How did money from slavery help develop Greater Manchester?

Liverpool and Manchester Railway commemorative flowerpot

Probably made in Liverpool, about 1830
Underglaze printed decoration on earthenware

Object number 1979.622
Purchased, 1979

See this object at Manchester Art Gallery This object may not always be on display. Please check with the venue before visiting.

Liverpool and Manchester Railway commemorative flowerpot

The Liverpool and Manchester Railway opened on 15 September 1830. The growth of cotton production, and the need to move both raw material and the finished products quickly and efficiently, led to businessmen in both cities lobbying parliament for permission to build a railway. American cotton grown by enslaved Africans formed part of the first goods consignment to be carried by the railway in December 1830. The railway soon became widely used by passengers too and today is proudly celebrated as the first passenger railway in the world.

The opening of the railway generated huge public interest, and quickly became a tourist attraction for people interested in visiting the 'marvels' of industrialisation. Inexpensive souvenirs such as this flowerpot were produced in large numbers for them to take home from the visit.

This information was provided by curators from Manchester Art Gallery.