| JOSEPH COWEN|
and Popular Radicalism on Tyneside, 1829-1900
by Joan Allen
This is the first full length study of Joseph Cowen, (1829-1900) a newspaper magnate, radical activist and Liberal MP who represented Newcastle from 1874 to 1886. The Times noted of him:
he contrived, during the dozen years in which he represented Newcastle in Parliament, to impress his individuality in a remarkable manner, not only upon the constituency which elected him, but also to some extent upon the country at large. Short of stature, uncouth in dress and figure, and speaking a tongue the peculiarities of which are admired only by those to the manner born, he commanded, in his early appearances in Parliament, anything but respect. Among other peculiarities he introduced to Parliament the flat felt hat which forms the Sunday headgear of the Northumbrian pitman. Though not a miner, but an owner of several coal mines, Mr. Cowen was not essentially different, either externally or intellectually, from some of the rough, keen colliers of Northumberland to-day, whose recreations are divided between an ardent pursuit of outdoor sport, which customarily taken the humble form of rabbit-coursing, and a mental activity and grasp which are rarely to be found among the working people in other parts of the country.
During his political career he drew upon a coalition of support from working class associations, the Irish community and regional interest groups. At home and abroad he championed the cause of the underdog and enjoyed close friendships with Mazzini and Garibaldi, Kossuth of Hungary and the Irish Nationalists.
This study breaks new ground by bringing together ethnic and urban studies, and considers the role of the press in building a radical power base.
"this highly readable and innovative study makes an important contribution to understanding the dynamics and longevity of 19th century provincial Radicalism." Labour History
4 pages of b/w contemporary illustrations.
Dr. Joan Allen is Lecturer in Modern British History at the University of Newcastle. She is the co-editor of
Faith of Our Fathers: Six Centuries of Popular Belief,
(Forthcoming) and co-editor of Papers for the People.
Published Autumn 2007
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