Days of May

From a sandpit in the Jewellery Quarter came a public meeting which would change the face of British politics forever.

It’s 7 May 1832 and an incredible crowd of 200,000 has gathered at the sand pit between George Street and Newhall Hill. They are here to listen to an address by the Birmingham Political Union, an organisation whose purpose is the reformation of parliament and the electoral system. A coalition of working class and middle class members, the union’s most prominent leader is local banker Thomas Atttwood.

Several previous meetings at the sand pit helped to force the debate nationally and put pressure on leading politicians, such as Wellington and Earl Grey, who had attempted to thwart the demands of the BPU. However, Attwood’s call for a general strike and the very real threat of revolution were too much for the county’s political elite. As a result, the government passed the Third Reform Bill and the country took another step forwards on the long road to democracy.