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The Guardian honours its Manchester roots as it turns 200

The Guardian and Manchester City Council last week unveiled a new commemorative plaque at 3 Cross St, marking the site of the Guardian’s offices in the city from 1841 to 1970.

The Guardian honours its Manchester roots as it turns 200
Andy Burnham: “The Guardian was born out of injustice on the streets of Manchester.” Photograph: Richard Saker/The Guardian.

Editor-in-chief Katharine Viner, along with Councillor Luthfur Rahman OBE, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Skills, Manchester City Council and Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham unveiled the plaque to celebrate the joint history of the Guardian and Manchester.

The paper was founded as the Manchester Guardian in May 1821, in the wake of the Peterloo massacre in August 1819, which saw police charged into a crowd of people in St Peter’s Field protesting for fairer political representation, killing at least 14 people. This national scandal led to the inception of the Manchester Guardian by John Edward Taylor, a journalist who was present at the massacre and saw how the “establishment” media sought to discredit the protesters. The Manchester Guardian was launched with a manifesto that outlined a huge responsibility to the public to give facts accurately and honestly, and to hold power to account, says the Guardian.

People walking down Cross Street will be able to see the plaque on the side of what is now the Arndale Centre. It reads:

The Manchester Guardian (now the Guardian) founded on 5th May 1821, had its newspaper offices here between 1841 and 1970. For almost 50 years it was the office of CP Scott, the paper’s longest-serving editor. ‘Comment is free, but facts are sacred’

Katharine Viner, editor-in-chief said: “In 1821 The Manchester Guardian launched promising to hold the powerful to account and to promote liberty, reform and justice. Guardian journalism is still driven by these values forged in Manchester, which now reaches millions of people every day. Today readers from across the world help to support Guardian journalism and keep it open to all. I’m delighted that we are able to mark this crucial part of our joint history.”

Councillor Luthfur Rahman OBE, said: “Manchester has a long tradition of innovation, challenge, and doing things differently. The Guardian is very much part of this history and its local roots are something we’re rightly proud of - with the newspaper and its values crafted in Manchester hailed the world over as a blueprint for independent journalism. It’s an honour to be unveiling this plaque and recognising this important part of our city’s history.”

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester said: “The Guardian was born out of injustice on the streets of Manchester and has always remained true to your mission of being a voice for human rights, for compassion, for justice. This is a part of Manchester’s history we can be very proud of, and I’m very pleased we’ll have this permanent reminder of Manchester Guardian and the ongoing positive influence this city has around the world.”