Source 3b

Extract 3b: Article on a riot in Preston from the ‘Illustrated London News’, 20 August 1842, Catalogue ref: ZPER 34/1 f.236


This was at eight o’clock; and the public functionaries [town officials], accompanied by the detachment of the 72nd [Regiment], went down Fishergate, and met the mob near Lune-lane. The rioters opened two divisions [parted] for the purpose of the military passing through; but the orders were to let no one pass. The mob the 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, 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 Capt. Woodford, that it felled him to the ground, and while there had the brutality to kick him. Immense bodies of stones were now thrown at the police and soldiers, many of the former being hurt; and part 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; the military immediately obeyed, and several of the mob fell. This did not appear to have much effect, for one fellow named Lancaster 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 mob, and they began to separated, the mayor, military, and magistrates coming up the street. It is scarcely know how many have been wounded, but it is supposed from12 to 15, some of them mortally [killed]. Fire have been taken to the House of Recovery; and in the course of the morning one of the five had his leg amputated above the knee, the bone being completely splintered by the ball [metal shot]. A lad was shot through the wrist, the ball grazing his side. It is believed his hand must be amputated. One man was shot in the back, where the ball still remains in the bone, and cannot be extracted. Two are shot through the chest.

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  • What was the Riot Act? Find out what this means.
  • What does it this law say about the government’s view on protest?
  • Why did the soldiers start firing at the crowd?
  • How many people were wounded as result?
  • What was ‘the House of Recovery’ do you think?
  • What words are used to describe the protesters in both extracts?
  • Can you describe the tone and attitude of the article as a whole?