The banner of the Glasgow Shipwrights' Society supporting the Franchise Bill that paved the way for the Reform Act of 1884.
The Franchise Bill proposed the extension of the vote to men living in rural areas who owned land worth more than £10 or who paid as much in annual rent. The Liberal Party supported the Bill but the Conservatives opposed it and blocked its progress through the House of Lords. The Associated Shipwrights' Society sent notices to all its Glasgow branches encouraging members to attend the huge franchise demonstration which was held in the city in support of the Bill in September 1884. This banner must have been carried at the rally and depicts Liberal Party leader William Gladstone ("Billy"), along with the figures of Justice and someone who resembles Mr Punch but may represent John Bull. Justice holds a set of scales showing that the Bill is more important than the opinion of the House of Lords.
The Glasgow Shipwrights' Society was formed in 1845. It ceased to exist in 1882 when the union became part of the Associated Shipwrights' Society but the old name clearly continued in use, at least until 1884.
Reference: 44.82.422 / LPP.1979.8.
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Museums / Glasgow City Archives
banners, Franchise Bill, 1884, Glasgow Franchise Demonstration, Glasgow Shipwrights' Society, House of Lords, Justice, Mr Punch, political demonstrations, Reform Acts, scales, shipwrights, suffrage, Third Reform Act, 1884, trade unions, trades unions