The Peterloo Memorial Campaign has been set up to lobby for a RESPECTFUL, INFORMATIVE and PERMANENT
memorial to this profound event.
Peterloo was a critical event not only because of the number of people killed and injured, but because ultimately it changed public opinion to influence the extension of the right to vote and give us the democracy we enjoy today.
We've discovered that we are part of a long tradition, people have been demanding a fitting memorial for well over a hundred years! Let's make it happen.
Currently the only public memorial is a commemorative plaque on the side of the Radisson Hotel, formerly the Free Trade Hall. We have successfully campaigned to have the old plaque replaced with one that is accurate and informative.
An 1842 obelisk-style monument to the event in Ancoats once existed, but deteriorated so badly it was demolished by 1888.
A 1951 mural in the former Free Trade Hall (sold to the Radisson Hotel chain, who have converted the building into a luxury hotel) still exists in an upstairs corridor, but it, sadly, is as strikingly 'airbrushed' as the plaque, showing washed out, blank banners, protesters apparently viciously fighting amongst themselves, and the cavalry coming to the rescue.
We want to see a permanent statue in a prominent position within St Peter's Fields. The call for an appropriate public remembrance isn't without precedent. It's been going on since the 1830's!
In a 2006 Guardian newspaper poll 269 voted for a greater memorial to this battlefield of democratic martyrdom second only to The Putney Debates. (The Guardian was formed as a direct result of the massacre, and ran a piece 'Battle for the memory of Peterloo' on our campaign).
If Manchester continues to ignore this profound event from its own history, it's hard not to wonder what would the people who lost their lives on the day make of our collective desire to forget them?
Manchester City Council have now committed to a new memorial to Peterloo. We continue to lobby for a memorial that isn't of a meaningless or euphemistic nature.
The commissioning process for a memorial began in 2012, and the plan was to allow just 3 councillors to make the decision in private. Our demand is that the public have a say in approving the final design and that the artist works closely and openly with community groups to develop a memorial that the people of Greater Manchester will identify with, feel proud of and above all which fits the criteria of RESPECTFUL, INFORMATIVE and PERMANENT (RIP).
The council have invited artist Jeremy Deller to submit his concepts for a memorial and the Peterloo Memorial Campaign Group have had some very positive initial meetings with him. More news to follow...
We have held a number of campaign events to keep up the pressure for a fitting memorial, get people involved and to mark each anniversary - see more about Campaign Events.