These are some of the books I’ve read which include good references to Joseph Harrison and the Stockport Reformers:

Just finished reading Robert Poole’s “Peterloo – The English Uprising” and I have to say that it’s a fantastic read. The level of detail in this book is amazing. It’s evident that Poole has dug deep into the archives and skillfully weaved this mass of information into a truly compelling story. If you want an easy-to-read book with the latest facts then look no further, this is the book for you. Highly recommended!

I found Robert Glen’s amazingly detailed and well researched book “Urban Workers” to be by far, the best reference with regard to Stockport at the time of Peterloo. It’s for hard core academics though, the general public might find it a bit dry.

Robert Reid’s book “Peterloo” is masterfully written in a witty and sarcastic style. I highly recommend this one.

Joyce Marlow’s “The Peterloo Massacre” is also a good introductory read without being overly academic and will therefore appeal to the general public. It’s also rich in Stockport content although it does suffer from a few factual inaccuracies. For example, it was Jacob McGhinnes and not William Pearson who was found guilty of Birch’s attempted assassination. Interestingly Mike Leigh used her book as one of the references for his forthcoming film – Peterloo.

The least enjoyable was Walmsley’s book which purports to give evidence justifying the Loyalists actions at Peterloo. I include it only because it contains some good reference material with respect to Stockport.


  • Poole, Robert. (2019). Peterloo: The English Uprising. Oxford University Press

The highly anticipated Peterloo book by Dr. Robert Poole is now available for pre-order from

“On 16 August, 1819, at St Peter’s Field, Manchester, armed cavalry attacked a peaceful rally of some 50,000 pro-democracy reformers. Under the eyes of the national press, 18 people were killed and some 700 injured, many of them by sabres, many of them women, some of them children. The ‘Peterloo massacre’, the subject of a recent feature film and a major commemoration in 2019, is famous as the central episode in Edward Thompson’s Making of the English Working Class. It also marked the rise of a new English radical populism as the British state, recently victorious at Waterloo, was challenged by a pro-democracy movement centred on the industrial north.

Why did the cavalry attack? Who ordered them in? What was the radical strategy? Why were there women on the platform, and why were they so ferociously attacked? Using an immense range of sources, and many new maps and illustrations, Robert Poole tells for the first time the full extraordinary story of Peterloo: the English Uprising.”

Robert Poole is Professor of History at the University of Central Lancashire and historical  consultant to the Peterloo bicentenary commemoration programme. He is co-author of the graphic novel Peterloo: Witnesses to a Massacre (2019).

  • Glen, Robert. (1984). Urban Workers in the Early Industrial Revolution. Beckenham, Kent: Croom Helm.


  • Reid, Robert. (1989). The Peterloo Massacre. London: Heinemann.

peterloo reid

  • Belchem, John.(1985). ‘Orator’ Hunt. London: Breviary Stuff Publications.


  • Prothero, Iowerth. (1979). Artisans & Politics in Early Nineteenth-Century London. Folkstone, Kent: Dawson.


  • Walmsely, Robert. (1969). Peterloo: The Case Reopened. Manchester: Manchester University Press.


  • Marlow, Joyce. (1969). The Peterloo Massacre. London: Rapp & Whiting Ltd.


  • Riding, Jacqueline. (2018). Peterloo: The Story of the Manchester Massacre. Head of Zeus Ltd.