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 27

to Great Bridgwater Street, on the site of the present Central Station), then along Fleet Street, and so up Lower Mosley Street, where the artillery were posted, to Windmill Street.

Meanwhile the troop of Manchester Yeomanry stationed in Pickford's yard had lost no time in obeying their summons, and not having so far to go, they were easily first on the spot. They came along Nicholas Street and down Cooper Street. As they advanced along this street "at a tolerably brisk pace," a woman, carrying her two-year-old child in her arms, watched them pass, and then attempted to cross the street. Just at the moment, one of the Yeomanry who had been kept behind, came past " at a hand-gallop The woman was knocked down and stunned; the child was thrown several yards, fell on its head, and was killed. This was the first casualty. The sworn affidavits to this incident may be read in the "Hunt Memorial" papers at the Manchester Reform Club. We shall see in a moment that a woman was involved in the second casualty also.

The whole fortune of the day. turned on what happened in the few minutes that followed. lt must be remembered that the troop of Manchester Yeomanry that arrived on the scene first was a local levy formed not long before, for the purpose of aiding the civil power, and consisted largely of local tradesmen, who seem to have been stung by the taunts levelled at them by the labouring classes, whom they were intended to intimidate. There is no doubt that their horses were not under control and that they were therefore not qualified for the difficult task before them. A mere handful of trained mounted troops properly directed, can, by feints, by backing, by rearing, and by skilful manoeuvres, break up and move a large crowd without injury to anyone. All parties are agreed that the Yeomanry halted in disorder. Even Hunt noticed that and remarked upon it, though he was a hundred yards away. On this point we have the clear testimony of the chairman of the magistrates, Mr. Hulton, who in his evidence at the Trial said that "their horses being raw, and unused to the field, they appeared to him to be in a certain degree of confusion Mr. Stanley, again, says: "They halted in great disorder, and so continued for the few minutes they remained. This disorder was attributed by several persons in the room to the undisciplined state of their horses, little accustomed to act together, and probably frightened by the shout of the populace which greeted their arrival." It is impossible to avoid


'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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