Rochdale celebrates the birth of its greatest son

February 1, 2010 12:00 AM

Rochdale Council is proud to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of one of its greatest citizens. 2011 marks 200 years since the birth of John Bright, one of Rochdale's most excellent politicians and a leading British Radical.

John Bright was born in the parish of Rochdale, the son of a Quaker mill owner Jacob Bright, who was himself a leading figure in the parliamentary reform movement. John Bright was politically active from a very young age, although it was his work with Richard Cobden for which he is best known.

Together with Richard Cobden he formed the "Anti-Corn Law League", which aimed to abolish the Corn Laws; something it achieved in 1846. The leading figures of the movement wanted to ensure that they created a fully free-trade economy in order to decrease the price of basic food products (such as bread and agricultural produce) and support the performance of agriculture.

Rochdale Council and other places across the country like Birmingham, where John Bright was an MP, will be hosting a series of events to commemorate his life's works.

Paul Rowen, MP for Rochdale, said:

"The bicentenary of Bright's birth will be the focus of events throughout 2011. Rochdale is a small town but our contributions to British political history are massive thanks to individuals like John Bright. He was a sincere champion of social justice and I hope to see all Rochdalians supporting the celebrations.

Deputy Leader of the Council Dale Mulgrew said:

"I am incredibly excited about the upcoming bicentenary of John Bright's birth. He was a truly inspirational historical figure and the people of Rochdale should be proud to celebrate his birth. I look forward to working closely with Link 4 Life in organising the events and ceremonies to mark this momentous date.

John Bright's status as a true national statesman will also give us a great chance of creating a celebratory program that can attract visitors from further afield, which should be a great boost to the local town centre economy"

If you have any ideas or suggestions for the celebrations then please contact Councillor Dale Mulgrew at