Condition of England 1810-1853

Government changes

Lord Liverpool Tory Government

1815 - 1827

Canning Tory Government


Wellington Tory Government

1828 - November 1830

Goderich Tory Government


Grey Whig Government

November 1830 - 1834

Earl Grey retires


Government instability (Ts and Ws)

1834 - April 1835

Melbourne becomes Prime Minister


Peel forms administration

January 1835

Melbourne resigns

January 1835

Peel forced to resign

April 1835

Melbourne returns

April 1835

Melbourne Whig Government

May 1835 - 1841

Peel Tory Government

1841 - 1846

Russel Liberal Government

1846 - 1852


Corn Laws introduced


Government wanted Britain to be self-sufficient in case of another war. It banned the import of foreign wheat.
Wanted to avoid farmers becoming unemployed and avoid revolution.
Critics said that it was class legislation and the government were doing it for selfish reasons to protect the landowners in government and safeguards their profits.

Suspension of Habeas Corpus

January 1817

Meant people were less likely to actively protest.
People could be arrested for simply being suspected of being a revolutionary.

Ban on large meetings

May 1817

Ban on meetings with more than 50 people.
With this and habeas corpus, radicals were forced underground into secrecy.
Government started using spies as agitators and would encourage an uprising and then would hand the details to the government.

Six Acts

August 1819

Known as the Gagging Acts
Banned military drill and training
Ban of over 50 people meeting without a magistrates permission
Sped up trials
Increased tax/stamp duty on newspapers.
On March 1920: leaders of Peterloo including Henry Hunt were trialled and imprisoned.

Goals Act


Each county and large town had to maintain a prison, paid for by local taxes and controlled by magistrates.
Established a standard system of discipline and inspection. .
All 'goalers' must be paid
Inmates must get basic education

Import Duties Reduced

1823 - 1829

To help the foriegn trade
Many strict trade rules loosened
Meant that they could trade easier elsewhere too
Britain was the biggest industrial nation
Needed cotton from the USA for the textile industry

Repeal of Combination Acts


Combination acts banned the formation of trade unions etc.
Repealed as the radical politician Francis Place said it would be better for workers to form unions and bargain with employers over wages, hours etc. than it would be for unions to be illegal and create secretive, underground organisations

Reform of the Penal Code


Penal code in Britain was made up of 100s of laws that stated what punishments would be given for what offences.
They were often overlapping and contradictory.
Peel reduced the penal code to 8 laws.
Transportation became a substitue for being hanged in many of these cases.

Metropolitan Police Force established


A force of 3000 men were introduced by Peel.
Non-military appearance of uniforms.
Crime rates began to fall.
1830s--> police forces set up in other parts of the country

Catholic Emancipation Act


Catholics were now allowed to fill seats in parliament
Roman Catholics allowed to become MPs or hold other positions in parliament

The Great Reform Act


Poor Law Amendment Act


Municipal Corporations Act


Civil Registration of Births


Income tax reintroduced (economic slump)


Repeal of the Corn Laws

June 1846

Rebellions/Protests etc.

Luddite Risings

1810 - 1811

Mostly discontented skiled workers who painted their faces black and targeted new machinery. Were being replaced and losing jobs because of cheaper, faster machinery

Spa Fields Meeting

December 1816

1000's in the crowd coming to hear Henry Hunt speak in Islington.
Some of the crowd rioted before he was due to speak but majority were peaceful.
Over 700 petitions were taken to parliament that were all dismissed which called for lower taxes and the reform of parliament. The consequence was the suspension of habeas corpus.

March of the Blanketeers

March 1817

300 marchers intended to march from Manchester to London in order to give government a petition that demanded parliamentary reform, repeal of corn laws and the reintroduction of habeas corpus.
They were stopped at stockport a few miles out of Manchester and were all arrested.
Government reaction: ban on public meetings

Pentrich Rising

June 1817

Agent provocateur named "Oliver" convinced a group of discontented workers to start a national rebellion.
200 men were then ambushed and arrested, with the hanging of the leaders and transportation of 30 men.
Public outcry at government involvement and it acted as a deterrent to other groups.

Peterloo Massacre

August 1819

60,000 supporters came to Peterloo (manchester) for the 4th and final meeting after the ban on large meetings was lifted and habeas corpus was reintroduced.
Henry Hunt was due to speak and the crowds were peaceful.
Magistrates send in the Yeomanry to arrest Henry Hunt with poor instructions and they used swords to clear the path in the crowd.
11 killed and 400 injured.
Public outcry
Government commended the magistrates on their effective action.
Consequences : Six Acts (gagging acts)

Cato Street Conspiracy


A group of radical extremists plotted to kill the members of the cabinet.
They were infiltrated and reported before they could do anything and were arrested.
There was very little opposition due to the lack of support for extremists like this.

Swing Riots

1830 - 1831

Agricultural labourers and craftsmen
Major factors were:
1) poor harvests in 1829 and 1830
2) Rising prices and population
3) shortage of jobs in the countryside
attacked new machinery, property of farmers that reduced labourers' waged and magistrates who gave out harsh sentences for poaching.
19 executed. 450 transported for life

Anti-Corn Law League formed

March 1839

Public Health

Cholera Act


Vaccination Act


Nuisances Removal Act


Public Health Act


general board of health set up that reported to Parliament
local authorities were empowered to set up local boards of health
they were to manage sewers, drains, wells, slaughterhouses, refuse and sewage systems, etc.
they could finance projects by levying local rates and buying land


Factory Act (1)


Royal Commission for Mines set up


Mines Act


Mines Commissioners' report published


Factory Act (2)


Ten Hour Act


Catholic Poor School


joined together the two voluntary day school societies
everyone wanted education to have a religious core

Factory Act (3)



End of the War with France


Britain was the wealthiest nation to come out of the war.
However it had used fundholders and had to pay back with anual interest.
Had to introduce income tax during the war for the rich but this was a temporary measure and so was replaced by indirect tax.

The Harsh Winter

1816 - 1817

Poor harvest in the summer.
highest bread price ever.
Cobbet's political register was being read by 1000s at this time