Monday, 15 August 2016

And the rain came down in torrents… Why did Chartist meetings so often lead to a soaking?

“I hold in my hand a charter – the people’s charter,” declared Dr Arthur Wade. Selected by the London Working Men’s Association to represent it at a rally called by the Glasgow trades, Wade had been entrusted with the task of unveiling the LWMA’s latest publication, its People’s Charter.

But if the event itself was accounted a great success, the People’s Charter might have been thought something of a damp squib – both figuratively and literally. For Wade’s great announcement was barely mentioned in newspaper coverage, coming as it did rather late in the proceedings. And, as it happened, the rally had been beset by continuous rain throughout the day, so the proof copies brandished by the LWMA’s representative must have been somewhat soggy.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Chartist Ancestors calendar - download it now

I have used some of the pictures from the Chartist Ancestors website to create a calendar for the academic year 2016-2017. It runs from September this year to September next inclusive.

Like the rest of the site, the calendar is, of course, free to download. I hope you like it - please feel free to share the calendar and the link with others.

I will try to do something for the January to December 2017 calendar year nearer the time.

Download the Chartist Ancestors calendar 2016-2017.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Chartism Day 2016: from 'constitutional humbug' to cheap beer, a political rehabiliation and 3D models

Chartism Day 2016 took place at the University of Chester at the weekend, with around 50 delegates turning up for a busy programme of presentations on topics as diverse as Chartism’s relationship with the Irish Repeal movement, the impact of the Beer Act on radical meetings and an exciting new initiative using 3D animated modelling techniques to re-create Chartist processions.

What follows does not attempt to summarise the arguments of the speakers, which are in any event almost all drawn from work in progress towards full academic publication, but simply to give a flavour of the day’s talks.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Visiting the grave of Helen Macfarlane, Chartist journalist

Heading up to Chester for this year's Chartism Day (more of which later) I stopped off at the tiny Cheshire village of Baddiley. 

Here, in the rather beautiful and peaceful surroundings of St Michael's church, is buried Helen Macfarlane - or, as it says on her gravestone, "Helen, wife of the Revd John W Edwards."

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Was the 1842 Chartist petition really six miles long?

The presentation of the second Chartist petition to Parliament in 1842 makes for a dramatic story. As told by Feargus O’Connor and the Northern Star (NS, 7 May 1842), the petition with its 3,315,752 names was six miles long, weighed 6cwt, requiring it to be carried by 30 strong men, and on reaching the House of Commons, the doors had to be removed for it to fit in to the Chamber.

But how true was all this?