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How should we remember Peterloo?

Peterloo massacreThis enquiry on the Peterloo Massacre makes for excellent interpretations work. The students are introduced to the tiny commemorative plaque on the wall of Manchester’s Free Trade Hall.

A few years ago,  a group got together to protest about this poorly worded and insulting memorial. The students’ job here is to read the plaque and work out what really happened at Peterloo.

Then, armed with new knowledge, they can begin to unpick why the recent protesters were so angry, before creating their own less insulting version.

This enquiry teaches the students a number of important ideas about historical interpretations. It analyses the wording , then it helps them understand how the interpretation has been affected by the context in which it was created in. It also unpicks the relationship between the interpretation and the available evidence.Finally it helps them understand the interpretations purpose – in this case to commemorate.

Find more out about historical interpretations here.


Lesson includes:

  • Peterloo Presentation (PowerPoint)
  • Peterloo Enquiry Write-up (PDF)
  • Resource Sheet 1 (PDF)
  • Resource Sheet 2 – Jumbled Story (Doc)
  • Resource Sheet 3 – Jumbled Story Differentiated (Doc)
  • Resource Sheet 4 – Cards (PDF)
  • Resource Sheet 5 – Correct Order (Doc and PDF)
  • Resource Sheet 6 – Correct Order Differentiated (PDF)
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