In August 2019 this memorial to the Peterloo Massacre was unveiled in central Manchester. The monument is adjacent to the scene where the incident took place and marks its 200th anniversary. Growing up in Manchester, I’d never heard of the Peterloo Massacre and it’s only in the lead-up to the anniversary that I became aware of how significant the event was in British and particularly local history.
On 16th August 1819, 60,000-80,000 peaceful protestors gathered in St Peter’s Field to demand parliamentary reform. At the time many ordinary people did not have the right to vote for their representation in parliament. The crowd was charged down by armed cavalry; 18 people were killed and around 700 injured.
It was a long road to reform after the Peterloo Incident and today the bloody protest and lives lost are remembered in the memorial monument designed by Jeremy Deller. The monument consists of 11 rings inscribed with the names of the 18 victims and the towns from which they travelled to St Peter’s Field. To make the monument more accessible, the design at the top of the mound is also depicted on flat ground next to the memorial.