Sunday 13 August 2023

Stoke Chartist Festival 20th August 2023

For folks in and around North Staffordshire.

This post is from Adam Colclough and first appeared on the North Staffs News site. There is also a link tree for the festival here with all the information you need.

Local trades unionists will join musicians and other performers to commemorate the death of Leek born Josiah Heapy in the Burslem Chartist riots of 1842.

The First Stoke Chartist Festival will take place behind the town hall on Market place, Burslem, on Sunday 20th August and is a co-production organized by New Vic Borderlines and the People’s History Association of North Staffordshire (PHANS).

Support, including the loan of a fire engine converted into a mobile stage previously used when Jeremy Corbyn visited Hanley, has been provided by unions including Unite, the FBU, and Unison.

New Vic Borderlines is an award-winning community arts program that uses theatre to give a voice to those who have been marginalised.

Director Sue Moffatt has written a play based on the events surrounding the Chartist riots and the death of Josiah Heapy that will be performed on the day by members of the community supported by three professional actors.

In keeping with the Chartist theme trades unions active in North Staffordshire will be present to provide information about the work they do to support working people today.

There will also be stalls run by local groups including Period Power, NORSCARF, and community support charity Better Together, as well as craft activities and a display of work relating to Chartism created by students at local schools.

Josiah Heapy was born in Leek and died on 16th August 1842 when troops broke up an open-air Chartist meeting taking place on Swan Bank, Burslem, causing a riot that resulted in damage to several prominent local landmarks.

In the aftermath of the riot 146 Chartists were imprisoned and 54 were transported to Australia.

The Burslem Chartist riots have been described as the ‘Potteries Peterloo’ after the more famous riots in Manchester.

In 2019 a successful campaign saw a commemorative plaque unveiled in Burslem near to the spot where Heapy was killed. A street on a nearby housing development has since also been named after him.

Jason Hill, a member of PHANS who also took part in the campaign to have a street named after Josiah Heapy said the festival will “honour” Josiah Heapy and other trades unionists who “fought for the freedoms that we take for granted today”.

He emphasised the important role played by Heapy and other Chartists in creating the trades union movement in North Staffordshire and nationally.

He believes the festival will “raise awareness of this important episode in the history of Burslem which, sadly, seems to be largely forgotten today."

The festival will feature speakers, including Chrissie Gibson a living relative of Josiah Heapy, music, poetry, and performances of the play at various locations around the town.

The festival will take place on 20th August at Market Place, Burslem, ST6 4AT between 11:00am and 4:00pm.

Image Credit


Boslemite said...

It's actually called the Potteries Chartist Festival, but thanks for the plug.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like it will be a good event. Thanks for the info.