Mapping Manchester: Cartographic Stories of the City

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition


The exhibition in the Rylands Library Reading Room reveals some of the ways in which mapping is ingrained into urban life. It demonstrates how maps work and change over time in response to technology, society and economic imperatives, highlighting visually striking cartographic representations of Manchester. Mapping Manchester showcases the wealth of cartographic treasures held by the University of Manchester and other institutions in the city, including generous loans of materials from the Manchester City Library and Archives and Chethams Library. The maps exhibited are more than just pretty pictures: they are powerful tools instrumental in the making of the contemporary Manchester, and can be read as rich stories of urban life.Mapping Manchester exhibition displays over eighty different maps, plans, diagrams and photographs of the city published over the last two hundred and fifty years. These range in date from the first large scale survey of the city published by William Green in 1794, to a 2008 statistical map of binge drinking hotspots across Manchester. A wide array of designs is displayed, ranging from network diagrams, building plans, strip maps, to three-dimensional bird's-eye views, such as Heywood's iconic Victorian Pictorial Map of Manchester, and digital animated mapping.Cartographic stories covered in the exhibition include ? People behind the map, focusing upon contrasts in commercial mapping of Manchester over a two hundred year period? The role of mapping foretelling developments in the road network and public transport? Manchester as the industrial powerhouse and commercial centre, looking at the Ship Canal and Trafford Park ? Mapping contrasts between rich and poor housing in the city through social surveys such as Richard Bastow's map and the changing built environment of Hulme? Sanitary infrastructure to improve the health of citizens examined via maps of water supply, public baths and sewage systems? Changing moralities in the city is considered through representations of disease and drinking?? The pleasures of mapping is brought to life in terms of visitors' guides to Belle Vue Zoo and Pleasure Gardens, now no longer in existence?? A series of display boards also highlight the different techniques employed by professional cartographies to map the city. A visual contrast here portrays change over time, scale, thematic content and design
Original languageEnglish
PublisherThe John Rylands Library
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Eventother; 2009-06-25; 2010-01-17 - John Rylands Library
Duration: 25 Jun 200917 Jan 2010


  • Mapping
  • Manchester
  • Narrative
  • Cartrography
  • Display


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