Next 2017 walks: Sun 19 Feb, Sun 9 July.
Meet: Central Library, St Peter’s Square, 1.30pm.
This tour about the awful events of the Peterloo Massacre, staying close to the site of St Peter’s Field where it took place, has been devised by Ed Glinert, political commentator with 30 years’ experience for various leading newspapers, magazines and publishers, who worked with Paul Foot on 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.
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.
Ed Glinert, who has researched the story for decades, brings his unique touch to this chilling story.