Manchester is a city built on innovation, resilience and tenacity. The city has been graced by so many incredible pioneers, creatives and trend-setters over the years, when I was asked by Enterprise City to list my top 5 Dreamers of Manchester for their upcoming Doc in a Day event, I already had a few people in mind.
1) Emmeline Pankhurst 1858 – 1928
Born in Moss Side, Pankhurst’s dream of a world where women had the right to vote, led to a life of political activism and controversy summed up in her own words: “I’d rather be a rebel than a slave”.
It was not an easy dream to fulfil. Pankhurst was arrested numerous times, and along with many other suffragettes imprisoned, and then, having gone on hunger strike, she was repeatedly force-fed – a brutal practice. Emmeline felt compelled to temporarily suspend this particular battle, to support the war effort on the outbreak of the First World War, and she died in June 1928 shortly after women were granted equal voting rights to men at the age of 21.
She will finally be honoured with a statue, in Manchester, to be unveiled in 2019.
2) Alan Turing 1912 – 1954
The founder of modern computing, Turing published a paper in 1936, that is now recognised as the foundation of computer science. Turing took up a role at Bletchley Park, where top secret work was being carried out, his work on breaking the Enigma Code meant that in 1049, German Air Force signals were being decrypted and his work contributed to helping the war.
Turing’s legacy lives on to this day, with his posthumous pardon in 2017 for gross indecency, he is remembered in Manchester as a true Dreamer.
3) Humphrey Booth 1580 – 1635
Born in 1580, Booth, a wealthy fustian merchant of Manchester and Salford bought and later donated land he owned to charities that helped the poor and needy. The land he donated, worth £20 per year at the time, is now known as Oxford Street and Piccadilly. He also founded the first church in Salford, Trinity Chapel, shortly before his death in 1635.
Booth should be recognised for his commitment to helping those in need, now to this day multiple charities and organisations are named after him, including 20-year-old homeless charity, the Booth Centre.
4) Sir Howard Bernstein 1953 –
Born in Cheetham Hill, Bernstein championed the Manchester Metrolink we all use today, which at the time was the first light-rail network to be built for over a century. After the 1996 Manchester bombing, Bernstein oversaw the redesign of the city and is credited with delivering areas such as Urbis, Exchange Square, Piccadilly Gardens and New Cathedral Street.
He is highly regarded across the city, and with his knighthood in 2003 for services to the city of Manchester his legacy will be remembered for years to come.
5) Anthony (Tony) Wilson 1950 – 2007
Journalist, TV presenter, impresario and co-founder of Factory Records and the iconic Hacienda nightclub, Wilson’s support of bands such as Joy Division, New Order, and Happy Mondays, helped them to success, and Madchester was born, ultimately at great cost to his record label.
Tony Wilson promoted Manchester culture passionately throughout his career, much of this documented in the film 24 Hour Party People.
He stuck to his mantra of: “This is Manchester, we do things differently here”, and the mercurial Wilson was aways watchable, always interesting, always dreaming of the next big thing.
By Mylo Kaye, CEO of award-winning app-development agency Dreamr.