Exterior of St.Michael’s Roman Catholic Chapel

Exterior of St.Michael’s Roman Catholic Chapel. Source: The Illustrated London News (1852) [Click on image to enlarge it.]

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It is not possible to ascertain whether the mob that attacked this place consisted of those who had wrecked the cottages in Rock-row, of the mob from the chapel at Edgley, or both these combined, or of a separate and distinct body. This chapel is a building at the corner of Park street and Merchant's-oourt. Queen-street, which was formerly the Stockport theatre; but rather more than a year ago it was purchased and converted into a Roman Catholic chapel; the altar occupying the place of the stage: the chapel accommodated about 300 persons.

The mob first appeared behind the chapel a little before eleven o'clock, coming apparently from the direction of Petty's Carr and Chestergate. Some of them immediately commenced smashing the large gothic window behind the altar; another party went round end attacked the front door, in Merchant's court, Queen-street; a third party simultaneously attacked the door in Park afreet, which they smashed in a very short time, and thus entered. Ascending to the altar, they broke three tabernacles, all the candlesticks, figures of the Saviour, of St. Patrick, St Joseph, and the Virgin, together with every portion of the costly fittings. All the seats were pulled up and broken, the fragments were thrown into the street, along with the wreck from the altar. The organ was utterly destroyed, the seats pulled up, and all the front of gallery knocked over; little else really remaining than the four bare walls of the building and the fonr bare steps of the altar. The vestry was also sacked, and many of the vestments. &c., destroyed or stolen. A very valuable chalice, with other plate belonging to the place, said to be worth £700, was fortunately in the home of the priest and was saved.

>Interior of St.Michael’s Roman Catholic Chapel

Some of the prisoners afterwards brought before the magistratee were apprehended In the chapel. Ineffectual attempts were made to force open a large iron safe, supposed to contain articles of silver used in the service of the chapel: it was removed to the police office for safe keeping.

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The Riot at Stockport” The Illustrated London News 21 (10 July 1852): 2922-30. Hathi Trust Digital Library version of a copy in the University of Michigan Library. Web. 17 December 2015. The text above to which paragraph has been added for ease of reading was created from the web version with ABBYY FineReader. — George P. Landow

Last modified 9 December 2015