William Cuffay and the London Chartists, 1842
The 1832 Reform Act had extended the vote to more men with property but the working class still did not have a vote. A nationwide campaign involving men and women called for change and they became known as The Chartists, the first mass working class movement in Britain.
The People’s Charter of 1838 demanded votes for all men, constituencies of equal size, the abolition of the property qualification, annual parliaments and salaries for members of Parliament.
Portrayed is a meeting of the London Chartists in Whitechapel, in 1842, with William Cuffay, the son of a slave and the elected President of the London Chartists. He was transported to Tasmania for his endeavours, later pardoned, and continued to be politically active there.
One of a set of eight images from Red Saunders’ Hidden Project.
The Hidden Project
The Hidden Project recreates great moments in the long struggle of working people for democracy and social justice. The aim of the project, through reimagining those events, is to reproduce important historic scenes involving the dissenters, revolutionaries, radicals and non-conformists who have so often been hidden from history. Tony Benn, Patron of the Hidden Project, says “Those who see these photographic representations will then be able to identify with past generations and gain confidence from the knowledge that they are part of a world-wide movement that has always existed and must be sustained.”
Red Saunders is a professional photographer who combines his photographic practice with cultural, musical and political activism.
Images copyright Red Saunders 2011. Retouching by Adrian Hayes.
Further information and full credit list of supporters and volunteers on ‘The Hidden Project’ go to the website: www.redsaundersphoto.eu.