Friday, 6 May 2016

6th May 1816: Food riot in Bridport, Dorset

The Royal Cornwall Gazette of 18th May 1816 carried reports of rioting that took place in Bridport on Monday 6th May 1816:
Monday morning, in consequence of the advance in the price of bread, several groups of the manufacturing poor assembled at different parts of Bridport, complaining of the grievance, added to their want of employ from the present stagnation of trade. Their numbers increasing, one of the most active bore a quartern loaf through the streets on a pole: This drew together a great number of men, women, and children, who soon proceeded to acts of violence, demolishing the windows of the principal millers and bakers, and taking from the brewery of Messrs. Gundry three hogsheads of beer, which they drew in triumph to the centre of the town. The Riot Act was then read, but several hundred more having joined the mob, it was evident that nothing but the most prompt measures could prevent the dangerous consequences, likely to follow, and which were happily prevented by the exertions of some of the principal inhabitants, who rushed among the mob, destroyed the beer, seized the ringleaders, and in a very short time dispersed upwards of 2000, committing the rioters to prison.

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