On April 1 1820 an Address to the Inhabitants of Great Britain and Ireland compiled by activists who formed a Provisional Government called for workers to “desist from labour” until their rights as free men were recovered. Almost immediately, around 60,000 people took part in the strike in Paisley and Glasgow where the ‘almost the whole population of the working classes’ obeyed orders. The Paisley weavers were at the “vanguard of this new radicalism”, according to historian Sir Tom Devine. The town became a hotbed of protest and anti-established feeling as living standards sharply declined and call for reforms went unnoticed.
Paisley Book Festival will celebrate Radical Stories and Rebel Voices across the town from 20th to 29th February 2020.
An opening night event celebrating Renfrewshire Rebels will feature an exclusive reading from Scottish radicalism author Maggie Craig, poetry from Renfrewshire born Jim Carruth, and music from Glasgow-based singer-songwriter Heir of the Cursed.