Manchester is a major city in the northwest of England with a rich industrial heritage. The Castle field conservation area’s 18th-century canal system recalls the city’s days as a textile powerhouse, and visitors can trace this history at the interactive Museum of Science & Industry. The revitalized Salford Quays dockyards now house the Daniel Libeskind-designed Imperial War Museum North and the Lowry cultural center. The City of Manchester, the area is almost all “built-up”. Manchester is 160 miles (257 km) northwest of England’s capital, London. The city has many canals and rivers which were a big part in its earlier growth.
Historical, Cultural facts & Religion
The recorded history of Manchester began with the civilian settlement associated with the Roman fort of Mamucium or Mancunium, which was established in about AD 79 on a sandstone bluff near the confluence of the rivers Medlock and Irwell. Manchester is the third most visited city in the UK, after London and Edinburgh. Despite being the 5th largest city in the United Kingdom by population and the second-largest conurbation, Manchester has been ranked as the second city of the United Kingdom in numerous polls since the 2000s (decade), with an influential culture scene helping to elevate Manchester’s importance in the national psyche. Since 2001, the share of Christians in Manchester has fallen from 62.4% to 48.7%, while the percentage of people with no religious affiliation increased from 16% to 25.4%. The percentage of Muslims has increased as well from 9.1% to 15.8%. Manchester has the largest Jewish population in Britain outside of London.
Brief City History
Manchester began when a wooden fort was built by the Roman army on a plateau about 1 mile south of the present cathedral about 80 AD. The Romans called it Mamucium (breast-shaped hill) probably because the plateau resembled a breast. The fort was rebuilt in stone about 200 AD. Soon a civilian settlement grew up around the fort. The soldiers provided a market for the goods the civilians sold such as shoes and wine. However, in 407 AD the Roman army left Britain and the civilian settlement disappeared. The stone fort at Manchester fell into ruins. At the time of the Domesday Book in 1086, a village called Mamecester existed. In time the name changed to Manchester. There is a story that Reddish is called that because there was once a battle there and the blood left ‘reddish’ stains. It is far more likely that Reddish is a corruption of Reed Ditch.
In 919 the king repaired the old Roman fort as a defense against the Danes. It gave its name to the Castle field. At the time of the Normans in the 11th century Manchester was a small village but things changed in the 12th century. The population of England grew and trade and commerce grew rapidly. Many new towns were founded. The village of Manchester was made into a town in the early 13th century. The Lord of the Manor, a man named Robert De Grelly built a manor house nearby. He also built the church of St Mary. He divided up some of his land into plots for building and rented them to craftsmen. He may also have started a weekly market. Soon Manchester grew into a town.
In the year 1222 Manchester was granted the right to hold an annual fair. In the Middle Ages a fair was like a market but was held only once a year. It would attract buyers and sellers from all over Lancashire. In the Middle Ages Manchester was, at best, a medium-sized town. It was not nationally important. It is not known what its population was. An educated guess is 2,500. It would seem very small to us but settlements were tiny in those days.
In Medieval Manchester, there was a wool industry. After wool was woven it was fullended. That means it was beaten in a mixture of water and clay to clean and thicken it. Wooden hammers powered by a watermill beat the wool. When it dried the wool was dyed. There was also a leather tanning industry in the town. In 1301 Manchester was given a charter (a document granting the townspeople certain rights). Before that date the Lord of the Manor appointed a bailiff, who ran the town day today. Afterward, the merchants of Manchester were allowed to elect an official called a Reeve who did the job. In the late Middle Ages water from a spring was brought along elm pipes to a conduit in Manchester where the townspeople could fetch water. The spring gave its name to Spring Gardens and Fountain Street. John Rylands library opened in 1900. It merged with the university library in 1972. Manchester University was founded in 1903. Also, in 1903, the council purchased Heaton Park. The central library was built in 1934. The Town Hall was extended in 1938.
In the early 20th century there was some diversification of industry in Manchester. New industries included flour milling, biscuits and breakfast cereals. The old industry of cotton went into a steep decline. Engineering also suffered during the depression of the 1930s though it revived during World War II. In the second half of the century, the manufacturing industry declined and was, to a certain extent, replaced by service industries such as education and finance.
Tourism also became an important industry in Manchester in the late 20th century. A Museum of Science and Industry opened in 1969. A Museum of Transport opened in 1979. In the 1980s Castle field was turned into an Urban Heritage Park including a reconstruction of the Roman Fort. In 1984 the Jewish Museum opened. The G-Mex Centre opened in 1986. The People’s History Museum opened in 1994.
Meanwhile, the Arndale Centre was built in the 1970s. The first section opened in 1976 and it was completed in 1979.
In the early 20th century the council built the first council houses in Manchester. They also set about demolishing the slums. During World War II the center of Manchester was devastated. Many warehouses and business premises were destroyed along with many old buildings. Piccadilly Square was leveled. However, Manchester rose again. During the 20th century, more and more people moved out of the city center to live in the mushrooming suburbs. The population of the city center dropped considerably. From the 1970s a Chinatown grew up in Manchester. A Chinese Arch was erected in 1987. The Chinese Arts Centre opened the same year. In 1992 the metro link trams began running. In 1996 IRA bombs devastated the city center but it was rebuilt. The phoenix rose from the ashes. The Trafford Shopping Centre opened in 1998. In the 21st century, Manchester is a flourishing city. Although the old manufacturing industries have declined service industries are thriving. The Lowry Art Gallery opened in 2000 and the Civil Justice Centre was officially opened by the Queen in 2008. Meanwhile, Beetham Tower, the tallest building in Manchester was built in 2006. Today the population of Manchester is 510,000.
Language (s) Written & Spoken
Manchester’s most widely spoken non-English language remains Urdu, a product of immigration from the Indian subcontinent dating back to the 1950s. But other languages are catching up. Arabic, Cantonese, Polish, Bengali and Somali are all widely spoken but there are dozens of others in everyday use.
Important Types of Commerce in Manchester
Manchester is the business and financial center of northern New England and is home to several key industry clusters, including semiconductors, electronics, aerospace and defense, apparel and textiles, communication services, industrial machinery and financial services.
Language Services US and others will provide working with Manchester
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