Fading graffiti showing the remains of the lightning flash insignia of the British Union of Fascists daubed on the walls of buildings in North Norfolk, UK.
The first in Stiffkey displays the emblem of the movement, and the second in Aylsham reads Stand By The King, perhaps referring to the abdication crisis of 1936 .
Whoever made the marks, some 20 miles apart did so in bitumen, and intentionally or otherwise ensured they would survive the battering the wind coming off the North Sea gives to brick buildings in the county for the best part of a century.
The British Union of Fascists enjoyed some popularity as an insurgent political party in rural East Anglia during the 1930s as it opposed a forgotten, but despised tax known as Queen Anne’s Bounty, an 18th Century law laid upon a farmer's harvest by the Church of England, in addition to any taxes the farm might have to pay to the state. Not surprisingly, this tithe-tax was very unpopular especially in the 1930s when the effects of a long economic depression had made agriculture a difficult business and the impact of the combustion engine on commercial agriculture had reduced the requirement for labour, leading to unemployment and with it a disaffection for mainstream politics. A contemporary rhyme captured the feeling -
We’ve cheated the parson
We’ll cheat him again
For why should a blockhead
Have one in ten
For prating so long like a book-learned sot
Till pudding and pumpling burn to pot?
As times got harder and more farmers refused to pay the tithe the church commissioners began send bailiffs to enforce the debt, removing livestock or farm machinery. BUF members, the Blackshirts led by Oswald Mosley decided this offended against natural justice and formed squads that could be called up to defend, by force if necessary, the farmer’s property. These events became known as the Tithe Wars, the most famous of which was The Siege of Wortham Manor, when the Blackshirts and farm workers held off the church bailiffs for 19 days at Doreen Wallace’s farm in Suffolk.
For some years before World War 2 and the BUF's alliance with Germany, Mosley was a popular figure on the British political scene, admired by mainstream figures like Aneurin Bevan for his progressive policies towards equality and welfare which included the ending of the common practise of allowing employers to sack women in their employ when they got married.
The above images have been retouched for clarity, the ones below are as the graffiti appears today.