The City of Manchester and its surrounding areas have been lucky to receive many distinguished visitors through the past 100 years and luckily the Manchester Evening News was able to capture these guests on film. The pictures below showcase some of the individuals who have come to the area and the story behind their visits.


Gandhi visited various cotton mills throughout Manchester and Lancashire during his visit to England in 1931. He is pictured above with some of the workers at a mill and their children. Gandhi’s visit is perhaps one of the most fascinating given his attitude towards industrialisation. He did not agree with the idea of industrialisation given the negative impact it was having on the towns and villages in his native India. Despite this disdain towards having mills with machines taking over from people weaving cotton by hand, Gandhi bore no grudge to those who worked in and ran the cotton mills. He saw it as their right to be able to run these machines as the demand for people needing the clothing was there and no one had the grounds to stop them.


Gandhi was not the only important social figure who spent time in Manchester, however. During his exile from his homeland, Haile Selassie came to England and spent some of that time in Manchester. Pictured above with pacifist campaigner and Labour peer Donald O Soper, Selassie established a great relationship in Manchester. He struck up a friendship with Roger Grey, 10th Earl of Stamford, who resided at Dunham Massey, in Trafford. Grey, as a mark of respect to his great friend, would fly the Ethiopian flag on the 23rd July, Selassie’s birthday, at Dunham Massey Hall, a tradition which has been recently reestablished following what would have been Selassie’s 100th birthday in July of last year.


Many political figures have chosen Manchester and the north of England as a place to visit and tour. Former Premier of the Soviet Party, Georgy Malenkov was one such figure. Following his removal as Premier, Malenkov took time away from his native Russia and during 1956 toured Manchester and North West England. Pictured visiting a nuclear power station above, Malenkov was said to have been captivated by the Western way of life he saw when visiting.


Manchester has also been the subject of many royal visits in the past as well. King George V, pictured above, regularly visited Manchester and North West. While the Queen Mother, or the Duchess of York as she was known at the time, officially opened the new buildings at the Ancoats Hospital, pictured below.


During the Second World War the Queen Mother along with King George VI would return to Manchester to visit various factories in the area. They are pictured below visiting the Rolls Royce factory in Manchester, which produced various engines, vehicles and other parts for the war effort.


Following the Second World War, Sir Winston Churchill received the Freedom of the City of Manchester. While he was in the city to receive his award Churchill visited various venues to give speeches and was the guest of honour at numerous events. Pictured below he is giving a speech to the crowd at the Albert Hall , followed by him giving his famous ‘V’ salute to the crowd at Belle Vue.



These are just some of the fascinating and high profile visitors who have come to Manchester in the past. The profile and constant growth of the city and its surrounding areas has ensured that Manchester remains a place high up on the list of any traveler, be they royalty, politician or just your average citizen.

Photographs Copyright Dave Thomas / Manchester Evening News / Mirrorpix

This blog post was written for Archives+ by one of our volunteers as part of our Heritage Lottery Funded project.