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Francis Place papers (18th-19th C.)

Francis Place (1791-1854) was an active lobbyist for working class reform, and a political activist who associated with leading figures of his day such as Jeremy Bentham and  James Mill. He was a supporter of working men’s associations, and organizations such as the London Corresponding Society. He is best-known for his successful campaign for the repeal in 1824 of the anti-union Combination Acts.  

Place’s papers include press cuttings, leaflets, and other ephemera relating to British politics and economics during the period 1770-1853. Frequent correspondents are Bentham, Mill, Richard Cobden, and Joseph Hume. The collection therefore constitutes an immensely rich source for: the development of working-men’s political associations between 1779-1842; political trials, trade clubs, trade unions and the demands for the right to strike; the London Corresponding Society (1791-1847) and other political societies of the 18th-19th century; political events in England between 1830 and 1854, including the Great Reform Bill, the Bristol Riots and the National Political Union; and Westminster politics and elections between 1771-1837. Other subjects of interest include notes and papers on the discovery, history and political affairs of Canada, speeches and memoranda on taxation and Poor Law administration, notes on the history of English drama, and thirteen volumes of private and autobiographical material. There is also a strand of material relating to drama and the theatre of his day in the collection

Date range: 18th-19th century

Size:  Several thousand documents on 54 microfilm reels.

Language:  English

Keywords:  Politics, Government, Britain, trades unions, social conditions, working class movements, radical movements.

Notes:  Also held separately are the Owenite Society Minute books on microfilm for the period 1838-1845, including: National Community Friendly Society minute book of directors, 1838-1843; Rational Society minute book of directors, 1838-1845; and the Association of All Classes of All Nations minute book of directors, 1838-1845. Related collections include the British Labour Party archives, the Trades Union Congress archives, Public Order, Discontent and Protest, Working Class Autobiographies, and Rare Radical and Labour Periodicals.