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The Most Radical Street in Manchester? at People’s History Museum

17 July 2019

Saturday 20 July to Sunday 22 September 2019 @PHMMcr

20 July - 22 Sept 2019, The Most Radical Street in Manchester @ People's History Museum. © Katrina Navickas, Illustrated London News and Blerta Dino of University College London

A new exhibition at People’s History Museum (PHM), The Most Radical Street in Manchester? (Saturday 20 July to Sunday 22 September), gives people the chance to discover fascinating stories of protest, and the streets and places where over the centuries ideas worth fighting for were born and championed.

The exhibition has been led by historian Dr Katrina Navickas, reader in History at the University of Hertfordshire, and is based on research funded by The British Academy.  It looks at the connection between the history of protest and democratic politics through locations, serving as a reminder of the individuals that were behind the movements to achieve change for all.

Dr Katrina Navickas says, “The exhibition explores the spaces of protest and demonstration in Manchester and Salford from the Peterloo Massacre in 1819 to the present day.  It also tells the radical history of one street, Cropper Street in Collyhurst, which housed generations of people involved in the 19th century democratic movement.  The Most Radical Street in Manchester? is part of the Peterloo 2019 bicentenary commemorations held across the city, showing the long history of protest for political rights.”

Tracking the streets where some of the city’s radical voices resided, including many of those involved with campaigns for voting reform, the exhibition creates a visual map of where many of these people came from, often with surprising results.  This includes looking at the addresses of the 250 people arrested at the March of the Blanketeers in 1817, the home addresses of Peterloo participants in 1819, and Chartist delegates to the 1841 National Convention.  Visuals also illuminate the routes taken by marchers and the locations where public meetings were held; some of these used in the same way now as then.

Access to public space is an overriding theme of the exhibition and despite the fact that in the 1840s Philips, Queen’s and Peel parks in Salford were created through voluntary contributions made by the working class, they were strictly not areas for public protest.  So when groups like the Chartists, the biggest movement campaigning for democracy in 19th century Britain, were banned from holding meetings in parks and squares they took their demonstrations to the surrounding moors and open spaces.  By late 19th century / early 20th century when the suffragettes wanted to organise gatherings and demonstrations in Platt Fields Park and Heaton Park in Manchester they had to seek approval, which the council wanted to deny, but the government advised should go ahead.

Ideas of access to open spaces led to the right to roam movement.  One of the earliest protests was the Winter Hill mass trespass from Bolton in 1896, which was followed by the Kinder Scout mass trespass (1932) in the Peak District.  The Kinder mass trespass was one of the most famous moments of successful direct action and the legacy is now enjoyed by all.

A visit to The Most Radical Street in Manchester? exhibition makes a perfect partner to PHM’s headline exhibition for 2019, which explores a watershed moment in the history of our nation’s democracy two hundred years on.  Disrupt? Peterloo and Protest begins with the telling of what happened on 16 August 1819, when 60,000 people gathered just a short walk from the museum in the centre of Manchester in peaceful protest to seek rights and representation, and how this led to what would be known as the Peterloo Massacre.  Why representation meant so much, how this day would end in bloody violence, the actions carried out in the aftermath, and the legacy 200 years later are all themes explored in the exhibition, which continues to 23 February 2020.

People’s History Museum is open seven days a week from 10.00am to 5.00pm, Radical Lates are on the second Thursday each month, open until 8.00pm.  The museum is free to enter with a suggested donation of £5.  To find out about visiting the museum, its full exhibitions and events programme visit

Peterloo 2019 marks the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre with a programme of public events, learning and creative exploration that has been developed through the partnership work of cultural organisations and communities, led by Manchester Histories and supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.  For more information visit:


For further information or to arrange a visit please contact Fido PR: /

0161 832 3588

A selection of images can be found here:


Notes to editors:

About People’s History Museum (PHM)

People’s History Museum (PHM) in Manchester is the national museum of democracy, telling the story of its development in Britain: past, present, and future.  The museum provides opportunities for all people to learn about, be inspired by and get involved in ideas worth fighting for; ideas such as equality, social justice, co-operation, and a fair world for all.  PHM offers a powerful programme with annual themes; 2018 looked at representation and commemorated 100 years since the first women and all men won the right to vote in Britain, 2019 sees a year of activities around protest movements to mark the bicentenary of the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester, and the programme for 2020 will be on the theme of migration.  Recent winner of Kids in Museums Family Friendly Museum Award.

About Arts Council England (ACE)

PHM is an Arts Council England (ACE) National Portfolio Organisation (NPO).  The work of PHM is supported using public funding by ACE, the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives.  ACE support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections.  Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us.  In short, it makes life better.  Between 2018 and 2022, ACE will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF)

Thanks to National Lottery players, The National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife.  Follow NLHF on TwitterFacebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund.

About the British Academy:

The British Academy is the voice of the humanities and social sciences.  The Academy is an independent fellowship of world-leading scholars and researchers; a funding body for research, nationally and internationally; and a forum for debate and engagement.  Follow the British Academy on Twitter @BritishAcademy_

About the University of Hertfordshire:

The University of Hertfordshire is a vibrant, inclusive, campus-based institution with a vision to be internationally renowned as the UK’s leading business-facing university.  It is innovative and enterprising and challenges individuals and organisations to excel.  All courses are underpinned by industry insight and powerful research ensuring our student community of over 24,600 graduates are equipped with the skills and attributes for successful professional lives.  The University has excellent progression rates to employment – 96.5% of students are in employment or further study six months after graduating* – and its teaching expertise has recently been awarded the top gold ranking in the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) 2018.  It is one of the top 150 universities in the world under 50 years old, according to the new Times Higher Education 150 under 50 rankings 2018.  For more information visit:

*Destination for Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) 2016/17

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