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.)