The Massacre of Peterloo, Manchester, 16th August 1819

The Peterloo Massacre - Manchester 16th August 1819

'The Story of Peterloo' by F.A. Bruton, Pub. 1919

Page 6

built in 1794 (the site is now marked by a stone cross) stood in the open to the north-east. The whole space now occupied by the Midland hotel was then a high-walled garden, in which stood a residence known as Cooper's cottage; at the south-western corner of this enclosure, where we now see the Buffet of the Midland, stood a row of some half-dozen houses, facing Mount Street, in one of which - the residence of Mr. Buxton - the magistrates assembled on the eventful day. From this house a double cordon of some hundreds of special constables reached as far as the hustings, which we have already located. The troops employed were concealed at some little distance from the area, in the side streets; one body being accommodated in Pickford`s yard, off Portland Street.

The streets of Manchester, if we will only see them aright, are thronged with the memories of nearly two thousand years; of the many epoch-making events that have been associated with them, few, if any, have sent such a thrill through the country as the tragedy which took place in the area we have just defined on the I6th of August, 1819, when there assembled here what proved to be the most important of all the many meetings in favour of Reform which were held in the early part of the nineteenth century.

The slight sketch which follows [see map] is an attempt to give as vivid, accurate, and impartial an account of this event as may be possible after the lapse of a hundred years. ln order to do that intelligibly, it will be necessary to name a few of the sources from which information is obtainable.


Though no monograph on the tragedy of Peterloo has appeared so far, the literature dealing with the subject is considerable. We turn first of all, naturally, to the periodical publications of the day - the local newspapers, of which there were five, the London and provincial press, and the monthly and quarterly magazines. Of the five local papers, all weekly, two favoured the " Reformers," as the agitators among the working classes were called at the time; the other three were more or less antagonistic to them. For a proper understanding of the occurrences of the day it is advisable to follow the issues of these papers for many months, indeed for several years, before and after the


'The Story of Peterloo' by F.A. Bruton, Pub. 1919
Written for the Centenary, August 16th, 1919'.by F.A. Bruton, M.A.(of the Manchester Grammar School.
Download .pdf copy from the Internet Archive HERE

Transcribed here by Sheila Goodyear 2019

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