The Gordon Riots

2 May, 2019 940 History of Europe

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the most destructive riots in London’s history, which reached their peak on 7th June 1780 as troops fired on the crowd outside the Bank of England. The leader was Lord George Gordon, head of the Protestant Association, who objected to the relaxing of laws against Catholics. At first the protest outside Parliament was peaceful but, when Gordon’s petition failed to persuade the Commons, rioting continued for days until the military started to shoot suspects in the street. It came as Britain was losing the war to hold on to colonies in North America.

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  • Ian Haywood No other episodes
    Professor of English at the University of Roehampton
  • Catriona Kennedy 2 episodes
    Senior Lecturer in Modern British and Irish History and Director of the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies at the University of York
  • Mark Knights 3 episodes
    Professor of History at the University of Warwick

Reading list

  • Anti-Catholicism in Eighteenth-Century England, c. 1714-80: A Political and Social Study
    Colin Haydon (Manchester University Press, 1993) Google Books →
  • The Gordon Riots. Politics, Culture and Insurrection in Late Eighteenth Century Britain
    Ian Haywood and John Seed (Cambridge University Press, 2012) Google Books →
  • King Mob: The Story of Lord George Gordon and the London Riots of 1780
    Christopher Hibbert (Longman, 1958) Google Books →
  • London Lives: Poverty, Crime, and the Making of a Modern City, 1690-1800
    Tim Hitchcock and Robert Shoemaker (Cambridge University Press, 2015) Google Books →
  • Pressure and Parliament: From Civil War to Civil Society
    Richard Huzzey (ed.) (John Wiley, 2018) Google Books →
  • Representations of Revolution 1789-1820
    Ronald Paulson (Yale University Press, 1983) Google Books →
  • Riotous Assemblies: Popular Protest in Hanoverian England
    Adrian Randall (Oxford University Press, 2006) Google Books →
  • Crowds, Culture, and Politics in Georgian Britain
    Nicholas Rogers (Clarendon Press, 1998) Google Books →
  • Paris and London in the Eighteenth Century: Studies in Popular Protest
    George Rude (Penguin Books, 1973) Google Books →
  • The Crowd in History
    George Rude (Serif, 2005) Google Books →
  • Popular Disturbances in England 1700-1870
    John Stevenson (Routledge, 1992) Google Books →
  • The Making of the English Working Class
    E. P. Thompson (Penguin, 2013) Google Books →

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Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In June 1780, thousands of British troops fired on unarmed crowds in London.