What happened to the Communist Party of Great Britain’s millions?

But that was not the end of the story for Britain’s communists – or the complex network of businesses they presided over, which included, at various times, a travel agent, a T-shirt company, a book publisher and a sandwich shop in Slough.

The collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s also brought the iron curtain down on The Communist Party of Great Britain. But more than 20 years after the far left party was wound up controversy lingers over what happened to its assets.

To lunchtime shoppers in London’s Covent Garden it is just another branch of the HSBC bank.

But to what remains of Britain’s communists, 16 King Street has a special resonance. This was the party’s headquarters during its glory years.

In the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, when “Uncle Joe” Stalin was seen as a valued ally against the Nazis rather than a murderous tyrant, 60,000 British citizens were card carrying communists.

And the party, which campaigned for Parliamentary democracy to be replaced by a socialist state, had two members of Parliament.

By the time King Street, which was reportedly bought with money secretly sent by Lenin, was sold, in 1976, the CPGB was already in terminal decline.

Torn apart by warring factions and plummeting membership, it limped on until 1991 when, with communism collapsing across Eastern Europe, its leaders decided to call it a day.

Original source.

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