In 1930 The first edition of the British Empire Games opened in Hamilton, Ontario with 11 participating nations and, apart from the war years, has taken part every four years since. Over the years its name changed to The British Empire and Commonwealth Games then to the British Commonwealth Games and today its official name is just “The Commonwealth Games”. However, through all its name changes, it has always been referred to as just “The Friendly Games”.
Also on this day: In Manchester in 1819 The Peterloo Massacre took place. A crowd of 60,000 people who had gathered in St Peter’s Field, Manchester to hear speeches calling for Parliamentary reform and a widening of voting franchise. At this time in Britain voting was restricted to adult male owners of freehold land and constituency borders were grossly out of date leading to a disproportionate influence by a few. For example – the constituency of Old Sarum had but one voter yet elected two MPs contrasts starkly with Manchester and the surrounding area with a population of one million also elected two MPs. Fearing an uprising Manchester Magistrates ordered the cavalry to intervene and arrest the leaders of the gathering. They did so with a full-scale cavalry charge with sabres drawn. 15 people were killed and 700 injured. The event is commemorated with a plaque on the building which now occupies the site – The Radisson Blu, Manchester. Called “Peterloo” as an ironic reference to the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.