Urban Conflict and Popular Violence The Guildhall Riots of 1740 in Newcastle Upon Tyne.
DescriptionJoyce Ellis (1980). Urban Conflict and Popular Violence The Guildhall Riots of 1740 in Newcastle Upon Tyne. International Review of Social History, 25, pp 332-349. doi:10.1017/S0020859000006362.
On 26 June 1740 the “very beautiful and sumptuous” Town Court or Guildhall of Newcastle upon Tyne was systematically wrecked by a crowd of angry townspeople, keelmen and local ironworkers, who smashed the woodwork and windows, tore the paintings, and ransacked the archives and treasury. Contemporary observers were stunned by this unprecedented orgy of destruction, because the campaign of intermittent and fairly orderly protests against the high price of grain which had preceded the 26th had not prepared them for the scale and ferocity of the assault on the corporation's most ostentatious monument to its wealth and authority. The outbreak of popular violence confirmed some people's suspicions that “respectable” grievances served only as a pretext for the mob's brutish desire to loot and plunder: to others it vindicated the traditional argument that it was not only unjust but also unwise “to provoke the necessitous, in times of scarcity, into extremities, that must involve themselves, and all the neighbourhood in ruin”.
OwnerInternational Review of Social History
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Further informationLink: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0020859000006362
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