South Derbyshire (Melbourne) protest

compiled by Barry Thomas of the Melbourne Footpaths Group

Thomas Dugmore (1739 – 1820)
Dugmore kept the Bull’s Head public house on Potter Street and attacked the enclosure of Melbourne parish with its effects on public roads and paths in an amazing pamphlet written in 1800. He took Lord Melbourne to court when he closed a local footpath and won.

Melbourne Luddites 1812/13
The town was a centre for framework knitting and was visited by the Luddites on at least two occasions in 1812 and 1813 when frames were smashed.

In 1816 a third of the town’s population was destitute and a letter was written to Lord Sidmouth, Home Secretary by the Overseer of the Poor asking for help.

Sir Francis Burdett (1770-1844)
Up until recently Melbourne had a pub named after Burdett whose family owned Foremark Hall nearby. He was a popular local figure and was a Member of Parliament who gained notoriety as a proponent of universal male suffrage, equal electoral districts, vote by ballot, and annual parliaments. He financed Chartist leader Feargus O’Connor to run a farm in Ireland.

Pentrich Rebellion 1817
Pentrich village was the source of the last armed rebellion in England in June 1817. Protestors were betrayed by government spies (including Oliver who was active at Peterloo). Eighty-five of the rebels were arrested and twenty-three put on trial. Three men were executed in Derby and 14 men were transported to Australia for varying terms. Pentrich village lies 17 miles north of Melbourne.

Derby Reform Bill Riots 1831
Mass riots raged through the town for several days in October 1831 after the Reform Bill was rejected. Prisoners were released from the Derby jails by a crowd of 1,500 protestors.

Derby Silk Mill strike 1833-34
The Silk Mill was one of the first factories in this country and was the site of one of the first major lockouts in this country (1833-1834). Contemporary with the Tolpuddle Martyrs, hundreds of Derby mill workers were forced out of work for joining a radical new union.

Derby Chartism 1839-48
Derby was an important centre for Chartism in the East Midlands (1839-1848) along with Nottingham and Leicester. Chartist leader Feargus O’Connor was a Nottingham MP and Derby had a prominent Chartist candidate in the 1848 election (who wasn’t, unsurprisingly elected).