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Samuel Bamford's "Passages in the Life of a Radical" (1842) and "Early Days" (1848) are among the most important sources for the social history of the early industrial revolution and the radical movement. What is less well known is that he left behind an extensive, varied and readable collection of other writings. The diaries were written towards the end of his life (1858-1861) and include letters and journalism, both by and about Bamford, closely linked to the diary material. There is frequent reference to and argument about the early 19th-century radical movement and the Peterloo massacre, and among Bamford's contacts and correspondents were the MPs Richard Cobden and James Kay-Shuttleworth, the pioneer dialect writers Edwin Waugh and Ben Brierley, and mid-Victorian political reformers. Beyond this, the volume provides a combination of diary, letterbook and commonplace book, so that Bamford can be seen in both public and private, as he saw himself, as he wished to be seen, and as others saw him. This edited edition of the diaries should be of interest to students of radical and liberal politics, literature, popular culture and social history.
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