Gareth Evans provides a fascinating in-depth look at the Stockpot riot of 1852, concluding that pre-existing tensions caused the violence, exacerbated by national political events, and with the election providing the catalyst. Gareth has also updated the descriptions for many Stockport events on our Interactive Election Violence Map.
When the children gathered for the twentieth annual parade of scholars at the Roman Catholic chapel of Saints Philip and James on Sunday 27 June 1852, they could not have predicted that their trouble-free procession around the centre of Stockport would lead to the destruction of both Roman Catholic chapels in the town and their priest’s house.
In this guest blog post, Chris Shoop-Worrall explores how the ‘new dailies’ Mail, Express, and Mirror reported electoral news in the early-twentieth-century Britain, making them mass spectator events:
As Thompson (2018) notes, political campaigns in early-twentieth-century Britain were awash with vibrant forms of mass political communication. The four general elections which preceded the outbreak of the First World War were no exception. This blogpost explores the prominent role of the emergent daily mass press – the ‘new dailies’ Mail, Express, and Mirror – in the creation of election communication as spectacle: fireworks, explosives, and interactive experiences all played a part in making the dissemination of election news, particularly in London, into mass spectator events. Within this election-news spectacle was a curious reality, where often-violent spectacles (and direct allusions to war) were used as part of a form of mass political communication that – at its heart – channelled ideas of socially-conservative, consumer-based election conduct framed around an idealised ‘man in the street’.
In this guest blog, Lydia Buckroyd explores the impact of the 1872 Secret Ballot Act on election violence and in particular on election violence deaths. Contrary to widely held views, the introduction of the Secret Ballot did not eliminate, but merely changed the type and timing of election violence deaths:
In the period between the Great Reform Act and Great War, British elections transformed from public, rowdy, and often violent events to the more private, tranquil occasions that we recognise today. The violent nature of elections during the nineteenth Century is starkly reflected in the number of fatalities. It was routine in the nineteenth Century to see several deaths per election, sometimes several killed in a single event. One of the worst examples of this was the Sheffield election of 1832, when five people were shot by military forces called in to disperse an election riot (Bell’s Weekly Messenger, 1832). But by the turn of the century, only the very occasional fatality was recorded. Why did British electoral conduct change so dramatically?