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Posts Tagged ‘John of Gaunt’

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg had a miserable weekend when several hundred Occupy protestors decided to demonstrate outside his house. Well, having an uninvited miasma of crusties parked outside one’s front door can’t be pleasant, but Clegg should thank his stars that he lives in these highly civilised times. Throughout history, top politicians have had their London homes besieged and sometimes attacked by the the mob. During the Peasants’ Revolt John of Gaunt wisely absented himself from town while disgruntled farmers of Kent and Essex completely trashed his palace on the Strand, more or less where the Savoy Hotel now stands.

Over 400 years’ later in 1830 the Duke of Wellington himself, a national hero if ever there was one, had more that 30 of his windows put out by unruly elements in response to his staunch opposition to reform. In the Duke’s opinion, it was only his servant firing warning shots from the roof with a blunderbuss that saved the property.

A few years later in 1855 it was the turn of Lord Robert Grosvenor. Grosvenor had been trying to push through a Sunday trading bill, highly unpopular with the man in the street, who would typically get paid late on a Saturday. As part of a number of huge Chartist demonstrations that summer, one Sunday the march was diverted to Grosvenor’s house on its way to Hyde Park for the main event. Like his predecessors, the aristocrat was conveniently absent. But he withdrew his Bill the very next day.

I’m sure there are other examples, which I shall add as I come across them.

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