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Paisley’s radicals to be brought back to life

A NEW project aims to bring Paisley’s radical history back to life as part of a £45 million refurbishment of the town’s museum.

About 20,000 people rallied in the Scottish town in September 1819 to show solidarity with workers killed at Manchester’s Peterloo massacre a month prior.

When protesters refused to have banners and flags confiscated by police the peaceful demonstration turned into a battle and the Riot Act was read.

OneRen charity’s social history researcher Archie Henderson said: “There were running battles to reclaim and capture streets.

“Ultimately, the insurrection that was later planned in 1820 was thwarted by the government … but a movement has to start somewhere and its legacy was the evolution of things like the trade union movement and reforms that led to the extension of the franchise to working men and women.

“I hope those who come to the museum understand that by coming together, no matter the odds, big changes can happen – and the Paisley Radicals played a huge role that can still be felt in our democracy to this day.”

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