Signs to honour large number of Haringey WWI conscientious objectors

PUBLISHED: 10:16 16 May 2016 | UPDATED: 10:58 16 May 2016

Conscientious objector Isaac Goss. Photo courtesy of Philippa Goss

Conscientious objector Isaac Goss. Photo courtesy of Philippa Goss


More than 100 roads were singled out by a Hornsey historical society to mark International Conscientious Objectors day on the weekend

The temporary signs are designed to show just how many local men said “no” to war.

The Haringey First World War Peace Forum have evidence for 350 conscientious objectors in Haringey, compared to a national estimate of 20,000.

At the time, Haringey was formed of Hornsey, Wood Green and Tottenham boroughs.

Brothers Isaac and Joseph Goss lived a few houses down in Connaught Road in Stroud Green.

Both tailors were arrested after their appeals for exemption from military service were turned down, and Joseph served more than two years in prison.

Across the road – at number 17 – lived the Walker family.

All five brothers – Charlie, Bert, Fred, Frank and Harry – went to prison as conscientious objectors because of their Christian beliefs.

They wrote home describing some of the vicious punishment they received.

In the twentieth century, Haringey organisation the North London Herald League was a network for political activism, supporting industrial strikes, suffragettes and opposition to the war.

Some conscientious objectors were Quakers, but there were members of other Christian churches too, and men who claimed exemption on moral or political grounds.

Branded as cowards, they often displayed great courage, enduring repeated prison sentences and brutal treatment because of their principles.

Some served with Friends Ambulance Unit under shell-fire in northern France.

- To read more about their stories and those of the other Haringey Conscientious Objectors, visit:

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