Spa Fields Riots
war with France had lasted from 1793-1815. It had
cost a lot of money and as a result businesses had
closed down, workers had lost their jobs, wages were
low, taxes were high and bread was very expensive.
The government was lobbied by radicals who wanted
change. The rich Tories who held power refused to
make any reforms at all. In December 1816 a group
of these protesters organised a meeting in Spa Fields,
near London. Middle class objectors did not join in
as they thought the leaders had gone too far. Protestors
broke into a gunsmiths shop and marched on London.
The army stopped them and arrested 300 rioters.
rising happened in Derbyshire because the poor couldnt
afford to buy bread or find work. Those lucky enough
to have a job were paid very little. The protestors
armed themselves with guns and pikes. They marched
on Nottingham but lacked any real support from the
people. When the army appeared they fled. The leaders
were caught and later beheaded.
The Peterloo Massacre
August 16th 1819 60,000 people met at a large rally
in central Manchester. Most of them were unemployed
or very poor workers. They had gone to listen to Henry
Hunt who was speaking about changes that the government
should make. Although the crowd were peaceful the
army were ordered to arrest Hunt. The Army killed
11 people and badly injured 400 of the defenceless
crowd. People from the working classes and middle
class were shocked at this. The government did nothing
about the massacre, the soldiers had been following
the Cato Street Conspiracy
some people the extreme hunger was too much. A group
of radicals led by Arthur Thistlewood were among these
people. They plotted to blow up all of the leading
ministers of the government (a bit like Guy Fawkes).
They were betrayed and captured by government agents.
Thistlewood was the last man to be beheaded in this
country: they hung him first though!
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