John Bright the Great Reformer

23rd May 2017 — 10 Comments

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.

Courtesy of Bob Burton

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.

John Bright

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 The Corn Laws were repealed in 1846.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.



Read the book by George Maculay Trevelyan HERE



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10 responses to John Bright the Great Reformer

  1. A short but interesting post John.
    Looking foward to reading more of your work in the latest edition of The Searcher.

  2. My main article on how detecting is helping those suffering dementia is on page 70. For some inexplicable reason this has been omitted from the index at the front of the magazine. I’ll leave you to form your own conclusions. 🙂

  3. I would not have thought that politicians would have been so self serving John… Medallions to commemorate themselves.. LOL

    But a fascinating bit of history.. thank you


  4. A very interesting article John.
    It looks like your blog needs to revert back to promoting on the forums.

  5. Most interesting read, about a real life hero with his fellow public, not so easy to find these days.
    Thank you J.W.
    It has to be said, from his photograph he was a true thinking man.

  6. Today, 12/07/17 I was reading John Winters MEDLEY in the September 2009 issue of Searcher, and specifically an article with the title;- The father of Birmingham.
    I thought I reading about John Bright all over again. There is an almost uncanny resemblance
    between these two men.

  7. I found one of these yesterday, not very good condition, but was enough to figure out what it was, and a slightly different design, there is no coat of arms on the back, just more writing. Thanks for the article!

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