Tour led by Ed Glinert, the only Manchester guide who has worked with both legendary campaigning journalist Paul Foot (author of Red Shelley) and Mike Leigh (director of the Peterloo film).
16 August 1819: troops charged 60,000 Mancunians at a rally called to lower the price of bread and demand the vote. More than a dozen people died and some 650 were injured. The event, the most violent episode in English political history, became known as the Peterloo Massacre.
A memorial to Henry Hunt, the main speaker at Peterloo, jailed for two years for his part in the demo, was erected in 1842 “to perpetuate the memory of Henry Hunt and those who fell in that action (Peterloo), and thus to show to future generations how the people of these times esteem sterling worth, and how they appreciate genuine patriotism.”
The authorities panicked again and clamped down on dissent. This time the reformers caved in and the inauguration was called off although thousands lined the streets to witness its arrival. In 1888 it was supposedly demolished, having crumbled to dust, the stone sold. Maybe it will magically re-appear in time for the imminent 200th anniversary. The following January C.P. Scott, editor of the Manchester Guardian, launched a scheme to erect a new monument to Hunt but insufficient funds were raised.
This tour reflecting on the events of Peterloo, the build-up, the horrors of the day, the appalling aftermath, has been devised by Ed Glinert, political commentator with 35 years’ experience for various leading newspapers, magazines and publishers, who worked with Paul Foot on Private Eye. and as Foot once wrote, while the government was at war with France, which saw Wellington triumph over Napoleon’s forces at Waterloo in 1815, the British government was also waging war against its own people.
Ed Glinert, who has researched the story for decades, brings his unique touch to this chilling story.