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Plaque unveiled at the One Bell in Crayford where town Chartists first met
A PLAQUE has been unveiled in Crayford at the pub where a group of working class agitators first met.
The One Bell in the High Street was the meeting venue of Chartists on June 21, 1844 in the midst of a national depression.
The national movement began elsewhere but its representatives in Crayford first came together following pay cuts at the David Evans and Swaisland printing works.
This lead to great hardship and eventually to strikes in 1847 and 1852 as Chartist groups all over the country demanded sweeping changes to Britain’s political system.
The One Bell in Crayford High Street.
Unveiled on Friday, the plaque is paid for by a £64,300 grant awarded to the Crayford Manor House Historical Society by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The group won the funds for its project marking the bicentenary of Charles Swaisland setting up his textile printing works in the town in 1814.
Chairman Janet Hearn-Gillham told News Shopper: "The meeting was a hugely significant event in Crayford’s history.
"The 1840s were a time of huge political unrest and with the Chartist movement people thought of trying to bring about improvements in their lot.
The plaque commemorates the first meeting of Crayford's Chartists.
"It is a reminder of forgotten history and the important part the local workforce played in a national political movement."
This project has also involved local schools in drama workshops and sessions with former David Evans employees.
An illustrated 100-page book has been published alongside documentary and animated films while original Swaisland pattern books are to be preserved.
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