Friday, 29 April 2016

The private life of Thomas Slingsby Duncombe

The Chartist MP Thomas Slingsby Duncombe was a notorious libertine, a “Radical dandy” whose “saturnine good looks, easy manner and silver tongue” made him a favourite in high society – a man “with a voracious appetite for women of dubious reputation”.

An account of Thomas Slingsby Duncombe’s life can be found on Chartist Ancestors.

Yet his marital status has long been a mystery.

Thomas Slingsby Duncombe. "Presented to the
subscribers to the News, Jan'y 28th 1838.
Duncombe’s official entry in The History of Parliament: The House of Commons, 1820–1832 notes that his son Thomas Henry Duncombe asserted that his father “left a widow and an only son”.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Feargus O'Connor on land purchases and the Chartist land bank manager who thought better of it

Feargus O’Connor was a prolific writer. For many years he penned weekly addresses to the Chartist readers of the Northern Star each of which ran for thousands of words. In addition, he engaged in political polemic with opponents and rivals, and wrote copious advice on agricultural practices for those who shared his interest in small-scale farming.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Chartism Day 2016: time to regiser

The annual Chartism Day conference returns to Chester this year. The event takes place on Saturday 11 June and all are welcome – but please register beforehand via this email link.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Where did those alloted land under the Chartist land plan come from?

The Chartist land plan was a bold if doomed attempt to settle industrial workers on smallholdings bought with the shareholder contributions of thousands of ordinary Chartists.

Although the plan collapsed amid acrimony and accusations of illegality, it succeeded in allocating land and cottages to some 250 Chartists. The map below shows the location of the settlements and home towns of the settlers.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

55 Old Bailey: the Chartist meeting rooms

The history of Chartism has been told largely through the people who shaped and in turn were shaped by the Chartist movement, their words and actions, and the ideas they developed and passed on to future generations.

But there is another way of looking at their history, by investigating the spaces and places that were important to the Chartists.

One such location stood at 55 Old Bailey, which in the early 1840s offered a home to the City of London Chartists and enabled them to organise more effectively than was possible when they had to rely on hiring meeting rooms one evening at a time.

The Chartist Hall was somewhere the Chartists could collect and count the names on their petition to Parliament, discuss business, host Chartist lectures and sermons, sell radical newspapers and hold convivial social events.

It was also the venue in which the City of London Female Charter Association met, and from which emerged two of the most interesting of all the women who were drawn to the Chartist movement: Mary Ann Walker and Susanna Inge.

The story of 55 Old Bailey can be found here.

Read more about Chartism, space and place in this interview with Dr Katrina Navickas.