The Peterloo Ambassador Programme
In late 2018 Manchester Histories advertised for people from across Greater Manchester to join us in a 24-week training course that would develop their skills and increase their knowledge of the Peterloo Massacre. Every Saturday from January – June 2019, they attended workshops and activities that covered a wide range of subjects.
The Ambassadors learnt more about the events in the UK and overseas leading up to the Peterloo Massacre in 1819. They covered the event itself in depth and discussed its relevance to contemporary society and applied this learning to the three key themes of Peterloo 2019 – Protest, Democracy and Freedom. These sessions were delivered through walking tours, lectures from Professor Robert Poole, exhibition visits and trips to local partnership institutions.
The group then moved on to honing and developing skills in history and heritage such as evaluation, oral histories, archive management and historical research. The workshops on these particular subjects were developed from the skills toolkits that were created in Manchester Histories previous Hidden Histories, Hidden Historians National Lottery Heritage Fund supported project.
The course was designed to build confidence in completing practical historical research activities led by the Ambassadors. Examples of this included the creation of a long view timeline for the peterloo1819.co.uk website and a searchable database of eye-witness testimonials.
Other skills in more general areas that were responsive to the needs and requests of the Peterloo Ambassadors. These included event management, basic first aid and equality and diversity training.
In the summer of 2019 the Peterloo Ambassadors then took a leading role in the delivery of the public events in our Peterloo 2019 hub at Manchester Central Library. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday they managed the Peterloo 2019 information desk in the Shakespeare Hall and they assisted during events in the Performance Space and offsite at partner events.
Some of the Peterloo Ambassadors took on additional responsibilities for the 16th August 2019 commemoration, From the Crowd , taking on the role of ‘Laurels’ who played a central role in getting the crowds involved in the interactive theatre piece.