This page names local officials of the Chartist Land Plan, which aimed to resettle workers on smallholdings by collecting small share contributions from Chartists and allocating farms by lot.
The National Land Company never found an adequate legal basis for its activities, and the continuing uncertainty about its status, and in particular its relationship to Feargus O’Connor, led to accusations of financial impropriety as well as of incompetence.
But it did succeed in developing a local branch structure throughout the country through which revenues were raised and administration conducted.
The land company held regular annual conferences during the latter half of the 1840s, but as the decade drew to a close with Chartism in decline, there was much debate about whether or not the venture should be wound up.
In an attempt to resolve some of the problems faced by the company, the directors called a conference “to consider the whole question of the company, with a view to its decisive and satisfactory settlement”. Branches were asked to elect delegates and collected 3d (three pence) from each member to cover expenses.
The conference was to be held at Snig’s End in Gloucestershire (one of the Chartist settlements acquired by the company) on Monday, August 6 1849.
As Alice Mary Hadfield notes in her 1970 book, The Chartist Land Company, “all the grievances were aired” at this final conference: “failure to pay u £200,000 on share money, houses standing empty while 390 members awaited locations drawn in the ballot, no leases made out”.
The following year, the land company was denied registration under the Joint Stock Companies Acts – a final blow to its attempts to find a legal basis. O’Connor swiftly presented a petition to Parliament from the company’s directors asking for it to be wound up. And the long, drawn-out death of the land plan began.
The following list of branch secretaries was published in the Northern Star, of July 14, 1849.
Northampton District – William Munday, Silver-street, Secretary. – Peterborough, Wellingborough, Kettering, Coventry, Warwick, Leamington, Stoney Stratford, Newport Pagnel.
Swindon District – David Morrison, 2, Bath-street, Secretary. – Banbury, Minster, Witney, O’Connorville, Newbury, Reading, Devizes, Market Lavington, Salisbury, Oxford.
Sheffield District – George Cavill, 33, Queen-street, Secretary. – Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley, Doncaster, Warsboro’ Common.
Nottingham District – James Sweet, Goose-gate, Secretary. – Nottingham, Newark, Mansfield, Sutton, Carrington, New Radford, East Retford.
Leicester District – Thomas Newton, 36, Fleet-street, Secretary. – Derby, Leicester, Belper, Lougborough, Mount Sorrell, Burrowash.
Manchester District – Wiiliam Foster, Alice-street, Devonshire-street, Hulme, Secretary.
Salford District – Thomas Tomlinson, Church-grove, Pendleton, Secretary. – Salford, Newtonheath, Middleton, Eccles.
Preston District – James Brown, Moor-lane, Secretary. – Preston, Chorley, Clitheroe, Lancaster, Warrington, Birkenhead and Liverpool.
Bolton District – William Pickvance, 18, Duncan-street, Secretary. – Bolton, Bury, Heywood, Radcliffe Bridge, Blackburn, Acrington, Haslingden, Oswaldtwistle.
Teignmouth District – James Edwards, hat manufacturer, Secretary. – Teignmouth, Truro, Totness, Newton Abbott, Exeter.
Tiverton District – Henry Land, Prospect-place, Secretary. – Tiverton, Barnstaple, Bridgewater, South Molton, Cullumpton, Wellington, Taunton.
Bristol District – Charles Clark, St George’s, St. Philip’s, Secretary. – Bath, Merthyr, Newport, Abergavenny, Monmouth, Glocester, Cirencester, Upton, Lowbands, Snig’s End.
Worcester District – James Harding, City Arms, Secretary. Kidderminster, Stourbridge, Pershore, Bromsgrove, Malvern.
Bradford (York) District – Michael Connell, Albion-square, Manchester-road, Secretary. Idle, Otley, Clayton, Bramhope, Keighley.
Hull District – George Barnett, 177 High-street, Secretary. – Leeds, Armley, Selby, York, Scarborough.
Newcastle District – Two members – Mr Forest, Raulway-terrace, Secretary. – Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Windynook, North and South Shields, Carlisle, Sunderland, Durham, Bishopswearmouth, Easington Lane, Thornley, Cockermouth.
Birmingham District – Charles Goodwin, 19, Darwin-street, Secretary. Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Bilston, Walsall, smethwick.
Hanley District – Mr Silvester, Tontine-street, Secretary. – Hanley, Longton, Burslem, Crewe, Congleton.
Stockport District – T.Woodhouse, 4, Angel-street, Secretary. – Stockport, Chester, Hyde, Macclesfield.
Ashton District – James Taylor, Turner-lane, Secretary. – Ashton, Staleybridge, Mottram, Glossop, Duckinfield, Mosley, Droylsden.
Burnley District – Henry Smith, Curron-street, Secretary. Burnley, Padiham, Colne, Barrowford, Bacup, Todmorden, Skipton, Hebden-bridge.
Rochdale District – Edward Mitchell, 55 Cheetham-street, Secretary. – Rochdale, Oldham, Hollingwood.
Halifax District – J.S.Anderson, Blackledge, Secretary. – Halifax, Elland, Sowerby, Wakefield, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Little Town, Holmfirth.
Brighton District – George Giles, Victoria-street, Secretary. – Brighton, Chatham, Maidstone, Tunbridge, Crayford, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth, Southamptonm, Gosport, Blandford.
Ipswich District – Mr Gerrard, News Agent, Secretary. – Braintree, Bury St Edmunds, Colchester, Brightlingsea, Norwich, Wisbeach, Lynn, Ely, Brandon, Yarmouth, Cambridge.
Glasgow District – Duncan Sherrington, Romford-street, Bridgeton, Secretary. – Greenock, Alexandria, Kilmarnock, Paisley, Campsea, Hamilton-Falkirk, Denny.
Edinburgh District – Mr Cumming, 14, Duncan-street, Secretary. – Georgie Mills, Alloa, Alva, Kirkaldy, Dundee, Perth, Aberdeen, Arbroath.
THOMAS CLARK, Cor. Sec ( corresponding secretary – editor )