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Lace Riot Walk - Bench No. 7

Bench No. 7 - The Phoenix

Lace Riot Walk - Bench No. 7

Bench No. 7 - The Phoenix Hotel

Imagine a thousand workers marching down the hill from your right. To your left, imagine a group of mounted, armed men coming from the yard behind the Phoenix Hotel forming a tight line across the road, blocking the crowd’s path to the Town Hall. This scenario shared many elements of the Peterloo Massacre of 1819, where the Yeomanry charged a crowd killing fifteen people near Manchester.

James Galpin said they were going peacefully to a meeting in the Town Hall. Lieutenant Nicholetts, of the llminster Yeomanry said they are an unlawful and armed assembly and they shall not pass.

Mayor Spicer, worried about the temper of the crowd, appealed to Nicholetts to let the deputation through to the Town Hall and Nicholetts reluctantly agreed.

In the Town Hall there was a heated discussion between the Mayor, the Aldermen, the Mill Owners and the workers’ deputation.

Everyone realised they must come to a solution quickly. The members of the deputation agreed that they will ensure that the crowd ‘will be peaceable’, if the Yeomanry withdraw.

Mayor Spicer persuaded Lieutenant Nicholetts to take the troops back to Ilminster and he reluctantly withdrew followed by cheers and a few stones from the crowd. The streets of Chard then quieten almost immediately. The strike petered out, as the workers had to feed their families and by the 8th September all the Mills were fully working again.

Listen to Track 7 below:

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