“Yuri Gagarin 1934 – 1968 Soviet Cosmonaut and first human to voyage into space
Flew in to Manchester Airport to be greeted by thousands of supporters
12th July 1961”
Location: Terminal 3, Manchester Airport
Erected: September 2011
This little black commemorative plaque can be found in Terminal 3 at Manchester Airport.
The plaque was unveiled in September 2011 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the visit of Russian Yuri Gagarin. Gagarin was a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut, who became the first man to journey into outerspace. This happened on 12th April 1961 when his Vostok spacecraft completed one orbit of the earth.
Due to the momentous occasion, Gagarin became internationally famous and was awarded many different medals and titles, his highest honour of all being ‘Hero of the Soviet Union’.
The Union of Foundry Workers came to the realisation that Gagarin was once a foundry worker himself before becoming a cosmonaut, and as such invited them to their headquarters in Manchester. Although the Soviet embassy in the UK wanted to invite him to Longon as part of his world tour, the British government was initially hesitatant to grant him a visa. However, he was eventually allowed to come for one day (later extended by two days), three months after his space flight, which allowed him to visit Manchester between 11-14 July 1961.
Yuri Gagarin later died in 1968, when the MiG-15 training jet he was piloting crashed.