Thursday, August 16, 2012

Manchester Female Reformers At Peterloo Massacre

From the Guardian:
The Peterloo massacre  on Monday 16 August 1819 - 193 years ago tomorrow - took place when a peaceful crowd, assembled to demand the reform of Parliament, was attacked by armed soldiers and yeomanry, leading to many deaths and injuries. The events of the day have been the subject of many books, novels, prints and poems, but the role of women has often been overlooked.

As the reform movement gathered momentum in the spring of 1819, women stepped onto the public stage, setting up Female Reform Societies  in a number of towns. Blackburn women led the way. On 5 July the Female Reformers, described as "very neatly dressed for the occasion", and each wearing a green favour in her bonnet or cap, attended an outdoor public meeting, at which they presented a Cap of Liberty made of scarlet silk to the chair, John Knight.

At least 18 people were killed on the field or died later of their injuries, of whom four were women. These were Margaret Downes – sabred; Mary Heys - trampled by cavalry; Sarah Jones – truncheoned on the head by special constables; and Martha Partington, – crushed to death in a cellar. Of the 654 people listed as being injured, 168 were women.

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