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I’m Dean Kirby, an award-winning journalist, urban historian, genealogist and tour guide exploring and writing about the history of Manchester. Welcome to my newsletter telling stories from the streets of the world’s first industrial city.

What is the Manchester History Club?

It’s a newsletter and a community of subscribers where we’ll discuss the city’s history — starting with the districts of Angel Meadow, Ancoats and the Northern Quarter which I know best. In time, we’ll also explore other parts of the city.

Why did I start this newsletter?

A few years ago archaeologists dug up my ancestor’s house in one of Manchester’s worst Victorian slums, Angel Meadow. It sparked an interest in the area that has led me to write a bestselling book and do a PhD on the history of the area.

I want to share my passion for Manchester’s working class history and to help keep these stories alive. I now lead walking tours of Angel Meadow with a unique family history element to them and I’ve also set up a family history research service to help other people research their Mancunian ancestors.

Why should you subscribe?

If you sign up, you’ll never miss an update as my newsletter will drop straight into your email inbox every time I publish it. You’ll be joining more than 1,000 readers who have already joined. You can sign up for free or choose to pay to sign up to access some extra benefits as outlined below.

In each newsletter, you’ll hear a story about the Victorian city. It could be about a person, an incident or a broader aspect of life for working people. As a free subscriber, you can also join my chat group, where I help people research their Mancunian ancestors. From time to time, you’ll also hear about offers and events.

If you don’t feel able to pay to subscribe, then please consider buying me a coffee or two through my Buy Me A Coffee page. My passion for Manchester history has led me to try to make a career of writing about it and and your support really will help me to keep the newsletter alive (and pay the bills).

What you’ll get if you pay to subscribe?

To get extra benefits, you can pay as little as £4 a month (with a starter offer currently at £3.60 a month) to become a fully fledged member of the Manchester History Club, which gives you bonus access to an additional monthly newsletter on researching Manchester family history.

As an extra thank you, you’ll also get a 25% discount on my Angel Meadow book — and a free tour of Angel Meadow for one person and occasional events such as online family history skills courses (which are still being planned) or a history project we can do together. You’ll also get to access my full story archive.

What’s next?

All you need to do is subscribe and start reading. As a subscriber you will receive the newsletter in your email inbox and, if you want to, you can also visit the Substack website or app and join the chat group. If all that sounds interesting, then please take a look at the various subscription options by clicking this button. You can jump straight into the chat by clicking below.

Subscribe to The Manchester History Club

The story of Manchester and its people told by historian, author and genealogist Dr Dean Kirby. Join the club and subscribe to receive my newsletter in your email inbox. You’ll never miss an edition and you’ll be helping the newsletter to grow.


Dr Dean Kirby is an award-winning journalist, and a historian, author, genealogist and tour guide with a PhD in urban history. Once Upon a Time in Manchester reveals forgotten stories from the streets of Victorian Manchester.