16 August 1819. A peaceful meeting of some 60,000 people at St Peter’s Fields, where the Free Trade Hall and the Theatre Royal are now, called to demand the right to vote, was attacked by the military. A dozen were killed on the spot, more died of their injuries. The injured numbered 650.
Such was the level of paranoia many families didn’t even register their fatalities or injuries for fear of being further targeted.
The build-up to the day, the dramatic events that took place, the remarkable aftermath…Ed Glinert will capture all this on the two tours taking place this Wednesday, the 16th of August.
Such fascinating stories:
* How Henry Hunt, the main speaker at Peterloo, appeared at Manchester’s Theatre Royal the previous January. Scores of people stood and cheered, shouting “Hunt and Liberty!” The feds claimed he booed during the National Anthem and ejected him from his box. The next minute he was back singing the anthem.
* After Peterloo, the government, far from being apologetic, clamped down further on dissent.
* Six months later, a group of London-based anarchists vowed revenge for Peterloo and planned to assassinate the entire British cabinet. Did they succeed?
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