Reinterpreting Peterloo

Poole, Robert ORCID logo ORCID: (2007) Reinterpreting Peterloo. Teaching History, 129 . pp. 20-21.

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The Peterloo massacre is one of the best-documented events in British history. It was the bloodiest political event of the nineteenth century on English soil. At St Peter’s Fields in central Manchester on Monday 16 August 1819, a rally of 50-60,000 people seeking parliamentary reform was violently dispersed by troops under the authority of the local magistrates. The meeting was the climax of a series of high-profile mass gatherings for parliamentary reform. It was transparently peaceful but the frightened magistrates, thinking back to an abortive rising in 1817, sent in the troops. Under the noses of the national press, eleven people were killed (a toll which later rose to seventeen) and over six hundred and fifty wounded, a quarter of them women, some of them children, many of them by sabre wounds. ‘This is Waterloo for you!’ cried out some of the special constables in triumph, and the event was soon dubbed ‘Peterloo’ in the radical press. Middle-class and working-class reformers united in outrage, while for several months afterwards armed rebellion appeared to threaten from below.

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: Teaching History
Publisher: The Historical Association
ISSN: 0040-0610
Departments: Academic Departments > Institute of Arts (IOA) > Humanities
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2017 12:41
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2024 20:16


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