Our Featured Meetings

Please note: these meetings were arranged before Covid-19 and we hope to reschedule for a safer time.

Searching for Samuel and his lost fortune, by Chris Tombs

'Searching for Samuel - and the fortune he never made' is the search for Samuel John Hackney, a Manchester businessman. Born in Ancoats in 1840, he set out to make his fortune, but that dream was to unravel. Samuel's story is set in vibrant Victorian Manchester, where great wealth could be made…or lost.

  • Date: to be rescheduled
  • Manchester Central Library
  • Speaker: Chris Tombs
  • Booking: Eventbrite
  • Cost: Free to members*

Legendary Manchester Street Names, by Ray Hoerty

The ‘holding’ illustration for this talk is good, but not exactly ‘legendary’! It will be so much more interesting to see what Ray Hoerty comes up with when he tells us the history of Manchester through its street names, highlighting some of the many individuals who gave their names to the City’s streets. 

  • Date: to be rescheduled
  • Manchester Central Library
  • Speaker: Chris Tombs
  • Booking: Eventbrite
  • Cost: Free to members*

The Rylands and Longford Estate, by Richard Bond

We shall have more details of this talk nearer to the time, our ‘holding’ picture is a very wintry image of the John Rylands library on Deansgate, Manchester. The Rylands family were very influential in many different spheres of Manchester and Lancashire life and this is sure to be a talk full of interest.

  • Date: to be rescheduled
  • Manchester Central Library
  • Speaker: Richard Bond
  • Booking: Eventbrite
  • Cost: Free to members*

Our Quarterly Meetings

We are working hard to prepare for future quarterly meetings and our AGM. Covid-19 restrictions continue in force and our arrangements will take these into account. Please visit this page often, and follow us on social media, we look forward to seeing you again, soon.


Our Meeting Rooms

Our meetings are held in the Performance Space on the ground floor of Manchester Central Library. The rooms are airy and light, with plenty of space for social distancing if that will be required when our meetings are resumed.

Our Venue

Manchester Central Library, convenient for all forms of public transport, is a modernised, comfortable building, designed to offer visitors ease of access, refreshments, a local history library and meeting rooms, all on the ground floor.

Important Things to Know

Our Meetings

The MLFHS usually holds meetings once a quarter; on the 2nd or 3rd Wednesday of the month (but other local events and the availability of speakers sometimes make a change of date more reasonable). We try to find the best speakers to help us discover more about our Manchester heritage.

Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic changed everything. In the interests of everyone’s safety and wellbeing, and slightly ahead of the Government’s restrictions, all of the society’s public-facing activity ceased in March. We look forward to a time when mass gatherings will be possible again.

Looking Forward

Today we are showing, below, a picture from our 2019 Peterloo event, a taste of the meetings and activities that can take place in the library's Performance Space. We will update this with details of new meetings and events as soon as dates, fixed or provisional. can be arranged.


Peterloo event at MCL: Hilary Hartigan

The wonderful Oakenhoof Performers at the Peterloo Celebrations at Manchester Central Library, August 2019, entertaining visitors at lunch time. The Performance Space (PS) meeting rooms are to left of the musicians, and the Helpdesk is at the top right of the picture. We can’t always guarantee such exciting entertainment on our meeting days, but this is the venue! Arrive early, get a coffee, wander around the displays, say ‘hello’ at the Helpdesk and then take your seats in room PS1 and settle in comfortably for an interesting and entertaining talk.


Our Calendar of Events at Manchester Central Library

"Booking on Eventbrite will be essential for these meetings"

Booking on Eventbrite will be essential for these meetings (please see the calendar page) so follow us on this page, on our social media accounts and on Eventbrite to check when booking opens. Meetings will be at Manchester Central Library and will of course be in line with any government guidelines that might be in force at the time.

All meetings are free of charge to members and, in a normal year, it’s quite possible for a member of the MLFHS to attend 62 meetings a year (admittedly you would have to attend beginners’ courses three times – but why not?) for an annual subscription of £15. Your web editors will be busy updating the site and adding new content to enhance your subscription further; project managers and volunteers will continue to save, transcribe and make available important records and the office volunteers will keep the membership and the post running smoothly.


Searching for Samuel, by Chris Tombs

Former Daily Express Building, Ancoats: Hilary Hartigan

Searching for Samuel - and the fortune he never made' by Chris Tombs is about the search for a Manchester businessman, Samuel John Hackney. Samuel was born in 1840 in Ancoats and raised there. As a young man he established a successful lamp making and oil dealing business in Manchester. Samuel had a humble start in life. He grew ambitious and set out to make his fortune, but that dream was to unravel. Sources of information, including The National Archives, will be described, and learning points from the presenter’s “journey of discovery” will be shared. The story is woven around the backdrop of an incredibly vibrant Victorian Manchester, where great wealth could be made…or lost.

The image above shows the former Daily Express building, a more modern image of 'heavy industry' in Ancoats.

  • Date: to be rescheduled
  • Venue: Manchester Central Library
  • Speaker: Chris Tombs
  • Booking: Eventbrite
  • Cost: Free to members; £3.00 to non-members*

Manchester Street Names, by Ray Hoerty

Eccles, Nasmyth's steam drop hammer: Hilary Hartigan

The ‘holding’ illustration for this talk is good, but not exactly ‘legendary’! It will be so much more interesting to see what Ray Hoerty comes up with when he tells us the history of Manchester through its street names, highlighting some of the many individuals who gave their names to the City’s streets. More details will be available nearer the time, as this promises to be full of interest and with the kind of detail that brings the history of Manchester to life in unexpected ways.

  • Date: to be rescheduled
  • Venue: Manchester Central Library
  • Speaker: Ray Hoerty
  • Booking: Eventbrite
  • Cost: Free to members, £3 to non-members*

The Rylands and Longford Estate. by Richard Bond

John Rylands Library, Deansgate: Hilary Hartigan

We shall have more details of this talk nearer to the time, our ‘holding’ picture is a very wintry image of the John Rylands library on Deansgate, Manchester, rubbing shoulders with the ultra-modern ‘Spinningfields’ on the left, another glass fronted office building on the right and a modern sculpture just creeping into the image in the foreground. The Rylands family were very influential in many different spheres of Manchester and Lancashire life and this is sure to be a talk full of interest.

  • Date: to be rescheduled
  • Venue: Manchester Central Library
  • Speaker: Richard Bond
  • Booking: Eventbrite
  • Cost: Free to members, £3 to non-members*

Manchester's Lost District, by Keith Warrender

Old Manchester, Withy Grove: Hilary Hartigan

Our ‘holding’ picture for this talk is what was left behind after the construction of the Arndale shopping centre swept away so much of Old Manchester. This picture was taken on a rainy day by our photographer sheltering in a café in the Arndale. We leave it to our speaker to tell you all about ‘what was’.

This illustrated talk will feature the many pubs, clubs, shops and other businesses that used to be in this network of streets before the Manchester Arndale was built. The district has a Royal connection, had a pub run by arguably Manchester’s finest entertainer and characters who were immortalised by Charles Dickens. Here also were newspaper offices run by some of Manchester’s outstanding radical figures, as well as some intriguing accounts of everyday life in the ‘Lost District’. The presentation includes many previously unseen photographs taken 50 years ago by the speaker. Keith Warrender is a local publisher and has written books on underground Manchester, curiosities around the region and the Bollin Valley. He is an authority on the events surrounding the 1932 Kinder Scout mass trespass and is a regular speaker at groups in the North West.

  • Date: to be rescheduled
  • Venue: Manchester Central Library
  • Speaker: Keith Warrender
  • Booking: Eventbrite
  • Cost: Free to members, £3 to non-members*

Family History Fair, 27th March 2021

News is just coming in of a Family History Fair, sponsored by the MLFHS, to be held at the Manchester Central Library on Saturday, 27th March 2021. More details closer to the date!


Please follow this page regularly as the speaker secretary will be working hard to get the meetings schedule up and running again, with first class informative and entertaining speakers.

*Non-members pay £3 per meeting, but the fee is refunded if the visitor joins the society at the end of the meeting. Some meetings, in particular the summer visit to another venue, may incur costs in addition to the normal, any such additional costs are paid all attendees and are not refundable.

The Small Print

The MLFHS usually holds meetings once a quarter; on the 2nd or 3rd Wednesday of the month (but other local events and the availability of speakers sometimes make a change of date more reasonable) and we try to find the best speakers to help us discover more about our Manchester heritage. The Covid-19 pandemic changed everything. In the interests of everyone’s safety and wellbeing, and slightly ahead of the Government’s restrictions, all of the society’s public-facing activity ceased in March. As this beautiful new website was being created other volunteers were making arrangements to cancel meetings, rearrange schedules and planning ahead for the time when mass gatherings will be possible again.