Public event: 200 years of the 1820 Scottish Radical Uprising

April 2020 will mark 200 years since the Scottish Radical Uprising. A series of strikes, unrest and disorder was led by workers across Central and West Scotland in response to what was perceived to be an increasingly uncaring and oppressive government at a time of economic downturn and in the shadow of events the previous year at Peterloo. It led to the execution by hanging of three Radicals, transportation of a further twenty, and the arrests of many more.

The Centre for Scottish and Celtic Studies at the University of Glasgow will mark these events with a full day programme of talks and performance: 

Daytime programme (9:10am-4:30pm):

9:10am: Catriona MacDonald - Welcome and intro (tea and coffee)

9.25am – 10.55am Session 1: 1820 – political responses

  • Emma Macleod – The 1790s: establishing the mind of government in 1820
  • Gordon Pentland – The 1790s in 1820
  • Alex Benchimol - Civic Authority and Industrial Conflict in the West of Scotland: A contextual analysis of local government responses to the 1820 Rebellion in the Glasgow Herald
  • Panel questions

10:55am Break (tea and coffee)

11.25am – 1.05pm Session 2: 1820 – people’s responses

  • Tony Lewis and Archie Henderson – 1820 in the museum
  • Kevin Gallagher and George Smith - ‘The Battle of the Bellows’: Duntocher and the County of Dumbarton during the 1820 Radical War
  • Shaun Kavanagh – Between the Loyal and the Rebel: Greenock and the Radical War of 1820
  • Carol Baraniuk - Where have all the radicals gone? Agitation for social justice in early nineteenth-century Ulster, and reactions to the Scottish Radical War.
  • Panel questions

1:05pm Lunch (buffet with tea and coffee afterwards)

2.05pm – 4.25pm Session 3: 1820 - memorialisation

  • Music performance – Sophie Rogers
  • Rhona Brown – 1820 in contemporary account
  • Michael Demson – Murchie’s ‘Bonnymuir’ and Conspiratorial Satire
  • John Gardner – The plays of 1820
  • Craig Lamont – Remembering the Radical War: monuments, markers, and commemorations
  • Panel questions

4:25pm Closing remarks

4:30pm Finish

Evening programme (7pm-approx. 9pm):

For the evening commemoration of the 1820 uprising, we are delighted to present a special performance. James Kelman’s 1990 play ‘Hardie and Baird’ was first staged in the Traverse Theatre, then recorded for Radio 4 (the broadcast itself has since been lost). Tonight, James Kelman will introduce a rehearsed reading of his play by a group drawn from contributors to the day-time programme and the University of Glasgow’s Scottish Literature postgraduate students.

This event will take place on Friday 3 April 2020 at Trades Hall of Glasgow, 85 Glassford Street, Glasgow, G1 1UH. All welcome. Booking is required.

First published: 26 February 2020