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I have made minute inquiries into the subject of the guns which have been received by coach in this place and I have come to the conclusion that the information which was conveyed to me on the first instance was calculated to give a some what exaggerated impression of the real facts of the case. The inquiries I have made have only enabled me to trace with certainty three distinct packages of guns and muskets, all of which appear to have arrived here from the neighbourhood of Birmingham and one of which was accompanied by a heavy hamper. Of those packages, two were sent from here to Pontypool, two to Tredegar, both towns in this county surrounded by iron works. It is extremely probable that hawkers passing through the county finding a great demand for guns and muskets order them in the usual way of business without knowing or caring for the purpose to which they are intended to be applied. I understand that clubs have been recently established in this neighbourhood to which men contribute small periodical payments in order to obtain arms in their town, and I was informed sometime back that guns and muskets were purchased with eagerness at the neighbouring iron works.
It is also within my own knowledge that active efforts are making to incite the workmen employed at the Collieries to violence and to persuade them that in any course they may pursue they will not be opposed by the soldiers who would not act against them. There has existed in this town for some months a Chartist Society - some of the members whereof make circuits periodically into the neighbouring villages and mining districts to obtain signatures to the Chartist petition and contribute to the national rent. The missionaries attend at public houses and beer shops where a party small or large as the case may be has been assembled. The missionary expounds to them the grievances under which they labour tells that half their earnings are taken from them in taxes, that these taxes are spent in supporting the rulers in idleness and profligacy - that their employers are tyrants who acquire wealth by their labour, that the great men around them possess property to which they are not entitled that these evils are to be cured by the Chartists but that the people must sign the Chartist petition and contribute to the Chartist rent, that if their demands are not peaceably conceded they will be justified resorting to force and that they need not fear bloodshed because the soldiers will not act and a letter is normally read to confirm the statement made with respect to the feeling of the soldiery.
Strengthened by the arrival of the men sent by the Home Secretary, the magistrates assembled at the hotel, and decided upon arresting the individuals against whom the warrants were out; and, to be prepared for the worst, had sent the town crier to request the immediate presence of the special constables then in the town. Between forty and fifty obeyed the call, and, loitering before the inn, watching the proceedings, were the identical men whom the authorities were so anxious to apprehend: they were pointed out to the police, who at once took them into custody, and secured them inside the hotel. Upon this the tocsin of alarm was given, and the news of the arrest reached those assembled at the bridge in a very short time. This crowd, with their numbers swelled on the way, soon arrived in sight of the hotel, where they saw the police and special constables drawn up to receive them. The sight took them aback, but it was only the momentary impediment which dammed up the waters for a more impetuous rush.
Without arms of some description, their great number was no match for the police and specials, armed with their staves of office. They accordingly withdrew for a few moments to procure whatever they could lay their hands on in the form of weapons - guns, staves, pikes, hay forks, sickles, and even spades were hastily seized by the excited and turbulent mob!
Some of the women who had joined the crowd kept instigating the men to attack the hotel - one old virago vowing that she would fight till she was knee-deep in blood, sooner than the Cockneys should take their prisoners out of the town. She, with others of her sex, gathered large heaps of stones, which they subsequently used in defacing and injuring the building which contained the prisoners. When the mob had thus armed themselves, the word 'Forward!' was given, and as soon as they were within hearing of the police, they imperatively demanded the release of their friends, which demand was of course refused. What took place during the next few minutes cannot be easily ascertained; both parties afterwards accused the other of commencing the fray. The special constables, many of whose acquaintances were among the crowd, were seen to give way on the approach of the Chartists, and to seek their safety either in the hotel, or by trusting to their legs. When their request was denied them, the mob set up a terrible shout, and pressed forward towards the door of the inn; the rioters asserting that the London police began the conflict by striking one of their number, which only exasperated them the more, and caused them to shout out for 'revenge!' as well as the release of the prisoners. They further state that the Ex-Mayor, on finding that he was locked out, to ensure his own safety, suddenly appeared to sympathize with the mob, by crying out 'Chartists for ever'; and, with a stick which he had in his hand, broke the first pane of glass, thus initiating the mob in the work of destruction.
The women followed the example thus set them by throwing stones at every window of the house, while the men pressed forward and tried to burst in the front door, through which the police had retired. The thought of their prey slipping through their fingers infuriated the mob, who sent repeated showers of stones at the door and windows; the latter were soon shattered into a thousand fragments. Guns were next fired through the door, which, after resisting all their efforts for some time, was ultimately burst open. The mob quickly spread themselves over the house in search of their comrades, whom they found handcuffed in the kitchen. They were at once led off to a smith's shop, where their gyves were knocked off. Finding themselves masters of the house, the rabble proceeded to hunt out the policemen, against whom alone their animosity was now directed. The Mayor with one of the police had retired to the bedrooms, but the latter (Blenkhorn) was soon found, and dragged from under a bed; his pistol and staff were wrested from him, and the former was presented at his head. He was then most savagely abused by all who were within reach of him, till his bruised and bleeding features moved the hearts of some of the most compassionate, who managed at great risk to save his life, for only with his life would some of the ruffians be appeased.
The Mayor (a surgeon by profession) was also discovered in one of the bedrooms. He was rather frightened when brought out into the street; but a happy idea occurred to him, - he appealed to their better nature, by recalling to their memories how he had saved their mothers' lives in ushering them (the Chartists) into the world. He touched the right string; their hearts were softened, and they allowed him to proceed to his home without injuring him.
On the morning of this eventful day, I started from Pontypool with a neighbour, in my gig, for Newport, on my way to Cardiff, in Glamorganshire, to visit an invalid sister. On my arrival at Newport (ten miles on my journey) failing to get other conveyance on to Cardiff, and the horse's shoulder showing symptoms of being galled, I was compelled to ride him the rest of the way (twelve miles) to Cardiff. On arriving there, I was a second time wet through. (I had changed part of my clothes before, at Newport.) Again I got my clothes dried, paid my visit, and returned in the same way, in the evening, to Newport; again wet through. During the process of once more drying my dress, I was informed that the authorities of Newport had received information that the Chartists, thousands strong, were coming down that night to attack Newport, led by Frost, Williams, and Jones. On hearing this, as soon as possible, I repaired to the Westgate Inn, where I found Sir Thomas Phillips, the Mayor, with the military and a large force of special constables. The Mayor assured me the report was to be relied on, and advised me not to proceed home.
The cry of 'The Chartists are coming,' like the cry of 'Wolf,' had so often been given before, that I turned a deaf ear to the Mayor's kind recommendation, ordered my gig, and, with my friend, started for Pontypool! Would we had not!! We proceeded slowly, in consequence of the horse's galled shoulder, for above six miles, when it was evidently becoming worse; so much so, that after considerable jibbing the horse fairly stood still, and would not proceed farther. The Cock Inn at Cross-y-ceilog, kept by a customer of mine, being close at hand, we determined on leaving the poor brute there, and walking the remainder of the distance (four miles) home. We saw the horse properly attended to, and set off per turnpike-road, on foot, for Pontypool, regardless of the reports that the Chartists were coming. We reckoned, however, without our host, - they came.
We had reached the great oak at the Race Farm, within about three miles and a half of home, when we suddenly heard the heavy tread of a multitude of feet, and, ere we could exchange a question and answer, were surrounded by hundreds, perhaps thousands, of armed men; for the night was so pitchy dark, that the eye could not penetrate the gloom a single yard in advance. The first words I heard were from a voice which I fancied I knew, uttering, with military authority, the command, 'Halt' He then demanded my name and business, and also my companion's; on my mentioning who I was, there was an evident sensation, whispering, and communicating around us. On this, he demanded if we were armed; and, notwithstanding he was answered in the negative, we were instantly ordered to be searched, during the performance of which ceremoney (not over gently performed) I addressed the leader, stating that I was certain I was perfectly well known to him, and to most of the assembled throng, and that, if any violence were committed on the persons of my friend or myself, he would be held responsible. The answer was, - 'Hold your tongue; obey orders, and you'll be taken care of; offer resistance, or attempt to escape, and it will be the worse for you.' He then ordered four pikemen to take possession of, and guard, the prisoners; which, to their credit be it said, they did most carefully; and, in addition to the four pikemen, two rough and determined fellows, with pistols, took me under their especial care and protection, and never left my side for hours.
At day-break we were conducted through hosts of drenched, begrimed, fatigued, and many apparently frightened men, who lined the road for a considerable distance, without let, hindrance, or molestation. This party was the section immediately under Mr Frost's command, waiting for the other divisions to join them, and consisted of several thousands of men, nearly all armed, some with pikes, fixed on well-made handles or shafts, some more roughly made; crude spears, formed of rod iron sharpened at one end, and turned into a loop at the other as a handle; guns, muskets, pistols, coal mandrills (a sharp double-pointed pick-axe used in cutting coals), clubs, scythes, crow-bars; and, in fact, any and every thing that they could lay their hands on. The whole presented one of the most heterogeneous collection of instruments and munitions of war that ever were brought into the field to compete with disciplined and well-armed forces. It was folly; it was frenzy; it was sheer insanity; downright madness!
Mr Fussell opened the meeting by reading from the 'Sun' newspaper an account of the Riots in Wales, after he had read the paper, he said he was very glad to see the People of Wales was stirring and by this time the people of Newport had declared their independence, and that he hoped in a short time they would be prepared to proclaim themselves a Republic, he said a Man would be deputed to go to Wales and learn the particulars and that we do hold a public meeting on the day he returns, and that it should be such a meeting that had never been held in the Town. That they should petition the Queen to give them universal suffrage or they would take it by force. Many said we will have it or die for it.
Local History Month: The Newport Rising
May is officially Local History month, so for the next few weeks my posts will be about historic events which took place in my hometown of Newport, South Wales. Starting with the Newport Rising. Which was the last large scale rebellion in the United Kingdom.
With very little time, the authorities quickly prepared for the attack. There were already 60 soldiers stationed in Newport, but the Mayor of Newport Thomas Phillips, had sworn in 500 special constables and asked for more troops to be sent, and had 32 soldiers of the 45th Nottinghamshire regiment of foot in the Westgate Hotel, where some other Chartist prisoners were held.
There were three leaders of the marches through the valleys to Newport. John Frost, William Jones and Zephaniah Williams.
John Frost lead his group of men from Dowlias to Tredegar and then from Tredegar down to Argoed. From there, he lead them to Blackwood and arrived in Newbridge. They then marched all the way through Risca and Rogerstone.
Zephaniah Willams lead his men from Beaufort to Ebbw Vale. From there they marched to Crumlin and into Newbridge and right through Risca and Rogerstone.
William Jones was to lead his group from Blaenafon down to Garndiffaith. From there they marched to Abersychan before arrving in Pontypool and were to march through Malpas.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing though. Heavy rainfall delayed the marches and there were delays in the planned meeting of each contingent at the Welsh Oak in Rogerstone. In fact, William Jones and his men from Pontypool never even arrived. This delayed the final march into Newport into the daylight hours which contributed to their defeat.
Many marchers never participated in the final assault on Newport and simply waited on the outskirts of the town. This was because they had spent all Sunday night outdoors and in the pouring rain, their commitment was lukewarm too.
At 9:30am, the Chartists all arrived at the small square in front of the hotel. The flash point came when the crowd demanded that the guards released the imprisoned Chartists, but when the guards refused, a brief but violent and bloody battle broke out. Although shots were fired by both sides, it is believed that the Chartists fired the first shots.
Even though the soldiers were greatly outnumbered by the large and very angry crowd, they still had superior firepower, training and discipline, all of which soon broke the crowd. But the Chartists didn’t go down that easily. At one point they managed to temporarily get inside the Westgate Hotel, but were forced to retreat in disarray. Mayor Thomas Phillps was seriously wounded in the attack along with a soldier and two special constables.
After a fiercely fought battle which lasted approximately 30 minutes, between 10 and 24 of the Chartists had been killed by troops who were firing out of the windows. Up to 50 Chartists were wounded and over 200 Chartists were arrested. Only 21 were charged with high treason.
John Frost, William Jones and Zephaniah Williams were all arrested and were found guilty on the charge of high treason. They were sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered at The Shire Hall in Monmouth.
After a nationwide petitioning campaign and direct lobbying of the home secretary by the Lord Chief Justice Viscount Melbourne, the government finally decided that the three of them would be sentenced to transportation for life.
In his later life, John Frost was given an unconditional pardon and he straight away sailed for Bristol where he retired, but still published articles. John Frost died on the 27th July 1877 in Bristol.
As for Zephaniah Williams, he was given a conditional pardon in 1854, allowing him to live anywhere outside of the UK, but he decided to stay in Tasmania. He then brought his wife and family out from Wales to Australia. He later went on to discover coal on the island and made quite a fortune from it after founding the Tasmanian coal trade. He died on the 8th May 1874 at Launceston, Tasmania.
William Jones lived out the rest of his days in Australia and became a watchmaker. After the convicts won partial pardon in 1854 and total pardon in 1856, John Frost returned to the UK but William Jones decided to stand by his watchmaker’s trade, he died in 1873.
Many Chartists abandoned their weapons when they fled from the Westgate hotel, a selection of the weapons can be still be seen today at Newport Museum.
John Frost and the Chartist march on Newport
On 27 July 1877, John Frost - Chartist leader and the man who, more than anyone else, reflected the desire of the Welsh working classes to obtain universal manhood suffrage - died quietly at his home in Bristol. It had been a wild, troubled and often dangerous life.
John Frost was born in the Royal Oak Inn at Newport in 1784. After the early death of both his father and mother he was brought up by his grandparents and became a draper's apprentice in Cardiff, then Bristol and London.
He returned to Newport in 1806 where he married, had eight children and founded what soon became a successful and profitable business. Always a radical, Frost was imprisoned for libel against a Newport solicitor in 1823 but by 1835 he had achieved a degree of respectability and become a town councillor.
Newport Rising, 4 November 1839 (Photo by Culture Club/Getty Images)
Eventually he rose to the position of magistrate and then town mayor – although he was soon removed from the bench because of his connections with the Chartist movement. He was more than vigorous in his opposition to both Tories and Whigs and was particularly dismissive of the influence of the Morgan family from Tredegar House. More importantly, he was not afraid to make his opinions known.
His radical beliefs had clearly not gone away and in March 1839 John Frost was elected to the Chartist Convention in London.
In the days of cynical exploitation of the working classes by those with wealth and power, the Chartist movement was a national drive for political reform, particularly active in industrial Britain in the 1830s and 40s. Perhaps inevitably, Wales, like many of the other industrial regions of the country, was a hotbed of Chartism.
In the 1830s the Chartist movement was a strong and dynamic force that terrified the establishment - both the aristocracy and those with newly-acquired wealth. The Chartists' ideas and theories were based around the great People's Charter of 1838, aiming to:-
“seek a charter of political reform which, it was hoped, would sweep away all the inequalities and bad conditions that working class people had to endure. The Chartists were idealists but idealists with an aim and a mission.” (Highlights of Welsh History, Gomer Press)
The People's Charter had six main demands, including a vote for all men over the age of 21 (women were not included!), a secret ballot and the payment of all MPs. Despite being signed by thousands of men and women, the Charter was dismissed by the government and, almost in desperation, people’s minds began to turn towards violence.
In November 1839, John Frost, although considered something of a moderate in radical circles, was one of three Chartist leaders in south Wales. Along with William Jones and Zephaniah Williams, he planned a three-pronged march on Newport.
On 3 November somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 Chartists - most of them miners and iron workers - assembled at Risca to the north of Newport and then marched into the town.
In the event they were delayed by bad weather and so the news of their coming leaked out to the authorities. Chartists in Newport were arrested and held at the Westgate Hotel in the town. When Frost and his men arrived outside the hotel, demanding the release of the captives, they were met by musket fire from soldiers of the 45th Foot.
Between 10 and 15 Chartists were killed, along with a few soldiers, and over 50 injured. The 'battle' did not last long, barely 20 minutes, and ended with the Chartists in total disarray. The march on Newport was over.
Newport's former Chartist mural (Copyright Chris Downer - licensed under Creative Commons)
In the wake of the rising there is no doubt that the government panicked. Frost, Jones and Williams were all condemned to death – the last men in Britain to be sentenced to be 'hung, drawn and quartered' - and about 150 Chartists were also sentenced to transportation. As it happened, good sense finally prevailed and the death sentence on the three leaders was commuted to transportation for life.
In Van Diemen’s Land, now known as Tasmania, John Frost was immediately sentenced to two years hard labour for critical comments he made about Lord John Russell, the Prime Minister. After this inauspicious start, he found himself indentured to a local store keeper. After three years as a clerk he eventually became a school teacher in the penal colony.
In 1854 Frost was allowed to leave Van Diemen’s Land on the condition that he did not return to Britain. He went to the USA, along with his daughter, where he lived until 1856 when the restriction on where he could live was lifted and he returned to his homeland. He died in Bristol, 11 years later, a radical and a Chartist to the last – although rather more circumspect in how he voiced his political opinions.
Chartism remained a potent force for some years after the Newport Rising, a number of new Charters being presented to Parliament in 1842 and 1848. They made little impression although the lobby for political reform continued. Chartism as a separate movement however, was never as strong again as in had been in 1839 when, apparently:-
“By the spring of 1839 (it was estimated) there were possibly 25,000 Chartists in Monmouthshire.” (The Encyclopaedia of Wales)
Support for Chartism began to wane after the 1850s and the movement eventually just petered out as the working classes achieved many of their aims through legislation – and the growth in power of the Liberal Party - at the end of the 19th century.
These days John Frost is remembered through John Frost Square in Newport, although a mural in the centre of the town, by Kenneth Budd, was demolished in 2013. There are, apparently, plans to create a new memorial to the martyrs of 1839 and, in particular, to the man who inspired them – John Frost.
Image of Newport Chartist mural © Chris Downer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Today marks the 180th anniversary of the Newport rising when government forces and Welsh Chartists clashed in the town of Newport. Here’s Dr Philip Salmon, editor of our House of Commons 1832-68 project, with more…
The Newport rising ranks alongside the Peterloo massacre as an iconic episode in the struggle for popular political rights in pre-democratic Britain. In November 1839 around 10,000 disaffected and poorly paid workers, mainly Monmouthshire miners and ironworkers, marched on Newport hoping to free local Chartist leaders from arrest and, according to some, take over the town as a prelude to ‘revolution’. Their actions followed Parliament’s refusal to consider a Chartist petition signed by 1.3 million people demanding workers’ political rights – the so-called ‘People’s Charter’.
Unlike those who had marched at Peterloo twenty years earlier, however, many of the Newport protesters were armed – most with pikes and makeshift weapons, but some with muskets and shotguns. They were led by John Frost (1784-1877), a Newport tailor who had served as the town’s mayor from 1836-7 and as a magistrate until 1838, when the Home Office dismissed him for his rabble-rousing activities.
As a recent episode of the BBC’s ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ programme revealed, Frost was deeply critical of the system established by the 1832 Reform Act. This widely hailed ‘reform’ of Britain’s political system had not only failed to enfranchise most workers, but also disfranchised many poor citizens who already had an existing ‘ancient-right’ vote. (In addition, for the first time the Act formally restricted the franchise to male persons.) Worst of all, the new voter registration system was heavily biased against all poorer classes of electors, as the success of Monmouth’s Tories in striking their working-class opponents off the electoral rolls soon made abundantly clear.
Frost’s grievances were widely shared. They help to explain why the original ‘People’s Charter’ of 1838, rather than just being confined to the ‘six points’ that appear in most text books, was also concerned with the business of voter registration. As a seminal article by Prof Miles Taylor made clear a number of years ago, over half the original charter was actually devoted to improving voter registration and the recording of votes. It was Parliament’s refusal to consider these issues – enshrined in the first Chartist petition of June 1839 – that helped trigger nationwide protests, including the march at Newport.
On learning about the protest, Newport’s magistrates swore in hundreds of special constables and stationed a small company of infantry at the Westgate Hotel where the Chartists thought their imprisoned leaders were being held. The diaries of Charlotte Guest, the wife of a Merthyr ironmaster and Liberal MP, describe what happened next. Offering a rare female perspective on an event dominated by the accounts of men, her entry for 4 Nov. records how the protesters:
“attacked the military in the Westgate Inn at Newport in order to release some prisoners. The soldiers did not fire upon them until they had received one or two volleys from them, and until they had broken into the inn … When they came into the passage the soldiers fired, and nine men were killed on the spot and many were wounded, three of whom died almost immediately. The Mayor of Newport and two other gentlemen were slightly wounded … After this firing had taken place, the whole of these poor deluded creatures took to flight. It appears they had buoyed themselves up with the idea that the military were favourable to them … It is said to have been lamentable to see the droves of these poor tired and defeated men returning from their ill-fated expedition … The scene … was equally distressing owing to the wailing of the women, among whom were many Irish, all ignorant of who had suffered and fearful … The ringleader and ex-magistrate Frost … has been, with many others, arrested it is also said that some of the poor men, who died of their wounds, showered execrations upon Frost with their last breath, as the instigator of their crime and the cause of their destruction”.
In total, around 22 protesters were killed and 50 wounded. Five officials were injured, including the mayor Thomas Phillips, who later received a knighthood. Frost and 20 other Chartists were convicted for high treason and sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered. In the event, however, their punishment was commuted to transportation. Significantly, such a sentence was never issued by a British court again. Frost was eventually allowed to return to the UK in 1856. He remains an iconic figure in the history of working-class activism and the long struggle for democratic rights.
Alternative narratives: John Binnon, an ordinary man in big history
This year marked 175 years since the Newport Rising. It is also 175 years since the Birmingham Bull Ring riots, which took place over several weeks in July 1839. This unrest has also been considered part of the Chartist unrest three of the men found guilty of being involved in the Birmingham riots were transported to Tasmania on the same ship as John Frost and the other Newport protesters.
Several years of research into Birmingham’s Chartist riots has led me to believe that the outbreaks of violence that took place in 1839 were antagonised by the presence of a body of Metropolitan police. During their secondment to the town, the force introduced an invasive stop and search policy, confiscating the tools of many a local artisan’s trade and establishing a mini reign of terror that included one incident of aggressive ‘kettling’ on New Street. This post is to remember a man called John Binnon. His story has been completely overlooked in the analyses of Birmingham’s Chartist riots, but I found it to reveal another narrative of the prevailing unrest.
On July 15th, 1839 rioting broke out in Birmingham. It was not the first incident of rioting during that summer. Two weeks earlier a London police officer had been left fighting for his life after a mass brawl had broken out near St. Martin’s church. Rumbling unrest prompted the imposition of an 8pm curfew and dragoons from the local barracks patrolled the streets along with a body of Metropolitan police. The rioting on this evening took a different tone: the windows of the public office were smashed by bricks, shops around the Bull Ring were looted and set ablaze. As residents tried to escape burning buildings down ladders, attending fire officers were assaulted. For some unknown reason, the dragoons and the London police had been given orders by mayor William Scholefield to ‘stand down’ from their recent nightly patrols. It was an unwise move, one which would lead to a criticism from the Duke of Wellington and much heated debate.
John Binnon was described as a ‘quiet young man’ by his landlady and other acquaintances who spoke at his inquest. It was claimed that he had no involvement with the Chartists. On July 15th, perhaps out of curiosity, John crossed the Bull Ring, just as the riots were beginning to disperse. He stayed close to the market hall, there is no evidence that he had any involvement in the riots. As he watched the unfolding drama, a foot soldier approached him, ordering him to move along. John replied that he move along when he was ready, a response which must have infuriated the foot soldier who was probably already under a good deal of pressure. The soldier then called on a dragoon who, from atop his horse, made a brutal attack on John, bringing down his sabre and allegedly shouting ‘damn your soul to hell, you will go back’. In his statement to the jury, the dragoon claimed that John had tried to pull the horse down, grabbing the bridle. My own thinking is that John panicked, perhaps putting his hand up to deflect the blows during the terrible encounter.
John’s hat and coat were presented to the jury at the inquest. There were clear sabre slices through both and it was revealed that he had received a substantial cut to his elbow, deep enough to expose the bone. He was treated at the General Hospital, dying from septicaemia after having his arm amputated. At his inquest, the jury first returned a verdict of ‘legally justified homicide’. The coroner advised the jury to reconsider, stating that their wording indicated a ‘disapprobation of the law’. The jury argued that the military had over reacted to John’s refusal, but must have acquiesced and dropped the word ‘legally’, as the coroner’s roll has only the words ‘justified homicide’.
John Binnon’s reaction to being ordered to move along, for me, revealed a sense of frustration at the situation that had been imposed on the town. The Brummies were tired of curfews and the aggressive uniformed presence. The rioting that took place on the 15th began when a crowd marching along Camp Hill received news that the Metropolitan police had assaulted yet another man in the Bull Ring. There is no evidence that this had happened, but the rumour proved to be the spark that lit a very short fuse. His story shows that history has multiple narratives. That the life of the ordinary man and woman is as relevant to our understanding of the past as the grand narratives.
Techniques for Protecting Historic Structures
Basements can be turned into cisterns to collect floodwater and slowly release it into the stormwater system once the flood has passed. Entire neighborhoods can be equipped with larger capacity storm water pipes, or houses can be made to float on the rising floodwater.
It helps that 74 Bridge Street was built in a fashion common in Colonial-era New England, with heavy, vertical planks attached to the building’s wooden frame. This plank-on-frame construction is relatively resilient to minor flooding, preservationists say. Plus, its interior walls were finished with lime plaster, a sand-lime-aggregate material in use since ancient times that is durable and mold-resistant.
Still, a sump pump runs in the basement 24/7. The water table is now so high that without it, there would probably be a foot of standing water there at all times.
Dry flood-proofing is “low-hanging fruit,” said Stephanie Zurek, an architect at Union Studio who studied the home. Other remedies, like wet flood-proofing, are more complex.
Wet flood-proofing does not involve making basement walls watertight because, the theory goes, foundation walls would be vulnerable to collapse if water pressure built up in the soil around them.
Instead, basement walls are left permeable, like the stone foundation walls of 74 Bridge Street. If walls are already watertight, architects may propose flood vents, windowlike devices fitted into cellar walls that open automatically to let the building flood in a storm. Water can be pumped out later.
Or homeowners may install rain barrels or even cisterns in their cellars to store storm water till the threat has passed.
Mr. Thompson said the foundation is considering whether steps like these might be advisable at 74 Bridge Street, but he added that deliberations may take a while because the foundation hopes to develop techniques that may have wider use. “Whatever we do should inform the community at large,” he said.
Inside the famous city hotel that's been abandoned for nearly two decades
Shattered glass and broken bits of wood line the floors of the once-beautiful ballroom upstairs in the impressive Westgate hotel.
Previously a bustling hub of life in the heart of a Welsh city centre, the massive building is an eerie shadow of its former self.
Famed for being the location of the Chartist Uprising in 1839 - the last large-scale armed rebellion against authority in Great Britain - the Newport hotel went through plenty of changes over the years before it finally closed its doors in the early 2000s.
In 1839, 22 men were shot dead by the authorities outside the Westgate Hotel on Commercial Street during the uprising. Led by John Frost, the Chartists marched to Newport, fighting for better voting rights as per their six-point charter.
And now the Grade-II listed hotel is set to re-open for the launch of a Chartist-inspired graphic novel, Newport Rising.
The famous building has a long and varied history.
Dr Adam Coward, data enhancement assistant at the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, explained: "The original building dates from 1709, and was rebuilt to design of E. A. Lansdowne in 1886 (not 1887 as reported in some sources).
However, the modern hotel, built on the site in the late 1880s, is rumoured to have retained pillars with bullet holes from the uprising in earlier in the century.
Newport Rising - History
In 1838, the London Working Men's Society published The People’s Charter, which demanded six key changes to the British electoral system, including universal male suffrage. These demands formed a central doctrine for radicals wishing to reform the political system. Support for the Charter spread rapidly and its advocates became known as the Chartists.
The Chartists were divided over how best to achieve the six points of The People's Charter. Some advocated the use of education and 'moral force' to achieve Parliamentary reform and others believed that 'physical force', to varying degrees, might be necessary. The most infamous event in the history of Chartism was the Newport Rising, which took place in Newport in Wales on 4 November 1839. Thousands of Chartists from South Wales marched on Newport and grouped outside the Westgate Hotel, but when they tried to enter, soldiers were lying in wait and fired shots, killing 22 marchers and wounding many more. The remaining Chartists then retreated. The leading Chartists present were sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered, but after protests from all over the country, the sentence was reduced to transportation.
This newspaper article, published in The Ipswich Journal on 9 November 1839, a few days after the uprising, describes the events as they happened. It is clearly written from a strong anti-Chartist perspective, referring to them as 'deluded men' and praising the military for their 'cool and determined conduct'.
Easter Rising: April 1916
The Easter Rising was intended to take place across Ireland however, various circumstances resulted in it being carried out primarily in Dublin. On April 24, 1916, the rebel leaders and their followers (whose numbers reached some 1,600 people over the course of the insurrection, and many of whom were members of a nationalist organization called the Irish Volunteers, or a small radical militia group, the Irish Citizen Army), seized the city’s general post office and other strategic locations. Early that afternoon, from the steps of the post office, Patrick Pearse (1879-1916), one of the uprising’s leaders, read a proclamation declaring Ireland an independent republic and stating that a provisional government (comprised of IRB members) had been appointed.
Despite the rebels’ hopes, the public did not rise to support them. The British government soon declared martial law in Ireland, and in less than a week the rebels were crushed by the government forces sent against them. Some 450 people were killed and more than 2,000 others, many of them civilians, were wounded in the violence, which also destroyed much of the Dublin city center.
Local media [ edit | edit source ]
Newport's local newspaper is the South Wales Argus, which is published in the city and distributed throughout the city and surrounding area. ] Local analogue radio broadcasting licences cover the Cardiff/Newport area the FM licence is held by Cardiff Broadcasting Co. Ltd., broadcasting as Capital FM South Wales from Cardiff Bay and the AM licence is held by Capital Radio plc, broadcasting as Capital Gold. ] The local DAB ensembles are Cardiff and Newport (11C) and South Wales and Severn Estuary (12C).
Newport has several internet radio stations, the most popular of which is Newport City Radio. ]