Bill Williams
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A case of cosmopolitanism
The Manchester International Club
in Culture in Manchester
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Bill Williams’ essay takes the opportunity of a unique study of the Manchester International Club to demonstrate the cosmopolitan tendencies in the city in the 1930s. The Club represented the first time that anyone had thought to give Manchester’s tradition of tolerance a local, practical and institutional form, and the essay explores the objectives and achievements of the founders of the Club. Williams records the city’s earlier history of pacifism and liberal internationalism in the early twentieth century, manifest in Manchester branches of various other organisations. The specific rationale for the International Club was to provide for Manchester’s foreign population, as well as to promote ‘a real understanding of other peoples’. The structure and governance of the Club is discussed, and some of the issues debated explored, through archival and other documents, as well as its relationship with the British Council. The Club served various populations, including foreign students, refugees and members of the armed forces.

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Culture in Manchester

Institutions and urban change since 1850

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