Peterloo, 1819

Working class people held large meetings to protest against the political system. One such meeting happened in Manchester at St Peter’s Fields in August 1819.

The protest

Around 50,000 people arrived at St Peter’s Fields from all around Manchester.

Henry Hunt (a radical speaker) was due to make a speech calling for the reform of Parliament.

Manchester at this time had no police force, so the army were sent to prevent any disturbances. When Hunt began to speak the army attempted to arrest him, and attacked anybody who got in their way.

Eleven people were killed and 400 were injured.

The consequences

  • The government congratulated the army and those involved in keeping order in Manchester.
  • Henry Hunt was sentenced to over two years in prison
  • The government banned meetings of more than 50 people at any one time
  • Tax on newspapers was increased so that working-class people could not afford to read them and they would be less likely to publish negative things about the government