St John’s Close, right next to St Mark’s Road and College Dean Close, clearly takes its name from one of the two colleges that amalgamated in 1926 to form the College of St Mark and St John. St John’s was founded by Dr James Phillips Kay in 1841. The then thirty-seven year old Kay, had been born in Rochdale and had qualified as a doctor in Edinburgh in 1827.
Five years later, when a severe outbreak of cholera hit Manchester his first hand observations on the living conditions in working class slums, contained in his report (The Moral and Physical Condition of the Working Classes Employed in Cotton Manufacture in Manchester) to the specially created district health board, was to have a profound effect on one Frederich Engels who wrote about the same issues a decade later.
In 1842 Kay married a wealthy heiress and to preserve her family name agreed to change his to Kay-Shuttleworth and it was under that name that he lectured and wrote.
Meanwhile Kay had by this time become secretary to the committee of the Privy Council on Education and while there helped establish the system of school inspections. He is also credited with inventing the pupil-teacher system.