Tuesday, 26 January 2016

26th January 1816: Colliers riot in Dudley, West Midlands

On Friday 26th January 1816, major disturbances took place in the town of Dudley, in the West Midlands. The Derby Mercury of 1st February 1816 carried a report:
We regret to add, that the vicinity of Dudley has also, during the last week, been disturbed by illegal and riotous assemblages of colliers, who have in several instances proceeded to acts of atrocious and unprovoked violence.—It appears from an advertisement in Aris’s Birmingham Gazette, that an assault of the most outrageous nature was on Friday made, by a party of these misguided men, upon the person of a respectable gentleman in the neighbourhood of that town. We are happy to find that a liberal reward has been offered for the apprehension of the offenders, and we trust they will be speedily given up to justice. A large party of colliers, armed with sticks and bludgeons, passed through Dudley on Friday evening, on their way towards Tipton. They halted opposite the town hall, where having given several shouts of defiance, accompanied by signs of resistance should they be interrupted, they proceeded forward. Military aid reached on the following morning (Saturday) from Coventry; and we hope, under the able guidance of the magistracy, they will effectually intimidate them from further acts of excess.
The Lancaster Gazette of 10th February 1816 went into more detail about the 'outrageous assault' on the 'respectable gentleman':
A few days since a mob of colliers assembled in the vicinity of Dudley, and seizing a Mr. Parker, put a rope round his neck, and threatened to hang him, unless he acceded to their demands. 
The Leeds Mercury of the same date related the same incident, albeit with slightly differing detail:
...a party attacked Mr. Zephaniah Parkes, near Holly Hall, put a rope round his neck and threatened to hang him, unless he acceded to their illegal demands

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