It’s a pity not everyone can access the memorial to a struggle for equality

Peterloo protest

In Manchester, a case of good intentions gone awry. A memorial was built to the Peterloo massacre of 1819, in which protesters for parliamentary reform were killed by a cavalry charge. It is by the exceptional artist Jeremy Deller and the exceptional architects Caruso St John, respectively winners of the Turner and Stirling prizes, and went through extensive consultations before it was built. It is beautifully crafted out of multicoloured stone from all regions of the UK and is inscribed with the names of victims and the towns and villages from which protesters came.

It takes the form of a circular stepped mound on to which, like protesters wanting to make a declaration, you can climb. Its only problem is that wheelchairs can’t go up steps, and disabled campaigners have argued that it is not a great statement about what Deller called “the egalitarian spirit of Peterloo”, to present the mound as a desirable destination while denying it to a significant section of the population. Manchester city council has now said there is “no viable solution” to make the memorial accessible and that it will try to do better with future memorials. Some might argue that [...]

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