ABSTRACT

In tracing the evolution of the programme in liberal-Radicalism's major centre in the second half of the nineteenth century, it will become evident that Radicalism's difficulties were to be found less in its internal contradictions than in the intractability of the external relations it sought to influence. A more persistent challenge arose from concern that the pursuit of cheapness would result in poor quality goods, produced by an ill-educated, low-paid and under-productive labour force, inhabiting a deteriorating working and urban environment. In doing so he transformed not only the town's government, but also, its liberal-Radicalism, linking it decisively with the reputation of Birmingham and the fortune of his own family. Radicalism went down in the face of twentieth-century intractabilities rather than in the pursuit of nineteenth-century fantasies.