Cinema group putting on special anniversary Peterloo film screening at historic mill

Leigh Film Society members with Peter Rowlinson from Leigh Spinners Mill
Leigh Film Society members with Peter Rowlinson from Leigh Spinners Mill

Cinema enthusiasts are teaming up with a borough industrial landmark to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo massacre.

Leigh Film Society will screen Mike Leigh’s epic account of the killing spree in St Peter’s Fields in Manchester in 1819 at Spinners Mill exactly two centuries on.

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Tens of thousands of ordinary people, including many from the borough, had gathered in the city centre to demand the reform of parliament and how MPs were chosen to represent people.

However, the event turned into a chaotic bloodbath when soldiers charged into the crowd, killing 18 and injuring hundreds, while trying to obey instructions to arrest the group who had organised the protest.

Some two centuries later Peterloo, which had an enormous impact on 19th century society, is being remembered and arts enthusiasts are ensuring the borough does not miss out.

They are screening the fictional 2018 account of what happened, which was created to mark the bicentenary of the massacre, at a location formerly associated with our industrial past and now being transformed into a massive community hub, on the exact anniversary in August.

Leigh Film Society development director Elizabeth Costello said: “We have strived to take film to unique venues and engage new audiences.

“The screening of Peterloo at the mill, a grade-II listed building, gives us a great opportunity to do that.

“The film wasn’t shown locally when released so we’re are delighted to be able to screen it on the actual 200th anniversary.

“We are proud to honour the many people from the borough who attended and were injured on that day.

“We are also really excited to be working alongside the great team at Spinners Mill and look forward to more film projects.”

Peter Rowlinson, chair of the Leigh Building Preservation Trust which is overseeing the renovation ofthe mill, said: “We are delighted to be able to show this film.

“Our town was at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution and it’s essential that we mark that. We feel the mill is an appropriate venue for such an important event.”

The film will be screened on August 16, starting at 7pm.

Tickets are on sale now. To buy them or find out more visit www.leighfilmsociety.com/programme