Post-Chartism: Metropolitan Perspectives on the Chartist Movement in Decline 1848–80

  • Antony Taylor


In recent years, the ‘cultural turn’ has stimulated a move away from the micro-level studies of Chartist activity produced in the 1960s and 1970s.1 In such work the notion of a broader ‘radical culture’ has flourished with an emphasis on the congruences, rather than the differences, between Chartism, radicalism and political Liberalism. In this space, political identities have blurred. Moreover, despite their ambitions to weave a national narrative of reform politics, much of this work remains rooted in the local case study with a strong bias towards the small mill towns of the North-West and the West Riding. It could be argued that what characterizes this new historical literature is its subscription to an ideal-type of Liberalism. Following the tradition established by nineteenth-century Liberal standard-bearers like Henry Jephson, Patrick Joyce and James Vernon in particular re-create an idealized picture of provincial Liberalism as represented by and for the consumption of contemporaries.2 Following the view of nineteenth-century Liberals themselves, it shows Liberal culture as an untroubled unity, drawing on a shared political culture with radicalism, and celebrating an untroubled Gladstonian ‘Age of Equipoise’.


Public House Public Meeting London Borough Political Expression National Narrative 
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© Antony Taylor 2005

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  • Antony Taylor

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