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What was Manchester like in the Industrial Revolution?

A complete scheme of work and supporting lesson resources looking at what life was like in Manchester during the Industrial Revolution. The enquiry challenges students to address the statement: Was the Industrial Revolution in Manchester just about millsĀ and factories?

Photo of houses on Thomas Street Manchester, showing cellars below ground, shops on the ground floor, living space on the first floor and workshops on the top floor.
Houses on Thomas Street Manchester, showing cellars below ground, shops on the ground floor, living space on the first floor and workshops on the top floor.

Teaching ideas

This resource pack is designed to help students investigate how accurate traditional interpretations of the Industrial Revolution are. The lessons focus on houses in a street called Thomas Street, in an area now known as the Northern Quarter of Manchester, about half a mile from Piccadilly Railway Station. After completing all six lessons students then try to answer the over-arching enquiry question: Was the Industrial Revolution in Manchester just about mills and factories?

Learning aims and outcomes

  • To support the teaching of History and Citizenship at KS3
  • To investigate aspects of local history and how they relate to a broader historical concept
  • To understanding methods of historical enquiry, including how evidence is used to make historical claims, and how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed
  • To create reasoned and evidentially supported judgements

Prior knowledge

Students do not need any prior knowledge of the Industrial Revolution in order carry out this study.  It may, however, be helpful if students have prior knowledge of:

  • The main focus and means of production in England before the Industrial Revolution.
  • The growth of populations and migration to towns during the Industrial Revolution.

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