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Hill & Reform

This small orange coloured card, measuring 4½ x3 inches, proclaims "Reformers!!! Union is Strength". Within the central ornate frame "Hill & Reform" is printed while on either side two men support flags demanding "No Impressment No Flogging" and "Corporate & Church Reform". Along the bottom of the card more calls for far-reaching reforms - "No Monopolies", "Liberty of the Press" and "No Corn Laws".

Q I'm thinking the card is circa 1830s. Are the flag bearers in sailors uniform? Who is Hill? Does the colour orange signify an Irish connection? Can anyone help with any of these questions or help shed light on this piece of political ephemera?


A I think that Hill may refer to Rowland Hill, first Viscount Hill (1772-1842) who succeeded Wellington as commander-in-chief of the army. While not introducing any major reforms in the army he did provide some access to education for troops and curbed (though not abolished) such cruel forms of punishment as flogging. He abstained from voting on the 1832 Reform Bill at the request of William IV. His nephew, Sir Rowland Hill, introduced the penny post. (Source: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography).

This is not an area about which I know very much but the 'Union is strength" card may have been connected with Thomas Attwood's Birmingham Political Union whose first meeting attracted 15,000 people and aimed, among other things, to co-ordinate the country's various political reform movements. I would agree that the card is circa 1830s.

Malcolm Shifrin