The Peterloo Massacre, as it's known to a zillion school kids, kicked off in 1819, when over a dozen people were killed and over four hundred were injured as cavalry troops charged into a peaceful human rights demonstration in Manchester attended by thousands and thousands of people who had marched from across the region to be present.
Each year, the commemoration seems to grow bigger, as stars like Christopher Eccleston and Maxine Peake have attended, and a campaign for a proper memorial gathers pace.
This year's event, happening at 1pm on Sunday 20th August in Albert Square, Manchester, will see Christopher Eccleston, John Henshaw, Stella Grundy, George Borowski, Clare Mooney, Jonathan Schofield, C P Lee, Manc Civic Mayor, Kevin Fegan, Ed Glinert and Mike Christodoulou from the Abercrombe pub reading out the names of those who died.
The rally also aims to bring the protesters' surnames back to the scene of the massacre. The Peterloo Memorial Campaign has recently published the most up to date list available of over one thousand people who are known to have been at St Peter's Field in 1819, and is now inviting members of the public to choose and represent a surname…
"We want to fill the space with a sea of surname placards, symbolically bringing these folk back to the site of the massacre" explains Paul Fitzgerald of the campaign "We invite everyone to search the list for a surname they identify with, be it a family link, a location or street, or an occupation. Simply put it on a small banner, and bring it to the rally."
White lettering surnames on a black background will be there to represent those who died. Red lettering on white will be used for the injured, black lettering for the protesters, and blue for the authorities, including those who ordered the attack.
Following the readings of the names, a giant set of correctly oriented compass points will be raised in the square, and the crowd will be invited to form themselves into a map of the regional towns that sent demonstrators to St Peter's Field in 1819.
"From these locations, we'll be inviting them to tell further informal stories of the folk we know where there, eg the Stalybridge Brass Band, who had to climb down a rickety ladder at the back of the pub they were eating in to try and avoid being targeted by the military... or of Mary Fildes, the only woman on the speaker's hustings, who is said to have tried to fend off the attacking yeomanry with a broken flagpole" state the Peterloo organisers.
The Peterloo Tapestry, created at last year's commemoration event, will also be on display in the square. And Maxine Peake will try to be at the event too if she's not on call for filming Mike Leigh's Peterloo movie.
Meanwhile, a surname placard building workshop will be held at Archive+ / Central Library, on the actual anniversary of Peterloo, Wednesday 16th August, with the public invited to drop in between 2pm and 7pm (for more details click here). And, before this event, at 1pm on the same day, which is the actual Peterloo anniversary, a name reading ceremony will be conducted on the paved area outside the Library.
Also, Salford's Working Class Movement Library is staging a free Live History performance of Peterloo on Wednesday 23rd August at 2pm, courtesy of the People's History Museum. No booking is necessary (click here for further details).
See also Salford Star report on last year's Peterloo event - click here