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Science Places Manchester

 

All points of interest for Manchester are listed below

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Manchester Academy

Manchester Academy (site of)

 

Before redevelopment in the twentieth century, most of what is now St Peter's Square was covered by buildings. One of the earliest was the Manchester Academy, opened in 1787 at the corner of the present-day Square near the Princess Street-Mosley Street junction. The young John Dalton, later one of the world's foremost chemists, first came to Manchester to teach at the Academy, which was also known as the New College.

The Academy's original purpose was to provide religious education for future ministers in the Unitarian Dissenting church. It was a successor to the Dissenting Academy in Warrington, where the chemist Joseph Priestley had taught, and inherited its library. Manchester in the 1780s had a large Unitarian community, led by wealthy manufacturers and professionals, who were excluded from traditional educational systems built around the established Church of England. Ultimately, however, most of its teaching was on general subjects including mathematics and the sciences, and was open to non-Dissenters.

John Dalton, a member of another Dissenting community, the Quakers, came to the Academy in 1793. His teaching covered natural philosophy, mathematics, accounting, and chemistry, which he presented using the new oxygen theory of Antoine Lavoisier. Dalton resigned from his Academy post in 1800, but stayed in Manchester, teaching at other colleges and as a private tutor as he built his world reputation around the modern atomic theory.

In 1803, the theology tutor resigned and the Academy moved to York, where a replacement was available. It made several further moves, finally settling in Oxford (a surprising destination for a Dissenting institution) and eventually becoming Harris Manchester College.

 


 

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War memorial

Mechanics Institution (Moseley Street)

 

The area between the Cenotaph and the Town Hall Extension was once built up as part of Cooper Street and included the original building of the Manchester Mechanics' Institution, opened in 1827. Its intended audience, as the name suggests, was the working men of the town, mostly in the cotton and engineering industries. Imitating similar institutions in Scotland and London, its aim was to provide basic education in the sciences.

Planning had begun in 1824, with an organising group led by the banker Benjamin Heywood and building on the established network of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society. Supporters including the leading local engineers, William Fairbairn, Richard Roberts and Peter Ewart; textile manufacturers from major firms such as McConnel and Kennedy and Lee and Philips; and scientific investigators including John Dalton and Eaton Hodgkinson. 

The Cooper Street building cost around £7000, then an impressive sum. It had a plain exterior but was particularly well equipped inside, with a thousand-seat lecture theatre and library, later joined by a chemical laboratory. In practice, as for many similar institutions nationwide, the Institution never quite managed to fill its intended role. The cost of classes was far too high for labourers, and the rising generation of working-class radicals – those most likely to be interested in the opportunities of technical education – were suspicious of an initiative obviously controlled by the manufacturers, leading to a breakaway New Mechanics' Institution which competed with it until 1835.

The Institution survived, however, by providing technical and other education for skilled tradesmen and members of the lower middle classes, such as shopkeepers and clerks looking to better themselves. French and German language skills were particularly valued, as they were needed to read both commercial correspondence and scientific literature. 

The Institution's growth, and the rising prosperity of Manchester in the 1850s, prompted calls for a move to a new and larger building, which opened in 1856 on David Street (the future Princess Street). The Cooper Street building continued in use as offices, but much of this area was cleared for the Town Hall Extension in the 1930s. 

 

 

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War memorial

Mechanics' Institution

(Princess Street)

 

The Manchester Mechanics' Institution, previously based on Cooper Street, reopened on David Street (today's Princess Street) in 1856 with an impressive, purpose-built structure, reflecting a time of economic upturn for Manchester. The occasion was marked with a grand exhibition of international curiosities and domestic industrial achievements, with displays of glass-blowing and new automatic textile machinery.

 

The Mechanics' Institution in this period was mainly a social club and a centre for elementary education, including teaching for school-age boys and girls. A particularly successful venture was the Commercial and Scientific Day School for Boys, which achieved a strong track record in national examinations in chemistry; the headmaster, John Angell, also taught physics and animal physiology. Evening classes for adult women were introduced in 1863. The building was used for various other activities, and is perhaps best known now as the site of the first Trades Union Congress in 1868.

 

In the 1870s, new publicly funded schools provision for children cut off the Institution's most important income stream and left its future in doubt. It was saved thanks to growing national interest in technical education, and in particular to the efforts of John Henry Reynolds – himself a self-educated working man, originally trained as a bootmaker – who took over as Superintendent in 1879. Reynolds reorganised the Institution as a Technical School, with both day and night classes built around industrial priorities, from bleaching and printing to workplace management,

 

The Technical School was not formally a research institution, but its work inevitably led to innovations. The claim for Manchester as the 'birthplace of chemical engineering' derives from a lecture series on industrial chemistry given here in 1887 by George Davis, a former factory emissions inspector.

In 1902, with technical education flourishing, the School was succeeded by a much larger building on Sackville Street. The Princess Street building was later home to a labour history archive, and is now a conference venue.  


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Manchester Art Gallery

Royal Manchester Institution

 

The building which now forms the eastern half of Manchester Art Gallery began life as the Royal Manchester Institution. Designed by Charles Barry and completed in 1835, this was the outcome of 1820s proposals for an "Institution for the promotion of the Arts, Literature and Science" which could supply the growing industrial town with some much-needed cultural credibility.

 

Unlike the earlier Royal Institution in London, which became famous for its contributions to nineteenth-century chemistry, the Manchester project's focus shifted quickly to the fine arts: initial plans for technical instruction found an alternative home at the Mechanics' Institution. The sciences were, however, well represented in the Royal's regular programme of lecture series, which were strong in chemistry, physiology and natural history. Lecturers between 1835 and 1859 included Thomas Turner, of the nearby Pine Street Medical School; Edwin Lankester, the naturalist; the astronomer, John Pringle Nichol; and the electrical researcher, William Sturgeon.

 

The Institution's most important contribution to Manchester science was its chemistry professorship, unpaid but allowing the holder to take paying students. Lyon Playfair, later a leading figure in British science policy, was professor from 1843 to 1845 and installed a teaching laboratory in the basement. Playfair's assistant, Robert Angus Smith, went on to a long career in Manchester working on sanitation and industrial pollution issues. Frederick Crace-Calvert, professor from 1846 onwards, was the Royal's most active lecturer, and developed an important career as a manufacturer of carbolic acid and other organic chemicals.

 

The Royal Institution building also at one point housed the Manchester Geological Society's Museum, and served as the central venue for the British Association for the Advancement of Science's Annual Meeting of 1842.  

 

 

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Manchester Art Gallery

Frederick Crace-Calvert plaque

 

A Royal Society of Chemistry plaque commemorates Frederick Crace-Calvert (1819-1873), an important manufacturing chemist best known for his work on carbolic acid.

Like all the leading Manchester chemists of his generation, Crace-Calvert was inspired by European approaches which connected analytical research to industrial applications. Whereas most of his colleagues had studied in German-speaking countries, however, Crace-Calvert was French-trained, having worked in the early 1840s with Michel Eugène Chevreul, whose projects included soap and dyestuffs.

 

Crace-Calvert arrived in Manchester in 1846 and became Professor of Chemistry at the Royal Manchester Institution (now part of Manchester Art Gallery, across Princess Street from the plaque). He also gave public lectures on "the application of chemistry to manufactures" at the Athenaeum club next door, and taught at the Pine Street Medical School. Crace-Calvert was an active campaigner for sanitary reform, and promoted chemical analysis to detect food adulteration. His research focused on organic chemicals which were useful to textile and allied manufacturers, locally and among his contacts in France.

 

Around 1857, Crace-Calvert devised a bulk process to make a pure form of carbolic acid (phenol), valuable both as a precursor for synthetic dyestuffs, and as an antiseptic and disinfectant. He soon became a major manufacturer in his own right, as the business he founded to exploit his innovation grew in the 1860s on a new site at Bradford, on the eastern outskirts of Manchester. Its carbolic-impregnated products ranged from the popular Calvert's Tooth Powder to soft soap for treating mange in cattle.

 

The most famous use of Calvert's carbolic, however, was in the antiseptic surgical dressings pioneered by Joseph Lister, whose methods vastly reduced infections in the operating theatre.  

 

 

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Guardian Telephone Exchange

Guardian Telephone Exchange


The unwelcomingly secured brick building with ventilation tower is a surface access point for "Guardian", a telephone exchange centre built in a network of tunnels around 34 metres below the city centre to preserve communications in the event of an atomic strike, which would have laid most of the city waste.

 

The tunnels were dug around 1954-58 under top-secret conditions, and the existence of the facility was not made public until 1968. The longest of the main crosslinked tunnels follows the line of Back George Street and connects to a shaft under what became the publicly visible telephone exchange, Rutherford House (now the Exchange office building): another access point is known to lie inside York House, across the road at the junction with New York Street.

 

Had there been a 'nuclear emergency', operators might have had to stay down there for several weeks, so a well was dug and food was stockpiled in the bunker. Power was provided by two Crossley electrical generators named 'Jane' and 'Marilyn', presumably reflecting the engineers' enthusiasm for the leading cinema actresses of the day. The George Street entrance would have been sealed by a concrete slab, said to weigh 35 tonnes. Escape routes were provided through two kilometres of deep-level cable tunnel, running southeast to Ardwick and northwest under the River Irwell to Salford.

 

There were similar facilities under London and Birmingham. All became obsolete almost immediately after construction with the development of the hydrogen bomb, which could penetrate even these deep bunkers. However, Guardian was kept in use as a civil telephone exchange, and the main tunnel is still used for secure cabling.  

 

 

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Faulkner Street

Atomic theory bicentenary plaque - Faulkner Street

 

Between two Chinese restaurants on the side of Faulkner Street facing the car park, a small black-and-white plaque was installed in 2003 to commemorate the two hundredth anniversary of the atomic theory of John Dalton. Dalton was living here and working nearby when he developed this theory, the prime source of his fame.

 

Dalton proposed that atmospheric gases and other elements were made up of tiny particles which couldn't be divided or broken up any further, and that they combined with other elements in simple fixed proportions to make larger molecules. Dalton found that he could explain the results of a lot of chemical combinations if each element had its own particular weight, with every particle of that element always weighing the same. These particles were called "atoms" after the Greek atomos, meaning 'indivisible'.

 

Dalton provided the first account of this theory in a paper of 1803, although the first detailed account appears in his 1808 book, A New System of Chemical Philosophy. The plaque shows the graphical symbols Dalton used to depict formulae involving elements such as hydrogen, azote (nitrogen) and carbon. Chemists quickly came to prefer the simple alphabetical notation of Jöns Jacob Berzelius, but Dalton was internationally credited with achieving a revolution in chemical understanding.

 

The tight grid of streets around Faulkner Street, which became Manchester's Chinatown after the Second World War, was newly laid out when Dalton arrived. During his half-century in Manchester, he lived at three properties on Faulkner Street. In his early days, he lodged for a time at number 35; then, from 1800 to 1804, at number 18. He then moved to nearby Booth Street to lodge with a friend, the Reverend William Johns, before returning in 1836 when he bought 27 Faulkner Street, opposite Chain Street. Faulkner Street then had properties on both sides, and Dalton's home stood near what is now the north end of the car park.  

 

 

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Sites of the Lit and Phil

Site of the "Lit and Phil"


Before the growth of professional research culture, and the expansion of the university system, local Literary and Philosophical Societies were crucial to the development and discussion of scientific ideas.

The Manchester 'Lit and Phil' began around 1781 as an informal dining club at the home of the physician Thomas Percival. With support from influential medics, engineers and businessmen such as the chemical manufacturer, Thomas Henry, the club became a formally organised society, and set up premises at 36 George Street in 1799.

The Lit and Phil's public reputation was for many decades closely bound up with that of John Dalton, Manchester's most famous man of science. Dalton had joined the Society soon after arriving in Manchester, and in 1794 presented his first research paper here, exploring the nature of his own colour-blindness. As a freelance teacher with no laboratory of his own, Dalton depended on use of the Society's chemical laboratory, living in lodgings nearby: his research led him to the atomic theory, which he first announced at a Lit and Phil meeting in 1803. Dalton was President from 1816 until his death in 1844.

Later, as research moved increasingly to colleges and commercial laboratories, the Lit and Phil maintained its prestige with members including the thermodynamicist James Joule, the chemist Henry Roscoe, the engineers Joseph Whitworth and William Fairbairn, and the atomic physicist Ernest Rutherford. The former laboratory was preserved as the "John Dalton Room", with historic relics, and was a popular attraction at international scientific events such as the British Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in 1915.

During the 'Christmas blitz' in December 1940, the George Street building was totally destroyed by incendiary bombs. Almost all its contents were lost, including most of Dalton's original manuscripts. A few papers survived, in damaged condition, in a metal box in the basement, and are now carefully preserved by the University of Manchester's Special Collections department.

After the war, the Lit and Phil built new offices on the same site, which unfortunately suffered serious structural problems due to the use of high-alumina cement, and were themselves demolished. With the Lit and Phil functioning increasingly as a discussion group, the decision was taken to sell the site. The current 36 George Street is unrelated to the Society, whose meetings continue at various locations, including Manchester's universities.

 

 

 

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Portico Library

Portico Library


The Portico Library opened in 1806 as a private subscription library and newsroom whose patrons included many of the leaders of Manchester's scientific and industrial culture. Its first Chairman and Secretary were John Ferriar, the reforming physician, and Peter Mark Roget, later famous for his Thesaurus but briefly active in Manchester medicine.

 

The Portico's first honorary member, exempted from the subscription fee, was John Dalton, creator of the modern atomic theory: Dalton held the honorific position of Clockman, which made him nominally responsible for making sure the Library's clock told the time correctly. Dalton visited regularly at lunchtime to read the day's newspapers.

 

The Portico Library still operates, although what was its ground floor is now the Bank pub. The impressive first-floor reading rooms, preserved largely intact, are open to the public.  

 

 

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Old Town Hall

Old Town Hall


A wall plaque at the corner of Cheapside and King Street commemorates the eighteenth-century physician and surgeon, Charles White, who lived nearby.

As an obstetrician – what was then called a 'man-midwife' – White was an influential promoter of forceps-free delivery; he was also the chief early leader in the organisation of healthcare in Manchester. In 1752, White had set up the Manchester Infirmary in imitation of the voluntary hospitals established in other English towns, treating poor patients through donations from wealthy citizens keen to demonstrate their charitable credentials.

Though an innovator in surgery, White was a traditionalist Tory Anglican in his beliefs, and this set him apart from the Dissenters and political radicals who had increasing influence over Manchester's scientific and medical culture, some of whom called for urgent reforms of the hospital system as a response to the growing problems of infectious disease.

After a major public controversy over the running of the Infirmary, White resigned in 1790 and transferred his efforts to a new 'Lying-In Charity' which in time became St Mary's Hospital, focusing on pregnancy care and midwifery.

In the 1820s, a new Town Hall for Manchester occupied this site. It was here that the body of John Dalton, Manchester's most famous man of science, lay in state following his death in 1844. An estimated 40 000 people filed past the coffin to pay their respects before a funeral procession over a mile long bore the coffin to Ardwick Cemetery.


 

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Cross Street Chapel

Cross Street Chapel


Here stands Cross Street Chapel, although at first appearance it now seems to be an office block.

In the late 1700s, the Chapel was the centre of Manchester's Unitarian congregation: a lot of Manchester's rising men and their families attended there of a Sunday morning. Some of the most powerful were active in developing the Manchester Literary and Philosophical society, an institution which played a major role in Manchester's scientific history.

The original Chapel, was destroyed by bombing in the Second World War and was rebuilt on the original site. But these chapels don't get the congregations they used to, so they realised their assets by turning most of the site over to offices, and now they have one or two rooms on the ground floor and the first floor.

 

 

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St Ann's Church

St Ann's Church


In the reading room of St Ann's Church, James Prescott Joule first announced his principle of the mechanical equivalent of heat in 1847.

Joule was the son of a successful brewer on New Bailey Street in Salford. Aged 16, Joule was sent to study with John Dalton (the scientist credited as the founder of atomic theory) as a private pupil in arithmetic and geometry. Young James would work at the brewhouse during the day, but at evenings and weekends, he would be busy with his investigations: he had a laboratory built at the family house, and he sometimes worked in the brewhouse cellar. Perhaps his brewer's sense of heat control was of some help in his experiments into the amount of heat produced by mechanical processes.

 

 

 

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Town Hall

Town Hall


Just past the front porch, prominent statues of John Dalton and his pupil, James Prescott Joule, face each other across the main entranceway. Around the corner on the right is a hall of statues, including one of William Fairbairn, the engineer. Many local fortunes were made from the engineering industry which grew up to supply the textile trade, supplying machinery or the materials for mill buildings.

The Great Hall on the first floor is dominated by twelve frescoes, painted by Ford Madox Brown to show the history of Manchester. On the near right, Dalton is depicted collecting fire-gas from a marsh, while at the far end is William Crabtree, a local astronomer, one of a group who measured the transit of Venus in 1639.

The importance of science in Manchester's civic self-image in the late nineteenth century is firmly demonstrated by the entranceway to the Town Hall, completed in 1877. The visitor's first experience is to pass between statues of the city's two most prominent physical scientists: John Dalton, creator of the modern atomic theory, and his pupil James Joule, whose promotion of the idea that heat and work were equivalent is commemorated in the naming of the "joule" as the standard unit of energy.

On the ground floor, the Sculpture Hall contains busts and statues of various influential figures in the civic history of Manchester. These including the engineer, William Fairbairn, who collaborated with Joule and was one of Dalton's successors as President of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society.

Dalton appears again upstairs in the Great Hall: he is the subject of one of the twelve frescoes painted by Ford Madox Brown between 1879 and 1893 to show the history of Manchester. Dalton is depicted collecting combustible 'fire-gas' from a marsh, with the aid of an assistant: like most pictures in the series, it offers a more legendary than factual view of events. Unusually, Brown also strove to commemorate the pre-Dalton history of local science: another mural shows the amateur astronomer, William Crabtree of Broughton, observing the transit of Venus in 1639.


 

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Friends Meeting House

Friends Meeting House


John Dalton, the defining figure of Manchester's scientific culture in the first half of the nineteenth century, was a lifelong and passionate member of the Society of Friends, or Quakers, a Dissenting religious community active whose strong internal tradition of education had shaped his interest in the natural world and his early experience as a teacher and communicator of scientific ideas.

For Quakers, as for Unitarians and other Dissenters, the chaos and rapid change of early industrial Manchester ironically offered opportunities for social improvement that were often denied them in more traditional and Church-dominated parts of England, and there was a significant Quaker community in the town when Dalton arrived in 1793.

The first Meeting House was built on this site two years later, and Dalton was a regular member of the congregation. In the 1820s, he contributed to the fund to build the enlarged Meeting House we see today. Dalton did not, however, involve himself in the social work and philanthropic activities typical of successful Quakers. Indeed, he was silent on social and political questions generally. In person he was usually private and reserved, preferring to be known through his research and teaching.


 

 

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Site of the original Manchester Museum

Site of the original       Manchester Museum


Where St George's House now stands was the first site of the Manchester Museum, and the street on the far side is named Museum Street. The museum went up in 1835: it was a grand building, home to the collections of the Manchester Natural History Society. This had been set up in the 1820s by a group of wealthy collectors, mostly textile merchants, although this part of the world was also famous for the number of ordinary working men who'd educated themselves, and could tell you all you wanted to know about any natural specimen you cared to bring them: the novelist Elizabeth Gaskell (who lived in Manchester) wrote about such a man in her novel "Mary Barton."

 

There was also a Geological Society, whose collections came to be housed here, but it proved financially difficult to maintain the building, and in 1868 they were given to Owens College (which later became Manhchester University). Soon afterwards Owens College moved to Oxford Road, but it was nearly twenty years before they built the Manchester Museum there, to take all these collections. Patronage from the textile merchants still had a hand to play, though. A local businessman, Jesse Haworth, was an amateur Egyptologist who paid for new galleries in the Museum to house antiquities from the excavations he'd funded.

 

 

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Manchester Central

Manchester Central

 


Manchester Central, now a convention centre, was built as the train shed of Central Station, which opened in the 1870s as a terminus for the Midland Railway Company. What used to be the station hotel, just behind it, is still called the Midland Hotel.

This was the last big station to be built in Manchester, and they had to demolish over 200 houses and build across the path of a local canal, cutting it in two. At that time you could already get to London by train from another big station at London Road (now Piccadilly), but those were days of rival private train companies which were all desperate to take each other's custom.

After the Second World War, these train systems were all nationalised, and without competition it seemed there were just too many train stations in Manchester. So Central was closed; and the old Exchange station at the end of the Liverpool line, up near Victoria, was bulldozed for a car park.

 

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Great Northern Warehouse

Great Northern Warehouse


There's no mistaking that the great long building running down Deansgate here, which is now mostly shops and car parking, was once the Great Northern Railway Company's goods warehouse. It was built in the 1890s, sometime after the construction of Central Station (now Manchester Central) had cut in two the canal which served the area.

You may well wonder what use half a canal would be to anyone. Well, the southern end fell out of use, but the other end, which ran north and west of here right out to the River Irwell, survived because this warehouse was built over the top of it so that it could be used as a road and rail interchange centre. The canal was below ground level at this point, and the railways were high up — which they still are — but they arranged for deep shafts to be sunk, and winches were put in to lift goods between the different levels. In 1923 the Great Northern Railway became part of the LNER, and you can see some of its destinations on the preserved arches on the Deansgate side.


 

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Beetham Tower

Beetham Tower

On Deansgate stands the Beetham tower, a 169-metre structure with a step in its side, built in 2006. It's a hotel up to the step, and private living space above it.

At one time people thought the large mills in Ancoats and a few other places were tall. But the building methods of today — aluminium frames, reinforced concrete and float glass panels for the outside — have given such towers as would never have been thought possible. It stands 169 metres high and has 50 storeys, and at the top there is a penthouse apartment which was bought by the architect himself, a man named Ian Simpson.

There's an interesting story attached to the Beetham Tower which concerns the science of sound. You'll notice that sticking up from the top there's a blade structure, which is fourteen metres high and built of glass and steel. Now Manchester is not only a rainy city but sometimes a windy one, and the air passing the blade's edge would eddy and vibrate — people down below heard it as a whistling noise, somewhere around middle C. This was a nuisance not only for the residents, but caused major problems half a mile away at the Granada Studios, where they film Coronation Street. But with a little bit of acoustic know-how, the problem's now been fixed — or so they say: some folk will tell you that when the wind's in the right direction you can still catch the whistle.

 

 

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Original Owens College site

Original Owens College site


Established by the will of John Owens, a rich local merchant, a college of general education opened here in 1851, but initially attracted few students. It survived largely due to successful integration with local industrial needs, as seen in the work of two chemists commemorated by a plaque on the Byrom Street side of the house.

Edward Frankland, the founding Professor of Chemistry, is best known for the idea of ‘combining power’ of atoms (chemical valency), but also developed consultancies on subjects such as coal and metal ores. His successor, Henry Roscoe, built on this work and was an excellent administrator, gaining students through training links with local manufacturers. By 1863 the College had over a hundred students. Some were very young: J J Thomson, who later worked on cathode rays, was just fourteen when he came to Owens around 1870. The College’s growth eventually led to the move to larger premises on Oxford Road, where it became the University of Manchester.

 

 

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Byrom Street and St John's Churchyard

St John's Street


In the Victorian period, St John's Street was the Harley Street of Manchester: well-to-do patients came here to visit the practices of the leading local doctors, some of whom were no less well-to-do themselves.

The next street along is Camp Street, and the Manchester and Salford Junction Canal —which served the Great Northern Warehouse on Deansgate — runs in a tunnel directly beneath it, on its way out to the river. In fact this part of the canal, which went through a built-up area, was always underground: the tunnel section is 450 metres long, rather impressive for 1839, and of course it's now disused.

 

 

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Byrom Street and St John's Churchyard

St John's Churchyard


St John’s Church, which stood in the churchyard, was demolished in the 1930s; the churchyard, which survives as a garden, is the site of John Owens’ burial, as recorded on a cross in the centre of the garden. The name here, ‘Victoria University’, was that initially chosen when Owens College got its official university charter in 1880.

 

 

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Hall of Science

Hall of Science


On the housing development to to the East of Lower Byrom Street once stood the Hall of Science, set up in 1839 by followers of the social reformer and mill-owner Robert Owen.

Robert Owen was in Manchester around 1790, when the big mills were just beginning, and he set himself up as a manager. He married the daughter of a Glasgow mill owner and built his own mill at New Lanark.

The New Lanark mill is now a World Heritage Site, not just for the mills but for the houses, and schools, and shops which Owen built for his mill 'community'. He believed that men and women were products of their environment: if treated well, especially when young, they would be as civilised and productive as their 'betters'. But few manufacturers took much notice of Owen's mission, so he talked to the poor instead, and his followers, the Owenites, were mostly pioneer socialists.

The Owenites set up their Halls of Science to give education to the working people of the city, and challenge the Sunday schools provided by the established Church.



 

 

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Liverpool Road Station

Liverpool Road Station


On Liverpool Road stands the station building for the Manchester to Liverpool Railway, opened in 1830, and usually considered the world's first passenger station.

It doesn't look much like what you'd call a railway station, more like a row of terraced houses, but then, when they built it, how would they know what later 'railway stations' would look like? The line opened back in 1830 with great fuss - but a government minister was killed on the line, around the mid point, and it was a long time before the train got to Manchester carrying the Duke of Wellington. Some say they only carried on with the journey because the Manchester crowds might have rioted otherwise.

With the growing success of the railway system, the passenger line was extended to a much bigger station (now Victoria), and this site developed as a goods yard, with warehouses and an engine shed. It closed in the 1970s and fell into disrepair, before being redeveloped as the Museum of Science and Industry. From inside the Museum, you can see the roof-level platforms, and a reconstruction of the original booking halls.

 

 

 

 

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Museum of Science and Industry

Museum of Science and       Industry


The Museum of Science and Industry occupies, among other buildings, the original Liverpool Road station and warehouses. The Museum itself has an excellent range of historical and hands-on science and engineering exhibits for all the family.

The industrialists who founded the great Lancashire textile industry would no doubt be bemused that their great work is now commemorated in museums. Did anybody in the time of Queen Victoria imagine that all those factories would be laid waste?

Inside the museum you can see the original station platforms, and a reconstruction of what the booking halls looked like. The outside of the building's not been much changed since it was built: once the railways started to catch on, the passenger line was extended to a much bigger station nearer to the town centre, which became Victoria, and this site was left to develop as a goods yard, with warehouses and an engine shed. When it came to the hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the railway, in 1980, much of it was derelict. At that time, UMIST (The University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology) had started a science and industry museum which was outgrowing its space. Richard Hills was the man that did most of the work, with a Professor Cardwell who was teaching history of science, like they still do at the University. They had a good collection, and the University and the City supported it, but they didn't have much room. So, to cut a long story short, the Museum moved here, and grew and grew.

Inside the Museum you'll also find a great many wonderful machines and devices from the cotton trade, a replica of the world's first stored-program computer that was built at the University in 1948, and a whole gallery on the history of science in Manchester. They have displays commemorating the work of local scientists and engineers, including John Dalton and James Joule. You can see some of the equipment that Dalton used in his studies, together with his umbrella and spectacles.

 

 

 

 

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