~ ~ Preface - From The Firsts Series ~ ~
To the average Manchester man of the present day the city is a great commercial centre, whose streets are crowded by surging masses of humanity, whose factories and workshops are pouring out endless quantities of manufactures of all descriptions, whose warehouses are filled with goods which find their way to all quarters of the world, and whose enterprise, quickened as it was by the inauguration of the railway system, has in our own day received an even greater impetus by the opening of the Ship Canal,
The growth of the city has at times been phenomenal, and on the other hand there have been period during which little, if any, extension could be noted; but if we compare the city of 1906 with that of 1856, or better still, with the town of 1806, we can partially realise the immense nature of the changes that have taken place. In some respects the difference is so marked that no trace of parts of the town of 1806 remain. All has been swept away to make way for more modern requirements and improvements.
The story of these changes is an interesting one to an increasingly large numbers of citizens, and it is in order that that story may be written before much of the data now available has disappeared, that the series of volumes, of which this is the first, is being written.
I have had the idea present in my mind for over twenty years, and during that period have been collecting materials for the purpose. The opportunity for commencing the work presented itself about two years ago when I wrote the first of a long series of articles on our Manchester streets for the Manchester "Evening News." The present volume consists of the earlier portions of those articles, the proprietors of the newspaper having kindly consented to the re-printing of them.
I have followed the order in which the articles originally appeared, and I intend in the course of a few months to issue a second volume. This will nearly exhaust the list of articles that have already appeared, but will not nearly exhaust the subject. It is therefore my intention to continue the work on the same lines so long as the demand for successive volumes shows that interest in the subject is maintained, until we have a complete record of the story of our city's growth.
After dealing with the streets in the centre of the city, I hope to deal with each of the outside districts. Ancoats, Beswick, Ardwick, Chorlton-on-Medlock, Rusholme, Greenheys, Hulme, and Cheetham annals abound in interesting facts; whilst Salford itself will furnish many chapters well worth reading. Such a task as the one here sketched is a great one, but if completed will be of interest and educational value to more than the present generation; and for this reason I ask for the support of all interested in the story of our city's progress...
T. Swindells, Monton Green, Eccles, November, 1906
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