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Stories from the collection

Learn about the people, places and things represented in our collection–from the history of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, to the Factory Records archive.

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All stories from the museum collection

Beyer Garratt articulated locomotive

Beyer, Peacock and Company

Beyer, Peacock exported locomotives and machine tools all over the world. Their locomotives still have an international reputation 35 years after the closure of their factory in Gorton, Manchester.

Cardboard box containing 7 inch and 12 inch records

Factory Communications Limited

Factory Communications Limited was the company name of Manchester’s infamous independent record label Factory Records, whose roster included the bands Joy Division, New Order and Happy Mondays.

Alan Turing and colleagues working on the Ferranti Mark I computer

Ferranti Mark 1 computer

Ferranti worked in partnership with the University of Manchester to design the Ferranti Mark 1—the world’s first commercially available computer. No complete Mark 1 or Mark 1* computers survive today.

James Prescott Joule

James Prescott Joule (1818 to 1889)

James Prescott Joule developed revolutionary ideas on energy and temperature and the international unit of energy—the joule—is named in his honour. He established the mechanical equivalent of heat. Most of Joule’s scientific apparatus is in the museum collection.

Portrait of John Dalton

John Dalton (1756 to 1844)

John Dalton was a pioneer whose theories have become the basis of modern chemistry and physics. Dalton’s surviving apparatus and personal items (including his eyeballs!) are in our collection.