Culture in Manchester

Institutions and urban change since 1850

Editors: Janet Wolff and Mike Savage

This book brings together studies of cultural institutions in Manchester from 1850 to the present day, giving an unprecedented account of the city’s cultural evolution. These bring to light the remarkable range of Manchester’s contribution to modern cultural life, including the role of art education, popular theatre, religion, pleasure gardens, clubs and societies. The chapters show the resilience and creativity of Manchester’s cultural institutions since 1850, challenging any simple narrative of urban decline following the erosion of Lancashire’s industrial base, at the same time illustrating the range of activities across the social classes. The essays are organized chronologically. They consider the role of calico printers in the rise of art education in Britain; the origins and early years of the Belle Vue Zoological Gardens; the formation of the Manchester Dante Society in 1906; the importance of theatre architecture in the social life of the city; the place of religion in early twentieth-century Manchester, in the case of its Methodist Mission; the cosmopolitan nature of the Manchester International Club, founded in 1937; cultural participation in contemporary Manchester; and questions of culture and class in the case of a contemporary theatre group.

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