Friday, 2 March 2012

In search of GWM Reynolds

I am delighted to report that the last resting place of the Chartist journalist George William MacArthur Reynolds has now been added to the Where are they now? page on Chartist Ancestors.
GWM Reynolds (as he was more usually known) first achieved notoriety in the Chartist movement after taking the chair at a public meeting in Trafalgar Square in March 1848 which descended into several days of rioting.
However, he later served as a member of the National Charter Association's executive committee and was a prominent figure in the NCA’s turn towards socialism at its 1851 Convention.
These days, however, if Reynolds is remembered at all it is as the publisher of a succession of newspapers, culminating in the proto-tabloid Reynolds Weekly Newspaper, and as the author of such highly successful penny-dreadful novels as The Mysteries of London.
A longer biography and links to full-text versions of some of GWM Reynolds’ works can be found on Wikipaedia.
Reynolds’ grave was rediscovered by Dick Collins, an admirer of GWM as a writer, activist and socialist, who came across his coffin in a catacomb at Kensal Green Cemetery and kindly tipped me off.
Feargus O’Connor, Henry Hetherington and Thomas Slingsby Duncombe are also buried there, though Collins notes that “being Reynolds he managed to baggs himself a place indoors”.
Collins also kindly supplied the picture of Reynolds used in this post. It comes from his “Coral Island”.