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The history of the city of Manchester
The name Manchester originates from the Ancient Roman name Mamucium, thought to be a Latinisation of an original Celtic name (possibly meaning "breast-like hill" from mamm- = "breast"), plus Anglo-Saxon ceaster = "town", which is derived from Latin castra = "camp". Manchester is the also the 10th most common place name in the United States.
Manchester began expanding "at an astonishing rate" around the turn of the 19th century as part of a process of unplanned urbanisation brought on by the Industrial Revolution. It developed a wide range of industries, so that by 1835 "Manchester was without challenge the first and greatest industrial city in the world." Engineering firms initially made machines for the cotton trade, but diversified into general manufacture. Similarly, the chemical industry started by producing bleaches and dyes, but expanded into other areas. Commerce was supported by financial service industries such as banking and insurance. Trade, and feeding the growing population, required a large transport and distribution infrastructure: the canal system was extended, and Manchester became one end of the world's first intercity passenger railway—the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. Competition between the various forms of transport kept costs down. In 1878 the GPO (the forerunner of British Telecom) provided its first telephones to a firm in Manchester.
The Manchester Ship Canal was created by canalization of the Rivers Irwell and Mersey for 36 miles (58 km) from Salford to the Mersey estuary. This enabled ocean going ships to sail right into the Port of Manchester. On the canal's banks, just outside the borough, the world's first industrial estate was created at Trafford Park. Large quantities of machinery, including cotton processing plant, were exported around the world.
The number of cotton mills in Manchester itself reached a peak of 108 in 1853. Thereafter the number began to decline and Manchester was surpassed as the largest centre of cotton spinning by Bolton in the 1850s and Oldham in the 1860s. However, this period of decline coincided with the rise of city as the financial centre of the region. Manchester continued to process cotton, and in 1913, 65% of the world's cotton was processed in the area. The First World War interrupted access to the export markets. Cotton processing in other parts of the world increased, often on machines produced in Manchester. Manchester suffered greatly from the Great Depression and the underlying structural changes that began to supplant the old industries, including textile manufacture.
Like most of the UK, the Manchester area mobilized extensively during World War II. For example, casting and machining expertise at Beyer, Peacock and Company's locomotive works in Gorton was switched to bomb making; Dunlop's rubber works in Chorlton-on-Medlock made barrage balloons; and just outside the city in Trafford Park, engineers Metropolitan-Vickers made Avro Manchester and Avro Lancaster bombers and Ford built the Rolls-Royce Merlin engines to power them. Manchester was thus the target of bombing by the Luftwaffe, and by late 1940 air raids were taking place against non-military targets. The biggest took place during the "Christmas Blitz" on the nights of 22/23 and 23/24 December 1940, when an estimated 467 tons (475 tonnes) of high explosives plus over 37,000 incendiary bombs were dropped. A large part of the historic city centre was destroyed, including 165 warehouses, 200 business premises, and 150 offices. 376 were killed and 30,000 houses were damaged. Manchester Cathedral was among the buildings seriously damaged; its restoration took 20 years.
Manchester has a history of attacks attributed to Irish Republicans, including the Manchester Martyrs of 1867, arson in 1920, a series of explosions in 1939, and two bombs in 1992. On Saturday 15 June 1996, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) detonated a large bomb next to a department store in the city centre. The largest to be detonated on British soil, the bomb injured over 200 people, heavily damaged nearby buildings, and broke windows half a mile away. The cost of the immediate damage was initially estimated at £50 million, but this was quickly revised upwards. The final insurance payout was over £400 million; many affected businesses never recovered from the loss of trade.
Spurred by the investment after the 1996 bomb, and aided by the XVII Commonwealth Games, Manchester's city centre has undergone extensive regeneration. New and renovated complexes such as The Printworks and the Triangle have become popular shopping and entertainment destinations. The Manchester Arndale is the UK's largest city centre shopping mall.
Large sections of the city dating from the 1960s have been either demolished and re-developed or modernized with the use of glass and steel. Old mills have been converted into modern apartments, Hulme has undergone extensive regeneration programmes, and million-pound lofthouse apartments have since been developed. The 169-metre tall, 47-storey Beetham Tower, completed in 2006, is the tallest building in the UK outside London and the highest residential accommodation in western Europe. The lower 23 floors form the Hilton Hotel, featuring a "sky bar" on the 23rd floor. Its upper 24 floors are apartments.
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