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Lord Mayor visting on anniversary of Peterloo

Lord Mayor visting on anniversary of Peterloo

16 August 2010

The museum is delighted to be welcoming the Lord Mayor of Manchester today as part of a city wide visit to various venues associated with the Peterloo Massacre. 

On 16 August 1819 hundreds of people gathered on St Peter’s Fields to hear Henry Hunt speak about social and political reform.  It was a peaceful meeting but interrupted by the cavalry charging the crowd and fifteen people died and more than 600 people were injured.  It became known as the Peterloo Massacre. 

In recognition of the anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre, the Lord Mayor of Manchester will visit different points of interest around the city which are linked to this important historical event.

10.45am – Peterloo Blue Plaque, located on Southmill Street (off Peter Street) on the side of the former Free Trade Hall building (now the Radisson Edwardian Hotel).

11.15am – John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate
An historic manuscript recording compensation given to those injured in the 1819 massacre will be viewed by the Lord Mayor. It has recently been chosen by Unesco as a ‘memory of the world’ to protect and promote significant archive material.

12.05pm – People’s History Museum, Left Bank, Spinningfields
The new museum galleries start with a permanent display about Peterloo. 

The Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Mark Hackett, will take part in a historic trail around the city tracing important items and documents relating to Peterloo.

The blue plaque, which pays tribute to the events of 1819 is located on the site of St Peter’s Fields where the meeting was held (now the Radisson Edwardian Hotel) and this is the first location the Lord Mayor will go to pay his respects.

He will then visit John Rylands Library to view an important historical document, detailing the compensation paid to the victims of Peterloo. Unesco – United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation – has identified the document as a ‘memory of the world’, which should be preserved as part of a project to protect and promote significant archive material.

The Lord Mayor’s tour will then end at the People’s History Museum, which tells the story of Britain’s struggle for freedom and democracy over two centuries.  The story begins with the Peterloo Massacre and it is this section of the story that the Lord Mayor is visiting specifically.  Among items of interest on display is a truncheon taken from a Special Constable at Peterloo by the great-great grandfather of Thomas Stone Williams, a former Lord Mayor of the city. After taking the truncheon, Williams’ ancestor is then said to have hidden in a public house in Factory Lane on the corner of Rochdale Road, Barnes Green. The truncheon was donated by the Williams family in 1999 and is now on display in the Peterloo section of the new museum.

The Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Mark Hackett said: “The 16 August marks Manchester’s proud history of fighting for democracy, freedom and justice and we should remember all those Mancunians who gave their lives for this cause.

“We must preserve this history in order that future generations can learn about the city’s radical past and I am very much looking forward to following this historical tour around the city to commemorate such an important date in our history.”

Plans are currently underway to create a permanent monument in the city to honour Peterloo, which will be located in St Peter’s Square as part of the town hall transformation project.