Peterloo and Quarry Bank

A print depicting the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester.

200 years after the Peterloo Massacre, discover newly commissioned artworks inspired by conversations about rights, responsibilities, freedoms and the power to create change.

Under the artistic direction of Jeremy Deller, we'll be working with artist family Grace Surman, Gary Winters and their two children Hope and Merrick to mark the Peterloo bicentenary and create two films which will be shown at Quarry Bank and Dunham Massey from 13 July-29 September.

The artwork also forms part of Peterloo 2019, a special commemoration project being led by Manchester Histories and the People’s History Museum

This commission is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England with additional support Art Fund.

The artist family
The artist family of Grace Surman, Gary Winters and their children Hope and Merrick
The artist family

Peterloo and Quarry Bank

This year, we’re exploring the role our places have played in the history of social change. Our national People's Landscapes programme will unearth stories of passion and protest, as we explore the places where people came together to create great change and shape the history of our nation.

In 2019 at Quarry Bank, we’re marking 200 years since the Peterloo Massacre, a key moment in British history when working people marched to demand their right to a voice and we’re cut down by a cavalry charge.

On the 16th of August 1819 thousands of pro-democracy and anti-poverty protesters gathered in St Peter’s Field in Manchester. A cavalry charge to disperse the crowd left an estimated 18 people dead and nearly 700 injured.

An original Peterloo poster, calling for people to gather for an illegal meeting near St.Mary's church (From the Dunham Massey collection held at John Ryland Library)
An original Peterloo poster, calling for people to gather for an illegal meeting near St.Mary's church
An original Peterloo poster, calling for people to gather for an illegal meeting near St.Mary's church (From the Dunham Massey collection held at John Ryland Library)

The massacre was a turning point in our democracy, leading directly to the founding of the Manchester Guardian newspaper and becoming a catalyst for Chartism and other workers' rights movements. 

Quarry Bank mill owner Samuel Greg and his son Robert witnessed the massacre, and later spoke out against the atrocities, giving testimony criticising the establishments response. And whilst we haven't uncovered any evidence that mill workers from Quarry Bank were at Peterloo on that day, they were were certainly representative of the people who attended this gathering - marching across the landscape alongside other working communities toward the demonstration that would end with such violence.

You can discover more about their stories, and learn about the fight for children’s rights in our new ‘Rights of the Child’ exhibition.

" I saw Mr. Hunt's party come into the field; the conduct of the meeting was perfectly quiet and peaceable in every part, until the cavalry attacked them. I felt no alarm for the safety of my property from the appearance of the meeting."
- Robert Hyde Greg