History of Manchester

History of Manchester

The history of Manchester is one of change from a minor Lancastrian township into the pre-eminent industrial metropolis of the United Kingdom and the world. Manchester began expanding "at an astonishing rate" around the turn of the 19th century as part of a process of unplanned urbanisation brought on by a boom in textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution.cite book|title=The Cotton Industry|last=Aspin|first=Chris|publisher=Shire Publications Ltd|date=1981|isbn=0-85263-545-1|page=3] The transformation took little more than a century.

Evolving from a Roman castrum in a Celtic heartland, Manchester's history embraces the world's first passenger railway station and first public library. It also led the political and economic reform of 19th-century Britain as the vanguard of free trade. By the start of the 21st century it had become a major post-industrial city with multiple sporting, broadcasting, and educational institutions.


Manchester derived its name from Mamucium, the Roman name for the 1st century settlement and fort. Mamucium itself is a Latinised form of the Celtic meaning "breast-shaped hill".cite book|title=A Dictionary of British Place-Names|url=http://www.oxfordreference.com/pages/Subjects_and_Titles__2B_05|last=Mills|first=A.D.|year=2003|publisher=Oxford University Press|location=Oxford|isbn=0198527586] [Hylton (2003), p. 6.]


Prehistoric evidence of human activity in the area of Manchester is limited, although scattered stone tools have been found.Nevell (2008), p. 11.] Oversley Farm, in the south of the modern metropolitan borough, has been described as the "by far the most important prehistoric site within the boundaries of the twenty-first-century city ... [and] ... one of the most important in the North West".Nevell (2008), p. 14.] It is the site of an Early Neolithic farming community, although it is now underneath runway two of Manchester Airport. It was one of the first communities of its type established in the north-west England. There was a rectangular structure measuring convert|10|m|ft by convert|7|m|ft with a central hearth. Material in the pit was radiocarbon dated to 3975 BC–3675 BC. The site was probably in use into the Late Bronze Age. [Nevell (2008), p. 15.]

There is other evidence of Bronze Age activity around Manchester in the form of burial sites. Although some prehistoric artefacts have been discovered in the city centre, these have come from redeposited layers, meaning they do not necessarily mean they originated from where they were found; wider evidence has been found for activity in the borough. [Nevell (2008), p. 12.] Before the Roman invasion of Britain, the location lay within the territory dominated by the Brigantes. Prior to the Roman conquest of the area in the AD 70s, it was part of the territory of the Brigantes, a Celtic tribe, although it may have been under the control of the Setantii, a sub-tribe of the Brigantes. [Kidd (1996), p. 12.]


The Roman fort of Mamucium – also Mancunium – was established c. AD 79 near a crossing point on the River Medlock. [Gregory (2007), pp. 1, 3.] The fort was sited on a sandstone bluff near the confluence of the rivers Medlock and Irwell in a naturally defensible position. [Gregory (2007), p. 1.] It was erected as a series of fortifications established by Gnaeus Julius Agricola during his campaign against the Brigantes who were the Celtic tribe in control of most of northern England. [Mason (2001), pp. 41–42.] It guards the Deva Victrix (Chester) to Eboracum (York) Roman road running east to west, and a road heading north to Bremetennacum (Ribchester). [Gregory (2007), pp. 1–2.] The neighbouring forts were Castleshaw and Northwich. [Walker (1999), p. 15.] Built first from turf and timber, the fort was demolished around 140. When it was rebuilt around 160, it was again of turf and timber construction. [Gregory (2007), p. 3.] In about 200 the fort underwent another rebuild, this time enhancing the defences by replacing the gatehouse with a stone version and facing the walls with stone. [Philpott (2006), p. 66.] The fort would have been garrisoned by a cohort, about 500 infantry, of auxiliary troops.cite web |title=A guide to Mamucium |author=Norman Redhead |url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/manchester/content/articles/2008/04/10/100408_roman_manchester_feature.shtml |publisher=BBC Online |date=20 April 2008 Retrieved on 20 July 2008.]

Evidence of both pagan and Christian worship has been discovered. Two altars have been discovered and there may be a temple of Mithras associated with Mamucium. A word square was discovered in the 1970s that may be one of the earliest examples of Christianity in Britain. [Shotter (2004), p. 129.] A civilian settlement (the first in Manchester), or "vicus", grew in association with the fort, made up of traders and families of the soldiers. An area which has a concentration of furnaces and industrial activity has been described as an industrial estate. [Shotter (2004), p. 117.] The "vicus" was probably abandoned by the mid 3rd century, although a small garrison may have remained at Mamucium into the late 3rd and early 4th centuries. [Gregory (2007), p. 190.] The Castlefield area of Manchester is named after the fort.


Once the Romans abandoned Britain, the focus of settlement in Manchester shifted to the confluence of the rivers Irwell and Irk. [Hylton (2003), pp. 3, 8.] During the Dark Ages which followed – and persisted until the Norman Conquest – the settlement of Manchester was in the territory of several different kingdoms.Hylton (2003), p. 7.] In the late 6th and early 7th centuries, the kingdom of Northumbria extended as far south as the River Mersey, south of what was then the settlement of Manchester. Etymological evidence indicates that the areas to the north west of Manchester (such as Eccles and Chadderton) were British while the parts of Manchester (such as Clayton, Gorton, and Moston) were Anglian, and the south west of Manchester was Danish (including Cheadle Hulme, Davyhulme, Hulme, and Levenshulme).

Between the 6th and 10th centuries, the kingdoms of Northumbria, Mercia, and Wessex struggled for control over North West England. In 620, Edwin of Northumbria may have sacked Manchester, and the settlement may have been sacked again in 870 by the Danes.Hylton (2003), p. 8.] According to legend, Nico Ditch – which runs east–west from Ashton-under-Lyne to Stretford and passes through Gorton, Levenshulme, Burnage, Rusholme, Platt Field Park in Fallowfield, Withington, and Chorlton-cum-Hardy – is a defence against Viking invaders and was dug in 869–870. Whether this is true is uncertain, but the ditch does date from between the 7th and 9th centuries. [Nevell (1992), pp. 77-83.] The "Anglo Saxon Chronicles" details that in 919 Edward the Elder sent men "to "Mameceaster", in Northumbria, to repair and man it"; this probably refers to a burh at Manchester as an advanced post of Mercia. Although it is unsure where the site is, [cite web |title=Monument No. 1348592 |url=http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=1348592 |publisher=Pastscape.org.uk Retrieved on 10 January 2008.] it is possibly a reference to the Roman fort. In 1055, most of what would later become Lancashire was under the control of Tostig.


Manchester was administratively part of the Salford Hundred which was created after the Norman Conquest.Kidd (1996), p. 13.] In 1086 the hundred covered about convert|350|sqmi|km2 and had a population of about 3,000.Hylton (2003), p. 10.] It was given to Roger de Poitevin; de Poitevin divided the hundred into fiefdoms and made the Grelley family barons of Manchester. Albert de Gresle was the first baron of Manchester. Although the Grelley family not residents of the manor, Manchester continued to grow in their absence and stewards represented the lords of the manor.'The city and parish of Manchester: Introduction', "A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4" (1911), pp. 174–187. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=41404. Retrieved on 4 August 2008.]

Manchester's entry in the Domesday Book reads "the Church of St Mary and the Church of St Michael hold one carucate of land in Manchester exempt from all customary dues except tax".Hylton (2003), p. 9.] St Mary's Church was a Saxon church on the site of Manchester Cathedral; St Michael's Church may be in Ashton-under-Lyne. [Hylton (2003), p. 10.] The parish of Manchester – of St Mary's Church was a part of – was the ecclesiastical centre of the Salford Hundred. It covered about convert|60|sqmi|km2 and extended as far as the edge of Flixton and Eccles in the west, the Mersey between Stretford and Stockport in the south, the edge of Ashton-under-Lyne in the east, and the edge of Prestwich in the north. That such a large area was covered by a single parish has been taken as evidence of the area's "impoverished and depopulated status". The only tax the parish was subject to was Danegeld.

There was a castle in Manchester overlooking the rivers Irk and Irwell, where Chethams School of Music stands today. This castle was probably a ringwork [Newman (2006), p. 141.] and has been described as "of no political or military importance". By the late 13th century the Grelleys, who were barons of Manchester for two centuries, had replaced the castle with a fortified manor house. They used the house as the administrative centre of the manor.Kidd (1996), p. 14.] While the town was owned by the lords of the manor, they directly leased land to tenants and created burgage tenements for indirect rent; as well as containing a house, these plots of land could also contain workshops and gardens. The family also owned the only corn mill in the manor which was used by all the tenants of the manor to grind their corn. Medieval Manchester was centred around the manor house and the Church of St Mary mentioned in the Domesday Book. As well as a castle at Manchester, there is also one in Ringway. Ullerwood Castle, a motte-and-bailey, probably dates from the 12th century and was owned by Hamon de Massey who owned several manors in the north east of Cheshire. [Nevell (1997), p. 27, 33, 35.]

The first lord of the manor to actually live in Manchester was Robert Grelley (1174–1230); his presence led to an influx of skilled workers, such as stonemasons and carpenters, associated with the construction of the manor house.Hylton (2003), p. 11] In the early 13th century, Manchester for a period was not under the control of the Grelleys. Robert Grelley was one of the barons who made King John sign the Magna Carta. Grelley was excommunicated for his role in the rebellion and when King John later ignored the terms of the Magna Carta, Grelley forfeited his lands. King John died in 1216 and Hubert de Burgh, 1st Earl of Kent, returned Grelley's land to him on behalf of King Henry III In the medieval period Manchester grew into a market town and had a market every Saturday. [Kidd (1996), p. 15.] In 1223, Manchester gained the right to hold an annual fair; the market was held in Acresfield – where St Anne's Square is today – on what was then arable land. It was the first fair to be established in the Salford Hundred and the fourth in south Lancashire. [Kidd (1996), pp. 14–15.] and became a market town in 1301 when it received its Charter. On 1 November 1315, Manchester was the starting place of a rebellion by Adam Banastre. Banastre, Henry de Lea, and William de Bradshagh rebelled against Thomas Plantagenet, 2nd Earl of Lancaster. ['Liverpool: The castle and development of the town', "A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4" (1911), pp. 4–36. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=41370. Retrieved on 4 August 2008.]

The medieval town's defences incorporated the rivers Irk and Irwell on two sides and a convert|410|m|yd|sing=on long ditch on the others. The ditch, known as Hanging Ditch, was up to convert|37|m|yd wide and convert|37|m|yd deep. It was spanned by Hanging Bridge, the main route in and out of the town. The name may derive from "hangan" meaning hollow, [Hylton (2003), p. 16.] although there is an alternative derivation from the Old English "hen", meaning wild birds, and the Welsh "gan", meaning between two hills. [Cooper (2003), p. 52.] It dates to at least 1343 but may be even older. [Cooper (2003), p. 51.]

In the 14th century Manchester became home to a community of Flemish weavers, who settled in the town to produce wool and linen, thus beginning the tradition of cloth manufacture. This sparked the growth of the city to become Lancashire's major industrial centre. The ancient parish of Manchester covered a wider area than today's metropolitan borough (although not including its full extent); the various townships and chapelries became separate civil parishes in 1866.

Thomas de la Warre was a Lord of the Manor and also a priest. He obtained licences from the Pope and King Henry V to enable him to found and endow a collegiate church, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, St. George, and St. Denys or St. Denis, the latter being the patron saints of England and France respectively. Construction began around 1422, and continued until the first quarter of the sixteenth century. The 'merchant princes' of the town endowed a number of chantry chapels, reflecting an increasing prosperity based on wool. This church later became Manchester Cathedral.

Thomas also gave the site of the old manor house as a residence for the priests. It remains as one of the finest examples of a medieval secular religious building in Britain, and is now the home of Chetham's School of Music.

Growth of the textile trade

By the sixteenth century, the wool trade had made Manchester a flourishing market town. The collegiate church, nowadays the Cathedral, was finally completed in 1500-1510. The magnificent carved choir stalls date from this period, and a chapel was built by the Earl of Derby as a thank offering for a safe return from the battle of Flodden Field.

The English Reformation resulted in the collegiate church being refounded as a Protestant institution. One of the more famous Wardens of this institution at the time was Dr. John Dee, known as "Queen Elizabeth's Merlin".

The town's growth was given further impetus in 1620 with the start of fustian weaving.

In the course of the seventeenth century, thanks to the development of the textile industry, and contacts with the City of London, Manchester became a noted centre of puritanism. Consequently, it sided with Parliament in the quarrel with Charles I. Indeed, it might be said that the English Civil War started here. In 1642, Lord Strange, the son of the Earl of Derby attempted to seize the militia magazine stored in the old College building. In the ensuing scuffle, Richard Percival, a linen weaver, was killed. He is reckoned by some as the first casualty in the English Civil War.

Lord Strange returned and attempted to besiege the town, which had no permanent fortifications. With the help of John Rosworm, a German mercenary, the town was vigorously defended. Captain Bradshaw and his musketeers resolutely manned the bridge to Salford. Eventually, Strange realised that his force was ill-prepared, and after hearing that his father had died, withdrew to claim his title.

During the Commonwealth, Manchester was granted a seat in Parliament for the first time. Maj Gen Charles Worsley, scion of an old Lancashire family and one of Cromwell's most trusted lieutenants, had been given the Mace at the famous dissolution of Parliament in 1654. Elected Manchester's first MP, he did not sit for long before Parliament was again dissolved, leading to the Rule of the Major Generals: effectively martial law. Worsley, given responsibility for Lancashire, Cheshire and Staffordshire, took his duties seriously, turning out ale houses, banning bear baiting and cracking down on the celebration of Christmas. He eventually died in 1656, at a time of the gradual ebbing away of Cromwell's authority. [Durston, Christopher (2001) "Cromwell's Major-Generals". Worsley and his descendants lived at Platt Hall, Rusholme (now a museum) until 1906.]

On the English Restoration in 1660, as a reprisal for its defence of the Parliamentarian cause, Manchester was deprived of its recently granted Members of Parliament. No MP was to sit for Manchester until 1832. The consequences of the restoration led to a great deal of soul searching. One clergyman, Henry Newcombe, could not remain in the remodeled Anglican Church, and was instrumental in the establishment of the Cross Street Chapel in 1694. This later passed into Unitarian hands, and a new chapel on the original site can be visited.

Humphrey Chetham purchased the old College buildings after the Civil War, and endowed it as a bluecoat school. Chetham's Hospital, as it was known, later became Chetham's School of Music. The endowment included a collection of books, which in 1653 became Chetham's Library, the first free public library in the English-speaking world. As of 2007, it is still open and free to use. [cite web | url = http://www.chethams.org.uk | title = Chetham's Library Home Page |publisher = Chetham's Library Retrieved on 6 July 2007.]

Despite the political setbacks, the town continued to prosper. A number of inhabitants supported the Glorious Revolution in 1688. They became discontented with the Tory clergy at the collegiate church, and a separate church, more to their tastes, was founded by Lady Ann Bland. St Ann's Church is a fine example if an early Georgian church, and was consecrated in 1712. The surroundings, what is now St Ann's Square were in imitation of a London square.

About this time, Defoe described the place as "the greatest mere village in England", by which he meant that a place the size of a populous market town had no form of local government to speak of, and was still subject to the whims of a lord of the manor.

In 1745, Charles Edward Stuart and his army entered Manchester en route to London. Despite its previous radicalism, the town offered no resistance, and the Jacobites obtained enough recruits to form an erstwhile 'Manchester Regiment'. It is suggested that this was because the town had no local government to speak of, and the magistrates, who could have organised resistance, were mostly conservative landowners. Moreover, these Tory landowners had taken to apprenticing their sons to Manchester merchants, so the political complexion of the town's elite had changed. The Jacobite army got no further than Derby, and then retreated. On their way back through Manchester, the stragglers were pelted by the mob. The luckless 'Manchester regiment' were left behind to garrison Carlisle, where they quickly surrendered to the pursuing British Army.

Industrial Revolution

Manchester remained a small market town until the late 18th century, and the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. The myriad of small valleys in the Pennine Hills to the north and east of the town, combined with the damp climate, proved ideal for the construction of water-powered Cotton mills such as Quarry Bank Mill, which industrialised the spinning and weaving of cloth.

Indeed, it was the importation of cotton, which began towards the end of the eighteenth century, that revolutionised the textile industry in the area. This new commodity was imported through the port of Liverpool, which was connected with Manchester by the Mersey and Irwell Navigation - the two rivers had been made navigable from the 1720s onwards.

Manchester now developed as the natural distribution centre for raw cotton and spun yarn, and a marketplace and distribution centre for the products of this growing textile industry. Richard Arkwright is credited as the first to erect a cotton mill in the city. His first experiment, installing a Newcomen steam engine to pump water for a waterwheel failed, but he next adapted a Watt steam engine to directly operate the machinery. The result was the rapid spread of cotton mills throughout Manchester itself and in the surrounding towns. To these must be added bleach works, textile print works, and the engineering workshops and foundries, all serving the cotton industry. Manchester was truly "Cottonopolis", and a branch of the Bank of England was established in 1826.

The growth of the city was matched by expansion of its transport links. The growth of steam power meant that demand for coal rocketed. To meet this demand, the first canal of the industrial era, the Duke's Canal, often referred to as the Bridgewater Canal, was opened in 1761, linking Manchester to the coal mines at Worsley. This was soon extended to the Mersey Estuary. Soon an extensive network of canals was constructed, linking Manchester to all parts of England.In 1830, Manchester was again at the forefront of transport technology with the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, the world's first steam passenger railway. This provided faster transport of raw materials and finished goods between the port of Liverpool and mills of Manchester. By 1838, Manchester was connected by rail with Birmingham and London, and by 1841 with Hull.

In this period Manchester grew heavily due to an influx of Flemish settlers who founded Manchester's new cotton industry and sparked the growth of the city to become Lancashire's major industrial centre. The ancient parish of Manchester covered a wider area than today's metropolitan borough (although not including its full extent), with the various townships and chapelries becoming recognised as separate civil parishes in 1866.

During the 19th century Manchester grew to become to the centre of Lancashire's cotton industry and was dubbed "Cottonopolis". During this period Manchester had its world famous canal system built as well as the famous Liverpool and Manchester Railway.

Manchester quickly grew into a significant industrial centre. The pace of change was fast and frightening. At that time, it seemed a place in which anything could happen - new industrial processes, new ways of thinking (the so called 'Manchester School', promoting free trade and laissez-faire), new classes or groups in society, new religious sects, and new forms of labour organisation. It attracted educated visitors from all parts of Britain and Europe. "What Manchester does today," it was said, "the rest of the world does tomorrow."
Benjamin Disraeli, at that time a young novelist, had one of his characters express such sentiments. "The age of ruins is past....Have you seen Manchester? Manchester is as great a human exploit as Athens..."

Manchester’s population exploded as people moved from the surrounding countryside, and from other parts of the British Isles, into the city seeking new opportunities. Particularly large numbers came from Ireland , especially after the Potato Famine of the 1840s. The Irish influence continues to this day and, every March Manchester plays host to a large St Patricks Day parade. It is estimated that about 35% of the population of Manchester and Salford has at least some Irish ancestry.

Large numbers of (mostly Jewish) immigrants later came to Manchester from central and eastern Europe. The area, including Salford and Prestwich, today has a Jewish population of about 40,000. This is the largest Jewish community outside London by quite some way. To these groups may be added (in later years) Levantines (involved in the Egyptian cotton trade), Germans, and Italians. By the end of the nineteenth century, Manchester was a very cosmopolitan place.

This unconventional background stimulated the intellectual and artistic life of the place. The "Manchester Academy", for example, opened in Mosely Street in 1786, having enjoyed an earlier incarnation as the Warrington Academy. It was originally run by presbyterians being one of the few dissenting academies that provided religious nonconformists, who were excluded from Oxford and Cambridge Universities, with education. It taught classics, radical theology, science, modern languages, language and history. In the arts, one only has to mention the Halle Orchestra, patronised, in its early years, by the German community.


At the beginning of the 19th century, Manchester was still governed by a court leet on the medieval model, and a Boroughreeve was responsible for law and order during the daylight hours. The Manchester and Salford Police Act of 1792 created Police Commissioners, whose job was to provide a night-watch. The commissioners were also given responsibility for road-building, street cleaning, street lighting, and the maintenance of fire engines. [Reid (1989), p. 21.]

The end of the 18th century saw the first serious recession in the textile trade. There were food riots in 1797, and soup kitchens were established in 1799. Manchester was the scene of the Blanketeer agitation in 1817. Popular unrest was paralleled by discontent with Manchester's lack of representation at Westminster, and the town quickly became a centre of radical agitation.

Protest turned to bloodshed in the summer of 1819. A meeting was held in St Peter’s Field on 16 August to demonstrate for parliamentary reform. It was addressed by Henry Hunt, a powerful speaker known as Orator Hunt. Local magistrates, fearful of the large crowd estimated at 60,000–80,000, ordered volunteer yeomanry cavalry armed with sabres to clear a way through the crowd to arrest Hunt and the platform party. They lost control (some reports suggest that many were drunk) and started to strike out at members of the crowd. The magistrates, believing that the yeomanry were under attack, then ordered the 15th Hussars to disperse the crowd, which they did by charging into the mass of men, women and children, sabres drawn. These events resulted in the deaths of fifteen people and over six hundred injured. The name "Peterloo" was coined immediately by the radical "Manchester Observer", combining the name of the meeting place, St Peter's Field, with the Battle of Waterloo fought four years earlier. One of those who later died from his wounds had been present at Waterloo, and told a friend shortly before his death that he had never been in such danger as at Peterloo: "At Waterloo there was man to man but there it was downright murder." [Reid (1989), p. 201.]

The "Manchester Guardian", a newspaper with a radical agenda, was established shortly afterwards.

In 1832, following the Great Reform Act, Manchester elected its first MPs since the election of 1656. Five candidates, including William Cobbett stood and Liberals Charles Poulett Thomson and Mark Philips were elected.

The Great Reform Act led to conditions favourable to municipal incorporation. Manchester became a Municipal Borough in 1837, and what remained of the manorial rights were later purchased by the town council.

This flowering of radicalism and reform took place within the context of a ferment in Manchester's cultural and intellectual life. John Dalton lectured on his atomic theory at the Literary and Philosophical Society in 1803. The establishment of the Portico Library in1806, the Royal Manchester Institution (later the Art Gallery) in 1823), and the Manchester Botanical and Horticultural Society in 1827 are evidences of this.

Industrial and cultural growth

The prosperity from the textile industry lead to an expansion of Manchester and the surrounding conurbation. Many institutions were established including Belle Vue leisure gardens and zoo (founded by John Jennison in 1836), the Manchester Athenaeum (1836-1837), the Corn Exchange (1837) and the Royal Victoria Gallery of Practical Science (1840-2).

This wealth fuelled the development of science and education in Manchester. The Manchester Academy had relocated to York in 1803 and, though it returned in 1840, in 1853 it moved again to London, eventually becoming Harris Manchester College, Oxford. However, a Mechanics' Institute, later to become UMIST, was founded in 1824 by among others, John Dalton the "father of atomic theory". In 1851 John Owens, a textile merchant left a bequest to found Owens College which immediately absorbed the Mount Street School of Anatomy, founded in 1814, the first medical school in England outside Oxford, Cambridge and London. Owens College was to become the Victoria University of Manchester and was granted its Royal Charter in 1880.

The growth of city government continued with Manchester finally being incorporated as a borough in 1838, covering what is now the city centre, along with Cheetham, Beswick, Ardwick, Chorlton upon Medlock and Hulme.

In 1841, Robert Angus Smith took up work as an analytical chemist at the Royal Manchester Institution and started to research the unprecedented environmental problems. Smith went on to become the first director of the Alkali Inspectorate and to characterise, and coin the term, "acid rain".

Manchester continued to be a nexus of political radicalism. From 1842-1844, the German social philosopher Friedrich Engels lived there and wrote his influential book "Condition of the Working Class in England" (1845). He met with Karl Marx in an alcove at Chetham's Library.

In 1846 the Borough bought the manorial rights from the Mosley family and the granting of city status followed in 1853.

In 1847 the Manchester diocese of the Church of England was established.

In 1851, the Borough became the first local authority to seek water supplies beyond its boundaries.

By 1853, the number of cotton mills in Manchester had reached its peak of 108. [Miller and Wild (2007), p. 77.]

The Cooperative Wholesale Society was formed in 1862.

The outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861 saw an immediate shortage of cotton and the ensuing cotton famine brought enormous distress to the area until the war ended in 1865.

The first Trades Union Congress was held in Manchester (at the Mechanics' Institute, David Street), from 2 to 6 June 1868. Manchester was the subject of Friedrich Engels' "The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844", Engels himself spending much of his life in and around Manchester. Manchester was also an important cradle of the Labour Party and the Suffragette Movement.

Manchester's golden age was perhaps the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Many of the great public buildings (including the Town Hall) date from then. The city's cosmopolitan atmosphere contributed to a vibrant culture, which included the Hallé Orchestra. In 1889, when county councils were created in England, the municipal borough became a county borough with even greater autonomy.

During the late 19th century Manchester began to suffer an economic decline, partly exacerbated by its reliance on the Port of Liverpool, which was charging excessive dock usage fees. Championed by local industrialist Daniel Adamson, the Manchester Ship Canal was built as a way to reverse this. It gave the city direct access to the sea allowing it to export its manufactured goods directly. This meant that it no longer had to rely on the railways and Liverpool's ports. When completed in 1894 it allowed Manchester to become Britain's third busiest port, despite being 40 miles (64 km) inland. The Manchester Ship Canal was created by canalising the Rivers Irwell and Mersey for 36 miles from Salford to the Mersey estuary at the port of Liverpool. This enabled ocean going ships to sail right into the Port of Manchester Docks (technically in Salford). The docks functioned until the 1970s, when their closure led to a large increase in unemployment in the area.

Trafford Park in Stretford (outside the ciy boundaries) was the world's first industrial estate and still exists today, though with a significant tourist and recreational presence. Manchester suffered greatly from the inter-war depression and the underlying structural changes that began to supplant the old industries, including textile manufacture.

Further expansion

Expansion of the city limits was constrained westwards (with the borough of Salford immediately to the west, having been given a charter in 1844). These areas were included in the city limits of Manchester at these dates:-
* 1885: Harpurhey, Bradford-with-Beswick, Rusholme
* 1890: Crumpsall, Blackley and Moston, Newton Heath, Clayton, Openshaw, West Gorton
* 1903: Heaton Park. So far most expansion had been northerly and easterly.
* 1904: Moss Side, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Withington, Burnage, Didsbury, all to the south.
* 1909: Gorton, Levenshulme.
* 1931: The parishes of Northenden, Baguley, and Northen Etchells, beyond the River Mersey, previously in Bucklow Rural District in Cheshire. They later formed the Wythenshawe housing estate. This followed an unsuccessful attempt to annex the same area in 1927. ["Manchester Extension Bill Approved". The Times. April 17, 1930.]
*1974 (Local Government Act 1972): Ringway, Manchester International Airport.

Twentieth century

By 1900 the Manchester city region was the 9th most populous in the world. [ Top 10 Cities of 1900 (T. Chandler). Retrieved 28th August 2007. [http://geography.about.com/library/weekly/aa011201f.htm] ] In the early 20th century Manchester's economy diversified into engineering chemical and electrical industries. The stimulus of the Ship Canal saw the establishment of Trafford Park, the world's first industrial park, in 1910 and the arrival of the Ford Motor Company and Westinghouse Electric Corporation from the USA. The influence is still visible in "Westinghouse Road" and a grid layout of numbered streets and avenues.

In 1931 the population of Manchester reached an all-time peak of 766,311. However the period from the 1930s onwards saw continuous decline in population. During this period, textile manufacture, Manchester's traditional staple industry went into steep decline, largely due to the Great Depression of the 1930s, and foreign competition.

World War II

In the Second World War Manchester played a key role as an industrial manufacturing city, including the Avro aircraft factory (now BAE Systems) which built countless aircraft for the RAF, the most famous being the Avro Lancaster bomber. As a consequence of its war efforts the city suffered heavily from bombing during The Blitz in 1940 to 1941. It was attacked a number of times by the Luftwaffe, particularly in the "Christmas Blitz" of 1941, which destroyed a large part of the historic city centre and seriously damaged the Cathedral.


The Royal Exchange ceased trading in 1968.

The 1950s saw the start of Manchester's rise as a football superpower. Despite the Munich air disaster, Manchester United F.C. went on to become one of the world's most famous clubs, rising to a dominance of the English game in the 1990s.

Mancunian Films had been established by John E. Blakeley in the 1930s as a vehicle for northern comedians such as George Formby and Frank Randle. The company opened its own studios in Manchester in 1947 and produced a successful sequence of films until Blakeley's retirement six years later. The studio was sold to the BBC in 1954, the same year that saw the advent of commercial television in the UK. The establishment of Granada Television based in the city attracted much of the production talent from the studios and continued Manchester's tradition of cultural innovation, often with its trademark social radicalism in its programming.

The same period saw the rise to national celebrity of local stars from the Granada TV soap opera "Coronation Street" and footballers such as George Best.

As with many British cities during the period. The 1950s and 1960s saw extensive re-development of the city, with old and overcrowded housing cleared to make way for high-rise blocks of flats. This changed the appearance of Manchester considerably, although the high-rise experiment later proved unpopular and unsuccessful. The city-centre also saw major re-development, with developments such as the Manchester Arndale.

Manchester's key role in the industrial revolution was repeated and the city became a centre of research and development. Manchester made important contributions the computer revolution. The father of modern computing Alan Turing was based at Manchester University and it was his idea of the stored program concept that lead in 1948 to The Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine, nicknamed Baby, which was the first stored-program computer to run a program. This was developed by Frederic C. Williams and Tom Kilburn at the University of Manchester. This was followed by The Manchester Mark I, in 1949. These inventions were commercialized in the Ferranti Star, one of the first commercially available computers.

In 1974, Manchester was split from the county of Lancashire, and the Metropolitan Borough of Manchester was created.

The diversification of the city's economy helped to cushion the blow of this decline. However, as with many inner-city areas, the growth of car ownership and commuting meant that many people moved from the inner-city and into surrounding suburbs. By 1971 the population of Manchester had declined to 543,868, and by 2001 422,302.

The IRA bomb and its effects

During the 1980s, with the demise of many traditional industries under the radical economic restructuring often known as "Thatcherism", the city and region experienced some decline. Revival started towards the end of the decade, catalysed, not only by a wider growing prosperity in the UK, but by a creative music industry. New institutions such as Factory Records and Fac 51 Hacienda earned the city the sobriquet "Madchester".

At 11.20 am on Saturday 15 June 1996, the IRA detonated a large bomb in the city centre, the largest to be detonated on British soil. Fortunately warnings given in the previous hour had allowed the evacuation of the immediate area, so this bomb caused over 200 injuries but no deaths. The principal damage was to the physical infrastructure of nearby buildings. Since then the city centre has undergone extensive rejuvenation alongside the more general efforts to regenerate previously run-down areas of the wider city (such as Hulme and Salford). This reconstruction spurred a massive regeneration of the city centre, with complexes such as The Printworks and the Triangle creating new city focal points for both shopping and entertainment. The following regeneration took over a decade to complete. The completion of the renovated Manchester Arndale in September 2006 allowed the centre to hold the title of the UK's largest city centre shopping mall. [ [http://www.cadweb.co.uk/aboutus/pdf_docs/Arndale_Project_Sheet.pdf "CADWeb Project Management - Manchester Arndale"] , CADWeb, 2005, retrieved 28 June 2007]

Around and after 2000

In 2002, the city hosted the XVII Commonwealth Games very successfully, earning praise from many previously sceptical sources. Manchester has twice failed in its bid to host the Olympic Games, losing to Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000.

In the 1990s, Manchester earned a reputation for gang-related crime, particularly after a spate of shootings involving young men, and reports of teenagers carrying handguns as "fashion accessories". Gun-crime is still a problem in Manchester (some have referred to the city as "Gunchester") and a number of initiatives are in place by the Greater Manchester Police in an attempt to reduce the number of youths getting involved with gangs and their associated crimes. However, the success of this is questionable as gun crime in the area is still increasing and is at a level significantly above comparable areas of the UK. [ [http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/s/1007/1007733_gun_crime_on_the_rise.html "Gun Crime on the rise"] , Manchester Evening News, 25 May 2007, retrieved 6 July 2007.] The district of Moss Side gained a particular reputation for gang violence, and has seen substantial community and police initiatives attempting to rejuvenate the area. In 2004 anti-social behaviour orders were widely used to combat minor crime.

The Canal Street area of the city is well known as the "Gay Village". Manchester’s claim to status of "gay capital of the UK" was strengthened in 2003 when it played host city to the annual Europride festival. [cite news | title=Europe's biggest gay festival to be held in UK |url=http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/s/51/51498_europes_biggest_gay_festival_to_be_held_in_uk.html |work=Manchester Evening News |publisher=M.E.N media |date=11 February 2003 Retrieved on 20 May 2007.] [cite news |first=David |last=Ottewell |title=More gay couples want children |url=http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/s/80/80968_more_gay_couples_want_children.html |work=Manchester Evening News |publisher=M.E.N media |date=12 February 2004 Retrieved on 20 May 2007.]

During the 1980s, the Victoria University of Manchester had somewhat complacently exploited its reputation as one of the leading "red brick" universities. During the same period, many of those universities established post-war vigorously pursued policies of growth and innovation. The university consequently saw its standing decline and only in the 1990s did it embark on a "catch-up" programme. In October 2004 the Victoria University of Manchester and UMIST merged to form the University of Manchester, the largest University in the UK with ambitious plans to be one of the world's leading research intensive universities.

Since the regeneration after the 1996 IRA bomb, and aided by the XVII Commonwealth Games, Manchester's city centre has changed significantly. Large sections of the city dating from the 1960s have been either demolished and re-developed or modernised with the use of glass and steel; a good example of this transformation is the Manchester Arndale. Many old mills and textile warehouses have been converted into apartments, helping to give the city a much more modern, upmarket look and feel. Some areas, like Hulme, have undergone extensive regeneration programmes and many million-pound lofthouse apartments have since been developed to cater for its growing business community. The 168 metre tall, 47-storey Beetham Tower, completed in 2006, provides the highest residential accommodation in the United Kingdom - the lower 23 floors form the Hilton Hotel, while the upper 24 floors are apartments. The Beetham Tower was originally planned to stand 171 metres in height, but this had to be changed due to local wind conditions. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/4944590.stm "City building reaches full height"] , BBC, 26 April 2006, retrieved 2 May 2006.]

Rapidly developing institutions attract crime and disorder; see main article crime and policing in Manchester.

Parts of the city were severely affected by rioting by Rangers fans in 2008; see main article 2008 UEFA Cup Final riots

Civic history

The town of Manchester (as it was then) was granted a charter in 1301 by Thomas de Grelley, Baron of Manchester, who was also the Lord of the Manor of Manchester. [http://www.gmcro.co.uk/guides/gazette/gazframe.htm Greater Manchester Record Office] (Gazetteer Index - select M for Manchester).]

Until the 19th century, Manchester was one of the many townships in the ancient parish of Manchester which covered a wider area than today's metropolitan borough.

In 1792 commissioners, usually known as police commissioners, were established for the improvement of the Township of Manchester. By the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, the Borough of Manchester was established in 1838 as a local authority, which included the areas of Manchester, Beswick, Cheetham, Chorlton-on-Medlock and Hulme townships. [http://www.gmcro.co.uk/guides/gazette/gazframe.htm Greater Manchester Record Office] (Gazetteer Index - select M for Manchester).]

On the 11 December 1840, the Manchester Poor Law Union was formally declared and took responsibility for the administration and funding of the Poor Law in the area. [http://www.workhouses.org.uk/index.html?Manchester/Manchester.shtml Manchester Poor Union] (www.workhouses.org.uk).]

In 1853 the Borough was elevated to City status. In 1885 further areas were added to the City of Manchester with Bradford, Harpurhey, Rusholme and parts of Moss Side and Withington townships.

By the Local Government Act 1888, the City of Manchester became in 1889 a County Borough, although it still kept the city title. [http://www.gmcro.co.uk/guides/gazette/gazframe.htm Greater Manchester Record Office] (Gazetteer Index - select M for Manchester).]

Other areas, which had been under the control of Lancashire County Council, were added to the City between 1890 and 1933:
* 1890: Blackley, Crumpsall, Moston, Openshaw and Newton (incl. Kirkmanshulme) townships, Clayton area (part of Droylsden township) and part of Gorton township.
* 1901: A very small part of Gorton Urban District.
* 1903: Part (Heaton Park area) of Prestwich Urban District.
* 1904: Burnage, Didsbury and Chorlton cum Hardy civil parishes and Moss Side and Withington Urban Districts.
* 1909: Levenshulme Urban District and the remaining area of Gorton Urban District.
* 1913: Part of Heaton Norris Urban District.
* 1933: Part of Denton Urban District.
* In addition to these areas, in 1931 the Cheshire civil parishes of Baguley, Northenden and Northern Etchells were also added to the City of Manchester. [http://www.gmcro.co.uk/guides/gazette/gazframe.htm Greater Manchester Record Office] (Gazetteer Index - select M for Manchester).]

Under the Local Government Act 1972, the City of Manchester, with the addition of the civil parish of Ringway, became on the 1 April 1974 one of the ten Metropolitan Boroughs of the newly created Metropolitan County of Greater Manchester.

In 1986 Greater Manchester County Council was abolished by the Local Government Act 1985 and most of its functions were devolved to the ten boroughs, making them effectively unitary authorities. Some of the County Council's functions were taken over by joint bodies such as Passenger Transport Authorities, and joint fire, police and waste disposal authorities.

Greater Manchester

Before 1974 the area of Greater Manchester was split between Cheshire and Lancashire with numerous parts being independent county boroughs. The area was informally known as "SELNEC", for "South East Lancashire North East Cheshire". Also small parts of the West Riding of Yorkshire (around Saddleworth) and Derbyshire were covered.

SELNEC had been proposed by the Redcliffe-Maud Report of 1969 as a "metropolitan area". This had roughly the same northern boundary as today's Greater Manchester, but covered much more territory in north-east Cheshire – including Macclesfield and Warrington. It also covered Glossop in Derbyshire.

In 1969 a SELNEC Passenger Transport Authority was set up, which covered an area smaller than the proposed SELNEC, but different from the eventual Greater Manchester.

Although the Redcliffe-Maud report was rejected by the Conservative Party government after it won the 1970 general election, it was committed to local government reform, and accepted the need for a county based on Manchester. Its original proposal was much smaller than the Redcliffe-Maud Report's SELNEC, but further fringe areas such as Wilmslow, Warrington and Glossop were trimmed from the edges and included instead in the shire counties. The metropolitan county of Greater Manchester was eventually established in 1974.

Greater Manchester's representative county council was abolished in 1986, following the Local Government Act 1985. However, Greater Manchester is still a metropolitan county and ceremonial county.

ee also

* Beyer-Peacock
* History of England
* List of famous Mancunians
* List of railway stations in Greater Manchester
* Manchester Metropolitan University
* Politics in Manchester
* Stephenson's Rocket
* University of Manchester
* University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology
* Victoria University of Manchester



*cite book |last=Gregory |first=Richard (ed) |title=Roman Manchester: The University of Manchester's Excavations within the Vicus 2001–5 |publisher=Oxbow Books |date=2007 |location=Oxford |isbn=978-1-84217-271-1
*cite book |first=Stuart |last=Hylton |date=2003 |title=A History of Manchester |publisher=Phillimore and co. Ltd. |location=Chichester |isbn=1-86077-240-4
*cite book |first=Alan |last=Kidd |date= [1996] 1993 |title=Manchester |publisher=Keele University Press |location=Keele |isbn=1-85331-028-X
*cite book |last=Mason |first=David J.P. |title=Roman Chester: City of the Eagles |publisher=Tempus Publishing Ltd |date=2001 |location=Stroud |isbn=0-7524-1922-6
*cite book |last=Miller |first=Ian |coauthors=Wild, Chris |title=A & G Murray and the Cotton Mills of Ancoats |publisher=Oxford Archaeology North |date=2007 |isbn=978-0-904220-46-9
*cite book |first=Mike |last=Nevell |date=1992 |title=Tameside Before 1066 |publisher=Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council |isbn=1-871324-07-6
*cite book |first=Mike |last=Nevell |date=1997 |title=The Archaeology of Trafford |publisher=Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council with the University of Manchester Archaeological Unit |isbn=1-870695-25-9
*cite book |first=Mike |last=Nevell |date=2008 |title=Manchester: The Hidden History |publisher=The History Press |isbn=978-0-7524-4704-9
*cite journal |first=Caron |last=Newman |date=2006 |title=Medieval Period Resource Assessment |journal=Archaeology North West|volume=8 |pages=115–144 |issn=0962-4201
*cite journal |first=Robert A. |last=Philpott |date=2006 |title=The Romano-British Period Resource Assessment |journal=Archaeology North West|volumne=8 |pages=59–90 |issn=0962-4201
*cite book |first=Robert |last=Reid |year=1989 |title=The Peterloo Massacre |publisher=William Heinemann Ltd |isbn=0-434-62901-4
*cite book |first=David |last=Shotter |date= [2004] 1993 |title=Romans and Britons in North-West England |publisher=Centre for North-West Regional Studies |location=Lancaster |isbn=1-86220-152-8
*cite book |first=John (ed) |last=Walker |date=1989 |title=Castleshaw: The Archaeology of a Roman Fortlet |publisher=Greater Manchester Archaeological Unit |isbn=0-946126-08-9

Further reading

*cite book | author=Kargon, R.H. | title=Science in Victorian Manchester: Enterprise and Expertise | publisher=Manchester University Press | year=1977 | id=ISBN 0-7190-0701-1
*"Manchester A Short History Of Its Development", by W.H. Shercliff 1977

External links

* [http://www.mancuniensis.info/ Manchester chronology]
* [http://www.tramways.freeserve.co.uk/Tramframe.htm?http://www.tramways.freeserve.co.uk/Cards/Postc45.htm Image of Deansgate in Manchester, with trams, about 1910]
* [http://www.arthurchappell.clara.net/thecivilwarinmanchester.htm The English Civil War in Manchester]

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