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The 1820 Rising
The Radical War
The 1820 Society


Originally founded in 1969 as the ‘1820 Commemoration Committee’, the Society exists precisely in order to publicise and commemorate the Scottish Radical Insurrection of 1820. It carries out its commemorative function by holding Annual Rallies at the three 1820 Monuments - at Sighthill Cemetery, Glasgow, burial ground of Baird and Hardie; at Strathaven, home town and last resting place of James Wilson, and at Woodside Cemetery, Paisley.

Throughout the 1970’s the Society was kept going by its principal founding father, John Murphy, now an Honorary Vice-President. In 1984 it was re-constituted - with Jack Fuller as Chairman, Ian Bayne as Secretary, and Renfrew District councillor, Jim Mitchell, now also an Honorary Vice-President, as Press Officer. In 1985 the new Committee launched a financial appeal for the Renovation of the sadly dilapidated Sighthill Monument. It raised almost 5,000, a sum matched by a further 5,000 from Glasgow District Council. In October 1986 the renovated Memorial was unveiled - by pupils from the nearby Sighthill Primary School - in the presence of invited civic dignatories and political and Trade Union representatives. In 1989 the Society welcomed the publication of the paperback edition of the only full-length account of the Rising, ‘The Scottish Insurrection of 1820’ by Peter Berresford Ellis and Seumas Mac a’Ghobhainn. Its surviving co-author, Peter Berresford Ellis was elected Honorary President. In the same year the Society also purchased a new Banner. In 1990 - the 270th anniversary year of the Rising - as a culmination of extensive representation made by the Society a new headstone was erected by East Kilbride District Council at the probable site of James Wilson’s hitherto unmarked grave in Strathaven Cemetery.

And in 1992 Glasgow District Council finally agreed to the erection of a plaque on the Sighthill Memorial in honour of the 19 Scottish Radicals transported to Australia for their part in the 1820 Rising.

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