Politics and protest in Westminster

The arrest of Sir Francis Burdett, a radical politician in 1810. Image property of Westminster City Archives.

The arrest of Sir Francis Burdett, a radical politician in 1810. Burdett was charged with for contempt of Parliament for reading from the Magna Carta. His arrest led to ‘Liberty’ riots in London. Image property of Westminster City Archives.

May has arrived, a month which in the UK has traditional associations with politics – from elections and referendums to Labour Day and protest marches.

This year, the timing of the referendum on the Alternative Vote in early May chimed nicely with another political anniversary: that of the Reform League protests.
On 6 May 1867, 144 years ago, demonstrators flocked to Hyde Park to demand manhood suffrage.

Political London, by Richard TamesYou can find out more about political events in London’s history by visiting A Date with History. Alternatively, have a read of the Archives Centre’s Book of the Month: Political London: a capital history. Richard Tames’ panoramic history reveals London in all its political diversity – seat of monarchy, venue of discussion and arena of conflict.

Why not explore the fascinating history of political London using the resources available in the Archives Centre search room? We have prints, photographs, pamphlets and historic newspapers, not to mention a huge range of books covering the subject. And while you’re there, take a look at the current display, which explores the history of popular protest on the streets of Westminster.

Campaigning in Paddington (North Wharf Road) for the 1900 parliamentary election. Image property of Westminster City Archives.

Campaigning in Paddington (North Wharf Road) for the 1900 parliamentary election. Image property of Westminster City Archives.

[Michelle]

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