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Manchester School of Art

Manchester School of Art
Motto Many Arts, Many Skills
Type Public
Location Manchester, England, UK

Manchester School of Art in Manchester, England, was established in 1838 as the Manchester School of Design. It is the second oldest art school in the United Kingdom after the Royal College of Art which was founded the same year.[1] The school opened in the basement of the Manchester Royal Institution on Mosley Street. It became the School of Art in 1853 and moved to Cavendish Street in 1880. It was subsequently named the Municipal School of Art. In 1880, the school admitted female students, at the time the only higher education available to women, although men and women were segregated. The school was extended in 1897.[2]

The school became part of Manchester Polytechnic in 1978 and is now a faculty of the Manchester Metropolitan University. Its 175th anniversary in 2013 was marked by the opening of a new building designed by the Fairhurst Design Group and the refurbishment of the Chatham Tower. The school comprises three major teaching departments, Art, Design and Media, the Manchester Institute for Research and Innovation in Art and Design (MIRIAD) and together with the University of Manchester, the Manchester School of Architecture.


  • History 1
  • Architecture 2
  • Collections 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Calico printers Edmund Potter and James Thomson were involved in the school's foundation.[3][4] The first head from 1838 was John Zephaniah Bell, who pursued a fine art curriculum until 1843.[5]

Walter Crane was the Director of Design from 1893 to 1898.[6] Adolphe Valette was a teacher there from 1906 to 1920.[7] Its graduates include L.S. Lowry, Liam Spencer, Ossie Clark, Martin Parr, Malcolm Garrett, Peter Saville, Thomas Heatherwick and Roger Hampson. Sylvia Pankhurst was a student at the school.[8] Susan Dacre and Annie Swynnerton formed the Society of Women Painters and Swynnerton became the first woman to be elected to the Royal Academy since its inception in 1768.[9]

John Mayall enrolled at the School of Art in the 1950s. Other notable musicians to attend the school include Mick Hucknall, who studied Fine Art in the 1980s and formed Simply Red.


The Manchester Municipal School of Art was built in Cavendish Street in 1880–81 to the designs of G.T.Redmayne. On a rectangular plan it was constructed in sandstone ashlar with buff terracotta dressings. It is two storeys high above a basement and has slate roofs with glazed skylights. Its symmetrical facade, built in the Neo-Gothic style, has large gabled wings with pinnacles at either side of its buttressed and blind arcaded main range. In the centre is a chamfered doorway with a moulded arched head and carved spandrels above which is a canted oriel window with a steep roof against a gable with pinnacles and a finial at the top. The building is Grade II listed.[10]

The 1897 extension designed by Joseph Gibbon Sankey, at the rear of the building, was built in red brick and terracotta with Art Nouveau decoration.[2]


When founded, the school promoted the Charles Robert Ashbee and ceramics from Pilkington's Art Pottery.[6]



  1. ^ About us,  
  2. ^ a b Hartwell 2002, p. 132
  3. ^ Hewitt, M. "Potter, Edmund".   (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  4. ^ Henderson & Barrie 1975, p. 90
  5. ^ Bosbach & Filmer-Sankey 2000, p. 113
  6. ^ a b Manchester School of Art,  
  7. ^ Adolphe Valette A French Painter in Manchester, Manchester Art Gallery, retrieved 11 October 2012 
  8. ^ "Pankhurst, (Estelle) Sylvia (1882–1960)".   (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  9. ^ "Swynnerton [née Robinson], Annie Louisa (1844–1933)".   (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  10. ^  


  • Bosbach, Franz; Filmer-Sankey, William (2000), Prinz Albert und die Entwicklung der Bildung in England und Deutschland im 19. Jahrhundert / Prince Albert and the Development of Education in England and Germany in the 19th Century, Walter de Gruyter,  
  • Hartwell, Clare (2002), Manchester, Pevsner Architectural Guides, Yale University Press,  
  • Henderson, William Otto; Barrie, Michael Ratcliffe (1975), Great Britain and Her World, 1750-1914: Essays in Honour of W. O. Henderson, Manchester University Press,  

External links

  • 1878 – Manchester School of Art, Lancashire

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