Thursday 18 January 2024

Ten Chartist Lives you may have missed

Chartist Ancestors seems to have taken something of a biographical turn over recent months, and to be honest I am quite pleased with some of the new Chartist Lives now on the website. Here are a few you might have missed…
George Julian Harney was just twenty-one years old when he became one of the original six working men signatories to the People’s Charter. An ultra-radical in his younger days, he was imprisoned several times before becoming editor of the Northern Star and launching the Red Republican. Harney later lived in America, but returned to England in his old age. More 
Henry Vincent
Henry Vincent
was a London Chartist who made his name as a young man rousing and organising Wales and the South West of England, and as publisher and editor of the Western Vindicator. After a prison sentence of eighteen months, he toned down his earlier rhetoric and became better known as a lecturer on temperance and other issues. More
James Bronterre O’Brien was an Irish-born barrister whose intellectual approach and interest in political theory won him the title of ‘the schoolmaster of Chartism’. In 1848, he disassociated himself from mainstream Chartism, but continued to advocate radical causes and formed an important link with later generations of socialists. More 
John Cleave ran a radical print and publishing business from premises on the corner of Fleet Street and Shoe Lane. A noted speaker and organiser, he was involved early on in the London Working Men’s Association, and often took charge of Chartist financial affairs. His daughter Lucy married Henry Vincent. More 
Joshua Hobson was a radical printer in Leeds and Feargus O’Connor’s partner in launching the Northern Star. He later became its editor but O’Connor sacked him and the two men became enemies. Hobson focused his later attention on local government in his home town of Huddersfield. More 
Robert Kemp Philp served on the executive of the National Charter Association and co-authored the Second Petition for the Charter. As Henry Vincent’s political ally and partner in the Vindicator, he became involved in alliances with middle-class reformers, and was forced out of the Chartist movement. More 

James Watson
James Watson was one of the small group of London radical printers and publishers who founded the London Working Men’s Association. With Feargus O’Connor in the ascendant, however, he stepped back from active involvement in Chartism to focus on free-thinking, co-operation and other radical causes. More 
John Ardill was the Leeds-based business manager of the Northern Star and many other Chartist causes associated with Feargus O’Connor. An ally of Joshua Hobson, he parted company with the paper when O’Connor accused him, almost certainly unfairly, of defrauding the movement. More
George Alexander Fleming was a significant figure in the Owenite co-operative movement and trade unionism, joining the Northern Star as parliamentary correspondent before becoming editor and buying the paper. He continued to work as a political journalist after the Chartist period. More 
Ruffy Ridley, otherwise known as Daniel William Ruffy, was born in Spitalfields of French Huguenot descent and became one of the leading figures in London Chartism in the 1840s. But he emigrated with his family to Melbourne, Australia, after his reputation was destroyed by a court case that cost him his successful business career. More 
There are many more biographies on the Chartist Ancestors website. This is the full list of Chartist Lives.

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