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Wherever possible publication details such as ISBN number, author's name, publisher and date have been appended. 

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PETERLOO - Voices, Sabres and Silence. 

Graham Phythian - 2018


Robert Poole (Ed.) 2012


Polyp, Shlunke & Poole 2019


Robert reid - 1989

PETERLOO - The Massacre and its Background

Donald Read - 1958


Michael Bush - 2005


Philip McKeiver -2009


Francis Archibald Bruton - 1921


Francis Archibald Bruton - 1921


Jacqueline Riding -2018


Mark Krantz - 2011


Socialist Party Publication


Robert Walmsley - 1989


Joyce Marlow - 1970


Robert Poole -2019




R. J. White - 1957


Magdalene Goffin (Ed.)


R. Hargreaves A. Hampson - 2018


Samuel Bamford - 1843


Morris Garrett - 1992


Robert Poole (Ed)


Joe Pimlott- 1999


Rev William Hay - Volumes 9 & 10



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On 16 August 1819 on St Peter’s Field, Manchester, a peaceful demonstration of some 60,000 workers and reformers was brutally dispersed by sabre wielding cavalry, resulting in at least fifteen dead and over 600 injured. Within days the slaughter was named ‘Peter-loo’, as an ironic reference to the battleground of Waterloo.

Now the subject of a major film, this highly detailed yet readable narrative, based almost entirely on eyewitness reports and contemporary documents, brings the events of that terrible day vividly to life.

In a world in which the legitimacy of facts is in constant jeopardy from media and authoritarian bias, the lessons to be learned from the bloodshed and the tyrannical aftermath are as pertinent today as they were 200 years ago. Film director Mike Leigh has defined Peterloo as ‘the event that becomes more relevant with every new episode of our crazy times’

PETERLOO - VOICES SABRES AND SILENCE. Graham Phythian 2018. The History Press. 978-0-7509-67439-5

Graham Phythian is a retired teacher. He has written a local history column for the South Manchester Reporter and is a regular contributor to Soccer History magazine. He is the author of seven books on regional and sport history, including Manchester at War and South Manchester Remembered.

The Peterloo massacre of 1819 is one of the landmarks of British history. Notwithstanding the weeks of legal argument and the decades of noisy disputes about who was responsible, the sheer quantity of information is exceptional, so the basic facts have never been in serious doubt.


This book, however, published in time for the bicentenary, offers many new perspectives and crucial new evidence, adding significantly to our understanding of the event and the many issues surrounding it.



RETURN TO PETERLOO. Ed. Robert Poole 2012. Manchester Regional History Review Volume 23.

978-1-85936-225-9      Available online at

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Robert Poole is a historian and writer, based in Greater Manchester, and Professor of History at UCLan, Preston. 

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This volume provides a narrative account of the events leading to the charge of a strong force of yeomanry and regular cavalry into a crowd of more than 100,000 workers gathered for a parliamentary reform meeting on St Peter's Field, Manchester in August 1819.


Several were killed and dozens sabred and badly wounded. The book describes, with much contemporary detail, the nature of a society powerfully influenced by technological change in the years leading to the massacre.

THE PETERLOO MASSACRE. Robert Reid. Heinemann 1989. 0-434-62901-4

(This volume has been re-published in 2018 to coincide with the release of the Mike Leigh film 'Peterloo' and the 200th anniversary in 2019)

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The purpose of this study is to fill in the background to an event which, as a name, is one of the best known in nineteenth-century history.

The question of why the crowds came together is fundamentally an economic question: the Lancashire operatives were spurred to attend the great meeting by the pressure of overwhelming economic distress. The question of how the crowds assembled is one of political organization: it centres round the working-class Radical Reformers and their extensive network of agitation.

The first part of the present study attempts to deal with the economic background to Peterloo, and the second with its political background; part three describes the actual course of events up to and including the massacre, and part four discusses the aftermath of Peterloo.

PETERLOO The 'Massacre' and its Background. Donald Read. Manchester University Press 1958. 

Donald Read was Assistant Lecturer in History at The University of Leeds.

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A true account of the Peterloo Massacre which occurred to the backdrop of the Industrial revolution and the social injustices of the working class poor. The 'illegal' meeting calling for Parliamentary reform, took place at St. Peter's Field, Manchester, on August 16th, 1819. Between 60-80,000 people turned up on that fateful day. From the orders of the local magistrates, the cavalry was ordered to break up the meeting. With sabres drawn, they charged into the peaceful crowd leaving 15 people dead and 400–700 injured.

Illustrated with pictures of the protagonists, maps and relics of the massacre and eye witness testimony to the events of that day, make this book compelling reading of an event that deserves more prominence in British history.

THE PETERLOO MASSACRE First published by Readers' Union, 1970. Other editions available

Joyce Marlow was born and grew up in Manchester. She started her working life as an actress before turning to full-time writing. Married with two sons, she lives in the High Peak district of Derbyshire.

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Eight surviving Peterloo casualty lists offer detailed information about the victims and their attackers, and allow the first truly objective assessment of the day's events. In this important new study, Professor Michael Bush analyses these lists in order to determine the true scale and nature of the atrocity, concluding that the epithet 'massacre' is fully justified. The lists also provide fascinating personal information about the reformers, including the many women who took part and who suffered disproportionately at the hands of the military and police.

Michael Bush provides detailed listings of every known casualty - a most useful tool for genealogists as well as local historians - and draws highly significant new conclusions that will resonate loudly with all those interested in Britain's slow and painful march towards political democracy.

THE CASUALTIES OF PETERLOO Michael Bush, Carnegie Publishing Ltd. 2005. 978-1-85936-125-2

Michael Bush taught modern History at Manchester University until 1994. In 1999 he became Research Professor in Modern History at Manchester Metropolitan University. He also works for the Manchester Centre for Regional History. 

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Throughout this book the author has used the relevant historiography, and selected contemporary sources, to illustrate the diversity of opinion about Peterloo and to suggest that many of the myths associated with this event are of questionable historical validity or, that at least there are other more plausible well documented interpretations and eyewitness accounts that warrant equal consideration.

Philip McKeiver discovered that his great-great-great-grandfather, Elijah Ridings, led a group of Radical Reformers to the protest on August 16, 1819. Elijah went on to write stories and poetry about the event which Philip discovered by chance in Chetham’s Library in Manchester.

Philip, who lives on Royle Green Road, Northenden, said he was pleased to discover the actions of his ancestor.

He said: "I’m really proud to think of what Elijah did when he was only 17.

"He led the Miles Platting contingent and carried a banner to stand on St Peter’s Field on what became one of the bloodiest days in Manchester’s history. I was surprised when I found out that my great-great-great-grandfather was involved and that as a young lad he possessed an incredible amount of courage to fight for what he believed in."

PETERLOO MASSACRE 1819 Philip McKeiver. Advance Press, 2009  978-0-9554663-1-1


The Peterloo Massacre occurred at St Peter's Field, Manchester, England, on 16 August 1819, when cavalry charged into a crowd of 60,000-80,000 that had gathered to demand the reform of parliamentary representation.

Shortly after the meeting began local magistrates called on the military authorities to arrest Hunt and several others on the hustings with him, and to disperse the crowd. Cavalry charged into the crowd with sabres drawn, and in the ensuing confusion, 15 people (including women and children) were killed and hundreds were injured.


Within this volume are published three eyewitness reports of the event which F. A. Burton thought worthy of publication along with his "Story of Peterloo."

THREE ACCOUNTS OF PETERLOO BY EYEWITNESSES 1921 Francis Archibald Bruton. Manchester University Press. 

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Mark Krantz explores the history and the lessons of Peterloo in his pamphlet Rise Like Lions.

The title comes from a line in Percy Shelley’s poem The Masque of Anarchy, written in response to the massacre.


Mark explains the appalling conditions and exploitation faced by workers in the Industrial Revolution that led to this resistance.

He plots the revolts, politicisation and development of the first organised working class movement, under banners such as “Unite and be free” and “Equal representation or death”.


The continued fightback that Peterloo inspired and informed are explored with clarity and warmth.

Rise Like Lions analyses a crucial chapter in the rich history of a city once described as “the most seditious part of the country”

RISE LIKE LIONS 2011. Mark Krantz, Bookmarks Publications. 978-1905192-85-4

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As the bicentenary of the Peterloo massacre approaches, the publication of this pamphlet by the North West Socialist Party is extremely timely. In six short, crisp chapters, mostly newly written for this publication, the authors set the massacre in the context of the class struggle of the time, as few conventional authors do.

The pamphlet offers a comprehensive analysis of the situation facing working people in the early 1800s: the halving of weavers' wages, a doubling of grain prices between 1816 and 1817, food riots, the driving of impoverished agricultural labourers into the cities, and so on.

All this was against a background of acute state repression. The workers combine in unions. They strike, rise up and explore every possible tactic. The nascent working class is excluded from the franchise. Rotten boroughs have almost as many MPs as electors. Swelling cities like Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham are totally unrepresented in parliament.

Workers demand the right to vote, yet also strain against private property, the monarchy and the state. With rare exceptions, they are abandoned and disappointed by middle-class radicals. With increasing self-confidence they prepare the ground for what the pamphlet calls 'the world's first national workers' movement': Chartism.


THE PETERLOO MASSACRE. North West Socialist Party  978 - 1 - 870958 -88 - 2

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Manchester, August 1819: 60,000 people had gathered in the cause of parliamentary reform. To those defending the status quo, the vote was not a universal right, but a privilege of wealth and land ownership. To radical reformers the fundamental overhaul of a corrupt system was long overdue.

The people had come to hear one such reformer, Henry Hunt, from all over Lancashire, walking to the sound of hymns and folk songs. By the end of the day fifteen of them, including two women and a child, were dead or mortally wounded, and 650 injured, hacked down by drunken yeomanry after local magistrates panicked at the scale of the meeting.

The British state, four years after defeating the 'tyrant' Bonaparte at Waterloo, had turned its forces against its own people, as they peaceably exercised their liberties.


Jacqueline Riding's compelling book ties in to Mike Leigh's forthcoming film Peterloo, for which the author was historical advisor, in advance of the bicentenary of Peterloo in 2019.

THE STORY OF THE PETERLOO MASSACRE. Jacqueline Riding 2018. Published by Head Of Zeus.  1786695839

Jacqueline Riding is a historian and art historian specialising in British Art History and History of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. She writes books and catalogue essays, articles and reviews, for the general reader and the specialist.

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PETERLOO - THE CASE RE-OPENED.  Robert Walmsley Manchester University Press 1989  978-0719003929


Mr Walmsley was a Manchester antiquarian bookseller whose interests in this event was aroused some thirty years ago

through documents which came into his possession’

It is possible that he was a descendant of William Hulton (or perhaps married into the family) but there is no firm evidence.


The explosive tale of Peterloo, told through the voices of those who were there. This is a vivid, original and historically accurate 'comic book' visual account of the 1819 Manchester massacre, to be published as part of the 200th anniversary commemorations.


The entire narrative is drawn exclusively from the direct testimony of the time (letters, memoirs, journalist's accounts, spies' reports, courtroom evidence...) carefully woven together by rich, vivid, graphic-novel style illustrations created by professional cartoonist, illustrator and graphic novelist Polyp.


This a vital record of working-class history by Manchester-based authors and artists who have been central in reviving the long-suppressed memory of this shocking and world-changing event.

PETERLOO - WITNESSES to a MASSACRE , Polyp, Shlunke & Poole. New Internationalist 2019  9781780264752

Polyp is the pen name of the cartoonist Paul Fitzgerald, who is based in the UK. Much of his work, particularly his regular 'Big Bad World' feature for New Internationalist, is political. 

Robert Poole is a historian and writer, based in Greater Manchester, and Professor of History at UCLan, Preston. 

Co-author Eva Shunkle has also written 'Little Worm's Big Question' which was illustrated by Polyp

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  • The definitive account of the Peterloo Massacre of 1819 in Manchester, where the English pro-democracy movement met its Waterloo.

  • Based on over 400 eye-witness accounts, many of them newly discovered, and on the full range of Home Office archives, including the Private and Secret papers.

  • A radical revision of E. P. Thompsons classic Making of the English Working Class, emphasizing radical populism, English constitutionalism, the role of female reformers, and the effects of the Napoleonic wars.

  • An unforgettable portrait of Regency Manchester its corruption, its riots, its strikes,

  • and its attempted uprisings.

      PETERLOO - THE ENGLISH UPRISING, Prof. Robert Poole. Oxford University Press 2019  9780198783466

       Robert Poole is a historian and writer, based in Greater Manchester, and Professor of History at UCLan, Preston. 

Poole cover.jpg
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Jeremiah Brandreth, and two of his associates, suffered death by the rope and the axe for high treason on November 7th, 1817. One of his associates, William Turner, cried out on the scaffold: This is all Oliver and the Government. . . . Brandreth's last words were: "God bless you all--and my Lord Castlereagh, too. . . ."

I lived for the first twenty-five years of my life in the Derby and Notts. border-country where these things took place, and where their memory still lingered on among the grandchildren of the men who made The Pentrich Revolution. It became a necessity of the imagination, almost an obligation of the heart, to attempt to re-discover and re-live the thoughts and feelings of that vanished society, where a poor stocking-knitter could suffer the penalty generally reserved for traitors of noble birth, and where a broken-down master builder could figure as the villain in a drama which Shelley saw fit to raise to the level of a national calamity. Jeremiah Brandreth, Oliver the Spy, Shelley . . . a Masque of Anarchy to challenge the mind and heart of a "native". And the challenge ended in a study of the whole troubled scene that occupied the four years between Waterloo and Peterloo. The Derbyshire Rising of 1817 remains the pivot of this book, but the subject ranges widely back and forth, before and after that event. Only so was it possible to understand it.

First published by William Heinemann Ltd. 1957. Later editions by Penguin and Peregrine books.

Reginald White was born in Norwich and grew up in Derbyshire. He was a fellow of Downing College, Cambridge and a university lecturer in history.

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Absalom Watkin came to Manchester in 1801, a poor boy of fourteen, to work in his uncle's business. Through his eyes we see the growth of Manchester from small manufacturing town to major industrial city and witness the changes that growth imposed on its inhabitants. As a young man, Watkin helped to write the famous Peterloo Protest and also to draw up Manchester's petition in favour of the Great Reform Bill. A sharp and critical observer, he was involved in many of the movements for social reform of his day.

His diaries record conversations with famous contemporaries and relate fascinating details of daily living including the prices of food, houses and travel. Although successful in business and public affairs he remained dissatisfied with his own life, unhappy in his marriage and his work, longing, most of all, to write, tend his garden and read alone in his library.
Watkin's diaries are a valuable social document of an important period in English industrial history.

THE DIARIES OF ABSALOM WATKIN. Edited by Magdalen Goffin. Alan Sutton Publishing 1993 0-7509-0417-8

Magdalen Goffin, a descendant of the diarist, has written a commentary which links the diary entries and places them in their historical context.

ELIJAH DIXON played a key role in the Blanketeer's March of 1817. Arrested, chained in double irons and imprisoned without trial, the episode set the stage for the Peterloo Massacre.

Everybody in Victorian Manchester knew of Elijah Dixon. Over a period of sixty years, he was an ever-present force in the tumultuous politics of the town. He worked alongside the great figures of nineteenth century Radicalism, and as 'The Manchester Man' he became the town's ambassador for Chartism. An early apostle of votes for women, Temperance advocate, Christian convert, Dixon rose from poverty to make a fortune as Britain's first mass-producer of matches.

In Beyond Peterloo, Robert Hargreaves and Alan Hampson bring Elijah's previously overlooked yet vital contribution to social reform to life. Set against the backdrop of the Blanketeer's March of 1817 and the Peterloo Massacre of 1819, they reveal the fascinating story of his life and work as Manchester's forgotten reformer.

BEYOND PETERLOO Pen and Sword Books Ltd. 2018  9781526725097

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For author Samuel Bamford, this compelling work was a direct attack on the intractable political forces of the British government, which were never more oppressive than in the early-19th century. His claim to literary fame was writing poetry and prose in support of the common man, and works like "Passages" found an eager, passionate readership among British textile workers.


A man of lively and independent spirit, Bamford was a natural opponent of the political and industrial interests of the British government throughout his long and unusual life. Though never a fire-and-brimstone radical, Bamford was nevertheless a much-loved character commanding respect among his literary peers as well as the working classes. He deserves to be remembered not only for the saltiness of his writing, but also for his effective political voice against the forces of governmental tyranny.


PASSAGES IN THE LIFE OF A RADICAL - Samuel Bamford. 1843 Published by Cosimo Inc. 2005  1-59605-287-2

SAMUEL BAMFORD (1788-1872) was an English weaver, poet, and social reformer. Jailed by the British government in 1819 for his part in the "Battle of Peterloo," Bamford was well known for his compassionate view of the working classes and for his revulsion toward the Britain's landed gentry. Additional works include: Early Days (1849).

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Samuel Bamford was born on February 28th 1788 in Middleton, near Manchester.

He was destined to become one of the leading figures in the movement for the reform of Parliament, and he has gained a secure place for himself in the history of the working class in England.

When Bamford's books (and Early Days and Passages in the Life of a Radical ) they were titled 'The autobiography of Samuel Bamford'.

I do not think he originally conceived them as such. By writing this book I hope to bring Bamford to the notice of many for whom he may just be a name in a textbook.


Morris Garrett June 1992, Middleton.

SAMUEL BAMFORD, PORTRAIT OF A RADICAL - Morris Garrett 1992 George Kelsall, Publisher 0946571201

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Samuel Bamford's "Passages in the Life of a Radical" (1842) and "Early Days" (1848) are among the most important sources for the social history of the early industrial revolution and the radical movement.


What is less well known is that he left behind an extensive, varied and readable collection of other writings. The diaries were written towards the end of his life (1858-1861) and include letters and journalism, both by and about Bamford, closely linked to the diary material.


There is frequent reference to and argument about the early 19th-century radical movement and the Peterloo massacre, and among Bamford's contacts and correspondents were the MPs Richard Cobden and James Kay-Shuttleworth, the pioneer dialect writers Edwin Waugh and Ben Brierley, and mid-Victorian political reformers. Beyond this, the volume provides a combination of diary, letterbook and commonplace book, so that Bamford can be seen in both public and private, as he saw himself, as he wished to be seen, and as others saw him.


This edited edition of the diaries should be of interest to students of radical and liberal politics, literature, popular culture and social history.

THE DIARIES OF SAM BAMFORD, Poole (Ed) 2000  Sutton Publishing Ltd. 13: 978-0750917353

Robert Poole is a historian and writer, based in Greater Manchester, and Professor of History at UCLan, Preston. 

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A book from the excellent Local History publisher, Neil Richardson who brought many stories to the general public and gave many a budding writer the chance to be published in a simple and easily accessible form.

Author Joe Pimlott covers the story of Sam Bamford in some detail with sections not only about his political life but also his childhood in Middleton, his poetry and his final days in Moston.

The book is generously illustrated and provides plenty of background to Sam's activities throughout his lifetime

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF  SAM BAMFORD, - Joe Pimlott 1991 Neil Richardson, Publisher  185216  064  0

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The 17 volumes of scrapbooks contain thousands of newspaper articles, letters, accounts of church proceedings, poems, advertisements and random ephemera collected by the anti-reformist Reverend William Robert Hay (1761 – 1820), an unsuccessful barrister turned clergyman, chair of the Salford Quarter Sessions and scourge of radicals and reformists.

Volumes 9 and 10 primarily cover 1818 – 22, a period of radical ferment in which agitators demanded more rights and power for working people and universal suffrage. Hay vehemently opposed the radicals, backing government measures to repress dissent and even, it is rumoured, running a network of spies and informers.

The scrapbooks, which focus on Manchester, offer a fascinating insight into radical reformist activism in these years and the attempts of the establishment to quash it. Hay often collected multiple reports of the same event in which, as today, the political allegiances and biases of the different sources are evident. The Manchester Chronicle, for instance, a Tory paper which opposed social reform, referred to the ‘seditious activities’ of the ‘mobs’ whereas the Manchester Observer, a paper with a literate working class readership who supported parliamentary reform, was sympathetic to the radicals.

The scrapbooks are in the collection of Chethams Library, Manchester.


Jack Stafford was illiterate and yet, in his own lifetime a book of his poems and songs was published and widely sold in Adshton Under Lyne and the surrounding towns. Jack would often perform his works at meetings and gatherings of his fellow radicals. 

He and several members of his family attended the meeting in Manchester which was to result in the Peterloo Massacre.

This book brings together the songs and poems along with a commentary by his descendent Keith Stafford, in order to make Jack's work once more available to the general public.

'Ashton people played an important part at Peterloo, and John Stafford's poems capture the event in vivid detail. It's great to have such an informative and well-presented edition of the work of this important local writer, with its lively portrait of 19th-century Ashton.'

Robert Poole, author of Peterloo: the English Uprising


'It's great to see a book that puts into sharp focus the creativity of a single protester who was at Peterloo, while still painting a broader picture of the day itself, and then taking the reader still further through some very informative and entertaining asides.'

Paul Fitzgerald - Polyp, joint author of the graphic novel 'PETERLOO: Witnesses to a Massacre' by Polyp, Schlunke and Poole

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