Rise like Lions – research your Peterloo ancestors


18 June 2019
Peterloo-map-69131.png A map of the Peterloo Massacre in 1819
16 August 2019 marked the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester, England, when thousands of peacefully protesting men, women and children were brutally attacked by soldiers. Here is genealogist and social historian Adele Emm's guide to Peterloo resources for those tracing ancestors caught up in the bloodshed

16 August 2019 marked the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester, UK, when around 60,000 men, women and children on a peaceful march calling for parliamentary reform were brutally attacked by the cavalry, resulting in 15 deaths and around 700 people injured.


You can learn about the massacre and its aftermath and the bicentenary events led by Manchester Histories in the August 2019 issue of Family Tree, including an expert article by genealogist and social historian Adele Emm called 'Rise like Lions'. Here are some of the resources Adele suggests to help you investigate your Peterloo ancestors, whether they were marchers, witnesses or in the military.


Useful websites

• Manchester Histories 

Peterloo 2019 events 

The Massacre of Peterloo

The Peterloo Memorial Campaign

Manchester and Lancashire Family History Society, Peterloo descendants project

Peterloo Descendants Project

Peterloo witness project 

Victim John Lees's inquest 

Lists of Killed and Wounded at Peterloo, British Library


Other stories you might be interested in:

The Peterloo Photograph – search for Peterloo descendants

How do you start a family tree?


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Places to visit for Peterloo research

Galleries and museums holding temporary/permanent exhibitions include:


John Rylands Library, Manchester 

The People’s History Museum, Manchester, which is running the Disrupt? Peterloo & Protest exhibition until 23 February 2020 

Working Class Movement Library, Salford

Manchester Central Library, which holds Peterloo archives

• Jeremy Deller’s £1million memorial unveiled 16 August 2019 near the Peterloo site

• Mike Leigh’s film Peterloo. The massacre is roughly ‘real time’ i.e. 15-20 minutes. Watch the official trailer here.


Further reading

• The Casualties of Peterloo, Michael Bush, Carnegie, 2005, lists all casualties not just the dead

• Rise Like Lions, Mark Krantz, Bookmarks Publications, 2011

• The Peterloo Massacre, Joyce Marlow, Rapp and Whiting 1970, reprinted, Ebury, 2018

• Peterloo, Voices, Sabres and Silence, Graham Phythian, History Press, 2018

• Return to Peterloo, Robert Poole Editor, Carnegie, 2014

• The Peterloo Massacre, Robert Reid, Windmill, 1989, 2018

• Peterloo, The Story of the Manchester Massacre, Jacqueline Riding, Head of Zeus, 2018.


Watch: The Peterloo Visitor film presented by actor Neil Bell, who played radical reformer Sam Bamford in Mike Leigh's film, Peterloo.


Find out more in the August 2019 issue of Family Tree, on sale from 2 July.