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On 14 November the Marx Memorial Library looked back at the Peterloo Massacre. Meirian Jump, Library Manager, opened the meeting by highlighting treasures in the library’s collection including a set of four commemorative ceramics from the James Klugmann Collection. Thanks to support from the Indian Workers Association and Unite the Union, these historic artefacts had been cleaned, photographed and catalogued in recent months, along with the rest of the MML’s ceramic collection.
Professor Mary Davis painted a rich picture of British radicalism in the run up to the 1819 massacre. Her paper underlined the economic hardship fell by many during this period of industrialisation, upheaval and unrest.
Dr Joe Cozens reflected on how Peterloo had been remembered by the left 1819-1919, focusing on themes of state violence, martyrdom, feminist politics and the conflict between democracy and capitalism. We learnt how the Chartists, suffragettes and the post WW1 trade union movement all drew on the memory of Peterloo at different moments during this period.