The Skelmanthorpe Flag

Contributed by Tolson Memorial Museum

The Skelmanthorpe Flag - symbol of political struggle. © Kirklees Museums & Galleries

This flag was made as a reaction to the 1919 Peterloo Massacre in Manchester. It was often hidden from the authorities.The Skelmanthorpe flag is one of the most impressive survivors from the early days of organised labour. It is believed to have been made in Radcliffe Street, Skelmanthorpe near Huddersfield in 1819. It was made to honour the victims of the Peterloo Massacre who were attacked by the Yeomanry during a peaceful demonstration at St Peter's Fields in Manchester.

The bound man is a depiction of the slave in chains, one of the symbols of the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. The image of the single eye was another symbol of justice, the eye of God keeping watch over humankind.

The flag was paraded at mass meetings throughout the area, including a Chartist rally at Peep Green near Hartshead, which was attended by an estimated quarter of a million people. It frequently had to be hidden from the authorities. It was rediscovered in a Skelmanthorpe warehouse in 1884 and given to Tolson Memorial Museum in 1924.

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  • 1. At 13:39 on 4 September 2010, JayGee_BSE wrote:

    The highlighted box says 1919. It should be 1819.

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