|We shall commemorate the life of Chartist, James ‘Bronterre’ O’Brien with a memorial address beside his grave in Abney Park cemetery, Stoke Newington. The address will be given by this year by Professor Michael Turner, author of a definitive biography of O’Brien.
O’Brien was a Chartist, and fought for a free, untaxed press, universal suffrage and parliamentary reform in the early part of the 19th century. He was jailed in 1840 and died, appreciated by his supporters, but poor and in ill-health in 1864.
He campaigned among other things for banks of credit accessible to all classes and to bring education to all through his Eclectic Institute, in Denmark St, Soho, where adult education classes offered English, French, science and mathematics. Many of these policies are still relevant today though many of the main demands of the Chartists on suffrage and rights for working people were achieved after his death.
In recognition of James ‘Bronterre’ O’Brien’s lasting legacy, an annual graveside address (organised by Chris Maguire of the Connolly Association ) was given for many years, by speakers such as Arthur Scargill, A J P Taylor and Tony Benn. Since 2015, when Jeremy Corbyn gave the address, the tradition has been revived.
Professor Michael Turner read modern history at Oxford, stayed on for his doctorate; then became history lecturer at several British universities before relocating to America in 2008 to take up distinguished professorship at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. He has been published widely on 19th century reform movements including Chartism, also on Britain’s international role. Professor Turner’s current project is about Church politics in the Victorian era.
Join us at the main gates of Abney Park on Stoke Newington High Street by 11.25 (for an 11.30 start) on Saturday February 29th.
We will be happy to receive donations on this occasion to defray expenses.