James Watt

James Watt was not a Manchester man  but it was his inventions that made it possible for Manchester to become one of the first manufacuring cities in the world.  It is because of the work of James Watt that Manchester became known as Cottonopolis.

This statue of Watt is a bronze copy of the marble one that stands in Westminster Abbey.  Today it stands on the wide esplanade on the north side of Piccadilly Gardens but originally it sat along with a bronze statue of John Dalton at the entrance to the Royal Infirmary, which occupied the area of the gardens until 1908.

Watt was born in 1736 the son of a Greenock merchant.  He was trained as an instrument maker in Glasgow before moving to work in London.  It was his work with steam engines in the 1760s that brought him to prominence but he was in fact much more versatile.  Ironically one of his inventions was a sculpture copying machine.  It isn't known if it was used to copy his own marble statue in order to produce this bronze version.


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