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Peterloo: A Conversation with Jacqueline Riding

Friday 2 November 2018, 4.00PM

Manchester, August 1819: 60,000 people had gathered in the cause of parliamentary reform. To those defending the status quo, the vote was not a universal right, but a privilege of wealth and land ownership. To radical reformers the fundamental overhaul of a corrupt system was long overdue. The people had come from all over Lancashire to hear one such reformer, Henry Hunt, walking to the sound of hymns and folk songs. By the end of the day fifteen of them, including two women and a child, were dead or mortally wounded, and 650 injured, hacked down by drunken yeomanry after local magistrates panicked at the scale of the meeting. The British state, four years after defeating the 'tyrant' Bonaparte at Waterloo, had turned its forces against its own people, as they peaceably exercised their liberties.

Jacqueline Riding was historical advisor on the film Peterloo (2018, dir. Mike Leigh), and is author of the related book Peterloo: the Story of the Manchester Massacre (Head of Zeus, 2018).

A specialist in eighteenth and early nineteenth-century British history and art, Dr. Riding studied at the Universities of Leicester, London and York, and has over twenty-five years of experience as a curator or consultant in a broad range of museums, galleries and historic buildings: she is a former Assistant Curator of the Palace of Westminster, and founding director of the Handel House Museum.  In film, she was the consultant historian on Mike Leigh’s award-winning Mr. Turner (2014) and Wash Westmoreland’s Colette(2018). Her previous publications include Houses of Parliament: History, Art, Architecture (Merrell, 2000) and Jacobites: A New History of the '45 Rebellion (Bloomsbury, 2016). She is currently working on a biography of William Hogarth (Head of Zeus, 2020).

Dr. Riding will discuss her work in relation to Peterloo in conversation with Prof. Jon Mee (English and Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies); this will be followed by opportunity for questions and further discussion.

This event is sponsored by The Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past and The Centre for the Eighteenth Century Studies.

Location: Bowland Auditorium, Berrick Saul Building, University of York Heslington West Campus

Admission: All welcome, admission free