Mechanics' Institute, Manchester

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Mechanics' Institute, Princess Street, Manchester

The Mechanics' Institute, 103 Princess Street, Manchester, is notable as the building in which three significant British institutions were founded: the Trades Union Congress (TUC), The Co-operative Insurance Society (CIS) and the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST). It has been a Grade II* listed building since 11 May 1972.[1]

Plaque commemorating the first meeting of the Co-operative Insurance Company at the Mechanics' Institute in 1867
Plaque commemorating the first meeting of the Trades Union Congress at the Mechanics' Institute in 1868

The institute was established in Manchester on 7 April 1824 at the Bridgewater Arms hotel by a group of wealthy manufacturers and scientists. The purpose of the institution was to provide facilities for working men to learn the principles of science through part-time study.[citation needed]

This institute organised the first City exhibition in 1837 and this led to a large number of similar exhibitions in English industrial towns and cities.[2] This institute's base was in Cooper Street and it moved to the current building in 1855. The building was designed by J. E. Gregan in an Italian palazzo style and was Gregan's last work.[3] It consists of three tall storeys with a basement and blind attic storey and is constructed of brick with stone dressings. "It set a standard for the scale of the commercial warehouses which were to follow, but the nobility and purity of the design sets it apart from its neighbours." The inaugural meeting of the Trades Union Congress was held in the building, 2–6 June 1868. The building now contains archives from the National Labour Museum.[4]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Kusamitsu, Toshia (1980). "Great Exhibitions before 1851". Hist Workshop J 9 (1): 70–89. doi:10.1093/hwj/9.1.70. 
  3. ^ Hartwell 2001, 219
  4. ^ Pevsner Architectural Guides: Manchester, pages 196-197, Clare Hartwell, 2002.


  • Pevsner, Nicholas; Hartwell, Clare & Hyde, Matthew, The Buildings of England: Lancashire - Manchester and the South East (2004) Yale University Press
  • Hartwell, Clare, Pevsner Architectural Guides: Manchester (2001) Yale University Press

Coordinates: 53°28′37″N 2°14′21″W / 53.4769°N 2.2392°W / 53.4769; -2.2392