Back to All Events

In Their Footsteps

  • Newport Cathedral Stow Hill Wales, NP20 4EA United Kingdom (map)

The contribution of working people from South Wales to the development of British democracy has been celebrated in Newport by new art work commissioned to mark the 1839 Newport Chartist Uprising, and its continued relevance today.

The work included an installation in Newport Cathedral 'what they were about, we are about' containing one thousand small clay shoes, representing the people who marched on Newport in November 1839, demanding the right to vote in parliamentary elections. More than 20 demonstrators died when troops fired on the protestors from the Westgate Hotel, in the city centre.

The project entitled In Their Footsteps – loss and contribution was made possible with financial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (Wales) and was a commission from Newport City Council and The Chartist Commission.

Parry&Glynn undertook the work with Newport based journalist and community organiser Dylan Moore, educator George Gumisiriza, and the ceramicist Ned Heywood. 

One thousand small shoes were made by the artists and community groups, and the shoes installed in a large section of Newport Cathedral.  The shoes and boots were shown marching over Government departments in Whitehall, London which includes the Office of the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street, on the way to the Houses of Parliament. 22 small pairs of boots and shoes were painted red, reflecting the people who died in the 1839 march when soldiers opened fire on the crowd in the centre of Newport. 

A new permanent sculpture, The Chartist Milestone, was placed in Westgate Square by the artists, together with a large pair of 19th century workman's boots on display inside a gateway to the Cathedral.  These illustrate the story of the 1839 Newport Chartist march and show the common practice of voting today.  'Y Ffrind/The Friend - A New Newspaper for Wales and Its Neighbours' provides historical, social and philosophical context to the project.

Earlier Event: October 22
Between the Lines
Later Event: January 13
Hen Galan