Kennington Chartist Project
In 1848, a year of unrest and revolutions across Europe, Kennington was at the centre of national events as tens of thousands of people gathered on Kennington Common. The people came in support of 'The Charter', six demands for democratic reform. The aim of the march was to deliver a petition to parliament in support of the charter, which claimed 6 million signatures. Many expected violence and fear of revolution was tangible. The army was brought onto the streets of London, and 80,000 special constables were recruited. The Times newspaper was “alarmed beyond measure”. On the day the Chartist leadership feared a massacre and agreed a compromise - the petition was delivered to parliament by a small delegation. Violence and revolution had been averted, but the issues raised then still resonate today.
The Kennington Chartist Project was formed by a group of local residents in 2017 to raise local awareness of the 1848 Chartist Rally on Kennington Common. For the 170th anniversary year we ran a series of walks and talks to explore what this event meant for people in 1848, and what it means to people today, exploring the wider social and cultural issues. Throughout the project we built an online archive of material related to the rally, and collect ideas for future Chartist memorials or commemorations in Kennington Park on the site of the rally.
Supported by the Friends of Kennington Park and the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund
Kennington Park, London,
walks, talks, events, online archive, open call