Manchester’s memorial to the Peterloo Massacre has been unveiled in front of the Central Convention Centre, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the event.
The memorial is situated at the junction of Lower Mosley Street and Windmill Street, near to the former St Peter’s Field where the massacre took place on 16 August 1819, when a peaceful crowd of 60,000 protestors gathered to call for parliamentary representation, but were attacked by Government armed forces, killing 18 and injuring 700. The event is seen as a defining moment in Manchester’s history.
Commissioned by the council and designed by artist Jeremy Deller with Caruso St John Architects, the permanent memorial was supported by charity Art Fund, and includes the inlaid names of the 18 who died, as well as the place names of various locations around the North where the protestors marched from.
The response to the unveiling has been mixed, with some seeing the concentric stone steps as subtle and powerful, while others have found the design confusing as the dates of various other Peterloo-esque events from around the world have also been engraved into the platform.
The design has also received criticism due to its lack of disability access, however the council has responded and said: “Details of a proposal for how this will be achieved are being finalised and will be announced in the next few days. Both the council and Jeremy Deller are determined that the solution will be of the highest design quality and make a positive contribution to the overall appearance of the memorial as well as its accessibility, and dialogue will continue.”
Cllr Luthfur Rahman, executive member for skills, culture and leisure for Manchester City Council, said: “The Peterloo Memorial will be a fitting and lasting commemoration of the dramatic events of 1819, when people striving peacefully for democracy were killed and seriously injured, and their wider resonance in the struggle for better conditions.
“The spirit of radicalism which was present on that day is still woven into the thread of the city’s character and we believe this memorial will a visual depiction of that.”