George Mudie (social reformer)
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1788, Mudie became a supporter of Robert Owen's cooperative principles. In 1818 he was a member of a discussion group that met in St Andrew's Chapel, Edinburgh, and he tried to persuade that group to form a newsroom. When the group refused to take up this idea, he apparently left Scotland in disgust and travelled to London, where he became a part-time publisher and editor of The Sun.
On 23 January 1821 he met a group of printers at Mitchell's Assembly Rooms, London, where he outlined a plan to form a community. The idea was taken up, a committee was formed, and the group began to raise money. To help with the fund-raising Mudie began a weekly journal, the Economist, starting 21 January 1821.
By 17 November 1821 the 'Spa Fields Congregational Families' had taken a number of properties at Guildford Street East, Bagnigge Wells Road and Spa Fields, and had begun to live together. George Hinde was chairman of the community and one of its most prominent members was Henry Hetherington, a London printer.
By March 1822 Mudie's work on the Economist had become slovenly due to his workload with the community, and he ceased publication of the periodical. In 1824 he was forced by the proprietors of The Sun to either resign as editor or abandon the community. He chose the latter and the Spa Fields community was dispersed.
Mudie moved to Orbiston where Abram Combe was creating a new community. He invested all his money in the venture but soon quarrelled with Combe over his 'dictatorial pretensions', and he had left the community by 1827. During this period he published The Advocate of the Working Classes (Edinburgh, 1826–27).
He had moved back to London by 1840, where he was living at 243 The Strand, London. He was working as a teacher and also published The Grammar of the English Language truly made Easy and Amusing by the Invention of Three Hundred Moveable Parts of Speech (London, 1840). At this time he announced that he had invented an 'illuminated temple of letters' which would enable a child to learn the alphabet in just one day. He was also interested in shorthand writing.
Mudie in print
- The Modern Athens, London (London, n.d.), published by George Mudie
- George Mudie. A Few Particulars Respecting the Secret History of the Late Forum (Edinburgh, 1812)
- George Mudie. Report of a Committee Appointed at a Meeting odf Journeymen Printers to take into Consideration Propositions by George Mudie for a System of Social Arrnagements to Effect Improvement in the Condition of the Working Classes and of Society at Large (London, 1821)
- Economist (27 January 1821 to 9 March 1822, London), published by George Mudie
- The Political Economist and Universal Philanthropist (London, 1822), printed by Henry Hetherington, edited by George Mudie
- The Advocate of the Working Classes (1826-27, Edinburgh), published by George Mudie
- The Gazette of the Exchange Bazaars, and Practical Guide to the Rapid Establishment of the Public Prosperity (September–November 1832, Edinburgh), printed by George Mudie
- The Edinburgh Cornucopia (September 1831-March 1832, Edinburgh), edited by George Mudie
- The Cornucopia Britannica (London, 1838), edited by George Mudie
- Alarm Bell!, or Herald of the Spirit of Truth (London, 1838)
- George Mudie. The Grammar of the English Language truly made Easy and Amusing by the Invention of Three Hundred Moveable Parts of Speech (London, 1840), published by George Mudie
- George Mudie. A Solution of the Portentious Enigma of Modern Civilization (London, 1849), published by George Mudie
- H.F. Bing and John Saville 'George Mudie' in Dictionary of Labour Biography, Eds. Joyce M. Bellamy and John Saville (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1972-)
- Gregory Claeys. 'George Mudie and the Gazette of the Exchange Bazaars' in Bulletin: Society for the Study of Labour History, No. 42 (1981)
- Gregory Claeys. 'George Mudie's Advocate of the Working Classes, 1826-7' in Bulletin: Society for the Study of Labour History, No. 44 (1982)
- Gregory Claeys. 'Further Journalistic Efforts of George Mudie: The Edinburgh Cornucopia and The Alarm Bell, 1831-38' in Bulletin: Society for the Study of Labour History, No. 51 (1986), part 3
- W.H.G. Armytage. Heavans Below: Utopian Experiments in England, 1560-1960 (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1961)