The Chartist Convention 2017 – Report


Newport Cathedral,  St Woolos

was help on 4th November 2017


The main theme of the 11th annual Chartist Convention looked out from the Rising of 1839 to other aspects of popular radicalism, with contributions from speakers on both the Bristol Riots and the Rebecca Riots.  The keynote speaker was Rhian E. Jones.  Rhian grew up in South Wales and now lives and works in London, where she writes on history, politics, popular culture and their intersections.

In 2015 Rhian published Petticoat Heroes: Gender, Culture and Popular Protest in the Rebecca Riots.  This is a book which draws upon cultural history, gender studies and symbolic anthropology to present fresh and alternative arguments on the meaning of Rebeccaite costume and ritual; the significance of the feminine in protest; the links between protest and popular culture.  It is this theme that will provide the central focus for Rhian’s talk to the Convention.

Other talks were directed towards the Bristol Riots of 1831: Les James put the Bristol Riots into the context of Newport during the early 1830s, while Roger Ball, of the Bristol Radical History Group, developed the significance of these events during, and after, the Reform Crisis, October 1831.

Ray Stroud, a retired history teacher, gave a talk on the fate of the Welsh Chartists, the Chartist Scarecrows: Richard Benfield, John Lovell, John Rees, Jenkin Morgan, and Charles Waters.  At five o’clock on the morning of Friday 27th February 1840, these men were removed from their cells in the county gaol at Monmouth and sent to the Millbank Penitentiary, London.  He will consider the impact that incarceration had on both their lives and the Chartist Movement as a whole.

Reymond Stroud Lecture

Learning from the Newport Rising website

A Chartist selling badges
Exhibition stalls
The alert audience
Look at that – Cathedral Tour by Jeremy Knight

“In Their Footsteps” project

Les James Lecture

Our Chartist Heritage exhibition stall

Rhian Jones Lecture

Cathedral Tour by Jeremy Knight
Convention Heritage exhibition stalls



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