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Space, power and governance in mid-twentieth century British cities

Reconstructing modernity assesses the character of approaches to rebuilding British cities during the decades after the Second World War. It explores the strategies of spatial governance that sought to restructure society and looks at the cast of characters who shaped these processes. It challenges traditional views of urban modernism as moderate and humanist, shedding new light on the importance of the immediate post-war for the trajectory of urban renewal in the twentieth century. The book shows how local corporations and town planners in Manchester and Hull attempted to create order and functionality through the remaking of their decrepit Victorian cities. It looks at the motivations of national and local governments in the post-war rebuilding process and explores why and how they attempted the schemes they did. What emerges is a picture of local corporations, planners and city engineers as radical reshapers of the urban environment, not through the production of grand examples of architectural modernism, but in mundane attempts to zone cities, produce greener housing estates, control advertising or regulate air quality. Their ambition to control and shape the space of their cities was an attempt to produce urban environments that might be both more orderly and functional, but also held the potential to shape society.

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Alan Kidd
Melanie Tebbutt

clergyman, Mike’s early social life had revolved round the church and it is not surprising that when he and Christine first moved to Manchester they got involved in church affairs. She was employed as a nurse at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, and since neither knew Manchester well the church network provided a good way to get to know their adopted city and its people. In the early days they attended services at Manchester Cathedral, where their second son was christened. Given Mike’s propensity for involvement in community matters it is perhaps no surprise that for a

in People, places and identities
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Samuel Gorton, Gerrard Winstanley, and the London roots of transatlantic revolutionary religion
David R. Como

sprouted from a shared environment or network that helped to germinate their apparently idiosyncratic, novel ideas. Gorton’s life before his departure for America has received only cursory attention, chiefly from New England genealogists. He was almost certainly Samuel, son of Thomas Gorton, baptized in Manchester Cathedral Church in 1592/3. When Thomas Gorton made his will in 1610, he described himself as a husbandman: Samuel later assumed pretensions of gentility, but he was to all appearances from modest

in Political and religious practice in the early modern British world
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The case of Lionel Cowan
Bill Williams

Street, near the city centre. A founder member was the pacifist, feminist and Manchester City Councillor, Margaret Ashton, who as a conscientious objector during the First World War, had been branded a traitor and deprived of her seta on the Council. She was chairman of the branch from 1915 to 1922 and its president from 1922 until her death in 1937 (WC January 1929 (No. 134) and December 1937 (No. 231)). At a memorial service held at Manchester Cathedral in October 1937 the Dean of Manchester described her as ‘the incarnation of all that was best and most distinctive

in ‘Jews and other foreigners’
Manchester and the Basque children of 1937
Bill Williams

Basque children of 1937 104 BEN 28 May 1937. 105 BEN 1 June 1937. Godlee was a principal in the cotton firm Simpson and Godlee of Quay Street, Manchester. In a private capacity, he was chairman of the Hallé Concerts Society, designed to offer support to Manchester’s Hallé Orchestra. 106 The names of the earliest members are attached to a letter calling for support for ‘The Watermillock Fund’, printed in MG 9 June 1937. Other members were Revd Canon Peter Green, the rector of St Phillip’s church in Salford and a canon of Manchester Cathedral; Professor Revd Alex J

in ‘Jews and other foreigners’
Matt Perry

service in Manchester Cathedral in 1925, Wilkinson reflected: ‘Had there been no Mrs Annot Robinson, there would have been no Ellen Wilkinson MP.’6 While Wilkinson respected those who were jailed or force-fed for suffrage activities, she sharply criticised the WPSU’s undemocratic turn under ‘Mrs Pankhurst’s imperious dictatorship’, as much for its abandonment of the working-class and socialist women of Lancashire as its lack of democracy. Wilkinson was thus a militant and democratic suffragist in her outlook, admiring Charlotte Despard, Robinson and Sylvia Pankhurst.7

in ‘Red Ellen’ Wilkinson