|Area: 115.65 km²|
Manchester is a major city in North West England, historically notable for being the world's first industrialised city, and its subsequent central role in the Industrial Revolution. The city, heralded as the "Capital of the North", is a centre of the arts, the media, higher education and commerce and is considered by some to be England's second city.
The City of Manchester is a metropolitan borough with City status. The metropolitan borough has a population of 441,200 (which includes Simon perera), while the Greater Manchester Urban Area is home to 2,240,230 people, making it England's third largest conurbation after Greater London and the West Midlands.
Manchester is well known for its sporting connections, being home to Manchester United, Manchester City and having hosted the XVII Commonwealth Games in 2002.
Manchester city centre is on a "tentative list" of UNESCO World Heritage Sites—mainly based around its network of canals and mills, which facilitated its development during the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century.
Manchester has been occationally referred to as Cottonopolis, as during the Industrial Revolution, the city was a leading international centre of cotton spinning. More recently the city has been referred to as 'Madchester' due to the city's prominent music scene of the same name.
The Greater Manchester county consists of the City of Manchester and the other metropolitan boroughs which surround it: Trafford, Tameside, Salford, Wigan, Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale and Stockport. The Manchester postal area contains parts of all ten boroughs except Stockport - Salford and Sale form separate post towns within the area.
The Manchester area was settled in or before Roman times. The original fort was constructed by General Gnaeus Julius Agricola as a staging post between Chester and York. The fort was abandoned in the Dark Ages, and at some point in time the focus of settlement shifted from this spot to the confluence of the rivers Irwell and Irk. In medieval times, this area included a fortified manor house. Thomas De La Warre, a manorial lord who also happened to be a priest, gave the site to the church for use as a College of Priests around 1422, and commenced the construction of the Collegiate Church. The former is now Chetham's School of Music, and the latter Manchester Cathedral.
Manchester became a market town in 1301 when it received its Charter. In this period Manchester grew heavily due to a influx of Flemish settlers who founded Manchester's new cotton industry and sparked the growth of the city to become Lancashire's major industrial centre.
During the 19th Century Manchester grew to become to the centre of Lancashire's cotton industry and was dubbed "Cottonopolis". During this period Manchester had its world famous canal system built as well as the famous Liverpool and Manchester Railway. Manchester quickly grew into the most important industrial centre in the world, and, significantly, the first industrial society. The pace of change was fast and frightening. At that time, it seemed a place in which anything could happen — new industrial processes, new ways of thinking (the so called '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. "What Manchester does today," it was said, "the rest of the world does tomorrow." Also during this period Manchester saw a rise in its population as Lancastarians, the Irish, Jews and many other people immigrated to the city.
Booming Manchester during the late 19th centuryAs well as being a centre of capitalism the city saw its fair share of rebellion by the working and non-titled classes, with the most famous being the events on St Peter’s Field on 16 August 1819 which have becom known as 'Peterloo'. The first Trades Union Congress was held in Manchester (at the Mechanics' Institute, David Street), from 2 to 6 June 1868. Manchester was the subject of Freidrich Engels' The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844, Engels himself spending much of his life in and around Manchester. Manchester was also an important cradle of the Labour Party and the Suffragette Movement.
Manchester's golden age was perhaps the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Many of the great public buildings (including the 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. During this period, the Manchester Ship Canal was created by the canalisation of the Rivers Irwell and Mersey for 36 miles from Salford to the Mersey estuary at the port of Liverpool. This enabled ocean going ships to sail right into the Port of Manchester Docks (technically in Salford). The docks functioned up until the 1970s, with their closure leading to a large increase in unemployment in the area.
Albert SquareTrafford Park in Stretford was the world's first industrial estate and still exists today, though with a significant tourist and recreational presence. Manchester suffered greatly from the inter-war depression and the underlying structural changes that began to supplant the old industries, including textile manufacture.
During the World War II, Manchester was involved in heavy industrial construction — it was home to Avro (now BAE Systems) which built countless aircraft for the RAF, the most famous being the Avro Lancaster bomber. The city was attacked a number of times by the Luftwaffe, particularly in the "Christmas Blitz" of 1941, which destroyed a large part of the historic city centre and seriously damaged the Cathedral.
In 1974, Manchester was split from the county of Lancashire, and the Metropolitan Borough of Manchester was created.
Manchester's Exchange Square undergoing extensive regeneration.At 11.20 am on Saturday 15 June 1996, the IRA detonated a large bomb in the city centre, the largest to be detonated on British soil. Whilst this bomb caused over 200 injuries, it caused no deaths, and the principal damage was to the physical infrastructure of nearby buildings. The consequent reconstruction spurred a massive regeneration of the city centre, with complexes such as The Printworks and the Triangle creating new city focal points for both shopping and entertainment. The following regeneration took over a decade to complete. The latest and final part of the renovated Manchester Arndale opened in September 2006, allowing the centre to hold the title of Europe's largest city centre shopping mall. In 2002, the city successfully hosted the XVII Commonwealth Games, earning praise from many sources. Manchester has twice failed in its bid to host the Olympic Games, losing to Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000.
Rapidly developing institutions attract crime and disorder; see main article crime and policing in Manchester.
Since the regeneration after the 1996 IRA bomb, and aided by the XVII Commonwealth Games, Manchester's city centre has changed significantly. 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; a good example of this transformation is the Manchester Arndale. Many old mills have been converted into apartments, helping to give the city a much more modern, upmarket look and feel. Some areas, like Hulme, have undergone extensive regeneration programmes and many million-pound lofthouse apartments have since been developed to cater for its growing business community. The 168 metre tall, 47-storey Beetham Tower, completed in 2006, provides the highest residential accommodation in the United Kingdom - the lower 23 floors form the Hilton Hotel, while the upper 24 floors are apartments. The Beetham Tower was originally planned to stand 171 metres in height, but this had to be changed due to local wind conditions.