175 years ago more than 3000 men marched down Stow Hill. They were protesting about inequality and knew that change could only happen if they had a voice in Government. After violent suppression of previous risings they expected to be met with force. So they came prepared to confront the Newport magistrates who had imprisoned four of their leaders for making ‘seditious’ speeches. Soldiers fired on the crowd and at least 22 were killed and as many as fifty wounded. Five of their Charter’s six demands are the foundation of our present day Parliamentary system.
Every November, for many years, the young people of Newport have re-enacted the Chartist march down Stow Hill to the Westgate. This year concerts, readings and a musical ‘The Forgotten’ are also being organised in the district throughout the month. On November 1st, over a hundred people attended the Chartist Convention held at the University City Campus. They were addressed by Newport’s mayor, Councillor Matthew Evans, who revealed his own Chartist ancestry. Councillor Evans is able to trace descent, direct via his mother, back five generations to the Newport Chartist Printer, John Partridge.
The City Council believe that the annual commemoration of the Chartist rising has the potential to grow into a major attraction for Newport. In future it will provide a focus for the citizens of many parts of Wales and will attract much needed tourism to the area.
We hope you enjoy the special Newport Matters edition of the Chartism magazine that provides the latest research on the Chartists and the lessons that can still be learned from the first movement for for civil rights and social justice.
A message from Cllr. Bob Bright Leader of Newport City Council