Oxted  District History Society - Article
Oxted  District History Society

Bob Evans, former Chief Planning Officer at Tandridge District Council, gave an illustrated lecture to the Oxted & District History Society at the last meeting of its 2018-19 Season on ‘The Peterloo Massacre’. 

Manchester expanded rapidly in the Industrial Revolution from 1750 onwards, becoming the centre of the cotton industry.  Returning Waterloo veterans in 1815 found the economy in dire straits, with wage cuts and prices increasing due to the Corn Laws. 

The new industrial towns, like Manchester, had no representation in Parliament, unlike the rotten boroughs of Bletchingley and Gatton.  A march was planned for 16 August 1819 with a meeting to be addressed by the radical Henry Hunt at Peterloo Fields, just outside Manchester.  The local mill and business owners over-reacted, calling in the Army. 

Although the meeting was banned there was a crowd of over 60,000 people.  The armed troops charged, killing 15 people and injuring 600, including many women and children.  The Peterloo Massacre led to Chartism, the rise of the unions and the reform and expansion of the suffrage.


The ‘Peterloo Massacre’ 1819 by Bob Evans