The museum is delighted to be hosting a series of WEA courses from September 2014 onwards.
You can find out more about the People Make Their Own History course, in our guest blog from WEA tutor Mark Krantz, who is leading the course.
Half the population of Manchester took to the streets in August 1819.
They were joined by protesters from the towns of Oldham, Middleton, Stockport and beyond.
Women led the marchers on their long walk into Manchester for the biggest gathering ever seen of working men and women in England.
Sixty thousand people came to hear the greatest ‘orator’ in the land, Henry Hunt. Their demands were that towns like Manchester should have a representative in parliament – and that working people should have the vote.
They were brutally attacked. Peaceful protesters were cut down by the Yeomanry Guard, armed with sharpened sabres. 18 were killed and over six hundred injured. What became know across the world as the Peterloo Massacre was the first protest movement, the dawn of the working class movement. Those that marched that day ‘made their own history’.
Protesters today stand in a long tradition of struggle that started at Peterloo. The late Bob Crow, leader of the RMT union was one of many speakers to quote the lines of the famous poem written by Shelly about Peterloo. ‘Rise Like Lions’ and ‘We are Many! They Are Few!’ These words are painted on the regional RMT banner made by Ed Hall and carried on many demonstrations today.
The ten week course People Make Their Own History is a learning experience from Workers’ Educational Association in association with the People’s History Museum. Living history characters, access to PHM archives and the exhibitions, will ensure an inspiring course of study.
We will cover Peterloo and the Chartists; the struggles over jobs, against Fascism, and for access the countryside in the 1930s; fighting Section 28 and for LGBT rights in the 1980s; to Stop the War, and the struggle against the Bedroom Tax today.