John Frost Chartist

This painting is acrylic on canvas 76cm x 100cm. Exhibited Newport Art Gallery.Times past. In Artist collection.

Composed on information and imagination on reading material of this Riot. The Chartists movement attempted uprising. I have tried to give both sides of this tragedy of the turmoil of British historical times past. In 1839 people struggling against the poor law of 1832 and corrupt politicians and placating the middle class at the expense of the poor. With no vote unless a freeholder. Poor had little or no chance to change their way of life.

A Comment by John Frost the Chartist – A one time mayor of Newport.

Does any man expect that members put into the House of Commons by bribery and perjury, violence, drunkenness? Will ever make laws favourable to the people? A bad system cannot produce good men. We do not look for Figs from Thistles. The time is fast approaching when there must be no neutrals. The question will be who is for good and cheap Government and who is against It.

The people’s Charter.

These men by the struggle and sacrifice. We now enjoy five of the six demands of the peoples Charter covenants in our constitution. I do hope one day the last will be included where by we can at least get rid of a third of the House of Commons every year, by vote. John Frost found guilty and was sentenced to be hung drawn and quartered. The then Queen Victoria and home Secretary frightened of some impending French style Revolution back-lash. Advised to calm things down, also a plea by the trial Judge Tindle. The sentence was changed to one of transportation for life.

John Frost was pardoned and returned home.

The faithful wife Mary waiting for his return home to Britain( Touched me with sadness). After serving fourteen years of hard Labour. But sadly no happy ending she passed away a year after John returned from exile from Tasmanian 1856. FROST DIED 27TH JULY 1877. In his ninety-third year. Buried at Horfield Parish Church Bristol. Moved to Stapleton Bristol on return from Tasmania.

Newport gave its honour to this knight of old. We have John Frost square and also a commemorative sculpture by Chris Kelly outside the Newport West Gate Hotel. Also a big tiled mural on the wall in the walk way though to John Frost Square. By artist Kenneth Budd. The Museum at Newport is also a hive of informative material. Also the Civic Centre Foyer Newport has a mural worth study.
Further update is the new art Centre on the riverfront opening October 2004. also one day it will house the Newport Ship. Discovered under its cloak of river mud on this site. Discovered when the foundation for the art centre was being excavated. One can debate whether the White House clad thing is an abortion or built in the right place or not. Lottery money helped build it and intentions are well meant. Standing down wind from the Wave Sculpture depicting in my mind a birth control Dutch cap installer. Now are both Wave and Centre are in place. Make the best of its use you good old Newport City and all folk yet to be born. Probably it will be standing for the next hundred years. Making its history. But be watchful of crossing the road to gain access to its doors. A dual carriageway of some times fast moving cars could make one believe the song lyric “I believe I can fly?”And many do in ideas with rate payed money spent on murals of art then maybe destroyed by lack of thought influenced by developers that care less of a beautiful Victorian grid based town that once was.

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