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Next tour: No new dates.
Meet: Midland Hotel, Peter Street.
To book privately (ideal for schools and universities): please e-mail

Manchester was the world’s first industrial city – the first place to use the factory system to mass produce goods on a scale never before seen.

And what goods! Cotton clothes exported to west Africa; locomotives to power the first trains seen in South Africa and Australia; even cars, for Rolls Royce was born at the Midland Hotel and Ford’s first plant was in Trafford Park.

There were also coal pits all around the city and the world’s first aircraft manufactory in a surviving Ancoats mill.

And that leads into one of the strangest stories related on this walk: how when Alliott Verdon Roe built his first plane in 1912 and was obliged to take it down to Surrey for a test flight by train from London Road he transported it to the station on a horse-drawn cart, the wings folded, a bizarre clash of mediaeval and nuclear age transport.

Made in Manchester: the world’s first trains, vintage planes, Rolls Royce cars, the Ford Model-T, the first computer, Marks & Spencer, atoms, idealistic politics and cotton clothes that clad the world.