Serial killers, sexiest women and a film studio: Manchester portrayed as Disneyland of history in city biography

By Edward Roberts

Serial killers, sexiest women and even a film studio make Manchester a ‘Disneyland’ of history, according to the city’s latest chronicler. 

Seven years of research has finally come to fruition for a Withington author who has today released his latest book, ‘Manchester Stories’ – a biography of the city he has spent his entire life in.

After navigating his way through thousands of documents and historical news articles, David Clayton, has detailed 18 of the city’s most notorious events.

The 46-year-old author has ploughed assiduously through the array of documents to ensure that his detailing of these occasions can offer something different from anything else on the market.

“I didn’t just want to relay the facts, I wanted to do something with a little glitz,” Mr Clayton said.

“There are lots of Manchester history books, but not a biography.

“I didn’t just want to concentrate on one era or topic like most do, I wanted to chronicle everything that’s happened over the years – the good and the bad.”

Incidents such as the 1940 Christmas Blitz, the 1979 Woolworth’s fire and the 1985 plane crash as Manchester Airport will all be narrated.

The impact of the city’s famous faces such as Pat Phoenix, L. S. Lowry and Jackie Brown will also be analysed.

Mr Clayton believes his light-hearted and sometimes sensational handling of many of the events means that the book will grip a younger generation of Manchester residents.

“For a lot of people under 25 history just isn’t important, but there are a lot of people who are interested,” he said.

“It would be great for younger people to read it and find out about the city that we live in.

“People need to know that Manchester was like the equivalent of Disneyland. We had a film studio, we had the sexiest woman in Britain, we even had a serial killer.”

After spending all of his life in Manchester, Mr Clayton has a personal connection to the city and an on-going fascination with its often grisly history.

Many of the 18 events are recollected in a poignant fashion as he vividly relays some of his own memories of the events.

He has previously released a number of popular books on football, many of which concentrate on Manchester City Football Club. Manchester Stories is his first non-football title.

Manchester Stories by David Clayton is published by Fort Publishing and is available for £11.99 in all good bookshops.

Image courtesy of Kamophotos, with thanks

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