Peterloo August 1819: the English Uprising

Historian article

Robert Poole, last updated: 16th August 2019

Robert Poole, historical consultant to the ‘Peterloo 200’ commemorations in and around Manchester over the summer, explores the latest research into those tragic events of August 1819 and their significance in the road to democracy.

On Monday 16 August 1819 troops under the authority of the Lancashire and Cheshire magistrates attacked and dispersed a rally of some 50,000 radical reformers on St Peter’s Field, Manchester. Twenty minutes later some 650 people had been injured, many by sabres, many of them women, and fifteen people lay dead or mortally wounded. Independent witnesses were horrified, for there had not been any disturbance to provoke such an attack, but the authorities insisted that a rebellion had been averted. The casualty figures – for England, at least – were shocking, as was the ferocity of the attack...

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