Summary: poster, political poster, 'Corn Laws', petition for alteration of the corn laws Wed 26th May 1841 printed by J.Martin Lymington
Identification note: In 1815 the Corn Laws were introduced to prevent the importation of cheap foreign corn, thereby protecting the income of landowners but with the consequence that poor harvests increased the price of corn so much that many people faced starvation. A long campaign took place across the country to repeal the Corn Laws and allow free trade. In Lymington meetings were held and petitions drawn up to lobby for change. The Corn Laws were finally repealed in1846 and the market was flooded with cheaper flour from the American prairies and Russian farms. The poor had access at last to much cheaper food but the consequences for farming were not so good. Marginal land in Britain was no longer economically viable and fell out of production, causing an agricultural slump in the late 19th century. For the first time the majority of food consumed came from abroad.