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A Blue Plaque tour on campus

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Ever spotted a blue plaque on a building while breezing through campus? With the sun finally returning in spells we thought it would be nice to take a bit of time to reflect on the contributions to society by our celebrated alumni and former staff.


Stop 1: Dover Street Building

Frank Worrell (1924 – 1967), International Cricketer

A hugely talented all-round cricketer, Frank Worrell graduated from our BA Admin course in 1959. A year later he was Captain of the West Indies, the first black man to captain the side for an entire series.  After his retirement from cricket he became a Jamaican senator. The winners of West Indies v Australia test matches are awarded the Frank Worrell Trophy in his honour.

Stop 2: Samuel Alexander Building

Anthony Burgess (1917 – 1993), Writer and Composer

Born and raised in Manchester, Anthony Burgess studied English here before serving in the army during World War II. He became a notable composer of many kinds of music, as well as a prolific novelist, literary critic and translator. A Clockwork Orange is his best known novel.

Stop 3: John Owens Building

Ellen Wilkinson (1891 – 1947), Labour Politician and first female Minister of Education

Born into a working class family in Manchester in 1891, Ellen Wilkinson won scholarships for every stage of her education and began a degree in History here in 1910. A fervent socialist, she was elected to Manchester City Council in 1923 and as an MP for Jarrow in 1935. In 1945, Clement Atlee appointed her as the first female Minister for Education.

Stop 4: Beyer Building

Marie Stopes (1880 – 1958), Lecturer in Palaeobotony and pioneer of family planning

Marie Stopes taught fossil botany here from 1904 to 1907. She was the first female Lecturer in the Faculty of Science, and in 1905 became Britain’s youngest Doctor of Science. She went on to campaign for women’s suffrage, eugenics and family planning. In 1921 she founded the pioneering Mothers’ Clinic for Birth Control.

Stop 5: Rutherford Building and Museum Archway

Ernest Rutherford (1871 – 1937), Nobel Laureate and Langworthy Professor of Physics

Ernest Rutherford led our Physics department from 1907 to 1919. He received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1908 for his studies of radioactivity while a professor in Montreal. But it was in Manchester that he discovered the atomic nucleus and laid the foundations of nuclear physics.

Stop 6: Rutherford Building

Alison Uttley (1884 – 1976), Children’s Author

In 1906, Alison Uttley became the second woman to graduate with honours from the University.  A physicist by training, she began writing in 1930 to support herself and her young son after the death of her husband. Her early books were tales about animal characters such as Little Grey Rabbit, but she also wrote for older children and adults. In 1970 the University awarded her the honorary degree of Litt.D.

Stop 7. Coupland III

Peter Mark Roget (1779 – 1869), Physician, Co-founder of Manchester’s Medical School and Compiler of the Thesaurus

Peter Mark Roget was a physician at the Manchester Infirmary who lectured to medical students and Manchester societies. He later practised medicine in London, becoming well known as a writer on scientific topics. In retirement he compiled his Thesaurus of English words and phrases, which has remained in print continuously since 1852.

Stop 8. Coupland I

Alan Turing (1912 – 1954), Code Breaker and Reader in Mathematics

In 1937 Alan Turing introduced the idea of a universal computer. At Bletchley Park, he helped lead the breaking of military codes. In Manchester from 1948, he wrote on machine intelligence and used the newly created electronic computer to develop a highly original model of pattern formation in animals and plants.

Stop 9. Coupland I

Tom Kilburn (1921 – 2001), Professor of Computer Engineering and Computer Science
Freddie Williams (1911 – 1977), Professor of Electro-technics

Creators of the First Stored- Program Computer.

In 1948, Professor Freddie Williams and Tom Kilburn, then working in the Electrical Engineering Department, witnessed their experimental machine, known as the Baby, successfully execute a program. It was the world’s first digital stored-memory computer.

Don’t forget our campus map to help you navigate your tour.