The partners have been delighted with the response by the public and media to the Peterloo 2019 programme. As a unique opportunity to plan a commemorative programme in an inclusive and collaborative way, Peterloo 2019 has been regarded as a resounding success.
The best practice developed and learning from the project will feed and inspire future initiatives and programmes. Especially the unique fusion of histories, heritage and different art forms to tell stories. Manchester Histories and its partners feel the year’s commemorations have successfully increased awareness of the story of Peterloo and its significance for Manchester and UK political history. With a series of learning resources and online information, Manchester Histories and its partners are in a position to support and inspire school children and the wider public for years to come. The Peterloo programme and events held on the day of the anniversary successfully created a fitting, meaningful and high-profile response that reflected the significance of the event 200 years ago. The programme, whilst honouring and respecting the sacrifice of the 18 people who lost their lives and over 700 people injured on the 16th August 1819, also challenged people to assess the health of democratic processes today, connected to contemporary protests such as climate change and social justice campaigns across the world. The timely release of a new feature film directed by Mike Leigh that premiered in the city at HOME in November 2018, and was screened as part of Peterloo 2019 programme also helped to further raise the profile and awareness of the story. There was significant media coverage, especially in the week of the anniversary, with several features in national newspapers including The Guardian, Independentand Mirror, as well as broadcast coverage on ITV’s News at 10, BBC North West, BBC Radio 4. Both the public event programme and the targeted strands have engaged with a wider range of people, especially young people. There is clear evidence from the NLHF programme that the project succeeded in changing people’s attitudes, again especially the young people directly engaged by the project, who now have a different understanding of the heritage, its relation to their own communities and towards their own ability to be creative and proud of their work. Volunteer Peterloo Ambassadors contributed a significant amount of their time to the project (almost 2,000 hours in training time alone) and developed a broad range of skills through their participation in the programme, as did the young people engaged by the various project strands. People engaged in a range of enjoyable experiences, while learning more about heritage. Partners and those involved gave particular praise to Manchester Histories for having devised and developed such an impressive collaborative project.