In transcribing the following paragraphs from the Internet Archive online version, I have expanded the abbreviations for easier reading and added paragraphing and subtitles. The illustrations are in the original. The Gazetteer has 1856 on the title-page for this volume, but the statements in this essay date it to 1851, and this entry has particular interest because it presents Manchester at mid-point in the century, when the city had already grown but had yet to reach its size later in Victoria’s reign. — George P. Landow]

Mosley Street and the Royal Infirmary, Manchester, from Picadilly. “From a Sketch by S. Bough.” Click on image to enlarge it.

MANCHESTER [anc. Mancunian], the most important manufacturing town of England, occupying chiefly a low tract of ground on both sides of the Irwell, at the confluence of the Medlock and the Irk, 162 miles North Northest of London, 32 in. East by North Liverpool; Int. (St. Mary’s) 53 29 North ; Longitude 2 14 23" W. (L.) It consists of Manchester proper, including the suburbs of Hulme, Chorlton, Ardwick, Cheetham, &c., situated on the East or left bank, and of the extensive borough of Salford, situated on the right bank of the Irwell; the communication across which is maintained by eight bridges, several of which are handsome structures. Among them may be specified Victoria Bridge, consisting of a single, elegant arch; Blackfriars Bridge, of three arches; the iron bridges of Strangeways and Spring field Lane, and the suspension iron bridge of Broughton. The site, owing partly to its lowness, and the tenacious subsoil on which it rests, and partly to the tainting of the streams by the numerous public works established upon them, has been considered somewhat unhealthy, though exaggerated ideas have been entertained on the subject, and many of the only real causes of disease have been either removed or greatly modified by improved drainage, and the introduction of an adequate supply of pure water.

The almost unexampled rapidity with which Manchester has risen up, has produced the apparently opposite, but by no means contradictory results, of leaving it comparatively poor in architectural ornament, and yet superior to most manufacturing towns in general appearance. If it cannot boast of many venerable structures embodying the conceptions of master minds, and rich in historical recollections, it has comparatively few of the narrow twisted and crowded lanes, by which all large towns of ancient date are more or less characterized, while it can point to spacious streets and squares, well paved, and well lighted, and lined with houses, which, not only when occupied as private mansions, but also when intended for business and manufactures, are generally of a most substantial, and, not unfrequently, of a magnificent description. Market Street, continued in the line of the London road, nearly across the centre of the town, towards the Irwell, is one of the finest streets out of the metropolis; and any town might well be proud of the splendid edifices lining such streets as Mosley Street, George Street, King Street, and Parker Street.

Map of Manchester. Click on image to enlarge it.

Public Buildings, 1. Churches

The places of public worship in Manchester and its neighbourhood, exceed 180. Of these the Establishment has 49, the Wesleyan Methodists 29, the Methodist Association 17, the Methodist New Connection 9, the Primitive Methodists 8, the Independents 22, the Baptists 10, the East Catholics 10, the Scotch Presbyterians 5, the Unitarians 5, and several other denominations one or two each.

Of the Established churches, the first place is due to the Collegiate Church, which, since the erection of Manchester into a bishop’s see, has become the Cathedral. It was built in 1422, and is considered a fine specimen of perpendicular Gothic, though the soft and mouldering stone of which it is built has rendered numerous repairs necessary, and somewhat altered its original appearance. It consists of a nave and aisles, and is rendered conspicuous by its lofty tower, which is 120 feet in height, and in its upper part highly ornamented; though, unfortunately, in such a rapid state of decay that it has been pronounced dangerous. A deeply-recessed doorway in the W. side of the tower, now closed, was formerly the principal entrance. The interior has a very striking appearance. The roof, nearly flat, is divided by mouldings richly carved, and is finely painted, and gilded. The choir contains some very elaborate carved work, not surpassed by any cathedral in the island, though the subjects represented are little in accordance with the solemnity of the place. Behind the altar is a curious piece of old tapestry, representing the death of Ananias and Sapphira, and in some of the finely-proportionate clerestory windows, by which the nave is lighted, are remains of the original painted glass.

St. Ann’s Church, near the center of the town, is a Grecian structure, with a tower and a fine organ. St. Peters, also Grecian, is remarkable for its fine bell, and a picture of the Descent from the Cross, by Antonio Caracci. St. Mary’s, an irregular building, not easily reducible to any style of architecture, has an elegant spire, supported by a lantern composed of eight Ionic pillars, and a painted window representing our Saviour and Mary in the pardon, and over the altar a copy of Raphael’s Ascension, by Williams. St. John’s, in the later English Gothic, has a tower with a peal of bells, a neat and richly ornamented interior, partly lighted by painted windows, and some beautiful monuments, among which one, in marble, by Flaxman, and another in Caen stone, from the designs of Messrs Travis and Mangnall, are conspicuous. St. Matthew’s, a large and handsome building of modern Gothic, after designs by Barry, is well situated, and has a spire 132 feet in height, and a fine organ. Trinity Church, Salford, the oldest in the borough, is surmounted by a tower of perpendicular Gothic, and is interesting from the antiquity of its interior, which is filled up with dark oak pews. St. Philip’s and St. Simon’s, both in Salford, are handsome edi fices. The former, of Grecian architecture, has a tower rising above a circular portico of the Ionic order; the latter, in the pointed or early English style, has a tower and spire 150 feet in height, a pulpit of carved oak, and three well-executed coloured windows. St. George’s, in Hulme, one of the finest churches in Manchester, has a lofty pinnacled tower, and a handsomely fitted up interior. Holy Trinity, also in llulme, a splendid building in the early English style, built from the gift of 10,000 by Miss Atherton, has a very beautiful in terior, a superbly painted and gilt chancel, and some richly stained lancet windows. All Saints, Grosvenor Square, Manchester, has a tower, surmounted by a dome, and a beautiful circular window of coloured glass. St. Luke’s, of Cheetham Hill Road, of perpendicular Gothic, is a splendid building with a tower terminating in an elegant crocket ed spire 170 feet high, and has some fine oak carving in the interior. Among the churches not established, the most deserving of notice are St. John’s Roman Catholic, in Salford, a cruciform structure, of decorated English, with a central tower, terminating in an elegant spire 200 feet high, said to be the loftiest in Lancashire, a splendidly decorated portico, an interior in which a good deal of taste has been displayed, and three large pictures copied from those behind the high altar of Mechlin ca thedral. Cavendish Street Independent Chapel, in the early English style, with a handsome interior, a fine window of stained glass, and a tower terminating in an elegant spire 171 feet high. The English Presbyterian Church in Salford, is in the perpendicular style, with a tower and lofty spire.

Public Buildings, 2. Municipal and Commercial Buildings and Institutions

The Townhall, situated in King Street, which, by the removal of old and unsightly buildings, has now become one of the most important streets in Manchester, is built in the Grecian style, borrowed partly from the temple of Erectheus, and partly from the Temple of the Winds at Athens, and has on each side of its portico, which is approached by a flight of steps, figures of Solon and Alfred, and, in the attic story above it, medallion portraits of Luke and others; and in its interior a splendid hall 130 feet long by 38 feet wide, having its walls, and the dome which forms the centre of its ceiling, covered with allegorical frescoes. In these buildings are situated the offices of the Chamber of Commerce; an institution founded in November 1820, for the promotion of measures calculated to benefit and protect the trading interests of the town and neighbourhood of Manchester. It is conducted by 24 Directors, and has been, from its commencement, a consistent opponent of the cornlaws, and of monopolies of every kind. It was the first public body to repudiate protection for manufactures, and to call for the abolition of every species of differential duties, and for the repeal of the navigation laws. Questions of a purely political complexion are not entertained at any of its meetings. Its proceedings attract attention in every commercial community throughout the world.

The Manchester Commercial Association is another institution, having similar objects in view; it holds regular meetings, and publishes an annual report of its proceedings. The Exchange, one of the finest structures of the kind in the kingdom, has a front consisting of a lofty Doric portico, with eight fluted columns, and, in the interior, a splendid commercial room, 185 feet long by 92 feet wide, partly divided by two rows of fluted Ionic columns, and lighted from above by a lofty glazed centre dome, and two side octagonal lights; in the upper part is a large room containing a library of more than 30,000 volumes.

The Corn Exchange has a handsome front of six Ionic fluted columns, and is capable of holding 2400 persons. The Free Trade Hall, though only of brick, deserves notice for its extraordinary dimensions, which enable it to contain, when crowded, upwards of 8000 persons; this structure, under whose roof so many important meetings, connected with the Free Trade movement, have taken place, and from whose platform proceeded those great principles of commercial freedom, which have since been adopted by the Legislature, is (1853) about to be pulled down, and replaced by a handsome building, adapted for large meetings, concerts, lectures, &c. The Salford Townhall, finely situated, with a spacious area in front, is a handsome and commodious structure. The Branch Bank of England, which has its principal façades nearly opposite to the Townhall, Manchester, is one of the handsomest buildings of which the town can boast; it is in the Grecian style, with a Doric colonnade. The County Court Hall, Nicholas Croft, a spacious and ornamented building, recently erected, has a hansome circular facade.

The workhouses of Manchester and Salford are large and conspicuous structures, admirably adapted for their purposes. The Borough Jail, on the Hyde Road, finely situated so as to form a conspicuous object from the surrounding country, is a large, and, in so far as the pur pose for which it is intended would admit of it, a handsome building, in which the classification of prisoners is carried out as strictly as possible in all its details, and all important mo dern improvements in the system of prison discipline are admirably carried out. The New Bailey Prison, in Salford, though unfortunately situated in the midst of the town, is said to be remarkably healthy, and has the reputation of being one of the best-regulated prisons in the country.

Public Buildings, 3. Educational and Literary Establishments

At the head of these, at least for its antiquity, is Chetham College or Hospital, which immediately adjoins the Cathedral, and is approached through a handsome gateway. It is a very old building, occupying the site of the residence of the Baron or Thane of Mancunium; was originally used as a dwelling-house by the collegiate body; was converted into barracks by the army of the Parliament, and, having been purchased by the trustees of Chetham’s charity, was first occupied by the boys in 1656. The boys, whose dress is similar to that of Christ’s Hospital in London, are eighty in number, and remain in the institution till the age of 14, when they are apprenticed with a small premium. Attached to the institution is a valuable library of above 22,000 volumes, freely open to every person, resident or stranger.

The Lancashire Independent College, occupying an airy situation, with a considerable space of open ground around it, is a noble building, in the English academic style, consisting of a body, from the centre of which a lofty pinnacled tower rises, and of two wings, carried backwards at right angles; it was built by the Independents as a theological academy, and will accommodate about fifty students. Manchester New College, a theological institution, established by the Unitarians, is said to have a valuable, though not very extensive, library. Owen’s College, founded by a bequest of upwards of 100,000 from the gentleman whose name it bears, is still in its infancy, but gives instruction in all the branches usually taught in the English universities. Mr. Owen’s munificent bequest having been given to found the college, and not to provide buildings for it, the institution has hitherto occupied a large house, in which Mr. Cobden formerly resided; but the task of furnishing adequate accommodation, has been entered upon with spirit, and voluntary subscriptions, to a large amount, have been already (1853) obtained. The Free Grammar-School, founded by Hugh Oldham, bishop of Exeter, in 1520, has an income of above £4000 per annum, and a great number of exhibitions at Oxford or Cambridge. The education given includes the principal European languages, classics, mathematics, and various other branches. The Commercial Schools, established by the Manchester Church Education Society, occupy a handsome building, erected in 1845, and furnish a complete course of education to the middle classes, on very favourable terms. The Ladies Jubilee School, so called, because the subscription for the building was commenced in commemoration of the jubilee of the reign of George III., was founded to promote the moral and religious education of poor female children, and, having received a great addition to its resources by a munificent bequest by a lady, of 1000, has increased the number of its pupils to forty, and trains them so well for domestic service, that the demand for them for that purpose always exceeds the supply. The Royal School of Medicine and Surgery, founded in 1824, is on the same footing as similar schools in the metropolis, qualifying for examination at Surgeons Hall, &c.; it has an average attendance of 80 to 100 students, and has in connection with it museums of anatomy and materia medica, a laboratory, library, and medical society. The Literary and Philosophical Society, established in 1781, has numbered many distinguished individuals among its members, and published several volumes of valuable Transactions; in the council room are fine portraits of Sir Isaac Newton, Sir Humphry Davy, Dr. Dalton, &c., and a noble marble bust of Dr. W. Henry, by Chantrey. The Chetham Society, established in 1843, for the publication of historical and literary remains, connected with Lancashire and Cheshire, has published 22 vols., generally of a very interesting description.

One of the most valuable of the literary institutions of Manchester is the Free Library, situate in Camp Field. It was established in 1851 by public subscription, extending to 12,742, and contains upwards of 16,000 volumes in the reference, and 5000 in the lending library. It is, as its name implies, perfectly free, and is supported by a local rate of one halfpenny in the pound upon the poor-rate assessment. Its establishment was suggested by Dr. J. Watts, but its completion was mainly owing to the great exertions of the mayor for the time being, Sir John Potter, and Mr. James A. Turner.

Manchester has the credit of establishing the first free lending library in the kingdom. Other societies deserving of mention are the Natural History Society, which possesses a very valuable museum; the Geological Society, with a museum and library; the Statistical Society, the Law Association, the Medical Society, the Royal Institution, occupying buildings which cost £40,000, and are among the most ornamental in the town; the Athenaeum, the School of Design, Ancoat’s Lyceum; the three Mechanics Institutions, and several Musical Clubs. In addition to the libraries already incidentally mentioned, notice is due to the Subscription and New Subscription, the Portico, the Newall’s Buildings, the Foreign, the Law Libraries; and also to the Salford Museum and Library, which is open to the public.

Benevolent Institutions

Some of these have been mentioned among the schools, but others more immediately re ferred to under this head are the Royal Infirmary, which, in its architectural and general appearance, forms one of the greatest ornaments of the town, consisting of the three sides of a quadrangle, with a fine portico, supported by four fluted Ionic columns in the centre of each, and surrounded by a spacious area, tastefully laid out with grass borders and walks, with a sheet of water in front. The Blind Asylum, supported partly by subscriptions, but chiefly by a munificent bequest of 20,000, left to it by Mr. Henshaw of Oldham; and the Deaf and Dumb Asylum, united together, so as to form one handsome building in the English collegiate style. Other benevolent institutions deserving of notice are the Lunatic Asylum, the Eye, Lock, Salford, Royal, and Lying-in hospitals; the public Haths and Wash-houses, the Model Lodging-houses, the Juvenile Refuge Penitentiary, Strangers Friend Society, &c.

Places of Amusement and Relaxation

Manchester possesses two theatres; a large and handsome Concert Hall, and a Museum of Natural History, already referred to, occupying a handsome edifice of three stories, with about 100 feet of front, and containing many valuable and interesting collections, well kept and well arranged. In the Free Trade Hall, a series of cheap concerts have been given for several years, to which thousands of the working-classes have been in the habit of resorting.

The great boast of Manchester, however, is not its indoor amusements, but its fine parks and gardens, where not amusement merely, but health and instruction too, may be obtained by the easiest means and in the most agreeable manner. The most important of these are the Botanical and Horticultural Garden, scarcely surpassed by any out of the metropolis; the Peel Park, situated 1 mile West of the Exchange, bounded on its East side by the Irwell, and covering an area of 32 acres, laid out with great taste and judgment, so as to afford ample space for recreation, or more active and boisterous sports; and containing, among its other ornaments, a bronze statue of Sir Robert, 10 feet in height, placed on a granite pedestal; the Queen’s Park, about 2 mile North Northeast from the Exchange, laid out in a style similar to that of the Peel Park, with rustic seats and pleasant shady spots, and, in some respects superior to it, from possessing larger trees, a more diversified surface, and a fine sheet of water near its centre; Phillip’s Park, situated about 2 mile due East from the Exchange, near localities almost entirely occupied by the working-classes, who gladly and beneficially avail themselves of its means of recreation; and the Zoological and Pomona Gardens. The three parks were established by public subscription in 1845, and cost about £33,000, of which sum £3000 was given by the Government.


Of these Manchester has not much to boast. That in Rusholme Road, though only opened in 1821, in what might then have been considered a rural district, is already so completely surrounded by streets, that it has now almost all the features, and lies open to the charge of being merely an intra-mural graveyard. That of Ardwick, covering about 12 acres, though well laid-out and carefully kept, is on similar grounds objectionable. The only true cemetery, in the modern sense of the term, is that of Harpurhey, situated about 2 miles out of town on the Rochdale Road, and con sisting of nearly 11 acres, laid out with some taste, but by no means having such features, as a cemetery worthy of Manchester ought to possess.

Manufactures and Trade

To these Manchester owes its rapid rise, and almost all its present importance. Its site in these respects has been admirably chosen. It stands close to one of the largest and most valuable coal fields of England, at such a convenient distance both from the West and East coasts, as to form a natural emporium for the traffic of the Atlantic and the German Oceans, and on the Irwell, with its two tributaries, Medlock and Irk, which, though not possessed directly of much value for navigation, are easily capuble of being made subservient to it, and are of great importance for many manufacturing purposes. To develope these natural advantages, a network of canals, in which the engineering genius of Brindley gained some of its greatest triumphs, furnishes easy communication to numerous important towns, of which Manchester may be regarded as the common centre; and to these has now been added a system of railways, which almost leaves nothing farther to be desired in regard to facility of transport, and to the benefit of which Manchester, from the loading part which it took along with Liverpool, in proving the practicability and profitable working of such a mode of transit, may be said to have established a peculiar claim.

The great staple article of manufacture and trade in Manchester is cotton, in the various tissues of which it has taken so decided a lead, not only in this country but throughout the civilized, and we might almost add the uncivilized world, that the name both of the town and its goods have become household words. In more immediate connection with the cotton manufacture are numerous bleach-works, dye-works, print-fields, chemical works, and engine factories. Probably next in importance to cotton is the spinning of silk and manufacture of silk goods, which, long depressed by a heavy import duty on raw silk, took a sudden spring when relief in this respect was obtained; and has since advanced with such rapid strides, as enables it to be regarded as an important staple of the place. Besides articles of pure cotton and pure silk, mixed goods, in which silk and cotton, silk and wool, cotton and wool are combined, are manufactured to a considerable extent. The following Table, furnished in February 1853, by the Inspector of Factories, gives the most recent and accurate information in regard to the important subjects to which it relates:

Forges and foundries, also, where steam-engines, large castings, and numerous large and valuable articles of iron, malleable and cast, are made, are numerous. The only other articles particularly deserving of notice are paper, chiefly made at extensive mills in the vicinity; hats, and engraving in connection with the printing of cotton goods. The trade, embracing all the above manufactures, is necessarily very extensive.

Means of Communication [Transportation]

Here it is hardly necessary to notice the ample means of local transport furnished by the numerous omnibuses which continually ply in the streets, and afford a cheap and commodious mode of transport in all direc tions. The railways are the Liverpool and Manchester, which has its terminus at Victoria Station, Hunt’s Bank, and will always hold a prominent place in the history of the railway system, from having been the first, for swift locomotives, that was opened in this country; the Lancashire and Yorkshire, occupying part of the same station, communicating by a branch with Oldham, and leading North past Rochdale, connect ing Manchester with Halifax, Bradford, Huddersfield, Wakefield, Leeds, &c.; the Manchester and Birmingham forming one of the principal branches of the London and North- Western, and the great throughfare to the South; the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire, leading East and communicating with Sheffield, Hull, Great Grimsby, &c. stations at London Road; the East Lancashire, which has its station in New Bailey Street, Salford, and communicates with Bury, Blackburn, c.; and tire South Junction and Altringham, which has its station in Oxford Road, and is intended to connect Manchester with Chester, through Warrington.

The canal system had, at the close of the last century, adopted Manchester as its centre, and all its quarters are now intersected by canals. That of the Duke of Bridgewater communicates with the Mersey at Runcorn; those of Ashton-under-Lyne, Stockport, and Macclesfield, all join each other and have a common basin at the back of Piccadilly; that of Rochdale and Halifax communicates with the Bridgewater; and that of Bolton and Bury has its terminus in Salford. If anything is still wanting to make the means of communication perfect, it is a navigable channel between the Mersey and Irwell of such depth as would enable vessels of large size to come direct from the ocean and discharge or receive their cargoes at shipping-wharfs in Manchester. Schemes apparently far more extravagant have been realized, the most eminent engineers have pronounced it not impracticable, and to the Mersey and Irwell Navigation Company will probably belong, at no distant period, the honour of having carried it into effect.

The Corporation [Local Government]

The borough of Manchester comprises the several townships of Manchester, Chorlton upon-Medlock, Hulme, Ardwick, and Cheetham, and also the small extra parochial district called Beswick, and was incorporated by royal charter, granted in October, 1838. The management of the local affairs is entrusted to the town council, 64 in number, elected under the provisions of the Municipal Corporations Acts, bearing the respective titles of mayor, aldermen, and councillors; and who appoint, from their body, committees for the transaction of the various departments of the public business, such committees reporting their proceed ings for approval at the general meetings of the council. Prior to the incorporation of the borough, the several townships named, with two exceptions (Cheetham and Beswick), had local acts, under which commissioners were appointed to manage the local affairs; and, consequently, a separate establishment for purposes of government existed in each town ship.

These arrangements very frequently gave rise to considerable inconvenience, and prevented the establishment of any system of police which would apply to the whole borough, or any combined action for public objects. Since the incorporation of the borough, a separate commission of the peace, and court of quarter sessions, has been obtained by grant from the Crown, and an efficient constabulary force established for the borough, under the control of the watch committee of the council, and the divided systems of police and watching, previously existing in the several townships, superseded. The authorities, in cases of necessity, are able to bring the whole body of men into operation, under one head, at any time, and in any part of the borough; and the services of this combined police force have been on several occasions most valuable, especially in the disturbed periods of 1839, 1842, and 1847, when serious riots were suppressed, without any sacrifice of life.

The town council have obtained several Acts of Parliament for improving and regulating the borough, which have proved most beneficial in preventing nuisances, and securing paving, sewering, cleansing, and proper sanitary regulations. A jail, capable of accommodating about 500 prisoners, has been built, at a cost of nearly £90,000; and the council are now (1853) constructing, under powers obtained from the Legislature, extensive water-works, calculated to afford a supply of about 30,000,000 gallons of water daily, at an expenditure (including the purchase of the previous very inadequate water-works) of about 1,050,000 It is anticipated that when the whole of the new water-works are completed, and the large additional supply obtained, the sale of water for the purposes of trade, will enable the council to relieve the inhabitants from the payment of rates for the supply of water to houses for domestic uses.

The council have also under their management extensive gas-works, established prior to the incorporation of the borough within the township of Manchester; but, since that time, considerable extensions have been made, and, not withstanding frequent reductions in the price of gas to consumers, a profit of upwards of £35,000 a-year is realized, and is expended in the improvement and widening of the streets and thoroughfares. Many years prior to the incorporation, the authorities of the township of Manchester had two opportunities afforded them of purchasing the manorial rights and properties held by the Mosley family; on one occasion for about £70,000, and on the other for upwards of £90,000. The purchase was however overruled, after the negotiations had been completed, by the ratepayers or commissioners. The town council, in 1846, accomplished the purchase of the rights and properties, from Sir Oswald Mosley, Bart., for the sum of £200,000; £195,000 of which was left on mortgage, at 3 per cent, interest, the income at that time being under £10,000 a-year. Since 1846, under the management of the corporation, the income has increased yearly, and is now upwards of £16,000 per annum.

Social Condition

The commercial rise of Manchester has been so rapid, that, in the case of a town as of an individual, we must not he surprised to find some tilings of great value neglected. The demand for labour has been so great, that, prior to the passing of the Short-Time Bill, it was common for women and children to labour in the mills 12, 14, and occasionally 16 hours per day. A population so engaged could not pay much attention to mental cultivation; and although, doubtless, the business of practical teaching has been much improved within the last 20 years, yet the day-school attendance of Manchester has fallen off considerably in proportion to the population. In order to remedy this defect, and to prevent any future recurrence, Manchester now demands a national system of education.

The condition of the town is sensibly affected by the constant influx of poor Irish people, who are, for the most part, hand-loom weavers, and wage an unequal contest for life with the most perfect of machinery. The children of these people obtain employment in the cotton, and other mills, and their condition is thus much improved. Other agencies are also in active operation for the social improvement of Manchester. 72 town missionaries visit from house to house amongst the poor, and 26 temperance meeting-rooms open their doors weekly.


Manchester was known at a very early period as one of the chief stations of the Druids, who had here erected an altar called Meyne, which enjoyed the privilege of sanctuary. It subsequently became a place of some importance under the Brigantes, who built a castle called Mancenion, the site of which is still preserved by its present name of Castle Field. On the conquest of Southern Britain by the Romans, about A.D. 79, the castle was converted by them into a station, and received the name of Mancunium, obviously a corruption of the Brigantes Mancenion. Here a small part of the foundation of the wall is at present discernible, and urns, votive altars, coins, &c., have been discovered at various periods.

After the Romans withdrew, the Saxons, about 488, wrested Mancunium from the Britons, but were again forced to restore it. In 620, it was taken by Edwin, king of Northumbria, and was shortly after occupied by a colony of Angles. About this time the old name of Mancunium seems to have been supplanted by its Saxon form, Mancestre, from which Manchester is easily derived. The conversion of the inhabitants to Christianity is said to have been effected about 027, by the preaching of Paulinus, and a church, dedicated to St. Michael, was erected. Manchester next passed to the Danes, who, about 920, were expelled by Edward king of Mercia. This prince not only repaired the castle, in which he placed a strong garrison, but raised the tower from the ruins into which it had fallen, while half-barbarous chiefs were contending for its possession. Its charter, conferring the privilege of a borough, was granted in 1301. We hear of Manchester cotton, for the first time, in 1352; but the article so designated, notwithstanding its identity of name, had nothing in common wit h the modern fabric, being in fact a woollen cloth, of coarse texture, woven from the unprepared fleece. At this time, the manufacture of broad- cloth was introduced by the Flemings, and made considerable progress. In 1422, during the reign of Henry V., the collegiate church, now the cathedral, was built, and a college endowed. This college was dissolved in the reign of Edward VI., and, after remaining for a short time with the Crown, became the property of the Derby family. During the civil war, the possession of Manchester was keenly disputed, and suffered much at the hands of both parties. About this time, it is described as one mile in length, with good streets and buildings, and the inhabitants more industrious than in any other part of the north of England.

Its progress since has been rapid, almost beyond example; but the details connected with it can scarcely be regarded as historical events, and are, in fact, more a history of the cotton trade than of the town of Manchester. Manchester was honoured by a visit from Royalty on October 10, 1851. Its share in the representative system of Britain was first conferred by the Reform Bill, under which it enjoys the privilege of send ing two members to Parliament. Registered electors, (1851), 13,921. P., including Salford (1851), 401,321. (Sources for the preceding: Duffield’s Stranger’s Guide, to Manchester; A Few Pages about Manchester; Manchester as it is; Correspondents in Manchester.}


Blackie, Walker Graham. The Imperial Gazetteer: A General Dictionary of Geography, Physical, Political, Statistical and Descriptive. 4 vol South London: Blackie & Son, 1856. Internet Archive online version of a copy in the University of California Library. Web.9 November 2018.

Last modified 13 November 2018