(abridged from the Morning Advertiser)
Monday night, half-past six o’clock.
The morning was a lowering one but, notwithstanding this, crowds of persons began to assemble in the streets shortly after daybreak and many processions from the country had arrived by nine o’clock. The various trades of Manchester assembled in Smithfield, and previous to their marching to Kersal Moor, presented a formidable appearance in respect to numbers. The Moor is nearly four miles distant from Manchester, and the ground fixed for the meeting is that upon which the Manchester Races take place. The hustings were erected near the Stand-House and in such a position that they were surrounded by an amphitheatre of at least fifteen acres, every person on any portion of the ground being enabled to see all that passed. All along the roads to Manchester the footpaths were thronged to excess, and in the area before the old Collegiate Church, which overlooked the procession, there were many thousands of females assembled. By twelve o’clock one half of the ground was occupied, and the immense multitude even at that time presented a truly awful appearance. Before one o’clock however the ground was completely occupied and the meeting then was certainly the largest that has ever taken place in the British Empire. – not less than 300,000 people could have been present. As the various speakers arrived upon the hustings they were loudly cheered… – Freeman’s Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser (Dublin, Ireland)
This is what Kersal Moor looks like today, but not for long as works are starting to allow the green area in the foreground to become a managed flood plain and the whole level is to be dropped by several metres! These photos were taken from the top of Kersal Flats which now stand between the position that William Wyld would have been in and the view of the Moor. In fact this area is not marked on modern maps as Kersal Moor at all, and is what we used to call ‘The Cliff’ when we lived near by. Kersal Moor as is today lies perhaps a quarter of a mile behind the vantage point from which these photos were taken. However in the 1800’s this area and the Moor were one large expanse of green moorland, and the green expanse seen on these photos is where the Chartists gathered in 1838 to demand their rights to vote and other basic human rights.
Just 30 years after the previous painting, you can see the transformation of the skyline!
Painted in 1852
Check this one about Mr James Sadler, a baker from Oxford who decided he was going to be a balloonist, and made several flights including from Manchester Balloon Street (Where the main Co-Op is now based) and flew all the way to Radcliffe – which if you know Manchester is some going! Anyway, below is the entry from Wikipedia and attached is a song we have found about the event.
We haven’t recorded this one (yet?) but we should have some music for you very soon.
Mr Sadlers Balloon lyrics (click on this link to see a pdf scan of the original song sheet)
Sadler was the second person to make a balloon ascent in England, very soon after the Tuscan Vincent Lunardi‘s flight on 15 September 1784 in the grounds of the Honourable Artillery Company at Moorfields. Sadler made his ascent during the month after on 4 October 1784 from Christ Church Meadow, Oxford. The balloon rose to about 3,600 feet and landed near Woodeaton, around six miles away. His second ascent on 12 November, this time in a hydrogen-filled balloon, reached Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire after a twenty-minute flight. In May of the following year he took off nearMoulsey Hurst, Surrey, accompanied by W. Wyndham MP, hoping to reach France, but in fact descending in the Thames Estuary, and thus failing to repeat the earlier exploit of Jean-Pierre Blanchard and his passenger. Sadler made two further ascents in May 1785, the first of which was from a field behind a gentleman’s garden on the site of what is now Balloon Street in Manchester. On this flight he was accompanied by a cat and landed in Radcliffe. On his second ascent he travelled alone and having risen to 13,000 ft. travelled 50 miles before landing near Pontefract, West Yorkshire. On this occasion, he sustained bad injuries after being dragged for around 2 miles by the balloon, which eventually threw him clear before taking off again empty.
Visit the gigs page on our new web-site to see the latest dates for next summer!
Edward II will be back in 2015! We are busy working on new tunes based on a set of Manchester folk songs, some dating back around 200 years and others from more recent times. As we get tunes completed and recorded we will start posting them up for you to listen to and let us know what you think.
Check the gig page for updates on concerts.
See you soon!