The Peterloo Massacre - Manchester 16th August 1819

The Peterloo Massacre - Manchester 16th August 1819

Rowbottom's Comments on Trade and Politics - 1800 to 1819
As Recorded in the Diary of William Rowbottom
Comments and additional information (in italics) are from the transcription by Samuel Andrew,
serialised in the 'Oldham Standard' between 1887 & 1889
Cost of Provisions HERE


All sorts of light goods moderately brisk, but wages declining. Hatting very brisk. Carding, spinning, and roving at factorys work scarse and a deal out of employ.

The export of yarn, which was a growing business, at that time received a severe check through the disturbed state of the continent. This yarn was spun at factories, and hence the stoppage of mills and the scarcity of work.

June 24th -
An excessive drought still continues, and this morning it was such a strong frost that the ground was white over, and water is become so exceeding scarse that even pit water is sold a halfpenny a burn in and about Oldham. The ground in some parts is burned up for want of moisture, although there had been very heavy dues before these frosty nights aproached.

Pit water a halfpenny a burn.” Some people may ask what was meant by a “burn.” A “burn-can” or “great can” was a large can carried on the head. It had usually two handles, one on each side. That handle on the right hand side, when being carried was placed near to the bottom, so that it could be easily reached by the right hand, and firmly held on the head. An expert water carrier, besides carrying a can on his head, would carry in his left hand another can, called a “bant” can

November 30th
In consequence of the unparaled victory of the French arms in totally over-running the King of Prussia and seizing on British property in all places on the Continent, it has consequently thrown the merchants into the greatest consternation. Weaving of all denominations are falling rapidly, and a universall gloom hangs over the lower class of people.

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