A procession to celebrate the history of the bones of activist Thomas Paine took place this weekend with performances from live bands and giant puppets.

The Working Class Movement Library and Walk the Plank worked together to create the final procession of the Bones of Paine.

The parade started from the Working Class Movement Library with a giant skeleton representing Thomas Paine’s bones and travelled down Chapel Street.

Ben Turner, the project director of Walk the Plank, spoke about the procession before they made their way to the Peoples History Museum.

Thomas Paine was a political activist in the American and French Revolution who wrote The Rights of Man and died in 1809.

His bones were brought to Salford in 1819 after publisher William Cobbett brought them back from America in the aftermath of the Peterloo Massacre – but the authorities wouldn’t let him bring them into Manchester.

The first stop off of the procession was Bexley Square where there were performances from a live band and a choir.

The choir performed an original song about Anne Cobbett’s life to educate the crowd.

Bones of Paine puppet – Image Credit Imogen Holland

Some fans of Thomas Paine wrote a few words for the procession as part of a writing group.

Christina said: “Things like this are really important as it gets the community involved.

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“Hopefully people will turn out and probably not know who Thomas Paine was but will find out who he is and maybe want to know more about it.”

Paul, who also attended the writing workshop, said: “200 years later we are back with the same ideas and to know that it actually came from this one guy.

“He managed to come up with these ideas that changes the face of politics if we wanted it to.”

The performances continued at the New Bailey with speeches from the organisers and live performances from the band and the choir.

The procession ended at the Peoples History Museum where a Mexican folk group performed a Day of the Dead dance and got the crowd involved in the celebration.

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