Women Chartists

Although little is written about women Chartists, it seems that Cuffey’s wife was actively involved in the work of the movement. In cross-examination, the arresting police officer in the case of the Orange Tree Plot, Joseph Thompson, said ‘I did not take Mrs. Cuffey into custody – she was rather active, as most wives are…’ This could mean one of two things: she was either an active Chartist or she was ‘kicking up a fuss’. But Thackeray’s poem ‘Three Christmas Waits’, written after the trial, in 1848, may indicate that Mrs Cuffey went out on demonstrations with her husband:

‘…I was a journeyman,
a tailor black and free;
and my wife went out and chaired about,
and my name’s the bold Cuffee’

Read more about Women Chartists

Female Chartists Newspaper cutting British Library

Many of us might squirm to read this –

“….woman would be more in her proper character and station at home, where she was the pride and ornamentof “the domestic” hearth”, than in the political arena….”.

– but every movement demanding rights has to start somewhere. This is a cutting from the Caledonian Mercury, published in October 1842. Copyright © The British Library Board.