PULL the plug, Ring the change

NAME : Pull the Plug, Ring the Change   DATE : 2002  CLIENT : Tameside Council  LOCATION : Hyde   PARTNERS : Guy Woodland Photographer


‘Pulling the plug, Ringing the change’ is a sculpture that recognises the important part the people of Hyde played in the reform of parliament, and their struggle to improve the working conditions of men, women and children.


The sculpture sits outside Hyde Town Hall, and consists of images in bronze of two children running triumphantly, one holding aloft a ‘plug’ the other ringing a bell. A torn banner inscribed with the slogan ‘Pulling the Plug, Ringing the Change’ is draped between the figures creating a sense of movement.

A cast aluminium base is used both to elevate the figures and to act as a symbol of a robust industrial object. This also accommodates the interpretive designs including the six point ‘Declaration of the Chartists of Hyde’. The panels that fit into the rebated sections are of six contemporary children of Hyde photographed by Guy Woodland and etched in zinc. The ages of each child, from six to fourteen represent the significant changes in law that protected the working conditions of children of that age.

Direct descendants of the Hyde chartists unveiled the sculpture in December 2002



The Chartist agitation of 1838-48 was one of the most remarkable social upheavals ever known in the history of Britain. The townspeople of Hyde played a particularly important role in ‘ringing the changes for social and political reform.

Notable among these was John Bradley, a clogger, of 8 Manchester Road who was responsible for helping frame the ‘Declaration of the Hyde Chartists’ which demanded the proper recognition of the rights of the labourng classes.

On the 14th of August 1848 a band of Chartists, armed with guns , pistols, swords and pikes marched through Hyde at midnight, determined to effect a stoppage of the mills for a month by drawing the plugs from the boilers, thus bringing the machinery of the owners to a standstill.