Bringing this fascinating character to life for the people of Salford

Date: 16 August 2019 to 30 June 2020

In this intriguing curiosity of a project,  rooted in local history, we're working with Salford-based Working Class Movement Library  (WCML) to celebrate the 200th anniversary of radical writer Thomas Paine's bones coming to Salford.

In November 1819 the bones of this pioneering political theorist were brought to Salford, after having been dug up from their original resting place in New York by campaigning journalist William Cobbett, only to be refused entry to Manchester by the authorities, with the horrors of the recent events at Peterloo still afresh in their minds.

To mark the bicentenary of this bizarre event and to celebrate Paine's revolutionary writings and ideas (Common Sense, Rights of Man, Age of Reason), this joint project with the WCML aims to mix the traditional with the contemporary, and the unusual with the familiar.

The Bones of Paine puppet made its debut at the 16 August performances of From the Crowdwhich marked the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre.

During autumn 2019, there is an exciting strand of community-led events which will bring the story of Thomas Paine to life.

People can meet the fascinating Bones of Paine puppet  at various locations across Salford at the following events:

Saturday 14 September Salford's Big Day Out

Sunday 6 October East Salford Fun Palace at Walk the Plank's Cobden Works

Friday 25 October - Witches Walk, Buile Hill Park, Salford

Friday 1 November - Irlam Fireworks, Princes Park, Salford M44 6BR

Saturday 30 November - The Bones of Paine Procession from 4pm tp 6pm starting at the Working Class Movement Library to the Peoples History Museum 

Also, check out the various Thomas Paine events at the Working Class Movement Library taking place this autumn.

"We're excited to be working with the people of Salford and Walk the Plank on telling this bizarre but importat story, which offers a local angle on a character who had a significant impact on history internationally.  Recounting the story within the context of events such as Peterloo helps give this unusual tale a relevance to a modern audience.  We hope that our Bones of Paine events will get everyone talking about the extraordinary Thomas Paine in a fun and engaging way that inspires curiosity."  Lynette Cawthra, WCML Manager.

Also, get your hands on a 'Bones of Paine' badge to get everyone talking.


Images by Chris Payne


Project Specification
Project Scale
Creative Content
Parades and processions