Free entry Open today 10am to 5pm

The Making of Manchester

Open daily

  • 10am to 5pm
  • Recommended for ages 8 and older
  • Free
  • Station Building
  • Step-free access throughout. Wheelchair-accessible toilets on ground floor of 1830 Warehouse. Read our facilities guide.

From a Roman outpost to a sprawling urban metropolis, Manchester has always been a city of revolution, revelation and radical ideas. Go back in time to discover the making of our city.

Encounter the bloody Peterloo massacre of 1819, where a reform meeting of 60,000 mill workers ended with 18 dead and 400 injured at the hands of soldiers sent by magistrates. The Peterloo massacre led to the Great Reform Act of 1832.

The rise of industry in the city brought radicals who were hungry for social reform. Hear from those who were at the forefront of Free Trade and Chartism, key social movements that played a vital role in shaping the democracy that you live in today.

Stand to attention in front of the imposing official Manchester clock. Made in 1848, this impressive timepiece was housed in the old Town Hall and received the time directly from Greenwich. Factory owners would set their factory clocks by the device, keeping workers punctual and their business in profit.

Given city status in 1853, Manchester developed a strong sense of civic pride and grew into an economic powerhouse. Read all about the epic expansion of the railways and the birth of the Manchester Ship Canal—one of the great British civil engineering achievements of the 19th century.

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