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‘Sooty Manchester’: Rethinking Manchester’s Industrial Landscape 1800-2019

Paul Pickering (Australian National University)

‘Sooty Manchester’, wrote Thomas Carlyle in 1843, is ‘every whit as wonderful, as fearful, unimaginable, as the oldest Salem or Prophetic city’. Characteristically, Carlyle was capturing a growing unease among his readership: the contradiction between the national pride of being the ‘workshop of the world’ combined with a growing concern at the yawning gap between ‘two nations’, which was felt to be leading Britain inexorably towards a social and political catastrophe. Today the industrial heritage of the ‘shock city’ of the industrial revolution has been demolished, awaits demolition, re-purposed, sanitised, or commodified or some combination of the above. This work-in-progress explores the reimagining of the ‘Dark Satanic Mills’.

Professor Paul Pickering is Director of both the Research School of Humanities and the Arts (2013-) and the Australian Studies Institute (2017-) at the Australian National University. He has published extensively on Australian, British and Irish social, political and cultural history as well as biography, public memory and commemoration, industrial heritage and the study of reenactment as an historical method. A paperback edition of his most recent book (with Kate Bowan): Sounds of Liberty: Music, Radicalism and Reform in the Anglophone World, 1790-1914 was published by Manchester University Press in March 2019. His current book project From ‘Dark Satanic Mills’ to the ‘Manchester Miracle’: the politics of urban-industrial heritage in Britain will be published by Routledge in 2020.


October 30, 2019


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