Georgian Delights: The Cato Street Conspiracy by Richard Gaunt Nottingham University

Dr Richard Gaunt Nottingham University
Nottingham University
Richard Gaunt Nottingham University on the Cato Street Conspiracy

Dr Richard Gaunt, Associate Professor in History (School of Humanities) and Manuscripts and Special Collections at The University of Nottingham, has curated an exhibition, Georgian Delights that has explored in depth the period that led to the Cato Street conspiracy.

George IV became King of Great Britain, Ireland and Hanover on 29 January 1820. His long apprenticeship for the throne, as Prince of Wales and (after 1811) Prince Regent, made him a colourful and controversial figure.

The Georgian Delights exhibition, at the Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham was timed to coincide with the bicentenary of George’s accession.  It examines his life and reign, highlighting the contrasts between the King and his subjects, through The University of Nottingham’s Manuscripts and Special Collections.

A focal point of the exhibition is the period 1820-1821, which includes the Cato Street Conspiracy. This was a year of revolutions in Europe and the situation in Britain was hardly less threatening. The government fought to cope with the aftermath of The Peterloo Massacre of 1819 and the adjustment to peacetime conditions following the Napoleonic Wars. Barely a month into George IV’s reign, the conspirators plot to assassinate the cabinet was uncovered.  This happened at a time when both a General Election and coronation were due to take place. The King also created a constitutional crisis by his determination to divorce his wife, Caroline, and prevent her from being crowned Queen.

We plan to interview Richard about the Cato Street Conspiracy as part of our summer documentary film project with film makers Digital Works. On this page Richard is a short film he made for the Georgian Delights exhibition that covers the motivation, history and consequences of the Cato Street Conspiracy.


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