Manchester (England)

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Manchester (măn´chəstər, –chĕs´tər), city and metropolitan borough (1991 pop. 397,400), NW England, a port on the Irwell, Medlock, Irk, and Tib rivers. Manchester remains the center of the most densely populated area of England, despite the tremendous amount of outmigration between 1961 and 1981. It has been engaged in building new towns and complexes since the 1970s. Long the leading textile city (its textile industry dates back to the 14th cent.) of England, the late 20th cent. has seen a sharp drop in Manchester's textile-based economy. Other industries, especially chemical and pharmaceutical production and research industries, have moved to fill the void. It is also the center of printing and publishing in N England. Ringway is Manchester's international airport.

A Celtic settlement is believed to have existed on the site of Manchester. The Romans called the town Mancunium, and there are remains of their occupation. Manchester's first charter was granted in 1301. Representation in Parliament was achieved in 1832, and in 1838, thanks to the efforts of Richard Cobden, Manchester was incorporated as a borough.

The Peterloo massacre occurred in Manchester in 1819, and the city has played a prominent role in liberal reform movements. The influential liberal daily the Manchester Guardian was founded in 1821. Manchester was the center of the Manchester school of economics and the Anti-Corn-Law League, led by Cobden and John Bright.

The first application of steam to machinery for spinning cotton was made in Manchester in 1789, and a terminus of the first English passenger railroad (to Liverpool) was constructed here by George Stephenson in 1830. The Manchester Ship Canal, opened in 1894, enabled the inland city to become Britain's third busiest seaport. After World War I the artificial-silk industry tended to balance losses in the cotton market. The first municipal airport in Britain was established at Manchester in 1929. During World War II, Manchester suffered extensively from air raids. Shipping has declined significantly since the 1950s and 60s.

The city has several libraries, including the John Rylands Library (founded 1899) and the Chetham Library (founded 1653), one of Europe's first free public libraries. The Univ. of Manchester, which has its origins in the Manchester Mechanics' Institute (1824) and Owens College (1851), is Britain's largest single-site university; the Univ. of Salford also is located there. Manchester has been an important center for scientific research. John Dalton, Lord Rutherford, and Niels Bohr, among others, did significant work in nuclear physics there. At the Jodrell Bank Observatory, nearby, is a large radio telescope, once the world's largest. Manchester has several art galleries; a symphony orchestra of international repute, the Hallé Orchestra, founded in 1857 by Sir Charles Hallé; and the striking Imperial War Museum North. Sir Robert Peel, the statesman, and Thomas De Quincey, the author, were born in Manchester.

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Manchester. Sited where natural routes crossed and bridges could be maintained, the Roman military station Mamucium or Mancunium controlled the Brigantes, while acting as a supply base. In medieval times it was a dependency of the capital manor of Salford, becoming a trading centre within an agricultural community, and during the Civil War was strongly parliamentarian, although some prominent local families remained stubbornly catholic. Encouraged by the moist atmosphere, soft water, and nearby coal supplies, local textile industries so flourished that Manchester became their chief commercial centre as well as a manufacturing and finishing site. New production methods and transport facilities (e. g. Bridgwater canal) greatly increased output, and the merchants and manufacturers began to organize a factory system. Population expansion from immigrants attracted by employment opportunities resulted in social and political problems because of the conflict between a still feudally run market town (enfranchised only in 1832) and a burgeoning industrial centre. Crowded, makeshift dwellings and dangerous sanitary conditions underlay a strong working-class radical movement and the so-called Peterloo massacre’ (1819), but unemployment and Luddism were tempered by the rise of trade unionism and methodism. Belief in free trade prompted Cobden and Bright to push for the repeal of the Corn Laws, and the city's political temper began to harden into Liberalism. Prosperous, confident, and progressive, the merchant princes of Victorian Manchester invested in bricks and mortar, railways, and the ship canal, but the smoke pushed residents into the suburbs; its commercialization attracted accusations of philistinism, and poverty and squalor persisted. Home of the Manchester Guardian, Victoria University, and the Hallé Orchestra, it was a city of enormous vitality in its cultural and intellectual life. After the decline of cotton, the huge variety of engineering projects and distributive trades helped maintain it as a regional and metropolitan centre, with less air pollution, but service industries are replacing these in their turn, and it remains a city in transition. The metropolitan area as a whole has become a magnet for Commonwealth immigrants into Britain.

A. S. Hargreaves

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Manchester City on the River Irwell, forming a metropolitan district in the Greater Manchester urban area, nw England. In ad 79, the the Romans occupied the Celtic town, renaming it Mancunium. The textile industry (now in decline) dates back to the 14th century. In 1830, the world's first passenger railway was constructed between Liverpool and Manchester. In 1894 the Manchester Ship Canal opened, providing the city with its own access to the sea. In 1838, Manchester was incorporated as a borough. Modern Manchester has a diverse manufacturing base, including chemicals, pharmaceuticals, printing and publishing. It is the major financial centre of n England. Pop. (1994) 431,061.

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Manchester an industrial city in northern England.
Manchester Martyrs three Fenians, William O'Meara Allen, Michael Larkin, and William O'Brien, who were hanged at Manchester in 1867, for their part in the rescue of Thomas Kelly and Timothy Deasy, two leading Fenians, in the course of which a police sergeant was shot dead.
what Manchester says today, the rest of England says tomorrow proverbial saying, late 19th century, occurring in a variety of forms; in its historical context, the Corn Law, restricting the importation of foreign corn, was abolished in 1846, and Manchester (formerly part of Lancashire), considered the home of free trade, was in the forefront of the campaign against restrictive legislation.