A brief history of Manchester for
those who may not know any of it - or know some of it - or know all of it and
want to read it again?
Manchester is a city in NW
England, 31 miles east of Liverpool. It is linked to the sea - via the river
Mersey - by the Manchester Ship Canal, opened in 1894.
damp climate made the city particularly suitable for cotton productions, and
from about the middle of the 18th century it became the world's centre for
cotton manufacturing - using importation chiefly from North America by way of
After the 1939-45 war, the cotton industry experienced a rapid
decline; but - fortunately for the area - many of the disused mills were
preserved and used for other activities.
city also developed manufacturing related to textile machinery, chemicals,
rubber, electrical equipment, paper - these amongst other industries - and also
became an important financial centre.
Culture, Education and Architecture:
It has the Royal Northern College of Music, Chetham's School of
Music, the Hallé Orchestra, Manchester Grammar School, founded in 1515,
the Royal Exchange, built in 1869 - but now used as a theatre.
It also possesses a spectacular Town Hall, opened in 1877 and
designed by Alfred Waterhouse. Also the Free Trade Hall, built in 1843; and,
further more, the oldest passenger station at Liverpool Road - now uses for
In addition, it has the
Whitworth Art Gallery and the Cotton Exchange - the latter now used as a
Last but not least: There's the
Castlefield Urban Heritage Park which includes the Granada television studios,
incorporating the set of "Coronation Street".
Manchester has always been a major centre of cultural and
intellectual activities. It developed the Manchester school of political
economists; including amongst its members John Bright and Richard Cobden - the
campaigners for the repeal of the Corn Laws in the first half of the 19th
Also, it became the starting place for
the radical "Guardian" newspaper - first appearing as the Manchester Guardian,
started as a Roman camp (Mancunium) and became mentioned in the Domesday Book
as an important centre of trade, and by the 13th century became a centre for
the wool trade.
Mamucium Roman Fort
The Romans spent
300 years at Mamucium, building four forts, each one bigger and stronger than
the last. From A.D. 43 to 410, Britain was known as the province of Britannia.
The Roman Emperor, Claudius, sent his soldiers to invade these small islands
and take advantage of the mineral and agricultural wealth. His army arrived in
Manchester in A.D. 79, led by General Julius Agricola, who ordered a fort to be
built as a communications post between the towns of DEWA (Chester) and EBORACUM
(York). Castlefield was the perfect place to build such a fort because it
overlooked the spot where the Rivers Irwell and Medlock converged. The Roman
name for this chosen site was Mamucium, which meant breast shaped hill -
referring to the sandstone ridge where the fortress was positioned. Agricola
was the Governor of Britain from A.D. 77 to 83 and born into a high ranking
family who lived in the ancient European region of southern Gaul. He became a
senator in early adulthood and later promoted to spend many years in Britain,
waging war against anyone who stood in the way of Roman supremacy. His daughter
married Tacitus, a famous historian, who wrote about his father-in-law's life
and times. It is largely thanks to him that we now know so much about Roman
Britain during this period.
In the year
79 the town was conquered by Agricola, who changed its British name of
Mancenion to MANCUNIUM. It was afterwards called Mancestre, from whence its
present name is derived. William the Conquerer gave Roger de Poictiers all the
land between the Mersey and the Ribble. It appears that De Poictiers did not
hold Manchester long, before it came into the hands of Robert de Gredley; from
whose family it passed to that of West, with the title of Lord de la Warr, one
of whom, about 1600, sold the manor to Sir Nicholas Mosley, Knight, whose
descendant is Sir Oswald Mosley. Manchester is joined to Salford by 4 bridges,
and they appear one town, though each have their separate officers and
government, in the same way that London and Southwark are connected, and to
which place the situation of the united towns, on the river Irwell bear a