Parklands and Precincts: Visions for Education in Manchester

James Hopkins

SONY DSCHeritage Officer, University of Manchester


The 1945 City of Manchester plan foresaw higher education as a growth sector within the city. It envisaged physically transforming the area between ‘the Tech’ and the Victoria University into an Education Centre to house Manchester’s growing educational institutions in imposing buildings with open vistas and collegiate parklands.

The 1945 Plan was prophetic in its predictions for the expansion of higher education, though the physical mark it made on the city was not what had been intended. The slum housing and older industrial areas were replaced with new buildings but neither the 1945 nor the later 1967 Manchester Education Precinct Plan succeeded in forging cohesive development for what has become Manchester’s knowledge corridor.

This paper discusses the plans for the physical and social development of Manchester’s university area in the three decades after 1945 and explores some of the reasons that they failed.

[Download Presentation Slides]


James Hopkins works at the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine. His PhD focussed on the history of regionalism in post-war Britain and its learned society, the Regional Studies Association. With Professor Michael Hebbert (formerly of the University of Manchester, now UCL), he has written a history of Wythenshawe Garden City as an example of an iconic planned community. He has a strong interest in the history of Manchester and is currently working on a history of medical education in Manchester with Professor John Pickstone. Alongside his research, he has recently been appointed as the University of Manchester’s Heritage
Officer to conserve and promote the rich history of the institution.


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