Friday, 31 July 2015

Walk in the footsteps of London's Chartists

How does the idea of walking in the footsteps of the Chartists sound? As part of a project to map thousands of Chartist meeting places (more of which below), there is to be a “mystery tour” around central London on 21 September, ending in the re-enactment of a Chartist meeting.

The event is free of charge and further information about taking part can be found here.

The walk takes in Kings Cross / St Pancras / Somerstown / Camden area, with readings of reports from the Northern Star newspaper at each site and will cover around 3km

As the organisers explain: “Participants will learn about the history of Chartism and the London venues, and participate in a re-enactment of a Chartist meeting in the actual pub where it took place nearly two hundred years ago.”

The walk is linked to a fascinating project supported by the British Library and being run by Dr Katrina Navickas of the University of Hertfordshire.

The project is extracting information on Chartist meetings advertised in the Northern Star between 1838 and 1844, geo-coding the meeting places and overlaying them on historical maps. So far data on more than 4,000 meetings has been extracted and the project is heading towards 5,000.

There are also plans to map the routes taken by Chartist "missionaries".

Dr Navickas says that one surprise discovery is that many of the pubs where Chartists met more than 150 years ago still exist and have their original names.

The plan is to end the walking tour at one of these pubs, where there will be a re-enactment of a Chartist meeting “Participants are welcome to continue their discussions into the evening.”

The organisers are still looking for a couple of male volunteers willing to dress up as Chartists on the day. Additional help is also needed with the mapping project, checking the information scanned from the Northern Star.

Further information about the mapping project and the walk can be found here.

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