Topics > Historical Periods > 19th Century > 1810s > 1819 > Social Reformers' Regional Rally, Newcastle 1819

Social Reformers' Regional Rally, Newcastle 1819

Extract from: T Fordyce, J. Sykes. Local records; or, Historical register of remarkable events which have occurred in Northumberland and Durham, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and Berwick-upon-Tweed..., 1867

1819 Oct. 11 - A meeting of the inhabitants of Newcastle and neighbourhood, to deliberate on the outrage at Manchester, was held on the Town Moor, near Newcastle, and was most numerously attended. In the early part of the forenoon, the reform societies of Benwell and Fawdon arrived in town, and proceeded to join the Newcastle society assembling in the Castle Garth. At half past eleven, the reform societies of Winlaton, Gateshead, North and South Shields, Sunderland, and the Eastern part of Newcastle district, passed through the town. When this immensely long line arrived at the head of Northumberland street, it halted, until the party which had assembled in the Castle Garth, and which did not leave its station till 12 o'clock, passed by it, and took its place at the head of the procession, which then moved to the Moor. The whole was preceded by the hustings, which consisted of a covered platform raised upon the frame and wheels of a waggon, and drawn by three horses, decorated with red ribbons ; the hustings were hung round with black cloth, and on the front were inscribed the words, in black letters on a white ground, "TRUTH ! ORDER ! JUSTICE !" Several of the reform societies, which formed the procession, were preceded by a person bearing a Roman fasces, and by a band of music which played at intervals. Next the band walked the committee, each member of which was distinguished by a white rod, at the top of which was a small knot of crape tied with white; after these came the classes into which the societies were divided, each being headed by the class leader, bearing at the end of a short black rod a small painted board, on which the number of the class and the initial letter of the society were painted. Each society was also attended with several flags, and at the head of the whole was borne an union jack, hoisted half- staff high, in token of mourning; many of the committees wore white hats with black hat bands, and many were in black. The classes walked four abreast, holding each other's hands. The Shields reformers were accompanied by about 300 sailors. Several parties of female reformers were seen in the procession. On the most moderate computation, there could not be fewer than twenty or thirty thousand in rank, while some are of opinion the number was much greater. It has, however, been ascertained by actual admeasurement, that the space occupied by the compact body of the meeting would hold 76,000 persons, at the rate of four to a square yard; but when the thousands of scattered spectators are included, and the close manner in which the great body stood, the whole may be safely stated at 100,000. The announcement of this meeting (by hand bill), intended at first to be held on the Parade Ground, excited a great deal of attention and curiosity, and many idle reports of apprehended tumult were in previous circulation, but the result proved what little cause there was for these, for never was there a meeting conducted with greater order and decorum, or one which passed off more peaceably.



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