For centuries petitions and petitioning have been part of Britain’s political make-up. The Chartists were fans, sending six to parliament in the 1830s and 1840s as part of their attempt to secure democratic representation for working-class men.
Here at the Working Class Movement Library we hold a petition from that period, but are unsure of its exact purpose. It came from the collection of eminent Chartist historian Dorothy Thompson, but she didn’t think it was Chartist. Other historians have concurred with Thompson’s view.
The petition is missing its top so we don’t know who the first person to sign it was, and therefore can’t investigate their name to find out what campaigns they may have been involved in. A volunteer at the library has transcribed all the names and done some research on it, and discovered a few of the people were from the North West of England, including Chaddeton and Macclesfield.
Anyway, that’s how much as we don’t know. You can see a complete transcript of the names by clicking here petition transcription. I’ve also included a scan of some of petition below, but not all, it is after all over 6ft long.
If anyone has any ideas about what the petition might be, or recognises any of the names, or wants to know more, please can you get in touch below?