Thursday, 14 April 2016

The Reformers' Memorial at Kensal Green: A Stroud Connection

 Allen Davenport - the son of Ewen handloom weavers, who taught himself to read and write near the infant Thames; then Spencean, Owenite, feminist, Chartist, writer and poet - is remembered on the Reformers’ Memorial at Kensal Green. The memorial is dedicated 'to the memory of men and women who have generously given their time and means to improve the conditions and … happiness of all classes of society … The old brutal laws of imprisonment for free printing have been swept away and the right of selecting our own law makers has been gained mainly by their efforts. The exercise of these rights will give the people an interest in the laws that govern them and will make them … better citizens.’'
Here are a few of the 70+ names of the reformers, radicals and, yes, revolutionaries:
Robert Owen, Charles Kingsley, Thomas Spence, Allen Davenport, Francis Place,
Harriet Martineau, George Odger, Elizabeth Fry, Arnold Toynbee, Charles Bradlaugh,
William Morris, John Ruskin, Josephine Butler, Joseph Priestley, Thomas Paine,
William Hone, John Stuart Mill, Major Cartwright, Richard Carlile, William Lovett,
Henry Hetherington, John Frost, William Cobbett, Samuel Bamford, Henry Hunt,
Ebenezer Elliott, Richard Cobden, Robert Cooper.

This is august company for Allen Davenport. This is why we are undertaking our pilgrimage along the banks of the Thames – we’ll have to take a memorial for John Frost as well, perhaps. Someone needs to remember his selection as prospective Chartist parliamentary candidate for Stroud, up there on Rodborough Common on Good Friday, 1839.

The column stands next to a memorial to Robert Owen. It’s near the Ladbroke Grove entrance – a ten to fifteen minute walk from the station.

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