Greater Manchester UK



Manchester UK

Manchester is a major city in Great Britain and is far too large a place to pretend that we could possibly include everything about it here. However, we have tried to make this website as informative, useful, accessible, extensive and encyclopaedic as we can. We set out to create an exhuastive guide to the city and the region, including its history and culture, as well as its business, contacts, entertainments and accommodation. We are continually adding more as it becomes available or known to us, and to this end we welcome suggestions for inclusion.

The City of Manchester

Manchester is a relatively new city; born of the Industrial Revolution, it took the lead in the world's textile manufacture and production in the late 18th century, a position it held until its decline in the 1960s. Leaders of commerce, science and technology, like John Dalton and Samuel Arkwright, helped create a vibrant and thriving economy - most of the nation's wealth was created in this region during Victorian times. But it was undoubtedly textiles, and other associated trades, which dominated and created a young dynamic city, whose very symbol is the worker bee - an emblem repeated in mosaics all over the floor of the 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. 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.

The Historic Town of Manchester

The original Manchester was an old town which has been inhabited since Roman times, when General Julius Agricola built a fort just north of the site of present day city, though it was not until the 18th century that this hitherto remote and inconspicuous little medieval township sprang into the forefront of world attention, and not until the mid-19th century that it became a city. Actually, it was the neighbouring City of Salford that dominated the region, and the Salford Hundred covered all lands between the River Ribble to the north and the Mersey to the south, and to this day the sovereign still bears the title of Lord of the Manor of Salford. Not until the 19th century, after many protests and petitions to parliament, notably by the Chartists, did Manchester gain the status of a city.

Manchester & the Industrial Revolution

During the Industrial Revolution the powerhouse that was Manchester became the hub of a wide network of many small Lancashire townships - "little Manchesters" as they were sometimes known - towns that serviced the city's massive cotton industry. Places like Blackburn, Burnley, Bolton, Wigan, Salford, Oldham and Rochdale, (to name but a few) sent their woven and spun produce to the Exchange in Manchester and from thence to the world via the newly created Manchester Ship Canal, and received raw materials which were distributed out from the city and its well established system of canals and railways.Steam power drove the Victorian city, with water from the many local rivers like the Irwell, Medlock, Irk and Tame, and coal from Worsley via the Duke of Egerton's Bridgewater Canal to Castlefield, or other coal pits around Wigan.
The City of Manchester and innumerable small satellite towns and villages surrounding it saw the rapid growth of factories manufacturing merchandise for cotton weaving and spinning, dyeing, fulling and all apects of the textile industry. Manchester was nicknamed "Cottonopolis" where 'King Cotton' ruled. Even today, Manchester is marked by its many fine surviving warehouses (now mostly hotels and executive apartments) and mills (now frequently relegated to small industrial units). It held onto its reputation as the prime source of world textiles until its decline in the 1950s, when cheaper foreign imports sounded the death knell for the region's pre-eminence. 

Greater Manchester

In the 1970s, Greater Manchester was born - a still controversial grouping of 8 boroughs and 2 cities, which were subsumed into one large administrative connurbation, the Metropolian County of Greater Manchester. Two of these, Tameside and Trafford, were newly created (again, quite controversially) for the purpose, while other former County Boroughs like Bury, Oldham and Rochdale (in Lancashire) and Stockport (in Cheshire) lost their administrative independence to a large degree to the new Metropolitan County.
This "county" still produces more than half of Britain's manufactured goods and consumables, though manufacturing continues its steady decline. 
Greater Manchester is a big place. While 2.6 million people live within its actual boundaries, over 7 million others live in the wider region, making it second only to London in Great Britain. For 11 million people living within 50 miles of the City of Manchester, it is the place where they come to work, or to shop or to visit the many attractions and entertainments which only a large dynamic city such as this could hope to offer. 

Continues Next Page >>

Town Hall, Manchester
Manchester Town Hall

Manchester Busy Bee
Manchester's Busy Bee - Symbol of Industry

Statue of Queen Victoria, Piccadilly Gardens
Queen Victoria in Piccadilly Gardens

Statue of Agricola on Manchester Town Hall
Julius Agricola, founder of the Fort at Manchester

Manchester Central Library
Manchester Central Library

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This page last updated 22 Feb 09.