Manchester i/ˈmæntʃɛstər/ is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the United Kingdom's largest metropolitan areas; the Greater Manchester Urban Area has a population of 2.2 million, whilst the metropolitan county of Greater Manchester has an estimated population of 2.6 million. The demonym of Manchester is Mancunian and its local authority is Manchester City Council.
Manchester is situated in the south-central part of North West England, fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south and the Pennines to the north and east. The recorded history of Manchester began with the civilian settlement associated with the Roman fort of Mamucium, which was established in c. 79 AD on a sandstone bluff near the confluence of the rivers Medlock and Irwell. Historically, most of the city was a part of Lancashire, although areas south of the River Mersey were in Cheshire. Throughout the Middle Ages Manchester remained a manorial township, but it began to expand "at an astonishing rate" around the turn of the 19th century. Manchester's unplanned urbanisation was brought on by a boom in textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution, and resulted in it becoming the world's first industrialised city. An early 19th-century factory building boom transformed Manchester from a township into a major mill town and borough that was granted city status in 1853. In 1894 the Manchester Ship Canal was built, creating the Port of Manchester.
The city is notable for its culture, music scene, scientific and engineering output, media links and sporting connections. Manchester's sports clubs include Premier League football teams, Manchester City andManchester United. Manchester was the site of the world's first railway station, where scientists first split the atom and developed the first stored-program computer. Manchester is served by two universities, including the largest single-site university in the UK, and has one of the country's largest urban economies. Manchester is also the third-most visited city in the UK by foreign visitors, after London and Edinburgh, and the most visited in England outside London.
The name Manchester originates from the Ancient Roman name Mamucium, the name of the Roman fort and settlement, generally thought to be a Latinisation of an original Celtic name (possibly meaning "breast-like hill" from mamm- = "breast"), plus Old English ceaster = "town", which is derived from Latin castra = "camp". An alternative theory suggests that the origin is Brythonic mamma = "mother", where the "mother" was a river-goddess of the River Medlock which flows below the fort. Mam means "female breast" in Irish Gaelic and "mother" in Welsh.
The Brigantes were the major Celtic tribe in what is now Northern England; they had a stronghold in the locality at a sandstone outcrop on which Manchester Cathedral now stands, opposite the banks of the River Irwell. Their territory extended across the fertile lowland of what is now Salford and Stretford. Following the Roman conquest of Britain in the 1st century, General Agricola ordered the construction of a Roman fort named Mamucium in the year 79 to ensure that Roman interests in Deva Victrix (Chester) and Eboracum (York) were protected from the Brigantes. Central Manchester has been permanently settled since this time. A stabilised fragment of foundations of the final version of the Roman fort is visible in Castlefield. The Roman habitation of Manchester probably ended around the 3rd century; the vicus, or civilian settlement, appears to have been abandoned by the mid 3rd century, although the fort may have supported a small garrison until the late 3rd or early 4th century. By the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066, the focus of settlement had shifted to the confluence of the rivers Irwell and Irk. Much of the wider area was laid waste in the subsequent Harrying of the North.
A map of Manchester circa 1650
A map of Manchester andSalford from 1801.
Thomas de la Warre, lord of the manor, founded and constructed a collegiate church for the parish in 1421. The church is nowManchester Cathedral; the domestic premises of the college currently house Chetham's School of Music and Chetham's Library. The library, which opened in 1653 and is still open to the public today, is the oldest free public reference library in the United Kingdom.
Manchester is mentioned as having a market in 1282. Around the 14th century, Manchester received an influx of Flemishweavers, sometimes credited as the foundation of the region's textile industry. Manchester became an important centre for the manufacture and trade of woollens and linen, and by about 1540, had expanded to become, in John Leland's words, "The fairest, best builded, quickest, and most populous town of all Lancashire." The cathedral and Chetham's buildings are the only significant survivors of Leland's Manchester.
During the English Civil War, Manchester strongly favoured the Parliamentary interest. Although not long lasting, Cromwellgranted it the right to elect its own MP. Charles Worsley, who sat for the city for only a year, was later appointed Major General for Lancashire, Cheshire and Staffordshire during the Rule of the Major Generals. He was a diligent puritan, turning out ale houses and banning the celebration of Christmas; he died in 1656.
Significant quantities of cotton began to be used after about 1600, firstly in linen/cotton fustians, but by around 1750 pure cotton fabrics were being produced and cotton had overtaken wool in importance. The Irwell and Mersey were made navigable by 1736, opening a route from Manchester to the sea docks on the Mersey. The Bridgewater Canal, Britain's first wholly artificial waterway, was opened in 1761, bringing coal from mines at Worsley to central Manchester. The canal was extended to the Mersey at Runcorn by 1776. The combination of competition and improved efficiency halved the cost of coal and halved the transport cost of raw cotton. Manchester became the dominant marketplace for textiles produced in the surrounding towns. A commodities exchange, opened in 1729, and numerous large warehouses, aided commerce.
In 1780, Richard Arkwright began construction of Manchester's first cotton mill.
Cotton mills in Ancoats about 1820
Manchester from Kersal Moor, by William Wylde in 1857. Manchester acquired the nickname Cottonopolis during the early 19th century owing to its sprawl of textile factories.
Much of Manchester's history is concerned with textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution. The great majority ofcotton spinning took place in the towns of south Lancashire and north Cheshire, and Manchester was for a time the most productive centre of cotton processing, and later the world's largest marketplace for cotton goods. Manchester was dubbed "Cottonopolis" and "Warehouse City" during the Victorian era. In Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, the term "manchester" is still used for household linen: sheets, pillow cases, towels, etc.
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 the Industrial Revolution. It developed a wide range of industries, so that by 1835 "Manchester was without challenge the first and greatest industrial city in the world." Engineering firms initially made machines for the cotton trade, but diversified into general manufacture. Similarly, the chemical industry started by producing bleaches and dyes, but expanded into other areas. Commerce was supported by financial service industries such as banking and insurance. Trade, and feeding the growing population, required a large transport and distribution infrastructure: the canal system was extended, and Manchester became one end of the world's first intercity passenger railway—theLiverpool and Manchester Railway. Competition between the various forms of transport kept costs down. In 1878 theGPO (the forerunner of British Telecom) provided its first telephones to a firm in Manchester.
The Manchester Ship Canal was built in 1894, in some sections by canalisation of the Rivers Irwell and Mersey, running 58 kilometres (36 mi) from Salford to Eastham Locks on the tidal Mersey. This enabled ocean going ships to sail right into the Port of Manchester. On the canal's banks, just outside the borough, the world's first industrial estate was created atTrafford Park. Large quantities of machinery, including cotton processing plant, were exported around the world.
The Peterloo Massacre of 1819 saw 15 deaths and several hundred injured.
A centre of capitalism, Manchester was once the scene of bread and labour riots, as well as calls for greater political recognition by the city's working and non-titled classes. One such gathering ended with the Peterloo Massacre of 16 August 1819. The economic school of Manchester capitalism developed there, and Manchester was the centre of the Anti-Corn Law Leaguefrom 1838 onward.
Manchester has a notable place in the history of Marxism and left-wing politics; being the subject of Friedrich Engels' workThe Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844; Engels spent much of his life in and around Manchester, and when Karl Marx visited Manchester, they met at Chetham's Library. The economics books Marx was reading at the time can be seen in the library, as can the window seat where Marx and Engels would meet. The first Trades Union Congress was held in Manchester (at the Mechanics' Institute, David Street), from 2 to 6 June 1868. Manchester was an important cradle of the Labour Party and the Suffragette Movement.
A oil painting of Oxford Road, Manchester in 1910 by Valette.
At that time, it seemed a place in which anything could happen—new industrial processes, new ways of thinking (the 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. A saying capturing this sense of innovation survives today: "What Manchester does today, the rest of the world does tomorrow." Manchester's golden age was perhaps the last quarter of the 19th century. Many of the great public buildings (including Manchester 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.
Although the Industrial Revolution brought wealth to the city, it also brought poverty and squalor to a large part of the population. Historian Simon Schama noted that "Manchester was the very best and the very worst taken to terrifying extremes, a new kind of city in the world; the chimneys of industrial suburbs greeting you with columns of smoke". An American visitor taken to Manchester’s blackspots saw "wretched, defrauded, oppressed, crushed human nature, lying and bleeding fragments".
The number of cotton mills in Manchester itself reached a peak of 108 in 1853. Thereafter the number began to decline and Manchester was surpassed as the largest centre of cotton spinning by Bolton in the 1850s and Oldham in the 1860s. However, this period of decline coincided with the rise of city as the financial centre of the region. Manchester continued to process cotton, and in 1913, 65% of the world's cotton was processed in the area. The First World War interrupted access to the export markets. Cotton processing in other parts of the world increased, often on machines produced in Manchester. Manchester suffered greatly from the Great Depression and the underlying structural changes that began to supplant the old industries, including textile manufacture.
Like most of the UK, the Manchester area mobilised extensively during the Second World War. For example, casting and machining expertise at Beyer, Peacock and Company's locomotive works in Gorton was switched to bomb making; Dunlop's rubber works in Chorlton-on-Medlock made barrage balloons; and just outside the city in Trafford Park, engineers Metropolitan-Vickers made Avro Manchester and Avro Lancaster bombers and Ford built the Rolls-Royce Merlinengines to power them. Manchester was thus the target of bombing by the Luftwaffe, and by late 1940 air raids were taking place against non-military targets. The biggest took place during the "Christmas Blitz" on the nights of 22/23 and 24 December 1940, when an estimated 467 long tons (474 t)s) of high explosives plus over 37,000 incendiary bombs were dropped. A large part of the historic city centre was destroyed, including 165 warehouses, 200 business premises, and 150 offices. 376 were killed and 30,000 houses were damaged. Manchester Cathedral was among the buildings seriously damaged; its restoration took 20 years.
Corporation Street after theManchester bombing on 15 June 1996. There were no fatalities, but it was one of the most expensive man-made disasters. A large rebuilding project of Manchester ensued.
Cotton processing and trading continued to fall in peacetime, and the exchange closed in 1968. By 1963 the port of Manchester was the UK's third largest, and employed over 3,000 men, but the canal was unable to handle the increasingly large container ships. Traffic declined, and the port closed in 1982. Heavy industry suffered a downturn from the 1960s and was greatly reduced under the economic policies followed by Margaret Thatcher's government after 1979. Manchester lost 150,000 jobs in manufacturing between 1961 and 1983.
Regeneration began in the late 1980s, with initiatives such as the Metrolink, the Bridgewater Concert Hall, the Manchester Arena, and (in Salford) the rebranding of the port as Salford Quays. Two bids to host the Olympic Games were part of a process to raise the international profile of the city.
Manchester has a history of attacks attributed to Irish Republicans, including the Manchester Martyrs of 1867, arson in 1920, a series of explosions in 1939, and two bombs in 1992. On Saturday 15 June 1996, the Provisional Irish Republican Army(IRA) carried out the 1996 Manchester bombing, the detonation of a large bomb next to a department store in the city centre. The largest to be detonated on British soil, the bomb injured over 200 people, heavily damaged nearby buildings, and broke windows half a mile away. The cost of the immediate damage was initially estimated at £50 million, but this was quickly revised upwards. The final insurance payout was over £400 million; many affected businesses never recovered from the loss of trade.
Exchange Square during a BBC Big Screen showing of a FIFA World Cup football game.
Spurred by the investment after the 1996 bomb, and aided by the XVII Commonwealth Games, Manchester's city centre has undergone extensive regeneration. New and renovated complexes such as The Printworks and The Triangle have become popular shopping and entertainment destinations. The Manchester Arndale is the UK's largest city centre shopping mall.
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. Old mills have been converted into modern apartments, Hulme has undergone extensive regeneration programmes, and million-pound lofthouse apartments have since been developed. The 169-metre tall, 47-storey Beetham Tower, completed in 2006, is the tallest building in the UK outside London and at the time the highest residential accommodation in Europe. The lower 23 floors form the Hilton Hotel, featuring a "sky bar" on the 23rd floor. Its upper 24 floors are apartments. In January 2007, the independent Casino Advisory Panel awarded Manchester a licence to build the only supercasino in the UK to regenerate the Eastlands area of the city, but in March the House of Lords rejected the decision by three votes rendering previous House of Commons acceptance meaningless. This left the supercasino, and 14 other smaller concessions, in parliamentary limbo until a final decision was made. On 11 July 2007, a source close to the government declared the entire supercasino project "dead in the water". A member of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce professed himself "amazed and a bit shocked" and that "there has been an awful lot of time and money wasted". After a meeting with the Prime Minister, Manchester City Council issued a press release on 24 July 2007 stating that "contrary to some reports the door is not closed to a regional casino". The supercasino was officially declared dead in February 2008 with a compensation package described by the media as "rehashed plans, spin and empty promises."
Since around the turn of the 21st century, Manchester has been regarded by sections of the international press, British public, and government ministersas being the second city of the United Kingdom. The BBC reports that redevelopment of recent years has heightened claims that Manchester is the second city of the UK. Manchester and Birmingham have traditionally been considered for this unofficial title.
Main articles: Politics in Manchester and Manchester City Council
See also: Manchester local elections and List of Lord Mayors of Manchester
Manchester Town Hall in Albert Square, seat of local governance, is an example of Victorian eraGothic revival architecture.
Manchester is represented by three tiers of government, Manchester City Council ("local"), UK Parliament ("national"), and European Parliament ("Europe"). Greater Manchester County Council administration was abolished in 1986, and so the city council is effectively a unitary authority. Since its inception in 1995, Manchester has been a member of the English Core Cities Group, which, among other things, serves to promote the social, cultural and economic status of the city at an international level.
The town of Manchester was granted a charter by Thomas Grelley in 1301 but lost its borough status in a court case of 1359. Until the 19th century, local government was largely provided by manorial courts, the last of which ended in 1846. From a very early time, the township of Manchester lay within the historic county boundaries of Lancashire. Pevsner wrote "That [neighbouring] Stretford and Salford are not administratively one with Manchester is one of the most curious anomalies of England". A stroke of a Norman baron's pen is said to have divorced Manchester and Salford, though it was not Salford that became separated from Manchester, it was Manchester, with its humbler line of lords, that was separated from Salford. It was this separation that resulted in Salford becoming the judicial seat of Salfordshire, which included the ancient parish of Manchester. Manchester later formed its own Poor Law Union by the name of Manchester. In 1792, commissioners—usually known as police commissioners—were established for the social improvement of Manchester. In 1838, Manchester regained its borough status, and comprised the townships of Beswick, Cheetham Hill, Chorlton upon Medlock and Hulme. By 1846 the borough council had taken over the powers of the police commissioners. In 1853 Manchester was granted city status in the United Kingdom.
In 1885, Bradford, Harpurhey, Rusholme and parts of Moss Side and Withington townships became part of the City of Manchester. In 1889, the city became thecounty borough of Manchester, separate from the administrative county of Lancashire, and thus not governed by Lancashire County Council. Between 1890 and 1933, more areas were added to the city from Lancashire, including former villages such as Burnage, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Didsbury, Fallowfield,Levenshulme, Longsight, and Withington. In 1931 the Cheshire civil parishes of Baguley, Northenden and Northen Etchells from the south of the River Merseywere added. In 1974, by way of the Local Government Act 1972, the City of Manchester became a metropolitan district of the metropolitan county of Greater Manchester. That year, Ringway,