Ed Glinert, who has worked with the legendary campaigning journalist, Paul Foot, and Mike Leigh, director of the soon-to-be-realised film, Peterloo, will be leading a tour this Saturday at 2pm from Central Library: “In Search of the Peterloo Memorial”.
There are a thousand Peterloo stories. These will be going into Glinert’s forthcoming Manchester Encyclopaedia and featured at length on this website in 2019, the year of Peterloo 200. Here’s one:
Lord Castlereagh, the late 18th century Tory politician involved in the subjugation of the 1798 Irish rebellion which brought Ireland under British rule, was by 1819 foreign secretary and leader of the House of Commons. He was vilified by the poet Shelley in the Peterloo poem The Mask of Anarchy in the opening line: “I met Murder on the way/He had a mask like Castlereagh”.
A few years later the public, killed and injured by Castlereagh’s soldiers, got revenge of sorts. By 1822 Castlereagh was deemed insane. After telling colleagues: “I’m mad. I know I’m mad”, he asked his doctor for the precise location of his jugular vein and deliberately cut an artery with a small knife, bleeding to death at his Kent country seat. When his coffin was borne on a gun carriage to Westminster Abbey it was booed in the street.