Book: A City of Light…

2021 update: Following the sad loss of our friend Chris Richardson in 2020, this website will continue to be maintained for the foreseeable future, but will no longer be updated. Please keep an eye on the blog/website of the People’s Histreh group instead.

A City of Light: Socialism, Chartism and Co-operation – Nottingham 1844

In the dark days of the 1840s when Britain was hit by industrial stagnation, financial markets collapsed, and in Ireland famine stalked the land, working class pioneers sought new lives and futures, a new society of their own choosing – ‘a city of light upon a hill’. They were not alone.

From the claustrophobic yards of the parish of St Mary and the gloomy streets of Narrow Marsh they came, courageous women and men seeking enlightenment from libraries that were theirs, from books and newspapers of their own choice, asserting the right to freedom of association. As chartists, socialists, co-operators, they challenged the inhumanities of the Poor Law; contested charges of sedition, blasphemy and riot; confronted the forces of established religion; and championed new forms of democratic control. Their struggles became beacons of hope.

These are stories from Nottingham in 1844, many of them previously untold, and their deeds resonate across the generations to this day.

You can now download a free and unabbridged version of the book from the People’s Histreh website.

A reprint of the paperback version will be available in early summer 2021, please see blog/website of the People’s Histreh group for details.

You will be able purchase/order copies from:

Or please contact People’s Histreh by email to receive a copy by post.

The original paperback publication of  A City of Light: Socialism, Chartism and Co-operation – Nottingham 1844 was generously supported by grants from the Nottinghamshire Local History Association and the Co-operative Group.

The 2021 paperback edition was generously supported by the The Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Labour History Society as well as the local Unite Community Membership group.

You can now also read Chris’ 2007 pamphlet The Co-operative Movement in Greater Nottingham – A Journey Towards Political Representation in the Digital Library of The Sparrows’ Nest Library and Archive.