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Hyde Chartist Bell

This bell was used by Chartists in Hyde in 1848 to call their meetings together.

The bell represents an important period of Tameside’s history. The Chartist movement was a working class movement calling for a fairer system of government.

The movement was particularly strong in the cotton towns around Manchester where it drew support from weavers, factory workers and the unemployed. By 1842 there were around sixty Chartist associations in Lancashire and Cheshire.

In 1842 Parliament rejected the People’s Charter, despite a petition signed by over three million people. At the same time, an economic downturn had led cotton mill owners to reduce workers’ wages. Their decision was met with anger by workers and, although some mill owners reversed their decision, the majority pressed ahead with the cuts.

The rejection of the charter for third time in 1848 led to more riots across the country. Mass demonstrations took place across Tameside, with Hyde being particularly active.

Among those arrested following the disorder was Amos Armitage, who was charged with ringing this bell. The bell can be seen on display at Portland Basin Museum in Ashton.