The fiftieth anniversary of humanity’s first spaceflight was commemorated around the world on 12th April 2011. A statue of Yuri Gagarin, an exact copy of the one outside the college in Lyubertsy near Moscow where he studied Foundry work, was unveiled outside the British Council Office in London on July 14th 2011. The statue can stay in that location only for 12 months.
Three month after his historic flight on 12th April 1961, Yuri Gagarin visited London and Manchester between 11th and 15th July 1961. Both cities marked the 50th anniversary of this visit with exhibitions and receptions.
Manchester was the only place outside London that Gagarin visited during his five days in Britain. He visited the Amalgamated Union of Foundry Workers (AUFW) office in Old Trafford, Metrovick in Trafford Park and Manchester Town Hall. On the first anniversary of his flight, 12th April 1962, he sent a message to the AUFW in which he said
“It’s a long time since I was a moulder but I haven’t forgotten the trade. I’m proud to belong to the working class, which brought me up and sent me on the road to outer space. [...] I shake your hands again, dear brothers, and wish you success in your life and work! Inscribed on the gold medal which you gave me in Manchester are the words: ‘Together we shall mould a better world!’”
Add your name to the petition to bring Yuri back to Manchester here.