Networks of Influence: The Manchester Guardian and Liberal Connections and Campaigns

Jo Laycock (Senior Lecturer in History, The University of Manchester), Stuart Jones (Professor of Intellectual Thought, The University of Manchester), Kathy Davies (Research Associate, Sheffield Hallam University)

Old photograph of Guardian staff
Guardian directors, including Scott, L. T. Hobhouse, and C. E. Montague, GDN/140/2, Guardian Centenary Album, 1921.

This project examines the archives of the Manchester Guardian in order to establish the development of Liberal networks during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Under the editorship of C. P. Scott, the Manchester Guardian stood at the centre of a variety of causes espoused by Liberal politicians, scholars and humanitarians, from the fate of minorities in the Ottoman Empire to the question of child labour. This project traces the personal and professional networks which shaped the newspaper’s engagement with these causes.

By digitally mapping connections between people, places and issues, our project will show how knowledge and expertise circulated.

It will explore how educational backgrounds and family ties as well as political commitments shaped which causes ‘mattered’. The project focuses on the period 1919-1922. This period may be seen as the beginning of the end for the Liberal Party, but nonetheless provides an ideal starting point for assessing the impact of a moment of global change on the longstanding networks which the Manchester Guardian stood at the centre of.