opera house manchester library

Out in the Pennine hills where I live it is sometimes hard to realise that just 10 miles away is a large and vibrant city. Every now and then since I stopped working there I take the plunge and take in a visit there. It could be to get to a certain shop, to enjoy the social life with some colleagues/friends or it could even be for one of the many and varied events taking place all year round. Why go all the way to London when we have our very own vibrant and entertaining City on our doorstep. But of course there is when I go to watch the football too.

Manchester - A City of Changes

Yes, we have 2 football teams in Manchester with massive histories and of course lots of local rivalry. To answer a question you may have…… I go to the ground on the left above 😉

What made it the cosmopolitan hub with varied architecture it is today? Well that will come from many changes and rapid expansion in centuries past.

Manchester – A City of Changes 1

Some history of Manchester

Manchester was founded in Roman times as a fort and was known as Mamucium. Many modern cities and towns in England have the suffix ‘Chester’ or “Caster” after them (Colchester, Lancaster etc and even Chester itself), this comes from a saxon word that actually means Roman Fort.

However, Manchester did not become anything more than a little market town until the Industrial Revolution.

Manchester - A City of Changes

With the canals from Liverpool being made and a boom in the cotton industry Manchester rushed to the forefront in industry and technology of the time. In the 1800s it boasted one of the worlds first omnibus services, plus the worlds first passenger railway station with steam passenger railway service (between Liverpool and Manchester). Buildings like its grand Town hall above show the stature Manchester gained at the time. The whole of Manchester is littered with grand architecture dating from all ages. For instance Shambles Square (pic) with buildings from the 1500s, the grand buildings from the Victorian era intertwined with modern marvels including the 47 storeys high Beetham Tower.

With Manchester being the birthplace of the industrial revolution the population exploded. The once country loving folk came to the city looking for work and the Irish potato famine brought in thousands of Irish along with many Jews fleeing persecution in Eastern Europe. Plus imigrants associated with the Egyptian cotton trade.  To give an idea the population of Manchester (incl Salford) in 1756 was a mere 16,000. By 1851 it had risen to 186,000. This caused a great degree of slums. It was hard working times for our ancestors but this piece of history has helped shape Manchester into the happily multicultural place it is today.

Manchester - A City of Changes

The decline of industry in the 1900s pushed the population out into the boroughs but Manchester always finds a way to adapt. The ship canal enabled the worlds first industrial park – Trafford park. The largest bomb detonated by the IRA on British soil right in the heart of the centre itself did not stop this City from rising and rejuvenating.

Manchester - A City of Changes

Every change has brought positives and today it is has become a wonderful place to discover a huge diversity of including Arts, architecture, history, music, festivals, parades and events all year round. As well as the main centre with its shops, bars and museums there are big areas of great parkland that are enjoyed by families all over. Nightlife is catered for with an abundance of easily found theatres plus there are many bars and cafes to suit every taste in every district. Culinary delights in every range can be found, my favourite? Manchester’s Chinatown (the second largest Chinatown in UK) never fails to deliver, well worth a visit when hungry.

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  1. This was fascinating. Not so much for me because of the history, which I already knew, but because of the changes, I've been reading the links and links on those links. I had no idea Manchester had changed so much. I was at college there in 1965/66 and it was a dump to be honest, apart from the arts scene, which was great to me, coming from Blackkpool! However, when I went back there to work in 1978 I found a completely rejuvenated city, all the old buildings had been cleaned up, and looked SO different without their coats of grime left by the Industrial Revolution! Since emigrating in 1987 I've popped into the city from time to time on missions, though never staying more than a few hours, and sometimes my impressions have been good and at other times bad. The area around Picadilly Gardens felt particularly threatening on one occasion, so it's great to know that the area is being redeveloped.

    It's funny how you think you know a place. I've flown in and out of Manchester many times since '87, yet I realilze that most of my perceptions are stuck in the past. I must spend more time there next time!

  2. Avatar of @jacknjilltravel @jacknjilltravel says:

    Beautiful pics. Have to admit that other than the football team I know very little of Manchester. As a matter of fact, I don't think we stopped by at all during our visit to UK last time. Would love the chance to catch a football match there though.

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