Chartism and the Plug Plot Riots of 1840s
by Brent Shore

Date: Thursday 2 February 2023

The topic will be discussed with reference to the research and writing of Brent’s 2019 novel “Blessed are the Meek”

Chartism and the Plug Plot Riots of 1840s

The Plug Riots of the 1840s: violent, significant steps on working peoples’ long road towards justice and equality.

Like many mill towns, the small settlement of Hyde, seven miles to the east of Manchester, grew rapidly in the first half of the nineteenth century. Cotton mills and coal pits defined it and thousands moved in from the surrounding countryside to live and work there.

Conditions for the spinners, winders, weavers and the rest were invariably poor, and in years of depression were worse than miserable. Protests for fair pay and for political representation of the new working class were common and yet harshly rebuffed by the powerful.

One man who lived through these times was James Shore, a machine mender, a Chartist, a rioter and a convict. He was also a son, a husband and a father, and his story amounts to far more than that of a lengthy prison sentence.

He was a man who sacrificed his freedom for the prize of equality, who could glimpse its light in the distance, but who was born too early to bask in its glow.

This is a story based on historical truth which will be examined, explained and illustrated in the talk.

Brent Shore was born in 1955 in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire; BA & PGCE University of Nottingham, Teacher of Modern Languages 1978-2010 (schools in North Yorkshire, Bermuda, Dorset).

Since retirement from teaching I have spent much time and energy writing fiction. I have written several short stories plus six self-published novels – four contemporary and two historical:

“Shillingstone Station” (2015), “Bailing Out” (2016), “An English Impressionist” (2018), “Blessed are the Meek” (2019), “Inappropriate Behaviour” (2020) and “Twenty-six Nil” (2021).

Back to the previous page