A regular subscriber to my Searcher Medley column is detectorist Bob Burton of Birmingham. He recently sent me another interesting item found in the Midlands, which is relevant to the social history of the area.
What Bob dug up was a medal commemorating twenty-five years of John Bright being an MP for Birmingham; he served for a total of thirty years. I have seen other examples of this and variants on this medal, but none in better condition.
Bob tells me that the reverse shows the old Birmingham coat of arms and underneath the word FORWARD.
Bright was a Quaker and deemed the greatest orator of his day; his passionate speeches on causes close to his heart like the abolition of slavery, temperance and peace could move large crowds. He first coined the famous description of England as, ‘the mother of parliaments’ in a speech made in 1865. Throughout his life he campaigned for causes that would improve the lives of working people, locally, nationally, and worldwide. Birmingham’s John Bright Street, near the Alexander Theatre, is named in his honour.
Bright is most famous for battling the Corn Laws , which raised food prices and protected landowners’ interests by levying taxes on imported wheat. The Corn Laws were repealed in 1846. He was almost a lone voice in opposing the Crimean War; he also opposed Gladstone’s proposed Home Rule for Ireland. His history can be seen in the Encyclopaedia Britannica article by Donald Reed.
THE LIFE OF JOHN BRIGHT
Read the book by George Maculay Trevelyan HERE