Abel Heywood

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Abel Heywood (25 February 1810 – 19 August 1893) was an English publisher, radical and mayor of Manchester.

Early life

Heywood was born into a poor family in Prestwich, who moved to Manchester after Heywood's father died in 1812. Abel obtained a basic education at the Anglican Bennett Street School, and at the age of nine started work in a warehouse for 1s and 6d a week. He supplemented his energetic autodidactism by attending the Mechanics' Institute, and following a summary dismissal by his manufacturing employer set up a penny reading room in Manchester at some point in 1831. He gained the Manchester agency for The Poor Man's Guardian, and made a point of refusing to pay the stamp duty intended to suppress mass publishing, being imprisoned in 1832 for four months for refusing to pay a £48 fine. Even though subject to heavy fines repeatedly throughout the next two years (which he paid), he continued his commitment to inexpensive newspapers. His bookselling business in Oldham Street was successful and continued for many years.

Radicalism and Chartism

During the next two decades Heywood had an ambiguous relationship with Manchester's frenetic Radicalism and agitation. In 1828 he was involved in the protests to reform the management of the Mechanics' Institute. Run on the model of the Ediburgh School of Art, total power was given to honorary members, who paid £10 a year. The managers of the...
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