CHARTISM DAY: Saturday 11 JUNE
University of Chester. Everyone will be welcome. Among those speaking will be Mike Sanders (Manchester). Further details will be circulated in due course.
‘The oldest known image of a Chartist rally’
Ian Haywood’s remarkable discovery (in a sketchbook in the US Library of Congress) of a pen-and-ink sketch by Richard Doyle of the 1839 Birmingham Bull Ring riot received wide coverage in the press. For the full story (and the full picture) see the University of Roehampton website:
The Political Meetings Mapper
A major new web-based resource for everyone interested in Chartism is being developed by Katrina Navickas (Croydon resident) in partnership with the British Library. See
The Runnymede Trust, How far have we come? Lessons from the 1965 Race Relations Act
Runnymede Trust’s 2015 conference marking the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Race Relations Act involved two historians (Will Pettigrew and Malcolm Chase) offering some broader historical perspectives. The resulting publication, includes a short essay on Chartism and can be freely downloaded from
Publications on Chartism, 2015
This list is almost certainly incomplete. Please send further items to Malcolm Chase:
June C. F Barnes, ‘The Men of the North: the Chartist Movement in Carlisle 1838-1850’, Transactions of the Cumberland & Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society, 3rd series, volume 15 (2015), 195-209
Malcolm Chase, The Chartists: perspectives and legacies (London: Merlin Press, 2015), xi + 252pp
Malcolm Chase, ‘Cobbett, his children and Chartism’, in James Grande and John Stevenson (eds), William Cobbett, Romanticism and the Enlightenment: Contexts and Legacy (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2015), pp. 123-35, 197-201
Aditya Dasgupta and Daniel Ziblatt, ‘How Did Britain Democratize? Views from the Sovereign Bond Market’, Journal of Economic History, 75:1 (2015) 1-29 [the authors suggest the Chartist agitations of 1842 and 1848 caused exceptional volatility in UK financial markets; but the latter responded quickly to government ‘repression’ of the movement. NB no analysis is offered for 1839.]
Peter Gurney, Wanting and having: popular politics and liberal consumerism in England, 1830-70 (Manchester UP, 2015), xiii, 335pp
Les James, Render the Chartists Defenceless: John Frost’s Voyage with Dr McKechnie to Van Diemen’s Land in 1840 (Newport: Three Impostors, 2015) ISBN 978-1-78461-232-0 (Available from the publisher’s website,
Jeffrey Makala, ‘Carlyle, Chartism and Reform in Transcendental America’, Literature & History, Volume 24, Number 2 (Autumn 2015), 18-37
Katrina Navickas, Protest and the Politics of Space and Place, 1789-1848 (Manchester University Press, 2015), xiv, 322pp
Matthew Roberts, ‘ “The feast of the gridiron is at hand”: Chartism, Cobbett and currency’, in James Grande and John Stevenson (eds), William Cobbett, Romanticism and the Enlightenment: Contexts and Legacy (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2015), pp. 107-121, 193-7
Dorothy Thompson, The dignity of Chartism: essays by Dorothy Thompson; edited by Stephen Roberts (London: Verso, 2015), xxx + 206 pp
Appeal for information Thomas Valens and Feargus O’Connor Valens
Carol Goulden would be interested to hear from anyone who may have information about her ancestor Thomas Valens or his son Feargus O’Connor Valens. Carol writes:
I wonder if anyone can help me with some of my Chartist Ancestors who lived in London and Birmingham? I can only trace one reference to Thomas Valens and his wife Jane in the Northern Star of 12 September 1840.
My great-great-grandfather, Thomas Valens, was a working jeweller by trade, who served his apprenticeship in Hatton Garden, London from 1807 to 1814. He married in 1815 to Jane Beadon, the daughter of a non-conformist family from Devon (which had migrated to London in the early 1800s). During 1837 to 1840, Thomas Valens lived in Birmingham where his two sons Henry and Feargus were born – he had christened one of his sons “Feargus O’Connor Valens” after the famous Chartist leader. I am assuming that it was whilst Thomas Valens lived in Birmingham, he became aware of the Chartist Movement and wanted to show his support for it.
By the time of the 1841 census, Thomas and Jane Valens were back in London, although two of their sons remained in Birmingham for a few years before re-joining their family in London.
Please contact Carol direct – firstname.lastname@example.org
On the Road to Freedom
The National Chartist Hymn Book
served as the inspiration for a new play ‘On the Road to Freedom’ which was created by the collaboration of Townsend Theatre, a community choir and a local youth theatre group. The play received three performances at the Library Theatre, Leighton Buzzard. See the link below for further details:
A new Chartist-inspired Banner
At the ‘One hundred in a hundred’ event held at the Working-Class Movement Library in Salford on July 5th, 2015, a new Chartist-inspired banner was unveiled by Maxine Peake. The banner was created by Edmund Hall for the performance (featuring songs by Jennifer Reid and words by Mike Sanders) and is based on the banner of the Wigan National Charter Association which was among those which greeted the Chartist leader, Peter Murray McDouall (or M’Douall) on his visit to Manchester in August 1840, following his release from prison. (You can find more details of the event in the ‘Northern Star’ for 22 August 22 1840, p. 7.) Thanks to Mike Sanders for this news item, and also for the next.
The above is from the January Chartism newsletter compiled by Malcom Chase: email@example.com