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George’s silver cup returns to Blackburn

Published Friday 10 January 2020 at 16:43

A silver cup awarded to a Blackburn campaigner in the 1800s has been returned to the town after his family crowd funded more than £1,000 to buy it.

George Dewhurst fought for reform and workers’ rights all his life and was even accused of High Treason and imprisoned for two years for his efforts.

He was presented with the cup in 1832 by his followers and supporters – an unusual thing to do and a precious item for a working class man.

His great-great-great-great-granddaughter, Emma Speed, launched the fundraising drive after being contacted by a jewellers to say they had George’s silver cup.

She has now presented it back to the town for safekeeping at Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery so it can be kept as part of the town’s history.

She was joined at a special event by Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Executive Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, Councillor Damian Talbot and the Mayor for Blackburn with Darwen, Councillor Jim Shorrock.

Emma said:

Thank-you to all those who also campaigned to make this happen.

As a family, we wanted George’s legacy to be kept alive. Bringing the cup to Blackburn seemed the perfect way to do this.

I think this journey has been a fitting tribute to George and the tireless work he did for the working classes of Lancashire.

George’s cup was located last year at a Bristol Jewellers, Grey-Harris and Co.

After researching the name on the antique, they discovered Emma’s three-year journey to explore George’s past online, and decided to contact her.

The cup now sits proudly in Blackburn Museum, free for all to see.

Emma and UCLAN animation student Beth Joy have also produced a short film depicting how George was arrested for High Treason shortly after the Peterloo Massacre in 1819.

Peterloo took place at St Peter’s Field in Manchester on August 16, when cavalry charged into a crowd of 60,000 – 80,000 who had gathered to demand the reform of parliamentary representation.

Emma and Beth’s film, narrated by Emma’s son Monty, was premiered as part of the Peterloo commemoration.

Cllr Damian Talbot, Executive Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said:

It was lovely to see Emma and Monty proudly handing over the cup to the museum so that it can be truly valued in the town that it belongs.

George’s silver cup is a key part of our local history, and bringing such an important item back to its home town is a great achievement.

In March, Emma is hoping to host a George Dewhurst Day and all donors and descendants of George will be invited to take part.

Read more about her journey to get her ancestor’s cup back to Blackburn.

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