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HUGE numbers of people in Kennington Anniversary

April 10, 2015

conradbrunstrom

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April 10th 1848 saw a vast demonstration in Kennington, together with the presentation of a petition to the House of Commons.   This image is derived from one of the earliest ever photographs of a political event.  It struggles to do justice to the scale of the occasion.

Around 2,000,000 signatures adorned a document demanding basic democratic reforms. Heavy handed policing prevented them getting too close to parliament but the Chartists were remarkably peaceable and well behaved. Discipline was a key aspect of their impact.  It’s worth pondering the logistics of getting 2000000 signatures together in a country with only around 25000000 people and an incomplete rail network.  There was no broadband and no easy clicking of “like” buttons.  

A mass demonstration of this kind would have been impossible without the experience of Daniel O’Connell’s “Monster Meetings” demanding Repeal of the Act of Union a few years earlier.  Daniel O’…

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