VCH Explore

Explore England's Past

Trowbridge Chartists

Chartism was nationwide movement for voting reform in Victorian England. The first Chartist demonstration in Trowbridge took place on the 19th November 1838 when 3000 people marched by torchlight from the disused barracks to the town centre. The absence of the military from the town encouraged the chartists to hold large meetings of men and women there in 1839. The influence of the notable Trowbridge Chartist William Carrier made the town the centre of Wiltshire’s Chartism, before he was arrested on 7th June 1839.  In the winter of 1839-40 collections were raised for the Chartists and their causes. In 1842, 2 delegates from Trowbridge were sent to the universal suffrage conference in Birmingham and Fergus O Conner the leader of the Chartists visited Trowbridge himself. The last recorded meeting of the chartists was in November 1845 before the movement died out after contributing to the growth of political democracy.                

Content derived from research undertaken as part of the Victoria County History project