 500 gathered, attempting to damage Pakistani property and smash windows. Sadly this was not the only incident, but nothing to this scale has been seen in Middlesbrough for many years.
This was a disgusting act of violence, and everyone must remember that judging people on the colour of their skin or where they come from is wrong, not just because it can get you in trouble but because we should never treat another person as if they are less than us. Things like this can still happen, but we should always stand up for our friends who have to face this nasty behaviour.