Thursday, June 01, 2006

Topless Anarchists on the Gower

In 1972 Angry Brigade member Hilary Creek took refuge with her family on the Gower. She was on bail awaiting trial for her alleged part in an anarchist bombing campaign and was keen to escape hostile press attention. Fellow Angry Brigade member Anna Mendelson accompanied her on the retreat.

Creek's father was a wealthy businessman who owned an expensive bungalow on the Welsh coast. He never understood why his former school-prefect daughter had taken up with a bunch of anarchists but was glad to welcome her back into the family bosom.

As part of their bail conditions Creek and Mendelson had to make a daily trip into Swansea to report to police. They visited pubs there but always with a member of Special Branch in close attendance. It was only on the beach that they were able to relax.

During the golden summer of '72 Creek and Mendelson would regularly walk to Foxhole Bay where, like anarchist sea nymphs, they'd divest themselves of clothing and frolic in the surf. One can only imagine the intense political discussions they shared as they extracted sand from between their toes. Local youths with a keen interest in politics watched them from a safe distance.

This Welsh seaside idyll proved to be a last taste of freedom for the female Angry Brigaders. With groups like Black September and the IRA letting off bombs the last thing the British government needed was posh university-educated girls high on revolutionary theory getting in on the act. Using evidence that was a tad dubious to say the least Creek and Mendelson were given severe 10 year prison sentences.

When Creek was finally released from Holloway prison (where, amongst other people, she befriended Myra Hindley) - it was back to the Gower she went, completing a degree course at Swansea University. She now lives abroad.