Made in Manchester: The story of the city that shaped the modern world

Brian Groom

manchester evening skyline 2020 manchester lit and phil talk made in manchester
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Date and time
25 September 2024
6.30 pm

International Anthony Burgess Foundation
3 Cambridge Street
M1 5BY
Get directions

£15.00 (non-members)

Wheelchair accessible



Manchester was the ‘shock city’ of the Industrial Revolution. Has it lived up to its early promise and can it now be a model for urban living in the 21st century?

Brian Groom returns to the Lit & Phil to tell Manchester’s story from the earliest times, based on his new book Made in Manchester: A people’s history of the city that shaped the modern world.

Roman soldiers who came to build a castle in this rainy spot on the Empire’s edge probably little imagined that, centuries later, Manchester would be at the centre of an Industrial Revolution regarded by many as the most transformative period in human history. It was a turbulent time, leading to the Peterloo Massacre of 1819.

No one knew whether these upheavals would lead to prosperity or starvation, but the city became the centre of the global cotton industry and a pioneer in engineering. It was a hotbed for radical movements such as Chartism, yet also spawned the employer-led Anti-Corn Law League, which made free trade Britain’s economic orthodoxy.

Manchester Lit & Phil Trustee Charlotte Lanigan will interview Brian, and their discussion will cover the sweep of Manchester’s history. This will include pioneering figures such as scientist John Dalton (former Manchester Lit & Phil President), novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, the team who produced the world’s first stored-program computer, politician Ellen Wilkinson and singer Gracie Fields. It will tell the story of the city’s late 20th-century decline and recent rebirth, including the role of sport, music and architecture – and the controversy over its skyscrapers and property-driven economic model.

Join us to explore what Manchester’s past can tell us about the city’s – and the world’s – future. Brian has quickly established himself as the leading authority on the history of northern England, and so too Manchester. Born and raised in Stretford, there’s no one better than him to peel back the layers of this ancient but very, very modern city.

brian groom

Brian Groom

Brian Groom is a journalist and author, originally from Stretford. He went to Manchester Grammar School and Balliol College, Oxford, before starting work as a sports editor in Goole, Yorkshire. Most of his career was spent at the Financial Times, where he did many of the top writing and editing jobs, including being political editor and an assistant editor, but he also spent ten years in Scotland, where he launched and later edited Scotland on Sunday, the Scotsman‘s Sunday paper. He retired from the Financial Times in 2014 and moved to Greenfield, Saddleworth, in Greater Manchester.

Brian’s book Northerners: A History, from the Ice Age to the Present Day (2022) became a national bestseller. His latest book Made in Manchester: A Peoples History of the City that Shaped the Modern World was published in May 2024.

charlotte lanigan

Charlotte Lanigan

Charlotte Lanigan is an Elected Council Member & Trustee at Manchester Lit & Phil. She is an alumni of Newcastle University, where she studied English Language. Charlotte is very passionate about social justice activism. She is an avid reader of geo-political literature and dedicates much of her time engaging with, and understanding, the zeitgeist of today.

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