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The Manchester Confidential Tours

Fancy a Radical Manchester tour with Confidential?

Published on May 22nd 2009.

The Manchester Confidential Tours

Manchester is soaked through with radicalism.

Here’s a checklist of some of the things Mancunians and adopted Mancunians have fought for: universal suffrage, votes for women, unionism, chartism, the abolition of slavery, equality in education, equality in religion, equal gay rights. The city’s even had a radical role to play in the English Civil War, the vegetarian movement, footy players’ freedoms and access to the countryside. From the Peterloo Massacre through the founding of the TUC to anti-Clause 28 campaigning it’s all here.

Manchester is also the only city in Britain that’s a concept, a political and economic philosophy.

The mid-nineteenth century Manchester School, and its mantra of Free Trade, might have been twisted by subsequent interpretation miles away from what its authors believed but it still casts a shadow over the planet in 2009. It could be argued that it casts a shadow as large as any other competing ideology of the last two hundred years including communism.

The Free Trade Hall

Not that we miss out on the latter on this tour.

Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx, the fathers of Communism, are part of this story. Engels lived for 22 years in Manchester and Marx would visit him for long periods. It was this place, more than anywhere else, which informed the Communist Manifesto – part written in Chetham’s Library near Victoria Station.

Characters encountered on the tour include Ann Lee, Henry Hunt, John Bright, Richard Cobden, Sir Robert Peel, Lydia Becker, Emmeline Pankhurst, Edward Carpenter, Sandy Turnbull, Benny Rothman and Anthony Wilson.

Emmeline Pankhurst: The Suffragette

We pass landmarks left right and centre on a route from Manchester Visitors Information Centre to Victoria Station and ask just what was or is a nuclear free city?

The tour takes place at 3pm, tomorrow, 23 May, from Manchester Visitors Information Centre and is priced £6 (£5 concs). Just turn up and pay on the day.

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