A Sorry End: The Priestley Riots of 1791

1730 - 1880 (c.)

Image: Ticket for the French Revolution Dinner, Birmingham 14 July 1791. The Dinner began the chain of events which led to the Priestley Riots. The Ticket admits the bearer to dine at the Hotel on Thursday, July 14, 1791. No 48. Initialled T D. French Revolution Dinner.

Image from: Joseph Priestley Collection by Samuel Timmins, Birmingham City Archives.

Text: Peter Leather


This article was originally presented in a public day school, “Joseph Priestley and Birmingham” organised by the Centre for Lifelong Learning at the University of Birmingham on Saturday 28 February 2004. Peter Leather explores the events of the Priestley Riots in Birmingham in 1791.

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4547-0A Sorry End: The Priestley Riots of 1791 4502-0Introduction: Interpretations 4095-0The French Revolution Dinner 14 July 1791 4546-0The French Revolution Dinner 14 July 1791 471-0The Attack on the New and Old Meeting Houses 473-0The Attack on Priestley’s House at Fair Hill 475-0The Attack on Baskerville House 483-0The Attack on William Russell’s House at Showell Green
Sources and Further Reading

The most up-to-date published list of sources for the Priestley Riots is provided by Field, Clive D, “The Protestant Churches” in Chinn, Carl (ed), Birmingham: Bibliography of a City (University of Birmingham Press, Birmingham, 2003) pp. 99-101.