The “anti-reform” Worcester plate – a time capsule from 1832

Worcester in 1830 - not as idyllic in 1831 (Engraved by E Francis) Source Worcester Archives

The period of 1830-1832 in Britain was marked by waves of protests and disturbances demanding reform of the electoral system. In 1830 the existing arrangements, which dated back to the rule of Henry VI, enfranchised less than three percent of the population, mostly significant land and property owners. With a few exceptions, women, much of… Continue reading The “anti-reform” Worcester plate – a time capsule from 1832

What do you know about crowds and riots? The 1831 survey

British Museum Asset No 73162001 "Staunch reformers in London"

Intergroup dynamics within the 1831 reform riots: towards a new social psycho-history This Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded project examines the nature and spread of reform related riots across Britain following the House of Lords rejection of the reform bill in October 1831.  The project uses historical analysis of the 1831 disturbances and… Continue reading What do you know about crowds and riots? The 1831 survey

Why we need a (new) social psycho-history

Why did they riot? Answering a question like this means drawing upon both historiography and psychology. Scholars have long recognized this, but their attempts to combine the two disciplines have not always been successful. The first ‘psycho-history’ was Hippolyte Taine’s monumental history of France (1876). He traced what he saw as the decline of civilization… Continue reading Why we need a (new) social psycho-history

Report: Research Workshops in Dorset and Somerset

An important part of the research into the lesser known reform related riots and disturbances of October-November 1831 involves engaging with local historians, family historians, museum curators and archivists in the areas where the incidents occurred. Local historical knowledge of people, places, events and even artefacts in the period of study is of great value… Continue reading Report: Research Workshops in Dorset and Somerset

Beyond Contagion: Understanding The Spread of Riots

The ESRC funded Beyond Contagion project involved a three-year study (2016-2019) of the August 2011 riots in England. Its aim was to critically assess the concept of ‘contagion’, that is the supposed involuntary spread of behaviours between humans. The core idea is that, particularly in crowds, mere exposure to the behaviour of others leads observers… Continue reading Beyond Contagion: Understanding The Spread of Riots