In this guest blog, Placement Student Amna Khan discusses her favourite part of the People’s History Museum
It was certainly difficult to pinpoint one area or object of interest as there are many elements of the museum that catch the eye, for example the colours, yet if I was to choose it would be the starting point of Main Gallery One; the Peterloo Massacre of 1819. It is a highly symbolic event. For example historian Robert Poole referred to it as “one of the defining moments of its age” perhaps because it caused a great stir in the industrial town of Manchester killing 18 people as well as leading to the Six Acts. But little was done in the name of reform.
There are many objects in the museum that represent the Peterloo Massacre of 1819. This banner from Kirklees Metropolitan Council (and included in the National Banner Survey) states “SKELMANTHORP WILL NOT REST SATISFIED WITH THE SUFFRAGE BEING ANYTHING BUT UNIVERSAL.TRUTH & JUSTICE POURING BALM INTO THE WOUNDS OF THE MCR SUFFERERS.MAY NEVER A COCK IN ENG. CROW,NOR NEVER A PIPE IN SCO. BLOW, NOR NEVER A HARP IN IRE PLAY.”
The above quote shows how strongly the common people felt about the right to vote yet today many people are apathetic towards the electoral system as they feel their vote does not matter. Therefore, it is imperative to encourage people to vote so they can truly bring about change like for example the Chartists did (their story is on display in Main Gallery One).
As the 2015 election approaches, people must be made fully aware of the agendas of each party and they must make sure they vote for the one that will truly bring about change for the country and because we live in a democracy, it is our responsibility as well as right to make our voices heard.
Another object from the massacre is the two swords also displayed in Main Gallery One, attached with the description, “Two swords belonging to a Droylsden man who rode with the Manchester Yeomanry…” The Museum obtained these only a few years ago in 2009.
My time at the museum has been of great interest refreshing my knowledge upon Britain’s revolutionary history and I encourage others especially young people to visit and learn.