Tonight I joined author Joanna M Williams at the beautiful Grand Pacific Restaurant to not just launch her new book Manchester’s Radical Mayor, but to celebrate this fantastic achievement too.
The Town Hall is a symbol of what makes Manchester truly one of the most remarkable cities in the world. From celebrating the football triumphs of both Manchester United and Manchester City, to the centre piece of the Christmas markets, which see thousands of revellers flock to the city to begin their festive celebrations.
Most recently, it became the focal point of an event that shocked the world and one of the darkest days in the history of this great city. People came from far and wide to Albert Square, with the Town Hall looming over proceedings as the world watched the people of Manchester pay their respects and show their character and defiance.
However the achievements of Abel Heywood are not limited to building the Town Hall. Born and bred in Manchester, Heywood was born in 1810 into a poor family. From his humble beginnings Heywood rose to the lofty post of Mayor of Manchester, along the way gaining praise for his radical approach to politics, his hard work and dedication to the suffragette movement. In addition he was a tireless campaigner for workers rights and a free press.
Williams has gone into painstaking detail on her subject matter, and her research and dedication burst out of the pages. What may on the surface appear to be a ‘dry’ and drab story, Williams makes it entertaining and engaging: this a classic ‘rags to riches’ story, or an underdog triumphing against all odds for the good of the people. However Williams has adopted a very academic approach to her writing which doesn’t hamper or hinder your enjoyment of the book.
For those wishing to learn about the wonderful city of Manchester, about its transport links, the development of its amenities including hospitals and schools, and improving the living standards of the poor and needy through the eyes of one man then this is the book for you.
The book further highlights that the world of 19th century Manchester isn’t as far removed from the one we inhabit today.
Further info an details of how to purchase can be found here.