Peterloo exhibition targets new generation of protesters


The Scum Uppermost, a satirical cartoon of popular radical reform represented as a many-headed monster, and embroidered flags are among the objects being brought together for the first time in an exhibition marking the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo massacre.

Eighteen people were killed and 700 injured at the peaceful protest for democratic reform in Manchester in 1819, and the exhibition will chart its legacy and the ways in which the story was suppressed.

The event led to the formation of the Manchester Guardian and sparked the beginnings of the movement for universal suffrage. The exhibition at the People’s History Museum in Manchester aims to inform a new generation about the massacre’s legacy.

“We’re at a tipping point right now in terms of climate change and democracy,” said the museum’s programme officer, Michael Powell, referencing the recent school climate strikes and women’s marches in which hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets. “So the knowledge of where our rights to protest come from is extremely important. But so many people just don’t know about Peterloo or about working-class history, and so this is something we’re hoping to change.”

Read the feature in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 20/03/19]