Speaker of the House opens Chartist display

The Rt Hon John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons, opened a displayof Chartist material in the No Lobby on 15 July

The display is part of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Archives and History’s commemoration of the Chartists – the great mass movement for political reform -  which culminates in the Group’s annual lecture, to be held  in the Speaker’s Rooms,  in October.

It is 175 years since the People’s Charter of 1838, which called for reform of the political system.

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The small display includes the only known photograph of John Frost, prominent Welsh leader of the Chartists and a volume of Byron’s collected poetry, which was given by the London Chartists to John Cuffay, the black London trade unionist who was transported to Australia because of his activities. The book is inscribed: ‘as a token of their sincere regard and affection for his genuine patriotism and moral worth’. The Poetical Works of Lord Byron was with William Cuffay at his death, aged 82, in a Tasmanian workshop hospital in 1870.

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The No Lobby is included in the public tour of Westminster. Many thousands will see the display over the summer months.


Photographs show:

Dr Hywel Francis MP, Chair of the All Party Group on Archives and History, with Speaker John Bercow.


The group photograph shows, left to right, Paul Flynn MP, Martin Hoyles, Melanie Unwin, Malcolm Chase, Dai Havard MP, Sian Williams, Dr Hywel Francis MP, Marie Owens

Paul Flynn is MP for Newport West
Dai Havard is MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney  and a member of the All Party Group on Archives and History
Martin Hoyles (University of East London) is the author of William Cuffay: The Life and Times of a Chartist Leader
Melanie Unwin is Deputy Curator for the Parliamentary Art Collection
Malcolm Chase is Professor of Social History at the University of Leeds and will give the All Party Group on Archives and History annual lecture on the Chartists in October 2013
Sian Williams is Librarian at the South Wales Miners’ Library at the University of Swansea
Dr Hywel Francis MP is Chair of the All Party Group on Archives and History
Marie Owens, from the Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland) administers the work of the All Party Group on Archives and History

Photograph of John Cuffay.

All event photographs by Simon O'Connor for ARA