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The recent film Peterloo portrayed the circumstances surrounding the Peterloo massacre, almost 200 years ago, looking at the hardships faced by those employed in mills and factories around the British Isles. But not all mill owners were heartless tyrants, as David Wibberley shows, following Robert Owen’s journey from Manchester to New Lanark
New Lanark villagers in the 1890s

CLICK HERE to watch the official Peterloo trailer, a Mike Leigh Historic Drama Movie

During the early part of the 19th century there was a growing discontent among the workingclass population in Britain. The electoral system was corrupt and unrepresentative, the poor had to endure harsh working conditions with low pay. By the end of the Napoleonic wars in 1815, conditions had deteriorated greatly, resulting in periods of famine and chronic unemployment, exacerbated by the introduction of the first of the corn laws, designed to keep grain prices high in order to favour domestic producers.

Desperate for change, the poor started to hold large meetings to protest against the political system. One of the most infamous happened in Manchester at St Peter’s Fields on 16 August 1819. Between 60,000 and 80,000 people arrived at St Peter’s Fields from across Manchester and its suburbs. The radical speaker Henry Hunt was due to make a speech to a peaceful mass meeting calling for the reform of parliament. Sensing trouble, the government sent the army to prevent any disturbances. When Hunt began to speak the army attempted to arrest him and attacked anybody who got in their way. Fifteen people were killed and around 700 injured. The event became known as the Peterloo massacre.

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About History Scotland

The March/April issue of History Scotland is packed full of the latest research news and in-depth reads from experts in the fields of Scottish history, heritage and archaeology. Highlights include: 'The Stewart Queens of Scotland: Margaret of Denmark. New research on the life of Margaret, who reigned alongside James III of Scots Scottish coastal history: a wide-ranging overview of Scotland’s coastline over the centuries A guide to Agricola’s campaign in Scotland Curator review of the new Ancient Egypt Rediscovered gallery at National Museum of Scotland Underwater archaeology at Loch Tay New excavations at the prison of Mary Queen of Scots in Sheffield Castle Plus: Family history advice, archaeology dig reports and finds analysis, history of art series and lots more…​