Friday, 2 March 2012

Northern Star: a Chartist newspaper in numbers

Throughout 1841 and 1842, anyone reading the Northern Star would have come across the name of its proprietor, Feargus O’Connor, an average of 40 times in each weekly issue.

Over the course of the 15 years from 1838 to 1852 during which O’Connor owned and ran the paper, his name appeared nearly 15,000 times – on a par with the number of times the Charter itself appeared in print, and twice as often as the Chartist petitions.

Having used the search engine on the newly digitised run of the Northern Star to look at the issues and the people which preoccupied the paper, I have now added a page to Chartist Ancestors revealing The Northern Star in numbers.

The charts and tables on the page make it possible to track the rise and fall of interest in the Chartist land campaign, in the petitions themselves, and in the cause of temperance.

They also show graphically how O’Connor’s comrades and potential rivals inside the Chartist camp struggled to get their own names into print.

In 1841, after both O’Connor and William Lovett emerged from prison, O’Connor’s name appeared 1,967 times in the Northern Star, while Lovett, who wrote the Charter and had been secretary to the first Convention, was named just 312 times.

Read more about the Northern Star in numbers.

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