This exhibition about William Cuffay and Chatham features resources from Medway Archives Centre.
In July 1870 William Cuffay died in Hobart, Tasmania Australia. He was 82 year old, a tailor by trade and was born in Chatham.
Read the introduction to Cuffay and Chatham exhibition
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In 1786 Chatham Cuffay married Juliana Fox who was probably a local woman. They had 5 children, William was the oldest.
William's father Chatham Cuffay was employed at Chatham Dockyard from July 1778 until August 1798.
By the time Cuffay was 19 he had completed his 7 year apprenticeship as a tailor in Chatham.
To London and beyond
William left Chatham and carried on working as a tailor in London. He married 3 times.
Unrest and protest
William Cuffay became actively involved in protests. In 1834 he took part in the general strike called by the GNCTU.
Trial and aftermath
Cuffay was arrested on 16 August 1848. He was sentenced banishment and transported on a prison ship to Australia.
If you’d like to find out more about William Cuffay and other black people in Medway we have some additional resources for you to explore at Medway Archives Centre. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Black people in Medway 1655 to 1914 by Brian Joyce
- William Cuffay: Medway’s black chartist by Bruce Aubry
- William Cuffay: the life and times of a chartist leader by Martin Hoyles
- William Cuffay biography file: Medway Archives Centre Ref: VF MED920 CUFF
- Celebrating the Black presence in the Medway Towns: an exhibition for Black History Month 2007, Medway Archives Centre exhibition
- Untold Stories: A History of Black People in Kent documentary
- The Black History Live project and website, established by Medway African and Caribbean
Association and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund