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 25

a fainting condition. Taylor was quick to seize upon this instance of what he ironically termed "official accuracy". This poor woman had been wounded by the cavalry. She was nevertheless arrested, and confined for over a week at the New Bailey, when "the Court had great pleasure in ordering her immediate discharge".

As the carriage made its way across the square - Mr. Hunt standing up - a great shout arose from a crowd whose numbers have been variously estimated (Mr. Hunt told a London audience afterwards that there were 150,000!), but we shall probably not be far wrong if we put the figure at 60,000. Well might Bamford describe the scene as "solemnly impressive". Arrived at the hustings Hunt was at once voted to the chair, and taking off his white hat, he began his address.

We have abundant material to enable us to reconstruct the scene. Along part of the upper side of Windmill Street ran a row of houses. ln front of these, on the slightly rising ground, stood a number of spectators, and the dense crowd reached from Windmill Street back towards the Friends' meeting house on the north. Mount Street was bounded then on the east by a row of houses reaching, perhaps, one-third of the way along the present Midland hotel; the crowd did not reach right up to these houses, and there were stragglers in the intervening space. It was in this intervening space that the Manchester Yeomanry reined up later on as they arrived. Above the heads of the crowd, at intervals, could be seen the various banners and caps of liberty. Mr. Hunt and the other speakers were standing on the simple hustings facing northwards. The magistrates were watching the proceedings from a window on the first floor of the house of Mr. Buxton in Mount Street. At the window of the room immediately above them stood the Rev. Edward Stanley, Rector of Alderley, an unintentional but keenly observant spectator of every detail. At one of the windows of the adjoining house stood Mr. B. Smith. All around, in the side streets, but not visible from St. Peter`s fields, were posted the regular troops and the yeomanry, and mounted messengers for communication with them were in attendance at the magistrates' house. Among the representatives of the Press were Mr. john Tyas, for the London "Times," Mr. Edward Baines for the "Leeds Mercury," and Mr. John Smith for the "Liverpool Mercury". Purely as a guess, we should be inclined to conjecture that the last of the three may have been the author of the anonymous "lmpartial Narrative".


'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

Peterloo project Menu Page
Peterloo project
Peterloo Project Menu
on our companion website,