Peterloo: digitised sources available

Working in partnership with the School of Social Sciences’ sociology department, The University of Manchester Library has digitised a unique collection of documents reflecting the events, and aftermath, of the Peterloo Massacre.

This set of material provides a range of perspectives on that day’s tragic events and its legacy.‌

It includes a full run of the radical newspaper, the Manchester Observer (1818-1822), whose editor, James Wroe, was closely involved in organising the ill-fated meeting.

For the next two years the Observer held the authorities to account, collecting eye-witness accounts in painstaking detail.

Another highlight is the Peterloo Relief Fund book. Recognised by UNESCO on the UK Memory of the World Register, it lists names, addresses and injuries of those caught up in the massacre and the amount of money paid to them.

Papers, letters and placards collected by Rev. William Robert Hay, a leading figure on the magistrates’ side are currently being prepared for digitisation.

This is an evolving collection with further materials to be added.

This is an exciting development for historians and other researchers with an interest in labour, political and social history.

Access the collection online here.

Contemporary illustration of the Peterloo massacre