Type: Circular walk – begins and ends at Manchester Central Library
Distance: 2.7 miles/4.3 km
Difficulty: Easy

Central Library – Stand in St. Peter’s Sq.

and face the Central Library
(to your left is the Midland Hotel).


A persistent legend, however, holds that the library began when one of Ptolemy I’s subjects, an Athenian named Demetrius of Phalerum, proposed constructing a building to house all the world’s known manuscripts, according to Britannica. Demetrius’ grand design was to erect a place of learning that would rival Aristotle’s famous Lyceum, a school and library near Athens. Ptolemy I apparently approved the plan, and soon, a building was erected within the palace precincts. “It was called the Museion, or ‘Place of the Muses,’” Wendrich said; it was
named after the muses, the nine Greek goddesses of the arts. (The word “museum” is derived from “museion.”)

Tom Garlinghouse, March 14, 2022

British Nuclear Tests Veterans Association Memorial – facing the library, turn right and proceed to the memorials in St. Peter’s Sq. View the British Nuclear Tests Veterans Association Memorial.


Ron Watson was just 17 when he experienced his first nuclear weapon blast.
A British soldier from Cambridgeshire, he had completed his training in the summer of 1957 before departing on Boxing Day on a fateful tour with the Royal Engineers.

After the excitement of leaving on a specially chartered train carrying thousands of men and then sailing across the oceans, he was wholly unprepared for what awaited him during his posting in the tropics.

The 79-year-old explained that the first thing to strike him was an unbelievably bright light.

“I had my back to the explosion,” he said.

“My eyes closed with my hands covering them.

“I clearly saw the bones in my hand, just like you see them if you look at the results of an X-ray.”

Dr Becky Alexis-Martin, lecturer in Political and Cultural Geographies at Manchester Metropolitan. ‘MMU Stories’. Manchester Metropolitan University.

Emmeline Pankhurst Statue – Turn and cross St. Peter’s Sq. to the suffragette statue of Emmeline Pankhurst in St. Peter’s Sq opposite the Central Library.

But she wasn’t afforded the same opportunity. Despite having a top-class degree from what would become Victoria University of Manchester, Christabel’s gender meant she was unable to, legally, become a lawyer. This was the case when she graduated in the early 1900s, despite women having been able to study for law degrees since the 1870s. Christabel, unwilling to accept being barred from the bar, contacted Lincoln’s Inn in 1904, a year into her law degree. Two years before that, an administrative error saw Gray’s Inn accidentally admit a woman, Bertha Cave, to the bar, though it later corrected this… Dismissed by Lincoln’s Inn, Christabel intensified her campaign for female voting rights, alongside her mother, Emmeline. The pair had already founded a campaign group several years before Christabel’s graduation: its members would go on to become known as ‘the suffragettes’.

Katie King, ‘The story of Christabel Pankhurst, the law graduate suffragette barred from joining an Inn’. Legal Cheek (Legal news, insider insight and careers advice).

George Street – Walk south-east towards Back George St. Continue onto Dickinson Street to George St. where John Dalton the early C19th atomic theorist and colour blindness researcher lived.

John Dalton made huge discoveries in atomic theory, concluding that every form of matter, whether solid, liquid or gas, was made up of small individual particles. In his early career, Dalton studied colour blindness and found the condition was due to a missing photoreceptor for the colour green. The condition is now referred to as Daltonism. Commemorated by a blue plaque at 36 George Street, the site of his laboratory.

I Love Manchester

The Gay Village – Walk north-east on George St towards Nicholas St. Turn right onto Nicholas St. Proceed and turn left onto Portland St. Turn right onto Sackville St. and proceed to Sackville St. Stop at the rainbow planter next to NCP Manchester multi-story car park.

Colorblindness is the racial ideology that posits the best way to end discrimination is by treating individuals as equally as possible, without regard to race, culture, or ethnicity (Williams, 2011)… At face value, this belief appears to not only amounts to a dismissal of the lived experiences of people of color, but also suggests that racism does not exist so long as one ignores it… However, within the context of enduring structural and systematic racism, racial colorblindness serves as a device to disengage from conversations of race and racism entirely.
(Asare, 2017)

The Amelia V. Galluci-Cirio Library, Fitchburg State University.

Alan Turing Memorial – Returning to Sackville Street. Continue to Sackville Gardens. Enter the gardens and proceed to the Alan Turing Memorial.

How does cyanide act in the body?

After exposure, cyanide quickly enters the bloodstream. The body handles small amounts of cyanide differently than large amounts. In small doses, cyanide in the body can be changed into thiocyanate, which is less harmful and is excredited in urine. In the body, cyanide in small amounts can also combine with another chemical to form vitamin B, which helps maintain healthy nerve and blood cells. In large doses, the body’s ability to change cyanide into thiocyanate is overwhelmed. Large doses of cyanide prevent cells from using oxygen and eventually these cells die. The heart, respiratory system and central nervous system are most susceptible to cyanide poisoning. What are the specific signs and symptoms of cyanide poisoning? The health effects from high levels of cyanide exposure can begin in seconds to minutes. Some signs and symptoms of such exposures are:

Weakness and confusion
Nausea/feeling “sick to your stomach”
Gasping for air and difficulty breathing
Loss of consciousness/”passing out”
Cardiac arrest

The severity of health effects depends upon the route and duration of exposure, the dose, and the form of cyanide.

New York State, Department of Health. April 2006. ‘The Facts About Cyanide’.

Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre – Leave the park and continue south along Sackville Street. After 0.2 miles stop at the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre on left.

Graphene-based materials are gaining heightened attention as novel materials for environmental applications. The unique physicochemical properties of graphene, notably its exceptionally high surface area, electron mobility, thermal conductivity, and mechanical strength, can lead to novel or improved technologies to address the pressing global environmental challenges. This critical review assesses the recent developments in the use of graphene-based materials as sorbent or photocatalytic materials for environmental decontamination, as building blocks for next generation water treatment and desalination membranes, and as electrode materials for contaminant monitoring or removal.

Perreault, F., Fonseca de Faria, A., Elimelech. (2015). ‘Environmental Applications of Graphene-Based Nanomaterials’, Chemical Society Reviews. New Haven. Yale University

The Deaf Institute – Continue south on Sackville St. The path bears right. Turn left towards Brook St. and proceed under Mancunian Way flyover. Turn right onto Grosvenor Street. Continue for a short while. Stop at The Deaf Institute on left.

The intriguing name itself links to the previous usage of the venue – formerly Manchester’s Adult Deaf and Dumb Institute, as is inscribed in the stonework above the entrance. The building was designed by John Lowe, with another still-visible inscription marking its foundation stone, laid by the MP Hugh Birley on the 2 June 1877 – the construction taking place over the course of that year. Channelling the Gothic style, the structure boasts a bold sandstone façade, a slate roof and archways throughout, including the windows and wide main door. Considering that ‘dumb’ is no longer an appropriate term, it will be used in terms of its historical context within this article – and when the building itself reopened as a venue in 2008, it took the title ‘The Deaf Institute’… A sculpture of what appears to be two men can also be seen on one of the plinths; thought to be a depiction of Christ restoring the hearing of another man. This links to the inscription in the stone below it that reads ‘Ephphatha’ meaning ‘be opened’ – believed to be the phrase used by Christ when he performed this miracle. In turn, the religious symbolism may have been a reassurance to users of the building, and it was here that served as a sanctuary for deaf and speech-impaired people for a number of years… Such an impressive structure did not come cheap, however. Built out of Manchester’s industrial glory
years – civic pride was highly regarded, and constructions often intended to reflect the idealised grandeur of the city – with the Adult Deaf and Dumb Institute itself costing around £5800 at the time*.

It was opened to much fanfare, with Bishop Fraser (then Lord Bishop of Manchester) overseeing the ceremony on 8 June 1878.

*Equivalent to £14.6M in 2023.

Visit Manchester. December 19, 2019. ‘Delving Into the Hidden History of The Deaf Institute’.

The Rutherford Building – Continue south-west on Grosvenor St. towards Oxford Rd. Turn left onto Oxford Rd. Continue for 0.3 miles. Turn right onto Coupland St. Stop at University of Manchester Rutherford Building on the right.

Rutherford showed that the “nucleus of hydrogen” existed in the nucleus of other atoms and thus appeared as a basic building block. The first nuclear reaction initiated by a human and the discovery of the proton are big steps in themselves, but from these reactions you can also infer the sizes of nuclei. It also led to the development of nuclear accelerators – so that you could induce all sorts of different nuclear reactions… ‘This discovery, and the earlier work done by Rutherford that established the existence of an atomic nucleus itself, essentially established the field of nuclear physics right here in Manchester.’


University of Manchester. November 2, 2017. ‘Rutherford’s Legacy – the Birth of Nuclear Physics in Manchester’.

Sir Arthur Lewis Building – Continue along Coupland St. Turn Right at Higher Chatham Street. Turn Right at Bridgeford Street. Turn left onto footpath. Stop and look at the building on the right . This is the Sir Arthur Lewis Building. During this time, he published his seminal work in Development and Growth Economics for which he was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1979, jointly with Theodore Schultz.

Lewis was born in Castries, Saint Lucia, the fourth of five children, and his parents were both schoolteachers. His father died when Arthur was just seven, and his mother raised the five children alone… At the young age of 33, he was appointed to the Chair at Manchester – and, in so doing, he became Britain’s first black Professor. He stayed at Manchester until 1957… During this period, he developed some of his most important concepts about the patterns of capital and wages in developing countries. He particularly became known for his contributions to development economics, and in 1954 published what was to be his most influential development economics article, “Economic Development with Unlimited Supplies of Labour” (Manchester School, Volume 22(2), pp. 115–227).

University of Manchester. ‘Arthur Lewis’.

Mancunian Way – Continue along Cambridge St. Proceed to Cambridge Junction. Continue under Mancunian Way (the A57M flyover). Stop under Mancunian Way.

By 2050, 68% of the global population will live in cities. That’s 2.5 billion more people than today. In Europe, three out of four of us already live in urban areas, and the consequences of that are becoming clear… Researchers estimate that nine million people die every year as a direct result of air pollution. In London, two million people – of which 400,000 are children – are living in areas with toxic air.


Callum Mair. ‘City Life: why Are Green Spaces Important’. Natural History Museum, ‘What on Earth’. 

John Dalton Statue – Continue north- west. Exit the underpass footpath onto Cambridge St. Turn right onto Chester St. Stop at the statue of John Dalton on the right.*

Beyond weather forecasting, meteorology is concerned with long-term trends in climate and weather, and their potential impact on human populations. An important area of meteorological research these days is climate change and the effects it may cause… Many people wonder why the study of the atmosphere is called meteorology. The name comes from the ancient Greeks. In about 340 B.C.E., the Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote a book called Meteorologica, which contained all that was known at the time about weather and climate. Aristotle got the title of his book from the Greek word “meteoron,” which meant “a thing high up” and referred to anything observed in the atmosphere. That term stuck through the centuries, so experts on the atmosphere became known as meteorologists.


John Dalton (1766-1844). Among Dalton’s notable works was ‘Meteorological Observations and Essays’ (1793). National Geographic. ‘Meteorology’ (Encyclopedia Entry). 

River Medlock – Continue along Chester St. Turn left at Oxford Rd. Cross onto the right hand side of the road and stop at the railings overlooking the River Medlock.

Here flows the Medlock with countless windings through a valley, which is, in places, on a level with the valley of the Irk. Along both sides of the stream, which is coal-black, stagnant and foul, stretches a broad belt of factories and working-men’s dwellings, the latter all in the worst condition. The bank is chiefly declivitous and is built over to the water’s edge, just as we saw along the Irk; while the houses are equally bad, whether built on the Manchester side or in Ardwick, Chorlton, or Hulme. But the most horrible spot (if I should describe all the separate spots in detail I should never come to the end) lies on the Manchester side, immediately south-west of Oxford Road, and is known as Little Ireland. In a rather deep hole, in a curve of the Medlock and surrounded on all four sides by tall factories and high embankments, covered with buildings, stand two groups of about two hundred cottages, built chiefly back to back, in which live about four thousand human beings, most of them Irish. The cottages are old, dirty, and of the smallest sort, the streets uneven, fallen into ruts and in part without drains or pavement; masses of refuse, offal and sickening filth lie among standing pools in all directions; the atmosphere is poisoned by the effluvia from these, and laden and darkened by the smoke of a dozen tall factory chimneys.

Rochdale Canal – Continue along Oxford St., crossing the junction to Whitworth St. and the Sainsbury’s on the left. Stop at the railing overlooking the Rochdale Canal on left.

Since 2007, authorities have tragically pulled 77 dead bodies out of Manchester’s canal and
waterway network, many of which are young men. Are these a series of unrelated accidents or is there something more sinister to blame?

In light of this news, many publications around the country have been eager to jump on the idea that Manchester is home to a sick serial killer, one that prowls the canal paths at night looking for victims to push to their doom in the icy waters… This ‘pusher’ has now pretty much become a Manchester legend, with many people warning of the pusher any time you get within spitting distance of a canal. The problem now is; the whole thing might just turn out to be impossible to debunk entirely.

Ben Brown. July 20, 2021. ‘Myths of Manchester: The Canal Pusher’.


Elicit from them that myths—like other stories—contain the following elements: characters, setting, conflict, plot, and resolution. In addition, myths usually explained some aspect of nature or accounted for some human action. Frequently, myths also included a metamorphosis, a change in shape or form.

The Kennedy Center. ‘Elements of Myth’.