Peterloo massacre victims remembered 199 years on as People’s History Museum issue rare medal

The People’s History Museum will mark the 199th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre by displaying a recently acquired commemorative medal.

The New Peterloo Medal will be displayed for the first time at the People’s History Museum from the evening of Thursday August 9-Friday August 31.

The Peterloo Massacre occurred on August 16,1819 when 60,000 people gathered on what was then known as St Peter’s Field in Manchester, seeking the reform of parliamentary representation.

When troops charged the crowd the peaceful protest was turned into a massacre and an estimated 18 people lost their lives. It is thought the medal may have been produced to raise funds for the victims of the massacre.

While there were several commemorative medals produced following the massacre – with a different example already on display in the museum – The New Peterloo Medal is believed to be the only one of its kind uncovered to date.

The new acquisition features a more aggressive slogan than its counterparts. The front of the coin depicts a scene with the yeomanry riding into the crowd, one individual holding up a cap of liberty on a pole. 

The inscription on the back reads, “The magistrates and yeomanry of Manchester God confound them”, and “These things will not endure or be endured” around the edge.

The New Peterloo Medal has been acquired thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Collecting Cultures programme that allows museums, libraries and archives to develop their collections through acquisition projects. 

The arrival of the medal will coincide with a special event at the People’s History Museum  – Radical Manchester: Meet the Activists  – on Thursday (6.00-7.30pm).

The free event is part of the museum’s monthly Radical Lates – when the museum stays open until 8.00pm – and campaign groups from across Greater Manchester will be there on the night, providing information about their meetings, and campaigns people can get involved in today.

Jenny Mabbott, head of collections at People’s History Museum, said: “As we head towards the 200th anniversary of Peterloo and during the centenary year of the first women obtaining the vote, there couldn’t be a more appropriate time to reflect upon the themes of protest and democracy which this historical event brings to the fore.

“The New Peterloo Medal is an incredibly exciting and rare addition to our existing Peterloo collection and is definitely a must see for anyone who wants a taste of what’s to come at the People’s History Museum in 2019.”

From January 2019 the museum will explore the legacy of Peterloo with a new display of banners  selected to reflect key moments of protest, while in spring the museum’s main exhibition Disrupt? Peterloo & Protest will open, featuring objects from its unique collection, including original Peterloo artefacts and newly acquired pieces, such as this medal. 

People’s History Museum is open seven days a week from 10-5. Entry is free, with a suggested donation of £5. Radical Lates are held the second Thursday of every month, 10-8. To find out about visiting, its events programme and more, visit

Related Articles