Published online by Cambridge University Press: 06 April 2022
In and after 1819, particularly after Peterloo, support for radical change among disfranchised Londoners broadened. The conspirators themselves were ‘ordinary Britons’. In no senses part of the ‘mob’, they were craftsmen with families who were losing craft status and income in the worsening post-war economy. Many had the common disabilities of the poor, but Wivell’s extraordinary prison portraits show their common humanity. Most were shoemakers, a craft that was famously literate, thoughtful, and radical.