University of Salford archaeologists, alongside community volunteers, are to excavate the Manchester cavalry barracks which housed the troops sent out to disperse protesters in the notorious Peterloo Massacre of 1819.

The dig between 1 and 13 July will investigate Hulme Barracks, which were occupied by the army from approximately 1804 until 1915 and were the base for the Peterloo cavalry of the 15th King’s Hussars who also fought at Waterloo.

Currently the St Georges Park playing fields and community centre, the archaeologists hope to discover a wide selection of finds on the site, which in 1839, was reported to house 399 men and 20 officers. There has been no building work on the site since it was demolished in 1915, so there are high hopes of recovering soldiers’ equipment and everyday items from over 100 years of continuous occupation, which spanned Manchester’s development from a garrison town into one of the world’s greatest industrial cities.

In 1819 the 15th King’s Hussars, alongside the part-time Manchester and Salford Yeomanry, mobilised to disperse up to 80,000 protesters who had gathered in St Peter’s Field to demand political reform. The resulting sabre charge left approximately 15 dead and up to 700 injured. The Hussars were responsible for charging in to break up the crowd, but one officer was also heard trying to restrain the Yeomanry who were further in near the hustings.

The event was popularly dubbed the Peterloo Massacre in reference to the 1815 battle of Waterloo….


A project to keep an eye on

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