A learning programme that will enable young people to explore what happened at the Peterloo Massacre in 1819 and its role in the evolution of British democracy has today (Monday 23 September) been launched. The Peterloo Learning Resources are an important part of the legacy of the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre, which has been commemorated throughout 2019.

Mike Leigh, Director of Peterloo, says, “I am delighted that the new Peterloo Learning Resources have been produced. It’s really important that children and young people are taught about social and radical history in our schools and in any educational or community setting. Hidden histories, like the Peterloo Massacre, are significant moments that have shaped contemporary Britain as we know it. Future generations need to know this. The new learning resources will help to ensure that we never forget what happened on that fateful day of 16th August 1819.”

Despite the magnitude and impact of the Peterloo Massacre, awareness levels of the events, in which a peaceful protest for reform led to bloodshed and loss of life, have remained low. The Peterloo Learning Resources have been created to ensure that Peterloo is not a hidden history with a free set of learning tools created for both primary and secondary students for activities based upon history and citizenship. Young people will gain both a greater understanding of the significance and place in history of the Peterloo Massacre, as well as a connectivity to politics and their own role as active socially aware citizens.

Karen Shannon, CEO of Manchester Histories, says, “We’re really proud of the Peterloo Learning Resources, which have been created alongside historians, teachers and students to ensure they are rich in both historical material, but also in contemporary relevance. The themes of freedom of speech, democracy and protest that flow through them are themes that will resonate with, and empower, young people.”

Lucy Powell, MP for Manchester Central, says, “The Peterloo Massacre changed people’s rights in our country. The changes set in motion 200 years ago directly influences how we live our lives today. And it happened right here in Manchester. Before Peterloo there were no MPs in Manchester, now there are 27 across Greater Manchester. It’s important our children learn about this part of our history. I hope these resources will provide a sense of local history in the Greater Manchester area, and more widely will contribute to the understanding of how a significant past event shaped the way Parliament works today.”

The resources are designed to fit within the National Curriculum for those studying at Key Stage 2 (primary) and Key Stage 3 (secondary). Within them are colourful introductions and activities so that young people can gain an insight into life 200 years ago and why people felt the need to protest, through to life today. The link between what can be learnt from the past and the role of protest in the ongoing fight for equality is there for young people to imaginatively explore and relate to the world today.

The Peterloo Learning Resources are freely available to all and can be downloaded via www.peterloo1819.co.uk/learn/learning-resources/ They include lesson plans, worksheets, assembly introductions and notes for teachers.


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