The Chartists and Birmingham

The Chartists

Detail from certificate awarded to Arthur C O'Neill. Birmingham Archives and Heritage

The Chartist movement grew out of disappointment with the 1832 Reform Act, which did little to advance voting rights for the working classes.

1839 Chartist Petition

Detail from Hansard recording presentation of Chartist petition, 1839

A national petition in support of the six Chartist principles was drawn up in 1839 and presented to the House of Commons.

The Bull Ring Riots

Detail from Hansard recording debate on the Birmingham Bull Ring Riots, 1839

Following the rejection of the Chartist petition, rioting occurred throughout the country. This included serious riots in Birmingham, known as the Bull Ring Riots.

1842 and 1848 Chartist Petitions

Chartist procession through London to present petition to Parliament, 1842.  WOA 4171

Further Chartist petitions were compiled and presented to Parliament in 1842 and 1848.

Dodford and the Chartist Land Plan

Detail from title page of Select Committee report on National Land Company

The Chartist Land plan was the idea of Chartist leader, Feargus O’Connor. It aimed to enfranchise working class people through the distribution of land.

The Chartist Legacy

Detail from 1872 Ballot Act

The Chartists ceased to be a significant force for reform by the late 1840s, but despite this, by 1918 all but one of their demands had been achieved.