Hassan Mahamdallie, author of 'Crossing the River of Fire: The Socialism of William Morris' shares his thoughts on William Cuffay and the London Chartists, who are currently depicted in Red Saunders' reimagined photograph in front of the Gallery.
The 1832 Reform Act had extended the vote to more men with property but the working class still did not have a vote. A nationwide campaign involving men and women called for change and they became known as The Chartists, the first mass working class movement in Britain. The People’s Charter of 1838 demanded votes for all men, constituencies of
equal size, the abolition of the property qualification, annual parliaments and salaries for members of Parliament. Portrayed in Red Saunder’s photograph is a meeting of the London Chartists in Whitechapel in 1842, with William Cuffay, the son of a slave and the elected President of the London Chartists. He was transported to Tasmania for his endeavours, later pardoned, and continued to be politically active there.
A joint meeting by the Waltham Forest Radical History Workshop and the Friends of the William Morris Gallery