Year 5/6 Scheme of Work: Why should we remember Peterloo?

Age of Revolutions Teacher Fellowship outcomes and resources

During the Industrial Revolution in Britain, working people had very poor living and working conditions. Working people didn’t have the right to vote and therefore did not have a say in how to change these conditions. On 16 August 1819, 60,000 people gathered in St Peter’s Field in Manchester city centre to demand the vote. They marched into the city from many surrounding towns to congregate and listen to a speech by Henry Hunt. Fearing revolution, the authorities ordered the arrest of Henry Hunt and armed guards charged the crowd. It is estimated that 18 were killed and nearly 700 seriously injured. The event became known as the Peterloo Massacre.

The year 2019 sees the bicentenary of the Peterloo Massacre. A movie charting the events around 16 August 1819 was released in late 2018. Yet for many people living outside the Greater Manchester area, 'Peterloo' has barely been mentioned in history classes and remains an unknown historical event. In addition to learning about Georgian Britain and the reasons why peaceful protest turned into a tragic massacre, in this scheme of work pupils will also have the opportunity to investigate why some historical events are remembered yet others are seemingly forgotten.

This resource was written by Alison Mansell, teacher at Lunt's Heath Primary School in Widnes and Teacher Fellow of the Historical Association.

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