How did the civic spaces of Sheffield animate new forms of working-class protest and procession? Katrina Navickas argues that public space became an instrument of democratic struggle and a means for building unity amongst Chartist groups.
In July 1840 a convention of twenty-three delegates met at the Griffin Inn, Great Ancoats Street, Manchester. Elected by Chartist bodies from across Britain, their purpose was to put together a plan for reorganising the movement following a year of repression, in which much of their leadership had been imprisoned, transported, or forced into exile. On July 20 the delegates agreed a plan for a permanent organisation of all the Chartist groups across the country within ‘one Society to be Called “The National Charter Association of Great Britain”’. With this they made history: the formation of the first working-class, mass-member political party in the world.