View of St Peter's Place, 1819

I’m writing this on the anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre, which took place here in Manchester on August 16th 1819.

The events of that day took place on St Peter’s Fields, close to the present day site of the former Free Trade Hall.

Much has been written about Peterloo. It is a significant event in the history of democracy. Similar events continue to take place on the world stage. It has an international dimension.
While it’s an important chapter in Manchester’s story, it’s more than local history.

Maxine Peake recently performed the poet Shelley’s work The Masque of Anarchy, written in response to the shocking events of that day. Today, on the anniversary, she will read the names of those who died. Eighteen died and as many as seven hundred were injured when the cavalry charged the crowd. They had gathered to listen to the orator Henry Hunt. Intended…

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