Thanks to funds from our Voting for Change project, we have this week been able to add to our collection of issues of The Chartist Circular. These give us detailed insight into the Chartist Movement to reform Parliament, which grew out of the demands of the working class in industrial towns for better living and working conditions and was at its height between 1838 and 1848.
The British Library Web site says of the Circular:
The Chartist Circular, priced at half a pence, was an unstamped paper and thus could not publish any news, but rather focused on the Charter itself. The paper was first published in Glasgow on 28 September 1839 and was an immediate success. Its first issue achieved a circulation of over 20,000, and the paper maintained a circulation of 22,500 copies a week through its first year. However, by 1841 The Chartist Circular was struggling financially and sales started to decline. It eventually ceased publication in July 1842, having at the close achieved a circulation of only 7,000 a week.
The six points of the 1837 Charter of Political Demands are summed up pithily in the Circular's masthead:
And its journalism didn't mince words: