Thursday, 22 November 2007

Aspects of Chartism: Who were the Chartists --some local examples

It is perfectly possible to make valid general statements about the social composition of Chartism in the 1830s and 1840s. However, what stands out is the diversity, richness and contradictory nature of support for the movement and this only becomes fully apparent in local examples. Three localities or regions will be used to illustrate this: the rural Chartism of Essex and Suffolk; the metropolitan radicalism of London; and, the provincial radicalism of Lancashire.

Essex and Suffolk

Local studies have focused on Chartism in the industrial and urban environment. Little has been written about its rural variant[1]. Rural Britain retained its affection for older forms of popular and social protest. The 1840s, for example, saw an increase in incidents of incendiarism and poaching across large parts of East Anglia[2]. There were also logistical problems. Mass movements tend to be most effective where population is concentrated. This was not the case in rural Britain. The strength of the crowd lies, in part, in its anonymity. In face-to-face rural society this did not exist. Pressure and intimidation from farmers and landlords also acted as an important restraint on radical activity. Chartism, with the possible exception of the Land Plan, simply did not appeal to many in rural Britain.

Essex and Suffolk were minor centres of Chartism between 1838 and 1848[3]. No local Chartist played any part in the movement’s national leadership. On only one occasion did a local Chartist go as a delegate to a Convention: S.G. Francies, a hat-maker, represented Ipswich in 1848. The Chartists were aware of their insignificance. One Ipswich member said, “Suffolk is but a speck. The hardy sons of the North and Scotland are our hope.” There was no large mass of industrial workers to provide the rank-and-file support. Agricultural labourers were the dominant group among the working class and they faced a hostile agricultural establishment influential in market towns as well as in the villages. Yet Chartism activity was reported in nearly fifty towns and villages. Large numbers of men and women attended Chartist meetings and hundreds acted as officials, committee members or speakers. Chartism in Suffolk and Essex may not have registered in the national Chartist movement but within its own localities it could not be ignored.

Chartism never became a mass movement because it never received widespread or sustained support from agricultural labourers. In 1838-40 it gained a presence in several villages where less than 10,000 of the region’s 80,000 farm labourers lived but it retained this for at most a year and a half. After 1840, though it could count individual farm workers among its supporters, they did not maintain branches in their own villages. No farm worker was ever recorded as a speaker or official. In rural Suffolk, the known leaders were essentially artisans: two tailors, a saddler, a shoemaker, a glover, a blacksmith, a weaver, a shopkeeper and a country gentleman. Chartism was also unable to claim much industrial support. No workers, for example, took part in the General Strike of August 1842. In fact industrial workers were few in Suffolk and Essex. There was support from the silk industry. Chartism was an important force for ten years at Braintree, Halstead, Coggeshall and Sudbury where silk workers provided some of its leaders and most of the rank-and-file. This applied particularly in Braintree where, of the twenty-six local leaders known by occupation, fourteen worked in the industry, twelve as handloom weavers and two elsewhere. Factory women, often the wives or daughters of weavers, played a limited role in organisational work but in 1838-9 and 1847-8 they were well represented at public meetings. The Essex Standard recognised a situation similar to that in the militant Chartist regions in 1847-8 when Braintree’s silk industry was affected by depression. Silk workers, however, were unable to take collective action in support of the Charter for any lengthy period. They were almost as poorly paid as agricultural labourers and were at the mercy of their employers. Outside the silk industry, the largest factory was Ransomes at Ipswich and, until the mid-1840s this employed no more than two hundred people. Neither this nor the other foundries at Leiston or Peasenhall proved to have been the workplace of any local Chartist leader. Some Ransomes’ workers did sign the petition for the release of the leaders pf the Newport Rising in 1840 and in 1847. Some individuals took out shares in the Land Company but there was no comparable upsurge of support like that given at certain times by industrial workers in South Wales and the North. As for the ports, seaman and fishermen had never played a significant or regular role in public life except for the few Brightlingsea fishermen who joined the Land Company in 1847.

There was no significant support for Chartism among the middle classes, except in 1838 when some Liberals saw it as a stimulus for further reforms promised in 1832 but never delivered. Certainly some sixty £10 householders belonged to the Ipswich Working Men’s Association in early 1838 and there was similar support in Braintree and Halstead. Middle class support evaporated after 1839 leaving only those individuals who were local leaders, men like Flood, a Romford newsagent, Benjamin Parker a Colchester fruiterer, Donald M’Pherson, an itinerant tea merchant and George Bearman who kept a beerhouse at Bocking. There is little evidence to suggest that such individuals were representative of their class or that they were supported by more than a handful of their fellow-tradesmen. The absence of middle class support for Chartism in Suffolk and Essex contrasts with the situation in other regions: where, for example, Chartist success in municipal elections was partly due to votes from middle class ratepayers. The main reason for this lay in the dominance of the powerful agricultural establishment over the Essex and Suffolk market towns and over their businesses, an influence that also weakened Liberalism after 1832. Only four farmers are known to have been Chartist supporters. The majority of the region’s middle classes supported landowners and farmers in stern opposition to Chartism. Lack of middle class support weakened Chartism in two respects. First, the Chartists were severely restricted as regards the circles in which they could hope to extend their support resulting in it being a minority movement even in the towns. It is, however, worth noting that Chartist strength in urban areas was stronger in east Suffolk and east Essex than in the western parts of those counties where towns were fewer and smaller. Secondly, those individual middle class people who were prepared to support the movement were significantly reduced. No middle class regional leaders emerged who might have provided unity for the separate branches so creating an influential regional force.

London Chartism

The metropolitan origins of Chartism and the events in the capital during 1838-9 received considerable attention from the early historians of the movement. Yet, in 1960, Asa Briggs[4] argued that London Chartism was one of the “open questions of labour history” and that there was still “no account of Chartist activities in London”. Later historians have begun to fill in the gaps. D.J. Rowe examined radicalism in London 1829-1841 in his MA thesis in 1965 and in subsequent articles[5]. He focused on the initial phase of Chartism in the capital arguing correctly that the Spitalfield weavers and much of London’s working class were apathetic and assumed, wrongly, that this continued into the 1840s. Iorwerth Prothero provided a useful corrective to Rowe’s conclusions in his 1967 doctoral thesis on London’s working class movements 1825-1848 and two important articles[6]. He pointed to the diversity and continuity of London working class radicalism but by explicitly excluding ‘mob activity and crowd psychology’ almost totally neglected London in 1848. David Large remedied this deficiency in an essay published in 1977[7]. It was, however, not until the publication of David Goodway London Chartism 1838-1848 in 1982 and John Saville 1848. The British state and the Chartist movement five years later that full length studies devoted wholly or partly to Chartism in London appeared.

The People’s Charter was published by the LWMA on 8th May 1838 and during the late summer and early autumn ‘monster’ meetings were held throughout the country to adopt it and elect delegates for the planned Convention. The peak of London Chartism in 1838-40 came at a meeting on 17th September that an estimated 15,000 attended. This compared unfavourably with the 200,000 Gammage recorded at Holloway Head and 300,000 at Kersal Moor near Manchester and shows the relative unimportance of the agitation in London during the first phase. London Chartism moved away from the moderate LWMA towards the more radical London Democratic Association[8] between September 1838 and the meeting of the Convention the following February. In general, however, the experience of London in this period can only be called apathetic[9]. Goodway identifies three main reasons for this. First, he suggests that there was a failure of leadership especially among the leaders of the LWMA who did little to create rank-and-file support for the Charter. Secondly, London workers received higher wages than elsewhere and did not suffer from wage reductions or widespread unemployment between 1837 and 1839. Thirdly, unlike northern England where the anti-poor law movement had maintained radical activity and there was acute ‘distress’, mass radicalism had been dormant since the ‘war of the unstamped’ in 1836. Chartism “had to begin entirely from cold”.

Chartism began to take effective root in London in late 1840 and early 1841 and it remained a major stronghold throughout the 1840s[10]. The nature of Chartist leadership changed. Initially the LWMA and also the LDA provided leadership but this fell away with the emergence of a new group of militant activists, O’Connorite in approach, whose first commitment was to Chartism rather than any other cause. The number of Chartist localities in London rose from fifteen in April 1841; double that by the end of the year and forty-three by the time the Convention met in London in April 1842. The metropolitan economy was hit by the depression of 1841-2 and this roused mass support for Chartism. In the Spitalfield district, distress was widespread and tailors, printers and shoemakers had never experienced such poor economic conditions. The Northern Star reported in July 1842 that thousands were starving in Bermondsey and half the shops were to let or entirely closed. James Epstein estimates that 8,000 membership cards were taken out in London in the two years up to the autumn of 1842 out of a national figure of some 70,000. London was no longer apathetic. After 1842, Chartism in London, as in the rest of the country, retreated. The economy revived. Despite this London remained a major Chartist centre and in 1843-4 became the headquarters for the Northern Star. Londoners formed a significant part of the national leadership. Metropolitan Chartism was most dangerous in 1848 and between March and June posed a serious challenge to the state. The familiar account of 1848 as a year of ‘fiasco’ is no longer acceptable or accurate[11].

The course of the Chartist movement in London was the reverse of the experience of the rest of the country. Goodway argues that “It was not in 1848, nor 1842, that the capital failed Chartism but probably fatally, in 1838-9.” The provinces ultimately looked to London and its apathy in the early stages of the movement, when Chartism had a spontaneity and strength that was never repeated, proved decisive. Forging mass Chartist support in London proved difficult. London’s size, its burgeoning population – some two million by 1850, its diversity and fragmentation and the effectiveness of the Metropolitan Police all militated against effective radical action.

If London’s size was an important factor in Chartism so were the stresses caused by its changing economy. Goodway argues that in terms of absolute numbers metropolitan Chartism was, when compared to other less populous strongholds, “a failure” but that in terms of Chartist unity it was a “remarkable success”. The contemporary journalist Henry Mayhew drew a useful distinction between London’s labourers and street-folk with their often ill-informed ‘inclination’ to Chartism and artisans who were “almost to a man, red-hot politicians”. There were some 50,000 labourers in London in the 1840s excluding ‘specialist’ unskilled workers like coal-whippers, porters etc.[12]. Their average weekly pay was between 10s and 20s. They formed part of the Chartist crowd but little more. Like ‘white-collar workers’, clerks for example, they generally accepted their economic circumstances passively. The exception was the coal-whippers. They unloaded coal ships by jerking or ‘whipping’ baskets of coal out of their holds and emptying them into barges alongside. What economic protection they had – an act in 1807 fixed wages at 3s per man for twenty chaldrons – was repealed in 1831 and their wages fell dramatically. In 1834, they rioted and formed a lodge of the GNCTU. By the summer of 1842, there were some 2,000 whippers in considerable distress. On 24th August, a general strike began and by the end of October the men were still out. The following year legislation was passed which regulated conditions. No standard rate of pay was conceded but by 1851 average earnings at 16s per week had regained their 1830 level. This reduced their grievances significantly and in 1848 the whippers volunteered to act as special constables.

While Mayhew’s understanding of the attitudes of London labourers is remarkably perceptive, subsequent historians have substantially modified his view of London artisans. There was a clear and divisive boundary between the ‘honourable’ or skilled and the ‘dishonourable’ or semi-skilled workers in the same trades. Skilled artisans sought to maintain their status and restrictive practices in the face of the increasing use by employers of workers who had not been through the process of apprenticeship. This ‘dilution’ reflected the need of employers to expand production and cut costs. They achieved this in a variety of ways. Some introduced machinery though in general most industries remained largely unmechanised, a particular characteristic of London’s industrialisation. Others employed cheaper ‘illegal’ men. Work in the shop was replaced by low skill and low pay home working promoting the ‘sweated trades’. This marginalised the economic role of many women. There were also some trades that were doing well while others were in decline. Iorwerth Prothero made a distinction between ‘lower’ Chartist trades and ‘upper’ or ‘aristocratic’ non-Chartist trades that Goodway argues “does not give a true reflection of the facts”.

Shoemakers, carpenters, silk-weavers and tailors, who were most threatened by economic change, played a prominent part among Chartist militants[13]. By the late 1830s manufacture in these industries took place almost entirely in the workers’ homes. Shoemaking in London, for example, was largely unmechanised and found itself under increasing pressure from provincial producers in Northamptonshire and Staffordshire. Costs needed to be pushed down. Outworking and sub-contracting became the norm and the employment of female and unapprenticed labour led to the development of a vast sweated trade based on East London. There were 20,500 tailors in London in the 1841 Census concentrated in the area between Marylebone and Westminster and through to Bethnal Green and Stepney. There was an increasing division of labour but the growing demand for cheaper clothes led to the growth of sweating especially in dressmaking, millinery and shirt-making. The cheap and abundant supply of female labour led to a rapid decline in the status and wages of the tailors. A strike in 1834 proved disastrous and the number of ‘honourable’ tailors fell from around 5,500 in the early 1820s to 3,000 by 1850.

Crafts that were ‘aristocratic’ and Chartist included hatters, leather finishers, stonemasons, carvers and gilders. The 3,500 hatters[14] formed one of the most localised of metropolitan trades concentrated within the area between Borough High Street and Blackfriars Road though some factories remained in Bermondsey. By the 1820s the trade had already been weakened by its division into the ‘fair’ [honourable] and ‘foul’ [slop or sweated working]. By the 1840s this division was reflected in growing differentials in wages: 10s to 12s per week in the ‘foul’ shops while earnings in the ‘fair’ trade ranged from 30s to 40s per week. Bookbinders cannot be seen as ‘aloof’ from Chartism and engineers were not unaware of the need for radical political and industrial action and were markedly Chartist[15]. The coopers were scarcely aristocratic but were not Chartists and some trades consigned to the ranks of the ‘lower’ like painters and sawyers showed little interest in the movement[16] .

The motivation for workers in London becoming involved in Chartism was overwhelmingly economic. Almost every trade found itself under serious pressure from falling wages, the introduction of labour-saving machines, and the emergence of sweating or declining status. What is clear is that there was considerable worker solidarity in the 1840s in their demands for political and social freedom. But there were limits. Co-operation was most powerful at the level of strikes and resistance to dilution. However, it proved difficult to weld metropolitan craft workers into unified trades council. This had to wait until 1860. The sectionalism of different trades and factionalism within trades proved too great. Chartism, like trade unionism, was simply one means of achieving workers’ aims and aspirations.

Provincial radicalism: Lancashire

Lancashire was at the heart of the ‘industrial revolution’[17]. Wage earners, especially in the textile industries, began to combine in defence of their living standards almost a century before Chartism began. As towns and industries expanded conflicts over wages or over demands for political reform intensified. In the early years of the nineteenth century trade union activity spread its organisation improved and the range of its activities expanded. Political reformers were also successful in the long term, though short-term setbacks occurred when the economy improved and prosperity drained their mass support. The challenge to the established order reached its climax in the decade after 1832 as parts of Lancashire, especially the cotton districts, achieved national importance as hotbeds of Chartism.

The Reform crisis permanently raised the level of local political activity. Lancashire was given twelve additional parliamentary seats, its total rising to 26. Lancaster, Preston, Liverpool, Wigan and Clitheroe (which lost one of its seats) were joined by two member constituencies for Blackburn, Bolton, Manchester and Oldham and one MP each for Ashton, Bury, Rochdale, Salford and Warrington. The working class formed only a small proportion of the urban electorate of £10 householders. However, house rents were lower in the north than the south and this led to an average of about one in sixth working class adult males having the vote in Lancashire. This contrasts with a much lower figure in the south where rents were higher. The Reform Act had raised the expectations of the organised working class in Lancashire. There were angry responses when the reformed parliament proved indifferent to petitions for further reform. Political activity remained intense in the years after 1832. Demands for factory reform, trade union protection, a minimum wage for handloom weavers and opposition to the New Poor Law and the Corn Laws fuelled the radical fire. It soon became clear that the reformed parliament had little to offer working class radicals.

Proposals for factory reform in Lancashire began in 1814 and, unlike Yorkshire where Tory paternalists and clergy dominated; it was the workers who formed a committee in 1828 to seek the proper enforcement of the 1825 Factory Act. The 1833 Factory Act fell far short of the aspirations of the Lancashire short-time committees and demonstrated, for the first time, the shortcomings of the reformed parliament. Factory reform dissolved, at least temporarily, into the background with the onset of industrial depression in 1837-8. The anti-poor law agitation took its place. There was widespread passive resistance to the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act from employers and property-owners as well as workers. There was substantial hostility to directions from central government. The existing system, it was argued throughout Lancashire, was cheap and well suited to the needs of the Lancashire economy. The cotton districts provided the focus for an angry and sometimes violent working class agitation against the new legislation. Riots, for example, took placed in Todmorden in 1838 against the new Poor Law guardians and middle class opinion in Oldham and Rochdale was hostile to the new arrangements. The handloom weavers’ campaign for a minimum wage, advocated vigorously by Oldham’s MP John Fielden, was effectively rejected though parliamentary enquiries dragged on from 1834 to 1841. In many trades the 1830s and 1840s saw falling living standards, growing use of labour-saving machinery and ineffective trade union action. Wage reductions were imposed on the spinners between 1837 and 1842. Hatters, tailors, fustian cutters and calico printers saw their unions broken in the 1830s. Power-loom weavers, builders, metalworkers and miners were more successful but only at a local level. Attempts to build wider federations and national unions proved ineffective.

This catalogue of associated economic and political grievances was linked with the development of the new police forces and stronger forms of local government. Employers made up a significant proportion of Lancashire’s MPs. By 1835 cotton employers were returned for seven of the eight cotton constituencies and they were beginning to control the local magistracy. To many in the working class this, combined with the indolence of the reformed parliament, increasingly looked like an establishment conspiracy against the non-voting working class or of capital against labour. A local spinners’ leader David M’ Williams made this clear in 1838[18] “His opinion was, that the government and the manufacturing and commercial interests were determined to bring the working man down to the continental level in their wages…The whigs intended to bring the working classes down to the level of the miserable pauper under the poor law amendment act.”  It was these conditions that created mass support for Chartism in Lancashire in 1838 and which sustained it into the 1840s and 1850s.

There were mass meetings at Kersal Moor and elsewhere in the later months of 1838 attracting thousands of supporters. However, the importance of Lancashire to the movement came in the second phase when Chartism regrouped after the setbacks of 1839 and 1840. By late 1841 one in six of the National Charter Association’s branches was in Lancashire putting it on a par with the West Riding. The national petition of 1842 was widely supported. Chartism reached its peak with the strikes of August 1842 after which its mass support quickly faded. There was a short-lived revival with the return of trade depression and national agitation in 1847-8. Chartism did not disappear overnight and local activists and groups existed into the 1850s and even the 1860s. In 1853, of the 58 provincial branches of the reconstructed National Charter Association ten were in the cotton districts of Lancashire and the adjacent areas of Cheshire and Derbyshire. In 1854, 2000 people attended a Chartist meeting on Blackstone Edge and in 1858. 800 people crowded into the Chartist Institute at Staleybridge to hear Ernest Jones. Yet the Lancashire working class as an organised political force was virtually extinguished after 1848.

Chartism was strongest in the cotton spinning factories around Manchester especially if they were small and used outworkers like handloom weavers. There was substantial support in the small weaving villages of north-east Lancashire. In Sabden, for example, there were 44 subscribers to the Northern Star out of a total population of some 1500. Manchester, as Asa Briggs has shown[19], was the ‘shock city’ of the industrial revolution. Yet its factory population was dispersed, handloom weavers did not make up a sizeable proportion of its working class and it was growing in importance as a commercial rather than manufacturing centre. This limited the impact of Chartism[20]. Preston and Wigan, at the western edge of the cotton districts, saw little sustained or large-scale Chartist activity. Outside the cotton districts Chartism made little headway. There is little evidence of support in Liverpool and in the mining and agricultural areas of south-west Lancashire. Support for Chartism attracted a broad cross-section of working class support. It is not surprising that in Lancashire there were strong links between Chartism and the vibrant local trade unions especially in 1838-9 and especially in 1842[21]. Factory workers were active, especially in the local leadership, supported by handloom weavers and artisans. Unlike London, Chartism was also able to appeal to shopkeepers, small tradesmen and even some textile employers. Chartism was strongest, as John Foster[22] has shown for Oldham, where there was a ‘union of the productive classes’ against the exploitation of large employers and the venality of central government. This was, however, a ‘union’ of convenience with inherent tensions. The working class and the ‘shopocracy’ were suspicious of each other’s motives. Issues such as whether to compromise on the Charter or whether to threaten physical force sharpened internal friction quickly wearing down the ‘respectable’ bases of Chartist support.

In Lancashire, Chartism brought together overlapping and contradictory political ideologies. The traditional largely artisanal attacked the ‘old corruption’ in Church and State. The broadly middle class analysis of political economy denounced protective policies especially the Corn Laws; and the working class attacked the exploitation and domination of employers and government especially over the Poor Law, the legal status of trade unions and the operation of the labour market. This split the radical constituency. Middle class reformers were disturbed by the extreme rhetoric and attempted rising of 1839. Those who believed in freeing trade were opposed to trade unions and saw repeal of the Corn Laws as a more achievable objective than the Charter. The Anti-Corn Law League was very successful in winning over moderate and middle class Chartists. Many radical Free-Traders were also Nonconformists. Their priorities were pointed more towards temperance, self-improvement and the battle against tithes and church rates than towards expressly working class problems. A committed core of working class Chartists remained but after 1842 they had lost most of their middle class support and most of their potential for mass mobilisation.

The revival of the economy after 1842 played a major role in reducing the political temperature in Lancashire. The repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 and the 1847 Factory Act showed that central government was now able to respond positively to pressure from the provinces. This directly challenged the Chartist ideology that the state was hopelessly corrupt and incapable of making concessions to the working class. Three other tentative reasons for the decline of Chartism in Lancashire can be advanced. First, at least in Oldham in 1847, the mainstream Whig and Tory parties were bidding for both middle and working class radical support by playing on religious and cultural divisions. Secondly, Foster argues that working class anger was diverted away from employers who created new aristocracies of labour. Irish immigrants, whose numbers ballooned during the 1840s, became the focus of working class antagonism on account of their Catholicism and because they were a pool of cheap labour. Finally, the 1840s saw a revival of employer paternalism that aimed to bridge the gap between labour and capital. There are, however, problems with each of these suggestions. The anti-Catholicism associated with Irish immigrants, for example, occurred in the 1850s and 1860s rather than the 1840s and it is difficult to assess the impact of employer paternalism on working class attitudes. Certainly class relations stabilised in the 1850s, there was a growing separation between the political action and industrial conflict which had, for example, characterised the strikes in 1842. There was also improved opportunity for upward social mobility within sections of the working class encouraged by institutions like Friendly Societies and the Co-operative movement and through the development of self-help as an alternative ideology.


Historians face considerable difficulty in analysing the social makeup of Chartism. The size of the movement, its longevity and the limited availability of evidence on rank-and-file members, supporters and sympathisers add to this problem. General statements about the movement as a whole must be tempered in the light of case studies of particular localities. Even then it is sometimes difficult to fathom why support for Chartism in one area was particularly strong while in others it was not. Local leadership, the attitude of local employers and the lower middle classes, local economic conditions, local sources of working class grievance, for example, all played an important part in determining and maintaining popular support for Chartism. The detailed local and regional studies make very clear that, while it may be valid to call Chartists collectively ‘the union of the productive classes’, it is essential to recognise the diversity of social response and motivation in the movement. The Chartist movement may have been based on a kernel of demands that were, by definition, national. This undoubtedly united Chartists in a national community of purpose but, at its heart, the Chartist experience was essentially a local and largely anonymous one.

[1] Hugh Fearn and R.B. Pugh contributed essays on Chartism in Suffolk and in Somerset and Wiltshire to Asa Briggs (ed.) Chartist Studies, London, 1959 pages 147-173 and 174-219 respectively and Roger Wells ‘Southern Chartism’, Rural History (1991).

[2] On rural radicalism see A.J. Peacock ‘Village Radicalism in East Anglia 1800-50’ in J.P.D. Dunbabin Rural Discontent in Nineteenth-Century Britain, London, 1974, pages 27-61 and David Jones Crime, protest, community and police in nineteenth-century Britain, London, 1982, pages 33-61.

[3] A.E.J. Brown Chartism in Essex and Suffolk, Chelmsford, 1982.

[4] Asa Briggs ‘Open Questions of Labour History’, Bulletin of the Society for the Study of Labour History, number 1, (Autumn 1960), page 2, quoted in Goodway London Chartism, page xiii.

[5] D.J.Rowe Radicalism in London 1829-1841: With Special Reference to its Middle- and Working Class Components, unpublished MA thesis, University of Southampton, 1965, ‘The London Working Men’s Association  and the People’s   Charter’,   Past and Present,   volume 36 (1967)  and   ‘The London   Working  Men’s Association and the People’s Charter: a rejoinder’,  Past and Present, volume 38 (1967).

[6] I. Prothero London Working-Class Movements 1825-1848, unpublished PhD thesis, University of Cambridge, 1967, ‘The London Working Men’s Association and the “People’s Charter”‘, Past and Present, volume 38 (1967) and ‘Chartism in London’, Past and Present, volume 44 (1969).

[7] David Large ‘London in the Year of Revolution, 1848’ in John Stevenson (ed.) London in the Age of Reform, Oxford, 1977, pages 177-212.

[8] On this see Jennifer Bennett ‘The London Democratic Association 1837-41: a Study in London Radicalism’ in Epstein and Thompson (eds.) The Chartist Experience, pages 87-119.

[9] Goodway, London Chartism, pages 24-37.

[10] Goodway, London Chartism, pages 37-53.

[11] Goodway, London Chartism, pages 68-87, 111-123 and 129-141.

[12] Goodway, London Chartism, pages 217-220.

[13] Goodway, London Chartism, pages 153-170, 185-190.

[14] Goodway, London Chartism, pages 196-199.

[15] Goodway, London Chartism, pages 201-204.

[16] Goodway, London Chartism, pages 190-196.

[17] John K. Walton Lancashire: a social history 1558-1939, Manchester 1987 is a good starting-point.

[18] Quoted in Walton Lancashire page 161.

[19] In his Victorian Cities, London, 1963, page 56 Briggs wrote that “If Chicago was the ‘shock city’ of the 1890s, one of the British nineteenth-century cities – Manchester – was the shock city of the 1840s, attracting visitors from all countries, forcing to the surface what seemed to be intractable problems of society and government, and generating as great a variety of opinions as Chicago did later or Los Angeles did in the 1930s and 1940s. Every age has its shock city…”

[20] Paul A. Pickering Chartism and the Chartists in Manchester and Salford, London, 1995 is now the essential study.

[21] Robert Sykes ‘Early Chartism and Trade Unionism in South-East Lancashire’, in Epstein and Thompson (eds.) The Chartist Experience. Studies in Working-class Radicalism and Culture 1830-1860 is invaluable on this.

[22] John Foster Class Struggle and the Industrial Revolution: early industrial capitalism in three English towns, London, 1974, pages 107-118, 131-148.


Unknown said...

Dear sir I read with interest you writing on chartisn. I am hoping you could explain about Donald McPherson I .Ipswich. I am particularly interested why or who described him as an itinerant tea merchant and where I could find more ad I am his g g granddaughter. With thanks Jenny Fawcett

Richard Brown said...

Dear Jenny

A E J Brown's Chartism in Essex and Suffolk is your best bet as a starting-point for finding out about Donald McPherson. To find out more about him as an itinerant tea merchant you'll need to look at local newspapers for Suffolk and Essex best approached through the British Newspaper Archives. As his name would have been relatively uncommon in East Anglia, you should have little difficulty getting some information. I hope this helps.

Best wishes


LucyAnn said...

I am delighted to have found your Blog and especially this page on Chartism in Suffolk. I'm writing a book (as a completely novice author) about three generations of my father's ancestors. One of them, Elizabeth Kelly nee Oakley was Charles James Napier's first wife and this had a profound effect on the fortunes of my family. At present I'm wading through the Chartist period in William Napier's biography of his brother. You probably know they were prolific writers with much of value both in the overview and the detail about social ills of the time. Trying to decide what quotations to include and what to leave out is a real headache - so many gems. My 2xgreat grandfather worked for 16 years in Suffolk (1832-1848). He had worked with Napier in Cephalonia 1828-31 and was his great nephew by marriage. They kept in touch until Napier's death in 1853. Edward's view of the New Poor Law was very different from Napier's. I'm trying, very much as an amateur, to get a grip on the intricacies of how the law was implemented, using material from the BL Newspapers Online. I think I might have to buy one of your Chartism books.

Richard Brown said...

Dear Lucy

Thanks for letting me know about your research on your father's ancestors and in particular the Napier link. will give you details about the Reconsidering Chartism series and some of my other publications.

Best wishes


LucyAnn said...

Thanks Richard. I'll visit my library!
Best wishes