The Guardian commemorates 200th anniversary with Manchester plaque

Charlie Spargo's picture
by Charlie Spargo

The Guardian has marked its 200th year and celebrated its Manchester heritage with a new commemorative plaque, pictured, at the site of its former offices.

The plaque was unveiled today (May 11th) at 3 Cross Street, as part of the wider celebrations being hosted by the publication, which was originally launched as the Manchester Guardian on May 5th, 1821.

The office was the home of The Guardian between 1841 and 1970, and was where its longest-serving editor, CP Scott, worked for nearly 50 years - writing his notable centenary essay a century ago featuring the famous phrase, "Comment is free, but facts are sacred." 

Those present at the plaque's reveal included Guardian Editor-in-chief Katharine Viner, Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, and Councillor Luthfur Rahman OBE, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Skills at Manchester City Council.

A series of Manchester-focused events have been planned to mark the paper's heritage and celebrate the landmark anniversary, including a visit to the Russell Scott Primary School in Denton which was set up by the Scott family in the 19th century; an online Manchester event featuring Andy Burnham and Helen Pankhurst; and an exhibition at the John Rylands Library, which holds the newspaper's archives.

Katharine Viner, Guardian 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.”

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, also 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.”

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