Memorabilia and ephemera

There is something very special about being able to hold artefacts from the past – whether created deliberately to commemorate historic events or simply because they have a connection with people and events that mean something to us.

Over the years I have built up a small collection of memorabilia associated with Chartism: the National Charter Association membership card that features elsewhere on Chartist Ancestors, some commemorative medallions, and a letter written and signed by Feargus O’Connor.

In addition, I have accumulated a few bits and pieces which to me have a slightly less direct link with Chartism: a membership certificate and tokens produced by the Anti Corn Law League, and some medallions commemorating the Reform Acts of 1832 and 1884.

None of these items is especially valuable. But for me they provide a physical link with the Chartist era – and the knowledge that some at least meant something important to the people who owned them then, and who may have worn them as a constant reminder of then-recent events.

(Incidentally, if you click on an image, you should be shown a larger version.)

Chartist memorabilia

Go straight to Reform Act and Anti Corn Law League items

National Charter Association membership card. Apparently recovered from a skip outside closed local authority offices somewhere in Lancashire in the lae 1990s. The card appears to be unissued.
National Charter Association membership card. Apparently recovered from a skip outside closed local authority offices somewhere in Lancashire in the lae 1990s. The card appears to be unissued.

 

 

 

The reverse of the NCA membership card shown above. The printed contributions record clearly date it to late 1843.
The reverse of the NCA membership card shown above. The printed contributions record clearly date it to late 1843.
Medallion issued to mark the establishment by Feargus O'Connor of the Northern Union in 1838. Like others on this page, it has been pierced by an earlier owner to be worn around the neck.
Medallion issued to mark the establishment by Feargus O’Connor of the Northern Union in 1838. Like others on this page, it has been pierced by an earlier owner to be worn around the neck.

 

Reverse of the Northern Union medallion shown above. It lists the "five great principles of radicalism". Missing is the payment of MPs.
Reverse of the Northern Union medallion shown above. It lists the “five great principles of radicalism”. Missing is the payment of MPs.

 

Feargus O'Connor medallion marking his release from gaol. It reads, "Universal suffrage and no surrender".
Feargus O’Connor medallion marking his release from gaol. It reads, “Universal suffrage and no surrender”.
Reverse of the O'Connor medallion shown above. It features a picture of Lancaster Castle, where O'Connor was imprisoned, and the caption "Liberated 27 Aug 1841".
Reverse of the O’Connor medallion shown above. It features a picture of Lancaster Castle, where O’Connor was imprisoned, and the caption “Liberated 27 Aug 1841”.

 

 

 

Title page for an edition of the People's Charter published in 1838 or early 1839 - before the presentation of the first petition.
Title page for an edition of the People’s Charter published in 1838 or early 1839 – before the presentation of the first petition.
Inside pages from the People's Charter showing how the authors thought a ballot box could be made and used.
Inside pages from the People’s Charter showing how the authors thought a ballot box could be made and used.
Feargus O'Connor's signature, sadly cut from the rest of the letter.
Feargus O’Connor’s signature, sadly cut from the rest of the letter.
A letter signed by Fergus O'Connor. Could the O'Brien mentioned by Bronterre O'Brien? In full the text reads: "Denham Cottage Oct 20 1838 Sir In compliance with your propo =sal I send a bill for 30£ in favour of Mr O’Brien which is intended to be drawn by you and accepted by me and I beg to say that without reference to any subsisting agreement between you & Mr O’Brien I shall make provision & take up the Bill myself. I am your obedient servant Feargus O’Connor"
A letter signed by Fergus O’Connor. Could the O’Brien mentioned by Bronterre O’Brien? In full the text reads: “Denham Cottage
Oct 20 1838
Sir
In compliance with your propo =sal I send a bill for 30£ in favour of Mr O’Brien which is intended to be drawn by you and accepted by me and I beg to say that without reference to any subsisting agreement between you & Mr O’Brien I shall make provision & take up the Bill myself.
I am your obedient servant
Feargus O’Connor”
A book inscribed on behalf of the Westminster Chartists by James Grassby and presented to William Cuffay after his transportation to Australia. This remarkable item belongs to the People's History Museum and is reproduced here with their kind permission.  Read more about this amazing find at http://chartist-ancestors.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/william-cuffays-poetic-gift-from.html
A book inscribed on behalf of the Westminster Chartists by James Grassby and presented to William Cuffay after his transportation to Australia. This remarkable item belongs to the People’s History Museum and is reproduced here with their kind permission.
Read more about this amazing find at http://chartist-ancestors.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/william-cuffays-poetic-gift-from.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reform Acts and Anti Corn Law League

An assortment of commemorative medallions marking the passage of the 1832 Reform Act. They variously credit Earl Grey, Lord Brougham, Lord John Russell, Lord Althorpe and Thomas Attwood for their parts in the Bill's passage.
An assortment of commemorative medallions marking the passage of the 1832 Reform Act. They variously credit Earl Grey, Lord Brougham, Lord John Russell, Lord Althorpe and Thomas Attwood for their parts in the Bill’s passage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The reverse of the 1832 Reform Act medallions shown above. "The purity of the constitution restored" is a common theme.
The reverse of the 1832 Reform Act medallions shown above. “The purity of the constitution restored” is a common theme.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Membership certificate for the National Anti Corn Law League. Numbered 9916 and issued to Sarah Horsfall.
Membership certificate for the National Anti Corn Law League. Numbered 9916 and issued to Sarah Horsfall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two tiny tokens issued during the Anti Corn Law League's free trade bazaar in the Covent Garden Theatre in May 1845.
Two tiny tokens issued during the Anti Corn Law League’s free trade bazaar in the Covent Garden Theatre in May 1845.
The reverse side of the National Anti Corn Law League tokens shown above.
The reverse side of the National Anti Corn Law League tokens shown above.