William Cuffay 1788 -1870
William Cuffay was born to an escaped slave and a Kentish women. A skilled and respected tailor, he was black-listed as result of trade union activity. He became an influential figure in Chartism. He was transported to Tasmania for life for conspiracy and later paroled. His wife eventually joined him, partly funded through the sale of lithographic prints reproduced here. It is based upon a sketch by William Dowling, a fellow Chartist prisoner in Newport prison.
William Cuffay after William Paul Dowling. Lithograph, 1848 NPG D13148 Copyright National Portrait Gallery, London.
A recent biography is http://www.hansibpublications.com/epages/es147335.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/es147335/Products/HP156
One of a set of five images of leading Chartists chosen by the historian Dorothy Thompson, in whose memory they are published.
Dorothy Katharine Gane Thompson. Historian. 1923 -2011.
Dorothy was an immensely influential historian of Chartism, the first mass working class movement. She was helping us with images of Chartism at the time of her untimely death. When asked to name her favourite five Chartists she replied, in no particular order; Feargus O’Connor, John Frost, Ernest Jones, William Cuffay and James ‘Bronterre’ O’Brien.
Our thanks to Kate Thompson for the photograph of Dorothy.
Dorothy and E.P. Thompson
A memorial lecture was deleivered in 2012 by Shelia Rowbotham and is available as a pamphlet from Past Pixels.
Further activities are planned in 2020. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org