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Peterloo exhibition trailer poster


Fake news. Fractured politics. A state against its people. Discover the story of the Peterloo Massacre in The John Rylands Library’s latest exhibition.

21 March – 29 September 2019

On 16 August 1819, people flooded into the heart of Manchester to demand political representation. Fearing revolution, the state crushed the peaceful protest without mercy. Peterloo tells the story of Manchester’s fight for freedom, as the city marks two centuries since one of the darkest moments in its history.

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Come to an event

Immerse yourself in the story of Peterloo with our events programme.

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Explore the collection

View our unique collection of historic Peterloo documents online.


About the exhibition

Uncover the personal stories behind the protest that shocked Britain. Explore original handwritten records to learn the names of the ordinary Mancunians who sacrificed their lives for liberty. See the documents that show how the city authorities tried to conceal the atrocities they committed against their own citizens. Get up close to historic newspapers, and be inspired by the journalists who tirelessly sought to report truth, expose corruption and seek justice.

The Peterloo Massacre was a crucial step on Britain’s long journey to democracy. In today’s climate of heated political debate, viral media and clashing opinions, the story of these Manchester radicals resonates more than ever before. Come and consider: how different is Britain 200 years later?

Watch our videos

Find out more about the exhibition by watching our videos.


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