CHARTISM eMAG no 14 Spring 2018



Professor Ivor G. Wilks

19 July 1928 – 7 Oct 2014



SPECIAL EDITION in memory of the late IVOR WILKS, author of SOUTH WALES and the RISING of 1839 (1984)

CHARTISM e-MAG honours the passing of a great historian, who challenged and changed the historiography of South Wales Chartism

He took seriously the document known as Zephaniah Williams' “confession” letter, treated with scepticism by most historians. Unfortunately he did not live to see the discovery of the original manuscript in 2016.

(See EUREKA! Confession Letter found at Kew - Chartism e-MAG no.10)


Served as a Lieutenant (British Army) in Palestine

Student at Bangor and Oxford

Edited the Welsh Republican newspaper

Distinguished academic career: Accra University & North Western University, Illinois.

Retired to and died in his beloved Wales




1. PHOTO GALLERY: Newport Chartist Convention 2017 at St. Woolos Cathedral


2. David Mills and Sue Allen report on Convention 2017


3. Brian Davies in this Tribute to Ivor Wilks describes a man with a ‘hinterland’. He writes “I found him to be unassuming in manner, a good listener, and a very persuasive lecturer. He spoke with only the bare minimum of notes but had complete command of his material and chose his key themes in an original way.” Brian Davies describes Wilks as a man who could draw on a vast ‘hinterland’ that equipped him to effectively study a unique occasion in Welsh history when a mass movement was a very real threat to the British state. Having served as an intelligence officer in Palestine, he employed first hand experience of “the complexities of revolutionary politics and the organisational imperatives of clandestine movements”.


4. Ivor Wilks’ Lecture at the Westgate Hotel, November 1989, Ray Stroud was there – and he took notes, impressed, he kept them – a unique record


5. The Newport Chartists Revisited – Brian Davies’ Review of the books on the 1839 Rising by Ivor Wilks (1984) and David J.V. Jones (1985). First published in Planet magazine 1985


6. ‘The Lists of Ten’ - excerpts from South Wales and the Rising (1984) Les James considers this key theme in Wilks’ ground breaking analysis of the military cells that went into operation, November 1839. Ivor Wilks’ landmark book on Chartism was long in gestation, the seeds were sown in his early twenties, when he was serving as an intelligence officer in Palestine. It is the tragedy of modern Chartist studies that Ivor Wilks’ insights regarding Chartist military organisation have largely been ignored.


7. Ray Stroud: ‘In search of Jenkin Morgan’ - Pillgwennlly milkman who headed a ‘List of Ten’ and stood trial for High Treason alongside Frost, Williams and Jones


8. Peter Strong – A SNIPPET from The Globe 6 Nov 1839 reports events at Newport 3-4th November 1839 from a correspondent embedded with the Special Constables


9. Les James – A SNIPPET from The South Wales Daily News 11 Feb 1890 reports death of Cllr. William Evans, chain maker at the Old Dock, who in his youth made weapons for the Chartists in the work shop situated in Lower Cross-street.


10. Rhian E. Jones: ‘Rebecca’ – a movement that got a result. Rhian describes in the Wales Arts Review 2015 how she wrote her book ‘Petticoat Heroes’. CHARTISM e-MAG (LJ) comments – That when listening to Rhian’s lecture at 2017 Convention, Ivor Wilks’ words echoed in his ears “contemplate the consequences, had the workers and peasants of Wales marched to precisely the same revolutionary beat in those years”.


11. Roger Ball: ‘Liberty, Slavery and the Bristol Riots’ draws attention to a revealing letter written by Mayor Pinney, who sought to blame Bristol’s disturbances on the “careless use of the terms, liberty and slavery” by the abolitionists of the city. Pinney’s financial interests were in jeopardy at home and abroad. He expressed the Bristol elite’s worries that the social tensions of “slave and master” had transposed from the Caribbean to Bristol. Less than a week later, eight weeks after the Bristol riots, Jamaica erupted in rebellion. The end of slavery in the British Empire was nigh.


12. REVIEW: Stephen Roberts ‘An Annotated Bibliography of Chartism 1995-2018’


13. NEWSLETTERS from Prof Malcolm Chase Nos. 20 (April 2018) & 19 (Jan 2018) Full details of the CHARTISM DAY CONFERENCE: Venue: Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) – Common Ground, South Wing, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT



June 9 Sat F28 Chartism Day at University College, London - For details see NEWSLETTER from Prof Malcolm Chase. (Item 13) This is a one-day conference on the Chartist movement (1838-1858) for workers’ rights and democracy.


July 5 Thurs 7.30 pm at St Woolos Cathedral , Stuart Butler production ‘George Shell’


7 July 2018 Kennington Chartist Project

The Kennington Chartist Project is an initiative by local residents to celebrate Kennington Park’s dramatic place in the history of protest and democracy. #kennington1848


Oct 27 Sat 10 am –16.30 at John Frost School, Newport, 12th Newport Chartist Convention


Nov 13 Tues 7.00 pm at Newport Art Gallery – Les James Quest for Zephaniah Williams ‘Confession’ Letter (Friends of Newport Museum & Art Gallery)


Nov 21 Prof. Steve Poole (UWE) 'Whose Heritage is it Anyway? Memorialising British Protest Movements, 1792-1840'

Historical Association/Exploring the Past Pathways 21 Nov at 7.15pm Cardiff University Continuing and Professional Education, 21-23 Senghenydd Rd. Cardiff CF24 4AG.

FREE, no need to book




CHARTISM e-MAG is interested to hear your opinions on any of the articles posted on this site and would welcome articles, critiques, news of events and anything associated with the Chartist Movement.


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