Chartists

Chartism and the multi-ethnic proletariat

Chartists.

A short history on the influence of William Cuffay, a black tailor, and Irish Catholic workers in the Chartist movement and how the British ruling class used racism to divide an increasingly multi-ethnic working class.

The Story of William Cuffay, Black Chartist

An excerpt from Peter Fryer's Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain on William Cuffay, black tailor and leader of the London Chartists. Reprinted with footnotes by Past Tense in 2005.

16th August 1848 - the last attempted armed rising on English soil?

Seven Dials in 1836

A short history of the attempted armed uprising of Chartists at Seven Dials in London, which was foiled by police.

Policing the Chartists

Policing the Chartist disturbances in Birmingham, 1838. Engraving from 1886 book

In response to the growing Charist movement the government turned to the army and the police to maintain control of the northern districts. As a result modern policing developed and the practice of loaning out Metropolitan Police to hot spots began.

The Chartist Grand National Holiday: The General Strike of 1839

An article by Past Tense on the first attempted general strike called by the Chartist movement for August 1839. It also compares the ideas of the strikes main proponent, William Benbow with other theorists on Mass and General Strikes.

The general strike of 1842

Illustration of a strike meeting

A detailed, full-length history of the UK Chartist general strike of 1842 against pay cuts and for universal male suffrage, by Mick Jenkins with an introduction by John Foster.

Riots in the Potteries in 1842

The Potteries represent the peak of the general strike of 1842. In addition to shutting down most mines mills and workshops in the area, groups of workers attacked and successfully toppled much of the local government and capital. This account though hostile in every respect contains much historical information on the events.

Orange Tree Conspiracy: 1848

The page recounts how some London Chartists tried to organise an armed rebellion – known as the Orange Tree conspiracy – following the rejection of the third national petition for the Charter.

Trafalgar Square Riots of 1848

This page reports how disgruntled workers took over a planned peaceful protest and set off a week of rioting in central London. It names more than 100 of those arrested.

Ashton-under-Lyne rising of 1848

This account of the events of 14 August 1848, when an armed Chartist “National Guard” shot dead a police officer in the town of Ashton-under-Lyne is adapted from Herbert Davies’ chapter in Victorian Ashton (Tameside Libraries and Arts Committee, 1974).