Fervour amongst activists, including the first working class MP Thomas Burt, was especially prevalent around Christmas time. The politics of socialism and Christianity were inseparable for many leading figures during this period and this display considers how Christmas, poverty and politics intertwined in Northumberland c. 1850-1950.
On Christmas Day in 1882, Thomas Burt was presented with a medal for his integral contribution to the Northumberland Miners’ Association. Burt was instrumental in several political causes on behalf of miners, including wage disputes with colliery owners and the scrapping of the ‘bondsmen’ system.
At this Christmas meeting, Burt and his Radical reforming ‘Twelve Apostles’ encouraged the miners there to:
“improve their minds, not merely by learning reading, writing, and arithmetic, but by getting that education which would broaden and quicken their sympathies, that would make them more just, more thoughtful, and give them habits of justice, self-denial, and of firmness.”
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