Monday, 14 December 2015


This, the second volume looks at northern England covering Yorkshire and the North-East in Chapter 6, Cheshire, Lancashire and the North-West in Chapter 7 and at Scotland, Wales and Ireland respectively in Chapter 8, 9 and 10. It also includes the synoptic concluding chapter. Newcastle, Sunderland and their industrial and mining communities have been neglected by scholars who often mean Lancashire and the West Riding of Yorkshire when they speak of 'the North'. Yet Chartism in Cumberland, Northumberland and Durham had a stridency and vehemence in 1838 and 1839 that was also evident in Yorkshire and Lancashire. Yorkshire and the North-East is the subject of Chapter 6. Northern England-regarded by most historians as forming the bedrock of Chartism and the heart of industrialisation-was dominated by textiles, iron-making and coal mining, industries that produced a greater sense of class-consciousness and class-conflict and where the human cost of economic change, Disraeli's 'Two Nations', was at its starkest.

Chapter 7 considers Cheshire, Lancashire and the North-West, an area that contained the bulk of cotton manufacture where technological change brought increasing distress to its hand weavers. Chapters 8, 9 and 10 consider Chartism in Scotland, Wales and Ireland and the Isle of Man. With its radical traditions and urbanising and industrialising economy, Chartism proved an important force in Scottish politics in the 1830s and 1840s. Wales too has its own political traditions and like Scotland there was also substantial industrial and urban development that allowed a concentration of radical politics particularly in South and West Wales . Unlike Scotland, there was rebellion in Wales at Newport in November 1839-perhaps the best known of all Chartist events-and its failure played an important role in how physical force was regarded in the decade that followed. Unlike the strikes in 1842, whose relationship to the national movement was tangential other than in mid-August, it was the only major direct action that can be regarded as fully 'Chartist' in character. The relationship of Chartism to Ireland was one of bifurcation-there was Chartism in Ireland and there was Chartism among those Irish who had emigrated to the mainland. In Ireland, Chartism found itself in competition for support from middle- and working-classes from Daniel O'Connell's Repeal Association and the later Confederate Clubs associated with 'Young Ireland'. Faced with these mass organisations, it is unsurprising that Chartism's impact was limited and geographically concentrated in a few major towns. On the mainland the Irish impact on Chartism was significantly greater, if only because of Feargus O'Connor's role as the primary leader. It was once assumed that the Irish played a marginal role within Chartism until the late 1840s but we now take a less sanguine view of O'Connell's ability to control the Irish in Britain and a more positive view O'Connor and other Irish national and local leaders. Chartism and Ireland collided in the climactic events of 1848 with Irish Confederate leaders seeing the Chartist agitation as a means through which troops could be held back in Britain while they led what provided to be less a revolution than a skirmish while the often conspiratorial nature of Irish radicalism was evident in the Chartist insurrectionary plans in June, July and August.
The book ends with discussion of people, places, classes and spaces. It considers the question of 'who were the Chartists?' and the difficulties in identifying who they were and why they became Chartists and how far class played a part in this process. It also examines Chartism within its geographical context drawing on points made in the regional chapters. Finally, it looks at the whole question of radical spaces and how these spaces were created and contested.
Publication Date: December 13 2015
ISBN/EAN13: 1517788986 / 9781517788988
Page Count: 424
Related Categories: History / Europe / Great Britain / General


Sue Wilkes said...

Hi Richard,
This looks very interesting. Does your book mention the Bolton Chartists, e.g. the Pickvances?
All the best,

Richard Brown said...

Hi Sur

I've included a little on Bolton but space precluded a detailed consideration.

Best wishes


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