The foundation of the Sheffield Society for Constitutional Information

Donnelly, F. K.
September 1991
Labour History Review (Maney Publishing);Fall91, Vol. 56 Issue 2, p51
Academic Journal
This article discusses the establishment of the Sheffield Society for Constitutional Information (SSCI) in Great Britain. The SSCI has been viewed by historians as the first British working-class reform association of any consequence. Although the participation of working people in small debating clubs has been noted in several places in the latter part of the eighteenth century, there was something fundamentally different about the foundation of the SSCI in 1791 . There is a consensus among historians as to the strong plebian flavor to the membership of the SSCI in which artisans and mechanics of the town's cutlery trades predominated. Although a few promoters of the SSCI were clearly men of some substance, like Joseph Gales the publisher of the reformist Sheffield Register, most of the committee were tradesmen and artisans with occupations such as bookseller, grocer, cutler, filesmith, leather inkstand maker and master engraver.


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