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 19

the Royal Horse Artillery with two long six-pounders; the guns thus commanded the principal approach to the area. The above are the mounted troops; besides these nearly the whole of the 31st lnfantry were concealed in Brasenose Street; and several companies of the 88th infantry were "in ambush" in the neighbourhood of Dickinson Street; the names of the commanders of all these detachments are given, and the whole force was under the direction of Lieut.-Colonel L'Estrange.

The hustings, which consisted of two carts and some boards, were erected just below Windmill Street, about 100 yards from Mount Street. The speakers faced northwards, towards the Friends' meeting house, close to which was the Friends' school. Here, near a few oak trees, a quantity of loose timber was lying about, of which we shall hear later on. It was about twelve o'clock when a strong double cordon of several hundred special constables was drawn between Mr. Buxton`s house in Mount Street and the hustings. They formed a lane by which, if necessary, the magistrates could communicate with the speakers.


We must now turn to the districts outside Manchester, where preparations were early afoot for the great meeting. Detachments of Reformers were streaming along the main roads towards Manchester, with bands playing and banners flying, and caps of liberty held aloft. These were red peaked caps, of Phrygian shape, and had been used as symbols by the Revolutionists in France. The cap is supposed to have been employed as a symbol of the manumission of a slave in Roman times.

We have actual details of several of these processions - the Middleton, Royton, and Chadderton parties, the Rochdale section, the Saddleworth troop, the Oldham group, and those from Stockport, from Pendleton, from Ashton, and from Bury. The march of the Middleton and Rochdale detachments is graphically described by Bamford, who led the first, the whole contingent numbering, according to his estimate, about 6000 men, with numbers of women and children.

By 8 a.m. all Middleton was astir. The procession was arranged


'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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