Keeping the memory of Peterloo alive | Letters

June Purvis says the massacre influenced the suffragettes, Harry Galbraith fears that the people of Britain today are much less likely to show mass dissent, Alan Braddock says Peterloo is not forgotten in Manchester, and John Richardson points out that more people were killed in the 1831 Merthyr risingJohn Harris’s excellent commentary on the 1819 Peterloo massacre (Peterloo shaped modern Britain, as much as any king or queen, 29 October) omitted any reference to the suffragette movement, founded over 80 years later. Emmeline Pankhurst’s paternal grandfather had narrowly escaped death that day and such dramatic and moving stories were undoubtedly told to her four surviving children – Christabel, Sylvia, Adela and Harry – who all became active suffragettes in the Women’s Social and Political Union, founded in 1903 primarily to campaign for the parliamentary vote for women on the same terms as men.The women-only WSPU always had wider social reforms as a key objective, including an end to the sexual abuse of girls and the exploitation of poor women. Its emphasis on equality for women in all walks of life, including the parliamentary franchise, was thoroughly modern.Professor June PurvisUniversity of Portsmouth Continue reading…

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