Names for the Chartist Beer and Chartist Film Progress Report


Two updates:

1. The beer – a message from Greg at Stroud Brewery: ‘We have the John Frost artwork, and putting it together on a bottle label. Chartist whisky aged organic smoked porter to be bottled Sept/October. So beer will be ready for sipping in November.’ We are now deliberating on the accompanying text.

2. Film news from John:

Dear all,

Firstly I must apologise for the delay in getting in touch. I had hoped that we would have started filming by now but other things have unfortunately got in the way – most noticeably the theatre festival which will take place in Stroud from 9th to 11th September ( – apologies for the little advertisement!

I am looking to start as soon as possible with filming and would like to know people’s availability through August and September (as these look like the best times to film) in a bit more detail so that we can cast and begin filming scenes.

I have spoken to the Museum in the Park and it will be possible to use there for some filming. The Sub Rooms is being painted at the moment but again we can use the space for filming when this is done. The big common scene which sparked the whole film off I will know more about later this week when I have had the chance to discuss wildlife issues further with the Stroud District Council green spaces person.

I have sent this to as wide a circulation as possible and some of you may not have attended any of the meetings we have had so far. We need people! To inhabit crowd scenes for meetings in pubs, outdoors and churches. When I have a clearer idea of availability I will be able to say when we need people. Sorry I realise this is a bit vague but I have ideas as to who will be cast in some of the roles and it is really when I know all the availabilities that I will be able to move things further on.

If you know of any musicians who want to write songs from the chartist songbook the link is

If you know of anyone else who should be involved in the project please also let me know.

Thanks for your patience and apologies again for the delay.

All the best

John Bassett

Director – Spaniel in the Works Theatre Company

Ten new faces among the committed group of people who read through the script on Monday – good to see some young people present too. We have a potential troupe now of some thirty people. John and Andy will start filming very soon. We have asked SVA if we can show the film at the Brunel Goods Shed on November 4th.

This was posted on Facebook to advertise the June event :

Good People of Stroud and Ye Five Valleys,
Hear Ye, Hear Ye:

We are having a meeting on Monday June 13th to read through the latest version of the script and start casting and sorting dates for filming on the Chartist film project. This will be at the Sub Rooms at 7.30 in the George Room. If you have not been on John Basset’s email list, then please let John or myself know if you wish to attend so that we can link you to a draft script.

In addition, if you are a musician or know any musicians who might want to write music for songs we found in the Chartist songbook please pass on our details and we will send a copy of the words for people to peruse and hopefully write songs for. We are looking for all genres, not just the folk idiom.

The Republic of Ireland’s game will be over by 7.30, so no worries on that score.

Thank You, Good People of Stroud and Ye Five Valleys

Read through of script and casting at the Subscription Rooms in the George Room on Monday June 13th at 7.30. John (Bassett) of Spaniel in the Works will email scripts.

In addition if you are a musician or know any musicians who might want
to write music for songs we found in the chartist songbook please pass
on my email details and I will send a copy of the words for people to
peruse and hopefully write songs for.

All the best

John Bassett
Director – Spaniel in the Works Theatre Company

Calling all Stroud musicians! You may know about a film we are making about the Chartists. As part of the research for this we found a “Chartist Hymnbook” – the word hymn is very loose by the way. We are looking for musicians from all backgrounds, styles and genres to put some of the verse from these to music. If you are interested please message John Bassett. Thanks.

1. Andy Wasyliw and John Bassett will shortly lead the next read through of the completed script. They have agreed a schedule for the filming of the interior scenes. This filming will take place quite shortly. John will then speak with SDC about when filming could take place on Selsley Common. Please contact John at for anything to do with the filming (I deal with the walks and spoken word events).

2. I had a pleasant time on Selsley Common on the anniversary date of May 21st, taking pictures of the footpaths that would have been used on May 21st 1839, as well as the hawthorn in all its may blossomed splendor. A talk followed at the Bell about Chartism in general, and the Selsley meeting in particular. The porter was tasted, praised and self-referentially toasted.

3. Jim Pentney has sent through this review (partly in haiku) of the Stroud Radical Reading Group’s Chartist spoken word event at the Golden Fleece on May 18th.

Review in haiku.

Back room radical reading

of the Northern Star

Radical reading

‘When Adam delved and Eve span’

Chartist poetry

Full Marx Arts and Crafts

that shoulder giants still stand

in the Chartist rhymes

Wednesday 18th May, Golden Fleece back room.

It was, I think, the jolliest Radical Reading evening, partly because the Northern Star verses are so accessible and direct and not trying to be clever. They deserve to be sung – probably were in just this sort of setting. Part of an essay was read and it was said, although stifled and suppressed, Chartism was the most significant political movement of the nineteenth century laying fertile ground. I put a word in for Alan Davenport.

A potted history of Chartism and a contextualization of the 1839 Selsley Hill meeting can be found at

1. Tom Brown has finished the art work for the bottled beer: a splendid depiction of John Frost.

2. Stroud Radical Reading Group members have earmarked their next meeting on May 18th 7.30 pm for an evening’s discussion on Chartist poetry. This is at the Ale House in Stroud.

3. I hope that two further, future events might develop from this meeting: (a.) a spoken word event, (b.) written/other media responses as though participants were Chartists from 1839, visiting our times in 2016. (What’s good and what’s disappointing sort of thing.)

4. In addition, I envisage 3 walks with performance and readings in the landscape etc.: 1. From Stroud Brewery to the Bell at Selsley. 2. One from the Ale House to the workhouse and Stroud cemetery. 3. One involving Allen Davenport – nationally famous Chartist born at Ewen by the source of the Thames.

5. John Bassett (Spaniel in the Works) has finished our third version of the script – we have been absolutely and patiently pains-taking in ensuring that we have a perfect piece that we run with. We have listened carefully to the suggestions offered at the last meeting when we collectively read through the script: gender balance and family viewpoints.

6. Initial filming (thanks to Stroud Festival) gets closer. John will shortly be contacting Andy Wasyliw about the schedule; storyboarding etc. We are still hopeful of being ready for November 4th. The other events listed above will definitely be happening before that date.

7.The photocopying bill for the last read through was nearly £50 – we need to email the script in future. Please let John know your email address etc., if necessary (see email address on the Spaniel in the Works website).

The Chartist commemorative beer has been brewed at Stroud Brewery – likely name ‘Chartist’ on the basis that ‘A pint of Chartist, please’ rolls off the tongue quite easily. The beer is a good old fashioned porter – just the ticket. The label is quite possibly going to feature an image of John Frost who was the leader of the Newport Rising in 1839, but was also selected as prospective Chartist parliamentary candidate for Stroud on Rodborough Common on Good Friday, 1839.

We’d like to thank people for putting us right about the necessity to avoid May through to late July as a date for filming our take on the 1839 Chartist rally on Selsley Common. The last thing we want to do is harm any wildlife. And we’d also like to put peoples’ minds at ease about how we create the illusion of 5,000 people present: it will be an illusion.

It is also important to point out that “Day of Hope” is a small community based production with limited funds made for and by Stroud people. This is not a massive production with lots of vehicles and a massive crew invading the common.

The well documented May 21st Selsley Common Chartist meeting was an important moment in Stroud history and a part of the introduction to true democracy for the whole of the country. Using the actual location is important to us but it is also important not to offend people or indeed disturb wildlife.

We are currently in communication with Stroud District Council about when and how we film outside on Selsley after late July.

We will be able to meet our deadline for the film’s finish, however, as we shall now film the inside scenes first.

With thanks again,

Day of Hope production


John Frost – who had earlier been provisionally selected to oppose Lord John Russell as MP for Stroud – was sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered for his involvement in the Rising. The sentence was commuted to transportation.
Newport has recently held a whole day of official commemoration of the Rising and we are in close contact with Newport – we hope to link up.


I thought it a good idea to have a central place to review progress towards the Chartist film; the associated events such as 2 or 3 Chartist walks, the Chartist spoken word event, the Chartist writing workshop, and of course the NAME OF THE BEER.

This is the link/place and I’ll update through the winter, spring, summer and autumn. Twenty people met for the first read through of the script at the Sub. Rooms on February 23rd; it was a most encouraging start and John is now working on the next draft, pondering on the date for the next meeting, and even having some preliminary thoughts about casting.
Filming can then start: inside scenes as and when; Selsley in the late summer; editing in the early autumn.

At the moment, we are envisaging a walk or two for the Stroud Fringe and Stroud Festival in the late summer; a workshop, spoken word event and film in Stroud (SVA and/or Brunel Goods Shed).

I think it would be great to have an event at the Stroud Brewery, too.

See for more information on John Frost.

‘Hi Stuart,

I would love to support the project, and sure we can have a beer aptly named for the occasion. It is still a bit far ahead to work out how exactly we will pull it off. Our seasonal calendar is fairly set but we have a few options including re-branding any of the bottling brews we are doing at the time. We are also looking at a porter aged in oak casks, which if we get on with it soon, could be ready for autumn and we could dedicate this to the Chartists of Stroud, past, present and future…

Some suggestions for names would help and any images you have will get us thinking.