Historian helps school pupils understand Peterloo massacre

University of Kent historian Dr Ben Marsh has co-authored a vivid and historically accurate visual account of the 1819 Peterloo Massacre for schools to mark the 200th anniversary of the event.

In August 1819, 60,000 people gathered in Manchester to demand the reform of parliamentary representation. Magistrates ordered a private militia to storm the crowd, armed with sabres. Around 18 people died and more than 650 were injured. Peterloo: Imagine a World is written as a comic and looks at the event through the eyes and experiences of children.

Peterloo: Imagine a World forms part of the ongoing national Age of Revolution project that is co-ordinated by Dr Marsh, of the University’s School of History.

He said: ‘We’re making this comic book freely available to all schools around the UK and we’ve already sent out 2,000 hard copies.

Its aim is to help students to understand the event, and to identify links and symbols that bridge periods and topics. It will provoke insights into the nature of political protest in British history, its representation in art, and its relevance to the world today.’

The Age of Revolution was launched at Kent in 2017 and is dedicated to linking historians, students, museums and schools together to improve understanding of critical periods in history.