A march through Britain’s political and social history may sound heavy-going but clever curation, family trails and interactive exhibits will delight visitors of any age
In a beautiful russet-hued, steel-clad pumphouse on the banks of the river Irwell, in the regenerated Spinningfields district of the city centre, this free museum charts the history of working people from the Industrial Revolution to the present day. The main exhibition begins by examining the 1819 Peterloo Massacre (the site of which is just down the road). Visitors are led through colour-coded galleries, which celebrate radical thinkers, reformers and activists on the journey to universal suffrage. There is also a focus on ordinary people’s lives: the chance to play a board game in an early 20th-century kitchen, operate a till in a co-operative shop, as well as play a protest song on a 1950s jukebox. Explorer packs and regular children’s events add to the family-friendliness.