The City The guide was updated:Manchester dates from Roman times, as do many other European cities. Subsequently, the city led a fairly anonymous existence until the 18th century when the Industrial Revolution began to take off. Manchester soon became the world’s textile centre, and was a city where fabulous riches were mixed with extreme poverty. Many of the Victorian buildings and brick textile factories were architectural masterpieces, whereas the worker’s tenements were the poor ones.
The English textile industry began to suffer from problems as far back as the 1920’s, and was wiped out in the 1970’s. Although more than two million people lived in Greater Manchester, the city centre had been virtually abandoned.
In the last decade, this has started to change at a rapid pace. In the summer of 1996, the IRA exploded a large bomb in central Manchester. Using the insurance money and Government grants, a gigantic building project was started, which is still in progress and the beautiful old buildings are being renovated one by one.
In parallel with this, young creative and/or rich “Mancunians” have begun to look for flats in town. The Northern Quarter suburb has become as hip as Hoxton or Soho in London, and in Castlefield in the south, luxurious flats have sprung up along the canals.
These days, Manchester is a lively, cultured city which compares well with other international cities. Wherever you are, you’ll find the historical waterways. The Castlefield district has the first man-made waterway, the Bridgewater Canal. A trip along the Manchester Ship Canal, which runs from Salford Quays to Liverpool, is very nice and displays locks and bridges that have been unchanged for 100 years.
Greater Manchester is made up of ten borough towns, from the East Lancashire steam railway in Bury to the pier and rugby league side of Wigan. Each district makes up the city’s unique identity. With easy reach to the Peak District, you’ll also experience breathtaking countryside.