Newport Chartist Mural

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The Newport Chartist Mural Documentation Project

Newport's prominent landmark to the 1839 Newport Chartist Rising, was erected in a pedestrian tunnel in John Frost Square in 1978.

This is a monumental mosaic mural by artist Kenneth Budd, 120 foot long and 12 foot high, and containing 200,000 separate pieces of mosaic tile. 

The thirty years' existence of the Newport Chartist Mural is circumscribed by city centre redevelopment projects in Newport. 

We should remember that the mural was originally part of a town centre redevelopment scheme in 1978. The proposed removal of the mural in 2007 proved highly controversial, but this has nevertheless focussed the minds of citizens, politicians and local government alike on a firm commitment to future commemoration of the radical democratic tradition of the Chartists 


  • 1978 - A Chartist Mural for John Frost Square |  The radical political tradition of the Chartists was affirmed by the Newport public authorities in the naming of its new 1960's redevelopment scheme and public square after the Chartist leader John Frost, who led the Newport Chartist Rising of 4 November 1839. Several years later, the Chartist Mural was an appropriate enhancement for the new square. | Produced by the artist in close consultation with scholars at the Newport Museum and Art Gallery, the mural draws on the official Chartist Trial records for fidelity to historical details and the result is a vivid visual documentation of this popular rising in the cause of Reform and against the inhuman excesses of the early industrial revolution in the South Wales iron and coal districts.

  •  2007 Chartist Mural controversy |  Some thirty years later, and a succeeding phase of inner city modernization, the mural was itself the cause of controversy as plans were unveiled in 2007 for the removal of the Newport Chartist Mural to make way for a large scale redevelopment scheme. | Enlivened public debate led to a renewed appreciation of this monumental piece of public art, for the Chartist Mural had always been a vital symbol of a proud and popular history.

    • The 2007 Newport Chartist Anniversary Celebrations | With a fresh resolve for commemoration of the history of Chartism in Newport and Monmouthsire, the November 2007 Chartist Anniversary celebrations saw an unrivalled programme of events (- read more here). | In keeping with the radical democratic tradition of the Chartists, moreover, the Anniversary celebrations saw the launch of a Democracy Day campaign with both a parliamentary Early Day Motion ( here ) and a public petition to the Prime Minister  for a Democracy Day public holiday to commemorate the pioneers of British Democracy (- see the official 10 Downing Street e-petition website here ). 


    Location | John Frost Square, Newport

    • The introductory panel - located outside the pedestrian tunnel, John Frost Square, was removed in the summer of 2007 | Click on image to enlarge. 

    • Aerial view - the Capitol Car Park and Pedestrian tunnel, John Frost Square, is scheduled for demolition to make way for a city centre redevelopment scheme. | Accessed on Google Maps, 18 February 2008 |  Click on image to enlarge.  



    The following resources provide a basic documentary record of the Newport Chartist mural:



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    Further | Public Art in Newport 

    Celebrating the city of Newport's proud industrial and maritime history and the vital democratic legacy of Chartism. 

    • Explore the photo collection on flickr here   

    • View in Google Maps here