History: Manchester

Our story is dominated by the industrial revolution. While of some significance in Roman and mediaeval times, Manchester came into its own in the 16th century. This is because of the wool trade. (Thank goodness for jumpers, right?) Trade in the area grew due to its good ties with London, the Watt steam engine and subsequent industry expansion. Even by the 18th century, the Northern Quarter was already bustling with weaver’s cottages. And by the 19th century, our city would earn the nickname ‘Cottonopolis’ for all the cotton mills and mechanised weaving work to be had in town. And all this money was good for science and industry. Here are just a few things that wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for our rich industrial history, Manchester:

  • Mechanics’ Institute, renamed UMIST
  • Belle Vue Zoological Gardens
  • Hallé Orchestra
  • Heaton Park
  • Royal Infirmary

Experience history, Manchester!

Manchester history museums are varied and enthralling. They’re a must-see for anyone interested in learning about our past. (It’s not just cotton mills, we promise.) There are exhibitions of science and exploration to rival even the finest continental collections. Here are some of the museums you need on your list:

Or, take your own tour on the ancient waterways and experience what it might have been like for the canal boat operators who took goods in and out of the city in the height of the industrial revolution.

Walk through history

If the Manchester history museum or other institutions just aren’t your thing, you could go a la carte. Have a look at this list of Grade II buildings and plan your own excursion. Call it History: Manchester Hidden Edition! We recommend the Opera House, Apollo Theatre and St Mary’s Hospital make it on your list for their unique architecture and cultural significance to our city.

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