Bartholomew’s Gazetteer of the British Isles (1887) page 530 right column

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bor., 4293 ac., pop. 341,414; 12 newspapers. Market-
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
This busy and opulent city, whose mfrs. have gained
celebrity in every part of the world, possesses a history
that is more ancient, and of more general interest, than
that of the majority of our great industrial centres
which have come prominently before the public only in
comparatively recent times. Although the particulars
regarding its early existence are scanty, and by no
means indubitable, there are reasonable grounds for the
conjecture that Manchester was the seat of a British
stronghold, situated at the place which is still called
Castlefield. That it was a Roman station of consider¬
able magnitude is beyond question. A portion of its
Roman wall still exists, and other relics of a Roman
occupation have been disinterred in abundanee. Its
Roman name (supposed to be derived from the British
Mancenion, the “ place of tents ”) was Mancunium,
hence the Saxon Manceastre. Little information con¬
cerning its Saxon associations has been preserved ; but
it is supposed to have been a border town of Northum¬
bria, and suffered much during the inroads of tbe
Danes. Shortly after tbe Conquest the whole country
between the Ribble and the Mersey was granted to
Roger of Poictiers. When the woollen mfrs. were in¬
troduced into England during the reign of Edward III.
(1327-1377) Lancashire became the centre of the indus¬
try, and from that period the prosperity of Manchester
may be dated. The cotton trade, with which the city
is peculiarly and lastingly identified, was in its early
days the cause of two deplorable pestilences (1605 and
1645) arising from infected imports of the material
from Smyrna. In an account of Manchester of date
1650 its mfrs. are described as comprising “woollens,
frizes, fustians, sack cloths, mingled stuffs, inkles,
tapes, and prints.” In 1643 the city was captured
from the Royalists by Sir Thomas Fairfax; and in the
rebellions of 1715 and 1745 it showed active and practi¬
cal sympathy with the Stuart cause. Conspicuous
events in its subsequent annals are:—Cheetham Col¬
lege founded (1653); cotton goods first exported (1760);
Bridgwater Canal opened (1761); Manchester and Liver¬
pool Ry. opened (1832); Manchester made a pari. bor.
(1832) and a mun. bor. (1838); bishopric founded (1847);
Owens College opened (1852); Manchester declared a
city (1853); New Town Hall opened (1877). Three cir¬
cumstances especially gave power and direction to the
trade of the city:—(1.) The success of the great work of
the Duke of Bridgwater (assisted by James Brindley),
who in 1758 began the system of inland navigation, and
gave Manchester a splendid waterway for traffic; (2.)
the introduction of machinery in cotton spinning, which
occurred late in the 18th century; and (3.) the opening
of the Manchester and Sheffield Railway in 1830—the
second in the kingdom. The town has played an im¬
portant part in modern politics, having been intimately
associated with the initial proceedings connected with
the great reform agitation, while it was also the head¬
quarters of action in the struggle for the repeal of the
corn laws. Great distress prevailed in the city, and in
fact throughout Lancashire, during the civil war in
America, at which time the dearth of raw material para¬
lysed the staple trade in cotton. Manchester pos¬
sesses some magnificent public buildings, mostly of
modern date. The Royal Infirmary owes its origin to
two concerts given by Miss Jenny Lind in order to
raise a fund for the purpose. The Royal Exchange is
a fine edifice, erected in 1867. But by far the most
important building is the New Town Hall, completed
in 1877 at a total cost of £1,053,264. It covers 8000
square yards, and has more than 250 apartments. The
principal tower is 260 ft. high, and there is a splendid
peal of 21 bells. The Free Trade Hall is seated for 5000
people. The chief ecclesiastical building is the cathe¬
dral, besides which there are over 200 churches and
chapels. Peel Park (40 ac.) is the principal public
ground, and there are 7 others connected with the city.
At the head of the educational institutions stands the
Victoria University, the nucleus of which was the
college founded by John Owen. Victoria Univer¬
sity received its charter in 1880, and it has power to
confer degrees. The city also has several denomina¬
tional colleges, such as the Lancashire Independents

Gazetteer of the British Isles, Statistical and Topographical, by John Bartholomew, F.R.G.S.

Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black, 1887. Public domain image from

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