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Chartist Commemorative Sculpture - Union, Prudence, Energy

Christopher Kelly

Newport - Casnewydd /  Chartist Commemorative Sculpture - Union, Prudence, Energy   Newport - Casnewydd /  Chartist Commemorative Sculpture - Union, Prudence, Energy


Sculpture group illustrating the desire for political change, and how this desire motivated the Chartist movement. The three groups take their titles from the motto of the Chartist convention: 'Union, Prudence, Energy':
  1. Union (The Ideal City) - a man and a woman carry a model of Newport surrounded by dancing children. The group refers to the physical appearance of Newport: "The children dance through the space underneath the model, which is a reminder of the many tunnels and fly-overs that weave their way in, around, under and through the land on which Newport is built."
  2. Prudence (Still Life). Two figures representing the arts, commerce and industry which have played an important part in the fortunes of Newport both in the past and present.
  3. Energy (Apotheosis). Three recumbent figures arranged in strata like the soil, they lie seemingly crushed but they form the foundation from which the spirit of Chartism, represented by the flying figures, sprang.
A fourth, smaller, sculpture shows an open book with three birds flying out of the book. This group has texts. On banderoles over the wings of the upper bird:

union prudence energy     union prudence energy
union prudence energy by christopher kelly

On the pages of the open book:

A Sculpture
to commemorate
the 150th
of the
Commissioned by
Newport Borough Council
C'llr Rosemary Butler
– Mayor of Newport
C'llr Harry Jones
Leader of the Council
Christopher Tapp
ll b
Chief Executive

Newport - Casnewydd / Chartist Commemorative Sculpture - Union, Prudence, Energy
Union (The Ideal City)
Newport - Casnewydd / Chartist Commemorative Sculpture - Union, Prudence, Energy
Prudence (Still Life)
Newport - Casnewydd / Chartist Commemorative Sculpture - Union, Prudence, Energy
Energy (Apotheosis)

Chartism was a working class movement for political reform in Britain between 1838 and 1848. The six main aims of the movement were in the People's Charter of 1838:

  1. A vote for every man twenty-one years of age, of sound mind, and not undergoing punishment for crime.
  2. The secret ballot. - To protect the elector in the exercise of his vote.
  3. No property qualification for members of Parliament - thus enabling the constituencies to return the man of their choice, be he rich or poor.
  4. Payment of members, thus enabling an honest tradesman, working man, or other person, to serve a constituency, when taken from his business to attend to the interests of the Country.
  5. Equal Constituencies, securing the same amount of representation for the same number of electors, instead of allowing small constituencies to swamp the votes of large ones.
  6. Annual parliaments, thus presenting the most effectual check to bribery and intimidation, since though a constituency might be bought once in seven years (even with the ballot), no purse could buy a constituency (under a system of universal suffrage) in each ensuing twelve-month; and since members, when elected for a year only, would not be able to defy and betray their constituents as now.
When their petition was refused, many advocated the widespread use of force as the only means of attaining their aims. One of the actions was the Newport Rising on 4 November 1839, when somewhere between 1,000 and 5,000 Chartist sympathisers, including many coal-miners, most with home-made arms, led by John Frost, marched on the town of Newport intent on liberating fellow Chartists who were reported to have been taken prisoner in the town's Westgate Hotel.

See further Wikipedia at Chartism and Newport Rising

Information Sign

newport boroug council
[coat of arms]
This Plaque marks the inauguration of the
Improvement Works to Westgate Square and the
Unveiling of the Chartist Commemorative Sculpture
on 28th January 1991 by
Councillor Harry G Jones
The Worshipful the Mayor of Newport
[plan of the monument]
Funded by Newport Borough Council and the Welsh Development Agency
with support from the Welsh Arts Council


Sources & Information


Locatie (N 51°35'16" - W 2°59'47") (Satellite view: Google Maps)

Item Code: gbwa007; Photograph: 23 July 2012
Of each statue we made photos from various angles and also detail photos of the various texts.
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© Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt

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