Friday, 2 March 2012

Cooper and O'Neill - the Chartist prisoners

Stephen Roberts’ new book on Thomas Cooper and Arthur O’Neill is being launched at the Birmingham & Midland Institute in Birmingham city centre on Saturday 13 September.

The book, titled The Chartist Prisoners, focuses on the lifelong friendship between Cooper and O’Neill formed when they shared a cell in Stafford Gaol from 1843-44. Both men had been convicted following the wave of strikes that hit the Potteries and Black Country.

O’Neill went on to become a significant peace lecturer, addressing working class audiences; Cooper wrote poetry, including his famous prison poem, The Purgatory of Suicides, lectured and edited radical journals.

Dorothy Thompson, whose many works on Chartism include The Early Chartists (1971), The Chartists : Popular Politics in the Industrial Revolution (1986) and Outsiders : Class, Gender and Nation (1993), will be introducing Stephen Roberts.

The event is organised by A People's History of the West Midlands and begins at 2pm. More information and free tickets are available from Pete on 07977 057902 or by email:

* Stephen Roberts’ Chartism and the Chartists website has had something of a redesign.

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