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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

IAS Fellows' Seminar - The Dark Satanic Mills: Manchester's industrial landscape

28th January 2019, 13:00 to 14:00, Seminar Room, Institute of Advanced Study, Professor 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 conflagration and anarchy. One hundred years later Britain’s might as an industrial power was in terminal decline and (to borrow A.J.P Taylor’s words) Manchester had become ‘irredeemably ugly’. The renaissance of the city today as a result of the so-called ‘Manchester Miracle’ has meant that 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 paper explores the reimagining of the ‘Dark Satanic Mills’ in 2018, a time when fewer and fewer people have personal experience of an industrial landscape who can tell another story.

Places are limited and so any academic colleagues or students interested in attending a seminar should register online in advance to reserve a place. Places will be confirmed within 48 hours of receipt (subject to availability). Alternatively please contact the Institute in advance to reserve a place.