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Manchester Histories Day

Two groups of secondary students from Cheadle Hulme High School and Ladybridge High School visited Manchester Museum for a full day of activities to look at the history of Manchester from a range of perspectives. They looked at the men and women who have made significant contributions to science, industry and culture nationally and internationally and put Manchester on the map. Their actions could only have been possible in Manchester – a place where rapid change took place during and after the Industrial Revolution, resulting in philanthropic discussion and gifts. This was very important for the Whitworth, the Museum and the University.

ImageStudents explored these ideas through the work of artist, designer and active socialist, Walter Crane. Although Crane did not originate from Manchester, he worked with many of the movements in Manchester through commissions to illustrate their ideas through his idealized vision of the workers using symbolic imagery such The Triumph of Labour, 1891. Curator, Helen Stalker took the students through Crane’s political works, where it was clear that the artist did not separate his personal views from his practice. Working collaboratively, the young people went on to design monuments to celebrate the life of key movers and shakers from Manchester, including Ernest Rutherford, famed for splitting the atom and former University of Manchester student, Ian Curtis from the Salford band Joy Division and a over-sized telescope to acknowledge the contribution that Brian Cox has made to Physics.


When working with the Museum, the students were introduced to the many explorers and benefactors who had helped to form the Manchester Museum collection from wealth generated from Manchester. The dynamic day was finished with a talk from James Hopkins, University Historian and Heritage Office, looking at the University of Manchester during World War One and the impact of war on the students at the time.


Student’s study from Walter Crane Print

 The Manchester Histories Days are run in partnership with the University’s Widening Participation Initiative, which opens up the possibility of university to young people and gives them a flavor of what it may entail. These days are run every Spring Term so why don’t you bring your students to the next event.



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