24th International Congress of History of Science, Technology and Medicine

Congress venue

The 2013 Congress will be hosted by The University of Manchester. The symposia and other paper sessions will take place at the University’s main site on Oxford Road, a few minutes’ walk south of the city centre. Guest accommodation will be available at a variety of convenient locations in central Manchester.


About the University

Frontage of the main University building on Oxford Road The University's main buildings on Oxford Road

The University of Manchester traces its origins to 1824 and the founding of the Manchester Mechanics’ Institute, set up to provide practical education in one of the fastest-growing towns of industrial Europe. Later, from the 1880s, the Institute caught the wave of a growing national movement for technical education, partly inspired by developments in Germany and the United States. As the School of Technology, it gained an impressive new building in the city centre. By the 1960s, this site had extended to become the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology.

The University’s second major root appeared in 1851, thanks to a bequest from John Owens, a local textile manufacturer. At this time, formal higher learning in England was dominated by the ancient Universities of Oxford and Cambridge: Owens’ legacy was a college to provide a traditional, wide-ranging pattern of education to the people of Manchester. Though its curriculum remained broad, Owens College grew and prospered through its links with manufacturers and engineers, building a particularly strong international reputation in chemistry.

In 1873, having outgrown its initial site, Owens College moved to Oxford Road. The impressive neo-Gothic Main Building became the focus of an ever-growing campus as the College became a University, underwent postwar expansion, and in 2004 merged with the Institute of Science and Technology to create the largest single-site university in Britain.

Congress location

University Place, the main conference venue University Place

University Place, the main Congress venue, is a new purpose-built auditorium and classroom complex at the very heart of the old campus, on a site rich in major contributions to world history.

Just across Oxford Road, within a minute’s walk from here, Ernest Rutherford devised the nuclear model of the atom; Hans Geiger built his first radiation counters; Marie Stopes began her academic career; Freddie Williams and Tom Kilburn engineered the first stored-program computer; and Alan Turing pondered the prospect of machine intelligence.

The historic campus also includes the Manchester Museum – close enough to visit during session breaks – with its extensive natural history collections, Egyptology displays and vivarium. The Oxford Road area is well served for cafés (and pubs!), with the Whitworth Art Gallery and the restaurants of Rusholme in walking distance.

The staff and students of the University's Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine work close by, and will be in attendance throughout the Congress.

For more information about the University’s history, please see John Pickstone’s article, “Owens College and the Technical School”, and James Sumner’s contributions to the BSHS Travel Guide.

Where is the nearest...?

café/bar/restaurant: see the Congress venue map for local options.

cash machine / ATM: NatWest bank branch, on the corner of Oxford Road and Dover Street; or inside the Spar convenience store (open 08:00–22:00) on the ground level of the Precinct Centre (please note that charges may apply for users of this ATM); Royal Bank of Scotland branch, just south of the Student Union.

instant print shop: closest we can find is Mail Boxes Etc, 6 Wilmslow Road, a 10- to 15-minute walk down Oxford Road from University Place.

chemist / pharmacy: Faith Pharmacy, 59 Booth Street West (see campus map, top left), open Monday to Friday 09:00–18:30, Saturday 10:00–13:00; phone 0161 232 8044. Basic medicines are also available from Spar, Sainsbury’s and Morrison’s (see below). Several full-service pharmacies in the city centre have longer opening hours and pharmacists who can give advice for minor conditions. These include branches of Boots in Piccadilly rail station, on Portland Street, and in Piccadilly Gardens, where there is also a large branch of Superdrug.

convenience store: Spar, ground level of the Precinct Centre, entrance next to Blackwell’s near the intersection of Oxford Road and Booth Street West (open 08:00–22:00); Sainsbury’s mini grocery (07:00 – midnight 7 days a week), on Oxford Road near the Grafton Street turning; and the larger Morrisons around the corner on Grafton Street. (Monday to Friday 06:00–23:00; Sunday 12:00–18:00).

post office: inside the Londis store in the Wilmslow Park development on Hathersage Road, off Oxford Road, a 10-minute walk from University Place in the direction of Victoria Park; there are others in the city centre.

Maps and guides

Congress venue map Including all the buildings used by the Congress, with local cafés, shops, bus stops, etc. Also available as a pdf for printing.

University of Manchester campus map University Place is number 37 in the centre of the map. Sessions will also be held in the nearby Roscoe (number 53) and Schuster (54) Buildings.

DisabledGo pages for the University of Manchester. Disabled and infirm participants may benefit from this detailed survey, describing disabled parking facilities, entranceways, level changes etc throughout all the University's sites and buildings.

Accommodation map Including the locations of the Victoria Park halls of residence in relation to the main campus.

City map Showing the location of the campus in the city area.

More information on the attractions of Manchester and the surrounding region is available under About Manchester and Things to see and do.

For more maps and travel guides for Manchester, see the travel pages.