St. John's Gardens

The photograph below shows St. John's Gardens. What is missing from the picture is St. John's Church which was commissioned by John Byrom in 1769 and demolished in 1931. Today's gardens stand on the site of that church.

The wall and gates of the garden are relics of the former church's yard.

The photograph above is shown with the permission of the Manchester Archives and Local Studies Department.  It shows St John's in the middle of the site of the present garden but there is no grass in that churchyard.  The whole area is paved in gravestones.  The extract from the 1844 map below shows the layout of the church.

Today a stone cross stands in the gardens to commemorate the church. The plaque at the base of the cross says that the remains of 22,000 lie buried in this area.


Among those buried here is John Owens, founder of Owen's College which became Manchester University.

Also buried here William Marsden who was famous for introducing the concept of a half-day holiday on Saturdays. The idea that workers would stop work at noon on Saturdays must have been revolutionary in his day and probably welcomed by the workers. It seems particularly off in the context of todays working week when many shops are open 7 days a week and in some cases 365 days a year.