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Open Book

An Open Book To Browse.


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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.

Industry:
Its 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 Liverpool.
However:
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.
The 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 other purposes.
In addition, it has the Whitworth Art Gallery and the Cotton Exchange - the latter now used as a leisure centre.
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 century.
Also, it became the starting place for the radical "Guardian" newspaper - first appearing as the Manchester Guardian, in 1821.
Origin:
It 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.


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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 resemblance.


Page 2
More History:

Did you know that when the Romans abandoned the small fort known as Mancunium, it was left it to the mercy(?) of marauders?
Those previously held back by Hadrian's Wall came south; and about the year 420, upon reaching the small town existing on the site to become Manchester, plundered its settlement and surrounding district.
(Not a happy state of affairs for the embryonic Manchester!)
However, it was even less of a happy state of affairs when, in about the year 620, the Saxon King, Edwin, came down from Northumbria to do the same.
Then came the Danes:
About the year 870, they sailed up the River Mersey in their longboats as far as they could reach then marched on poor old Manchester and repeated the age-old habit of plundering and slaughtering. It is said that the name "Reddish" - an area in Stockport situated on the River Tame - derived its name from the blood which stained the district after an extensive rampage on the part of the marauding Danes.
However:
In 923, the Saxons who had, by then, reached and consolidated their strength in the Manchester area took the district under their rule and - at least - were strong enough to maintain defences against all.
Until - of course - the Normans came (and brought their own impositions - including slaughter).

But what happened afterwards is another "page" in history - soon to be added on this website?

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