There are already lots of resources – real-world and online – for people wanting to know about different aspects of Manchester’s history. Here are some of them: if you know of others we should add to the list please get in touch.
Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre
The Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre, based in Manchester University’s Sackville Building, contains material that documents the contributions of Black people to British and American history, and the struggle against racism in its many forms.” It also includes the Steve Cohen Collection, a collection of memorabilia from over 70 anti-deportation and immigration campaigns fought in Greater Manchester.
Ancoats Buildings Preservation Trust
Ancoats “the world’s first industrial suburb, forms part of a potential World Heritage Site and its buildings include former cotton spinning mills, housing, community facilities and commercial buildings of every period from the 1790s.” The Ancoats Buildings Preservation Trust has acted as a ‘developer of last resort’ for historic buildings deemed uneconomic by commercial developers, and promotes knowledge and pride in Ancoats’ history.
Basque Children of ’37 Association UK
In 1937, during the Spanish civil war, a group of almost 4,000 children were evacuated from Bilbao to the UK. The Association’s main aim is to remember and preserve the story of these children, the niños vascos, in its proper historical context.
Bolton Revisited is a “small but fascinating record of the personal and communal histories of the people of Bolton – a celebration of their different backgrounds and experiences – in good times and bad.” It began life as a project teaching IT skills to local people, but has become a site documenting the lives of the town’s residents.
Bolton Women’s Liberation History Project
Bolton Women’s Liberation Group existed from 1971 until 1986. This vital website makes the group’s archives from the period available online.
A wide-ranging blog recording the history of the Country Standard, a journal founded in 1936 for ‘progressive rural workers.’ Includes information on the Clarion newspaper, founded in Manchester in 1891, and on related campaigners and activists.
Books by Malcolm Cowle
A series of free-to-download e-books by Malcolm Cowle, who grew up in industrial Gorton and Openshaw in the 1940s and 1950s. The semi-autobiographical books follow the life of a young cyclist and apprentice growing up in 1960s Manchester.
Culture 24’s page on Manchester’s radical political history
A good overview from this national local history website of radical history in Manchester, from the Blanketeers to the Pankhursts.
Part of the Industrial History of Britain website – a history, with photos, of Denton Colliery in South-East Manchester and other coal mines in the area.
The inner-Manchester area of Hulme has been home to many of the city’s different communities and has seen Victorian back-to-backs, ‘social experiment’ Crescent housing and now controversial regeneration. This amazing site brings together decades of photos and film from the area’s residents.
Women’s history magazine published in print and online; the ‘Discover’ section of the site and articles in the magazine cover various Manchester-related subjects.
Kate Sharpley Library
The Kate Sharpley Library “exists to preserve and promote anarchist history. We preserve the output of the anarchist movement, mainly in the form of books, pamphlets, newspaper, leaflets and manuscripts but also badges, recordings, photographs etc.” Its collection includes a number of documents relating to the history of anarchism in Manchester from the 19th to 21st centuries.
Lost in Manchester
Not strictly speaking a history site, but some fascinating observations on small details of Manchester’s architecture, buildings, shops, street names, post boxes etc etc etc – many of them historical.
Manchester Black History Trail
Manchester Black History Trail is an ongoing project developing mapped trails around different parts of Manchester, highlighting sites of historical significance to the city’s Black communities. “
Manchester Jewish Museum
Based in the city’s oldest surviving synagogue, on Cheetham Hill Road, the Museum “chronicles the lives of Jewish people in Manchester and their contribution to making the city what it is today.”
North East London Radical History Network
Another way of ‘doing’ local history – a libertarian socialist history group in North-East London.”
Once the home of Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters Sylvia, Christabel and Adela, the Women’s Social and Political Union was founded here in 1903. Now includes a women’s history archive and reading room, as well as contemporary campaigns and services such as ESOL and Rape Crisis counselling.
People’s History Museum
The People’s History Museum, often known as the Pumphouse after its main building by the River Irwell, “explores the world changing events led by the working people of Britain. It is the national centre for the collection, conservation, interpretation and study of material relating to the history of working people in Britain.”
Peterloo Massacre Campaign
On 16th August 1819 in St Peter’s Fields, Manchester, armed cavalry charged a peaceful crowd of around 60,000 people gathered to listen to anti-poverty and pro-democracy speakers. It is estimated that 18 were killed, and over 700 seriously injured. The campaign is asking for a prominent, explanatory and respectful memorial to the event and to those who died that day.
Rochdale Borough Heritage Society
Rochdale Heritage was formed in June 2008; its objectives are to promote, preserve and record Rochdale’s heritage, including the history, flora and fauna, architecture, and archaeology within the Borough.
Rochdale Pioneers Museum
The Rochdale Pioneers Museum exists to preserve the original store of the founders of the British Co-operative Movement, and to generate an understanding of the ideals and principles of co-operation and mutuality.
Salford Local History Library
Salford Local History Library, located in the Museum & Art Gallery building on The Crescent, holds resources including Family History sources (from 1841), maps (from 1848), newspapers (from 1858), more than 50,000 photographs and a wide range of other useful material.
WhalleyRange.Org’s Old Whalley Range photo collection
Working Class Movement Library
The Working Class Movement Library, based in Salford, is a “unique collection capturing the stories and struggles of ordinary people’s efforts to improve their world.” Its huge archive – which always needs volunteer sorters! – encompasses hundreds of years of working class struggle and solidarity, and includes gems such as contemporary images of the Peterloo Massacre.