Weekly City Spotlight: Manchester

Manchester

Manchester Town Hall

The city of Manchester is located in the North West of England, and is famous as being the birthplace of the industrial revolution.  Home to a number of top bands, the city is noted for its music scene as well as a vast array of historic attractions such as Albert Square and Manchester’s beautiful Cathedral.  With museums based in Manchester housing a wealth of significant artefacts, it is also famous for its football, and the city offers endless places to explore for the thousands who visit it each year, with tours available on foot or by bus to learn more about this remarkable city.

Historic Manchester
As with many cities, the origins of Manchester can be traced back to Roman times, with a settlement named Mamucium connected to a Roman Fort.  Its significance with regard to the Industrial Revolution was due to its rapid expansion and establishment of the Bridgewater Canal in the 1700’s which would see a manufacturing boom in industries such as textiles located within the city, as the Canal provided the transport of coal as well as goods to the surrounding areas.

Manchester’s waterways would be extended further with the building of the Manchester Ship Canal, enabling links to other cities.  Later the Liverpool and Manchester Railway was built providing vital transport links which continued to attract businesses to locate to the now port area, and the building of the Trafford Park Industrial Estate would be a world first. Manchester would be recognised for the processing of two thirds of the world’s cotton at its mills, just one part of the many sectors where the city dominated.

Through the Second World War, Manchester was a key focus for bombing and sustained great losses, with homes and business destroyed, lives lost and the Cathedral also extensively damaged.

With a history of pioneering scientific discovery being the site where an atom was first split, Manchester’s Victoria University was also where Frederic C. Williams together with Tom Kilburn and Geoff Tootill would built the SSEM Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine which was the first stored-program computer, and in 1948 was used to test early versions of computer memory know as the Williams-Kilburn Tube. The Museum of Science and Industry covers both Manchester’s industrial past together with is achievements in the field of science, with extensive collections and galleries throughout its historic buildings.

Manchester Music Scene
Endless groups have featured in Manchester’s music scene, from Herman’s Hermits and Freddie and the Dreamers in the 1960’s to Joy Division, OMD, New Order, the Happy Mondays and James in more recent years. The 1990’s would see Oasis emerge with their first album Definitely Maybe, with Liam and Noel Gallagher both born in Manchester, the group would enjoy huge success with hits such as What’s the Story Morning Glory and Wonderwall.

Popular Culture
Manchester is a historic and cultural city, and has also been a focus in popular culture.

Films & TV
24 Hour Party People (2002) – starring Steve Coogan, Andy Serkis and Paddy Considine, this film focuses on the music community within the city from the late 70’s to the early 90’s, with independent record label Factory Records having many famous acts signed to it including Joy Division and later New Order.

Looking for Eric (2009) – Directed by the renowned Ken Loach, Looking for Eric is a film which deals with the escapism offered by football to its fans, with Eric Cantona including in the cast of this successful film production.

Control (2007) – starred Sam Riley and Samantha Morton and is a film about the life of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis.  The film is shot in a number of locations including Manchester, and a biography by Ian Curtis’ widow forms the basis for this film.

Books
The Conditions of the Working Class in England by Friedrich Engels was set in Manchester in the Victorian period, and featured the city during the Industrial Revolution and the key role it played at this time.

Automated Alice – this novel by Jeff Noon is a fantasy tale and is set in Manchester in the future, with Lewis Carroll’s Alice the main character, transported to Manchester via a grandfather clock.

Manchester Slingback is an award winning novel by Nicholas Blincoe, having received the Silver Dagger from the Crime Writer’s Association.  The story follows life in the Canal Street area of the city, at a time when James Anderton held the post of Chief Constable.

Social Media
Additional information on Manchester can be found on its official website Visit Manchester as well as its Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest accounts.

Famous Faces
Anthony Burgess – was born on 25 February 1917 in Manchester and is a famous writer, composer and critic whose works included A Clockwork Orange which would be made into a film by Stanley Kubrick.  Burgess is also noted for his extensive and varied career as a travel writer, broadcaster and work as a literary critic for a number of newspapers.

Robert Donat – the star of stage and screen was born in Manchester on 18 March 1905.  Donat starred in numerous productions and famously played roles in Goodbye Mr Chips for which he won an Academy Award and The 39 Steps by Alfred Hitchcock.

Davy Jones – born in Manchester on 30 December 1945, Davy Jones was a member of The Monkees, a pop band formed for television, which began in the late 1960’s.  Jones also appeared in numerous productions on film and in the theatre including Oliver! for which he received a Tony Award nomination, as well as having a successful solo recording career.

Landmarks    

Manchester

One Angel Square

One Angel Square
This contemporary office building is located in Manchester, and is a recent addition as landmarks go having been completed in early 2013.  It is the Head Quarters of the Co-operative Group and its unique design makes for a highly energy efficient structure, which has won various awards.  Often likened to a ship, the building is a glass and steel structure and is part of the NOMA project, which aims to regenerate northern Manchester.

Manchester Town Hall
The striking Town Hall in the city of Manchester dates back to 1868 and was designed by Alfred Waterhouse.  The home of Manchester’s local government, the Town Hall houses the Great Hall where the Manchester Murals reflect the city’s history, as well as the Sculpture Hall.  The Town Hall also features the Clock Tower which measures over 280 ft. in height.

Beetham Tower
Located on Deansgate, the Beetham Tower is Manchester’s tallest landmark which was built in 2006.  This magnificent structure includes apartments as well as a hotel and restaurant, and is 47 storeys high costing £150 Million to build, having been designed by Ian Simpson Architects.

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