The City and the
Metropolitan County of Greater Manchester
Manchester is a relatively new city; born of the
It played a decisive and leading role in world textile manufacture
and production in the late 18th century, a position it maintained
and held until its decline in the 1960s.
Leaders of commerce, science and technology, like John
Dalton and Richard
Arkwright, helped create a vibrant and thriving economy - most
of the nation's wealth was created in this region during Victorian
But it was undoubtedly textiles, and other associated trades, which
dominated and created a young dynamic city, whose very symbol is the
worker bee - a feature of the city's
coat of arms and an emblem repeated in mosaics all over the floor
of the city's Town Hall.
Manchester is one of the largest metropolitan conurbations in the
United Kingdom, justly proud of its history
and heritage, its culture, enterprise
and its entrepreneurial spirit.
In more recent times, it has had to reconfigure its traditional manufacturing
base to develop thriving new technologies. It has rebuilt itself as
a leading centre of modernist
architecture since the terrorist
bombing of the city in 1996.
This new sense of vigour and dynamism is evident in the appearance
of an ever increasing number of city centre
hotels, luxury apartments
and self-catering accommodation
as well as office
space to rent.
It is a tribute to its people and planners of Manchester that the
city arose again out of the ashes of this atrocity, phoenix-like,
to become a thoroughly modern city - a leading light of the 21st century.
Chetham's School of Music, Canals
and Railways in Castlefield, Underbank
Hall Stockport and the Saxon Mill
at Lower Alderley
There have, (arguably) been 2 Manchesters.
The first, the Roman fort at Castlefield
, and the second, around the Cathedral and Chetham's
Music School , which formed the medieval town of Manchester.
By the time of the Norman Conquest
of Britain in 1066, the region was clearly Anglo-Saxon, and their
name for the town was "Mameceaster"; (it was not to be until the
17th century that the name "Manchester" would come into popular
usage). In early times, Manchester was a little-known hamlet adjacent
to, and belonging to the then noble town of Salford.
After the Roman withdrawal from
the fort at Mamuciam (Latin = "a breast-shaped hill") around
410 AD, the town (and the fort) fell into ruin and was prey to various
invading factions from abroad - notably the Angles and the Danes and
the Saxons, all of whom occupied the region at various times, and
over a long period became assimilated into the local population. "Mamuciam"
in Latin means "a breast-shaped hill" - Agricola's description
of the place where he built the original fort overlooking the River
Irwell, somewhere around present day Camp Street (now in Salford).
There is a brief historic
reference in the town records of one Edward the Elder, son of King
Alfred the Great, taking over the town in 920 AD and making repairs
to the "fortifications", (probably based around the present cathedral),
which would still have been little more than a wooden palisade.
In gratitude for the support which Norman barons
had given in the conquest of Britain, King William (the Conqueror)
granted generous rewards of lands and holdings to them. Salford
was thus granted to one Rogier de Poitevin (also known as Roger
de Pitou), which included several feifdoms, the Manor of Manchester
amongst them. Later, de Poitevin granted this manor, in turn, to
one of his own supporters, Albert de Greslé (also known as Albert
Grelley was to become the first Baron of Manchester, and the Grelley
family held the manor for the next 200 years. In 1086 there is a
brief mention of Manchester in William's great commissioned Domesday
Book, by which time it was a recognised ecclesiastical centre with
a parish covering over 60 square miles.
The town had, in 1222, been granted an annual fair, which was held
on Acresfield, just outside the town, (now St Ann's Square), and
lasted 2 days; this was extended to 3 days in 1227. By this time
the town had its own court. There was also a weekly Saturday market
held in Market Square, just off Market Street, sited roughly where
Shambles Square stood. (This square was demolished in the IRA bombing
of Manchester in 1996, and was located to the rear of the Marks
& Spencer Department Store which has been rebuilt after that