Next walk(s): Sun 9 August 2015: “The Story of the Peterloo Massacre”.
Meet: Midland Hotel, Peter Street, 12 noon.
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 more than 650 were injured. The event, one of the most violent episodes in English political history, became known as the Peterloo Massacre.
The first few decades of the 19th century, despite being enshrined in public imagination as the elegant age of the Regency, were a time of severe political repression in England. The Conservative government of Lord Liverpool was fearful of the kind of revolutionary activity recently witnessed in France and so decided to stamp out all dissent and free speech.
The government was at war with France which saw Wellington triumph over Napoleon’s forces at Waterloo in 1815.
But as Paul Foot once wrote, the British government also waged war against its own people.
• This Peterloo walk has been devised by Ed Glinert, political commentator with 30 years’ experience for various leading newspapers, magazines and publishers, who worked with Paul Foot at Private Eye.
We go into extraordinary detail, explaining not just the momentous events of the day itself, 16 August 1819, but bringing in the birth of the Manchester Guardian, the Cato Street Conspiracy, Tom Paine’s bones, the Six Acts – even Anthony Burgess.
This is our annual round-up of the entire story, staying close to St Peter’s Field. This year it takes place a week early, on the date originally scheduled for the rally, so as not to clash with the annual events.
Ed Glinert, who has researched the story for decades, brings his unique touch to this chilling story.