Source 2

Engraving showing events at St Peter’s Fields on 16 August 1819 in Manchester. Catalogue ref: MPI 1/134 


The engraving shows how events at ‘Peterloo’ soon became used as radical propaganda. This picture was purchased by John Jenkins, an ex-weaver and ex-Royal Marine, who ‘by the aid of a magnifying glass [made the figures] appear as large as life’ while he described what happened. In November 1819 Jenkins had been exhibiting the picture at Chudleigh, in Devon, when his activities came to the attention of Gilbert Burrington, vicar of Chudleigh and magistrate. Burrington sent Jenkins to the Exeter House of Correction as a vagrant and passed information of his seditious conduct to the Home Secretary. 


House of Correction: a place where those who had committed minor offences and considered capable of reformation were confined. 


A MEETING OF THE RADICAL REFORMERS took place on Monday, August 16th 1819 on St. Peter’s Place, Manchester. And H. Hunt Esquire presided and in a short space of time the Yeomanry came in full gallop upon them, when numbers (dreadful to relate) where (were) rode over and several severely cut by their Swords, some were killed, and a great number wounded together, near One hundred. Above one hundred thousand people were assembled. 


Published August 27 1819 by J. Evans and Sons, 42 Long Lane, West Smithfield 




A. Mr. Hunt taken into Custody by the soldiers and Police Officers 


B. Mr Joseph Johnson [editor of the Manchester Observer] seized by the police 


C. Mr. J. T. Saxton Printer by the same 


D. Sarah Hargreaves of the Female Union 


E. Soldiers pulling and cutting down the Flag and banner of the reformers 


F. The Yeomanry charging 


G. The house were [where] the Magistrates sat 


H. Constables and Special Constables 


I. The 15th Hussars and 31st Regiment of Foot 


*On the reverse of this engraving [not shown] are the following words: 


Taken from the show box of John Jenkins this day 25th of November 1819 by us:


J. Gibbs   Constables of Devon

G. Davis


« Return to How did the government respond to a mass protest at ‘Peterloo’ in 1819?
  • Can you describe what is happening in this scene? 
  • What do the flags reveal about the purpose of the meeting? 
  • Does the source infer anything about the role of women in political protest? 
  • Who does the artist show sympathy for? How is this achieved? 
  • What is the value of the original caption and key displayed with the image? 
  • What other sources would be useful to understand what happened? 
  • Why do you think John Jenkins was arrested for displaying this picture? [See task caption] 
  • What are the similarities and differences between this source and the illustration image for the lesson? 
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of visual evidence?