Thomas Attwood

Thomas Attwood was born in Halesowen in 1783.  By 1800 he had moved to Birmingham to work in the family bank.  From his experience of working with local businesses he developed ideas about reforming the currency.  Although popular in Birmingham, he was unable to persuade the government of the benefits of his ideas. 

In 1811 Attwood was chosen to be High Bailiff of Birmingham.  In the 1810s he was active in lobbying members of the government on behalf of Birmingham manufacturers and artisans, and attempting to interest them in his ideas for currency reform. 

Eventually he came to believe that currency reform would be impossible to achieve without electoral reform, and from the late 1820s this is where he began to concentrate his energies.  The late 1820s were a time of growing pressure for reform.  The opposition Whigs, led by Lord Grey, had promised political reform if they could achieve power.  The Tories, led by the Duke of Wellington, were determined to oppose any reform.  Popular feeling was running high, and reformers began to appeal to opinion outside of Parliament to increase pressure on the government.  Radicals, middle class industrialists and organized working class groups united around the common cause of Parliamentary reform.