An exhibition tracing Richard Cobden’s life, career and legacy opens at Manchester Central Library, 5 April-30 June 2023.
Richard Cobden (1804-1865) is usually remembered as leader of the Anti-Corn Law League, which campaigned for free trade in food during the ‘hungry forties’, but his public career embraced far more. He was a supporter of educational reform, press freedom, and extension of the vote. He was a leading figure of the international peace movement, a critic of British foreign policy, and an opponent of slavery and
imperialism. However, before he became the ‘international man’, Sussex-born Cobden was an active Manchester citizen: a contributor to local societies and leading campaigner behind the establishment of
Manchester’s first elected municipal council.
Turn left after Archives+ entrance:
Cobden and Manchester
Anti-Corn Law League Manufacturer
Displays found throughout primary corridor outside Reading Room:
Man on the Make to ‘Manchester Manufacturer’
Anti-Corn Law Leaguer
Apostle of Free Trade
Champion of the Press
Friend of America
Displays in Reading Room:
Death and Memorialisation
Legacy and Inheritance
The exhibition is part of a project led by Leeds Beckett University and the University of East Anglia and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, which is making thousands of Cobden’s letters available online and using his correspondence to develop teaching materials around the theme of active citizenship.