Social Responsibility


How we’ve been making a difference since 1824

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 14:05:00 GMT

The University of Manchester has its roots in 19th century workers’ education, the city’s medical schools, and a university college that would become England’s first civic university. Those origins began the University’s commitment to inclusiveness, diversity and making a positive contribution to society. We were only the second university in England to admit students without religious tests, one of the first to award degrees to women and developed initiatives that enabled the region’s wider community to benefit from our teaching and research through initiatives like the University Settlement and public lectures.

University History and Heritage offer two free public tours that guide visitors through our rich history. The first tour Making the Modern World: England’s first civic university tells the story of Owens College, which was founded from the philanthropy of wealthy Manchester merchants, and captured the energy and spirit of the industrial revolution. The tour takes place amongst our fine neo-gothic architecture and traces the development of the University into the twentieth century and visits key sites of discovery including where Ernest Rutherford first split the atom and where Alan Turing helped lay the foundations of modern computing.

The second tour - The Rise of the University: Industry, Engineering and Science – begins its story at the height of the industrial revolution and explains how the Manchester Mechanics’ Institution was founded by 11 successful merchants to provide workers with a basic education. Surrounded by the University’s postwar modernist structures that exemplified progress and possibility, the tour narrates how the Mechanics’ Institution went on to become a world leader in science and engineering that helped Britain to maintain its competitive edge through the 20th century.

Places for both tours can be booked online.

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