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Item of the Month – March 2014

Cobbett's Weekly Political Register © People's History MuseumCobbett’s Weekly Political Register, 3 March 1810

In the fight for a free press in Great Britain the name of William Cobbett (1763-1835) stands some measure above others. As the print media of the 21st century slowly declines under the impact of digital communication, it is worth taking a look at the impact that publications such as Cobbett’s Weekly Political Register (1802-35) had on British politics. In 1802 the House of Commons was yet to be reformed, the country was at war with France, something that the Register supported, there was a evolving minority of men and women who were developing an interest in self education combined with a desire for parliamentary reform.  Men like Cobbett, himself largely self educated, filled the gap. His was not the only newspaper or broadside of the day but it was one of the most popular.

This particular edition is 204 years old this month, yet was only donated to the People’s History Museum in February this year.