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Peterloo Massacre: In The Library And On Tour

Manchester Central Library will open up its archives and a wreath is to be laid on Peter Street

Published on August 14th 2014.

Peterloo Massacre: In The Library And On Tour

TO COMMEMORATE the 195th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre, Manchester Central Library will host a drop-in handling session in the Shakespeare Hall between 12-2pm on Saturday 16 August.

“I sincerely pray that I may live to witness the punishment of every scoundrel"

Visitors to the library will be able to view and handle archives relating to the massacre, including maps, cartoons and poetry inspired by the tragedy. 

The centrepiece of the handling session is the diary of Henry Hunt, written during his imprisonment at Ilchester Gaol. 

Hunt, a famed public speaker who was set to address the crowds of some 60,000 peaceful pro-democracy protesters before the intervention of the local Yeomanry led to the deaths of 18 people, marked the first anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre with a black border around the diary entry for 16 August and the words:

"I eat no meat this day. 

“I sincerely pray that I may live to witness the punishment of every scoundrel that was instrumental as accessory or principal or in any remote degree concerned in the infamous, cruel, cowardly, impoverished & premeditated assassination, cuttings & murders of peaceable men, women & children at Manchester on this day twelvemonths." 

The Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Sue Cooley, will attend Central Library to view the Peterloo archives and content on the ‘virtual stacks’ in the library’s interactive Archives+ Centre.

At 1pm, the Lord Mayor will be escorted to the Radisson Hotel on Peter Street, where she will lay a commemorative wreath.

The Lord Mayor said: “On 16 August, we remember that dreadful day when the people of Manchester assembled to peacefully demonstrate for the right to vote, only for many of them lose their lives.

“It is fitting that Manchester Central Library is opening up its extensive and fascinating archives for people to see and hold for themselves records of this momentous event in Britain’s history.”

Revolution-Theme-@-Peoples-History-Museum1People's History Museum

In addition to this, the People’s History Museum will be hosting its own event on Sunday 17 August entitled Peterloo - Soldiers on the Rampage. Three local folk musicians will give homage to Peterloo through a series of songs linked together by prose and quotes.

Digitised copies of documents relating to Peterloo held by Manchester Central Library can be seen online here.

More information and tickets for Peterloo - Soldiers on the Rampage can be found here

The Peterloo Massacre Walk - Noon, Saturday 16 August, 2014

16 August, 1819 is the moment that defines the British struggle for democracy, the day that coined a phrase and stirred a nation. Manchester Confidential editor and tour guide will be taking in the key locations associated with the mass protest meeting that ended in death and mayhem. 
'If you want Peterloo explained with verve, wit and real knowledge then this is the easily the best tour around,' Marple Historical Society, 2013.

Meet outside Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, City centre, M2 3JL. Noon Saturday 16 August 2014. Finishes at Central Library 80 minutes later. Price £8. Book here. 

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