Calico connections
Science, manufacture and culture in mid-nineteenth-century Manchester
in Culture in Manchester
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Janet Wolff’s essay investigates the role played by cotton manufacturers, particularly calico printers, in the rise of art education and the development of chemistry in Britain in the mid-to-late nineteenth century. In the case of art education – originally established in London and other cities with a view to improving design in industry – manufacturers in the northwest of England had a clear interest in its progress.The calico printer Edmund Potter played an active role here, giving evidence to Select Committees and also in his involvement in the Manchester School of art from its founding in 1838. However, he argued strongly for a fine art education, rather than the narrowly practical training one might assume manufacturers would favour.Parallel to these developments, the rise of chemistry, prior to its establishment in universities, is traced to the employment of chemists, many from Germany, in the dye-works of the calico printers.

Culture in Manchester

Institutions and urban change since 1850

Editors: Janet Wolff and Mike Savage

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