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The making of Manchester’s technical colleges (1954‐1964)

Steele, Matthew George (2014) The making of Manchester’s technical colleges (1954‐1964). Masters thesis (MA), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

The post‐war era witnessed the construction of numerous technical colleges in towns and cities across Britain. Despite ‐ or perhaps because of ‐ their ubiquity, these colleges are mostly absent from contemporary architectural press reports whilst there is a dearth of scholarly study on the matter. In considering the circumstances which gave rise to their creation, this thesis provides a brief national overview of Britain’s post‐war technical colleges before focussing upon the city of Manchester to provide detailed case study examples. In doing so, it challenges the typical narratives of twentieth‐century architecture which tend to privilege certain architects and buildings, and widens the debate to include the social, economic and political factors that can influence the design process. It is argued that Britain’s post‐war technical colleges were the product of national prescription and local need; the interplay between the two was central to their creation. In establishing the post‐war technical college as a distinct twentieth‐century building type, this thesis calls for a reassessment of their architectural legacy in the hope that those remaining may be afforded greater protection in the future.

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