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Newspaper accounts of riots in Preston, August 1842
(Catalogue ref: 2a. ZPER 34/1 f.236, Illustrated London News, 20 August 1842; 2b, 2c and 2d. HO 45/249A, Preston Pilot, 13 August 1842)

Source 2a

[The illustration shows male and female rioters knocked to the ground as they clash with armed soldiers. The caption reads:]


Source 2b


… It was scarcely anticipated that any measures would have been taken by the mob to prevent the factories being started this morning at the usual time, however, on one of the bells being rung at a little before six, the mob, which had assembled a short time previous in Chadwick’s Orchard, marched towards the North-road (the direction in which the bell had been rung.) and the first factory them came to was Messrs. Catterall and Co., whose hands they turned out, and then proceeded to that of Mr. F. Sleddon, where preparations had been made for resisting the mob. – A stout resistance was made, Mr. Sleddon himself being on the spot; but they were overpowered by the immense numbers, after some hard blows had been dealt out. Mr. Sleddon was slightly hurt in the affray; and a large number of squares in the factory windows were smashed. The mob then went to the factories to the west of the town, and such as were at work were compelled to relinquish it. At Mr. Dawson’s factory a few squares of glass were broken. By this time the mob had increased most wonderfully, and included a very large proportion of women and children; but its general appearance had a more threatening aspect than at any time during yesterday.

Source 2c

While those proceedings were going on, the Mayor and magistrates assembled at the Bull Inn, where the town clerk joined them, and it was determined to proceed to meet the rioters. This was about eight o’clock, and the public functionaries, accompanied by the detachment of the 72nd, went down Fishergate, and met the mob near Lune-street. The rioters opened into two divisions for the purpose of the military passing through – but the orders were to let no one pass. The mob then proceeded down Lune-street followed by the military, and when near the Corn Exchange halted. The riot act was then read, and Chief Constable Woodford, and Mr. Banister the superintendent of police, endeavoured to persuade the mob to retire for fear of consequences, and while so engaged one of the rioters aimed a stone so surely at Captain Woodford that it felled him to the ground, and while there they had the brutality to kick him. Immense bodies of stones were now thrown at the police and soldiers, many of the former being much hurt, and a party of the mob having gone up Fox-street, they then had the advantage of stoning the military from both sides. Under these circumstances, orders were given to fire, and immediately obeyed, and several of the mob fell. This did not appear to have much effect, for one fellow named Lancaster, who we believe came from Blackburn, came out in front of the mob, and when in the act of lifting his hand to throw a stone, was singled out by one of the 72nd who fired, and he fell. This appeared to put a damper on the proceedings of the mob, and they began to separate, – the Mayor, magistrates, and military coming up street. …

Source 2d

The following are the names of the individuals in the House of Recovery:

William Pilling, aged 21, steam-loom weaver, and worked at Dawson’s. Has lived 12 months in Preston. Shot through the knee: leg amputated.

Wm. Lancaster, aged 23, a ringleader; came from Blackburn “last week.” Shot through the body, and will probably die. This is the man that was shot when in the act of throwing a stone.

James Roberts, 20, steam-loom weaver at Gardner’s. In Preston 12 months. Shot through the wrist.

John Mercer, 27, hand-loom weaver, Ribbleton-lane, shot through the body; not likely to live.

Adam Hodgen, shoemaker, St. Peter’s Square; shot through the back, and likely to live.

M.Namara, in Birk-street, about 21, Preston; shot through the bowels, likely to die.

– Moor, in Heatley-street, worked at Paley’s; shot in the chest – result uncertain.

Glossary  Transcript

fight in a public place

relinquish abandon; give up
functionaries officials
riot act There was a law that a crowd of 12 or more people disturbing the public peace must all leave and scatter when told to (when the Riot Act was read to them by authorities).
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