Manchester is a city in northwestern England, today very well known for the influence on sports and music. A lot of bands that are famous all over the world are from here, like Oasis, Simply Red, The Smiths, and many more. And when you think about sports, impossible not to think about Manchester United. The most successful British club ever. And also Manchester City, the current Premier champions League.
But there’s so much more here in Manchester, there’s an incredible history of breakthroughs that had an enormous impact on the rest of the world and this is what you’ll see on this video, you’ll see that there are ways more things to do in Manchester than just attending concerts or matches. I’m hoping to show certain aspects of Manchester that only locals know. In the neighborhood of Castlefield, where you can basically see three stages of the history of Manchester: the old Roman occupation, the Industrial Revolution, and the recent renaissance if we can put it this way.
There was a Roman settlement with a fort here Starting round the year 79 AD. Yep, the Roman empire reached this north. Actually everything with the suffix ‘chester’ indicates where there were Roman forts and here in Britain you see a lot of ‘chesters’ everywhere, like Manchester, Winchester, Chester, Dorchester, and many more. Most of this was buried for centuries and archeologists only started discovering a lot of this like a hundred years ago.
So now lets jump a few more centuries until 1761 when this canal was completed, the Bridgewater canal. Why is it important? Because this marks the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. That same Industrial Revolution we study in school and that changed the world, it all started right here! All these buildings here were warehouses and mills, there were thousands at some point And they generated a lot of wealth for the city. These canals go all the way to London, Leeds, Liverpool and they were used for transportation at that time.
Now, after World War II, this area and the whole city went into decline. Nobody would come here, until the 1990s when major renovations started to take place.. Today, in my opinion, this is the place to be is the canal were designated Britain’s first urban heritage site. Oh well, if the weather helps! The worker honey bee is considered the symbol of Manchester The reason is that, when you looked at factories back then, from a distance, there was the impression that workers going into factories where like bees going into hives.
If you want to learn more about the Industrial Revolution, take a look at this museum here, the Science + Industry Museum. The museum is located at one end of first passenger railway line in the world This is also the world’s oldest surviving railway station. Now we are at one of the most beautiful squares in Manchester, basically because of that building. That’s the Town Hall. Right now the square looks like this, and the refurbishment goes on until 2024, it’s a major one. Now, a cotton ball, represents the importance cotton had here in the past. Manchester was the world’s first industrialized city and that was thanks to the cotton industry 80% of the world’s textiles were produced here, this is crazy! And a lot of the red brick buildings that you see all over warehouses.
Not sure if it’s the case here, but it’s just an example. The city center here in Manchester is really nice and you can reach most points by foot. So we’re now joining a free walking tour to understand better what we’re seeing here. First ten minutes of the tour and I already learned about another important movement here in Manchester after the Industrial Revolution, it’s called ‘Madchester’. This was in the late 1980s and it was a music and cultural movement. Artists merged alternative rock with acid house.This is how the raves were born. That up there is the price of the cotton, in the last day of trade in Royal Exchange, 1968.
The textile industry was the strength here and tons of the cotton came from the USA, which was picked up by slaves. Then came the American Civil War. North vs South, industry vs slavery. Manchester, althought they heavily depended on the USA, they decided not buying cotton produced by slaves anymore. Indirectly helping the Union win the Civil War. This statue of Lincoln represents the connection between Manchester and therefore the USA. We started here in Sackville Gardens and we’ve ended here at Exchange Square. So we did a brief history of the city in Sackville Gardens, we came around here to the university, Alan Turing, Vimto, 24 hour party people, up to the smelly canals, Canal Street, New Union and bees Passed the Chinese Arch, the secret bunker, the Midland hotel and then we took a break at the cafe Nero.
After the break we headed back into the rain, talked about the Peterloo Massacre the suffragettes, the Sex Pistols, Albert Square, Abraham Lincoln, secret smelly passage ways homeless Jesus, Royal Exchange Theatre and ended here at Exchange Square.
There’s more to the city than people expect. I think it’s the kind of city which you could walk through and think there’s nothing here . And then hopefully over the three hours I reveal that it’s the first industrialized city, or the first modern computer, or the campaign against slavery there’s a lot of amazing stories I want to kind of pick out and share with people .
Okay, so here are some of the amazing things I learned at the tour: This is where the first modern computer was invented It was called ‘baby’ but it was actually a monster in size! This was also where scientists first split the atom Also, Manchester was the heart of the suffragette movement, which helped women win the right to vote This inspired women all over the world.
And there’s more, the computer scientist who played a crucial role in cracking the Nazi coded messages during World War 2 was also from Manchester. His name was Alan Turing. It’s believed that his work shortened the war by two years and helped saving 14 million lives. He’s considered the father of artificial inteligence. But his story actually had a sad ending, he was never recognized in England during his lifetime because he was homosexual, which was considered a crime here in the UK until 1967 So much so that he was chemically castrated, it was either that or go to jail. Only in 2017 a law here pardoned men retroactively convicted of homosexuality.
The tour ended in this nice square, Exchange Square. Look at the amount of restaurants here. This is actually a dining destination called Corn Exchange Until the 19th century, it’s where merchants traded corn. So now I’ll quickly show you five of the most beautiful and interesting buildings here in Manchester, historical buildings. And interesting enough, three of them are libraries.
The first one is right here, Chetham’s Library. What is that? These walls and doors are from 1421. This is the oldest public library in the English speaking world The library is from 1653. Among the notorious people that came here for research Marx . The books he read are still here in the library. It costs 110 pounds in average to preserve each book here, for the lifetime of the book and they have 250 thousand of them. It’s written in Latin. This is how Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels began the research for the Communist Manifesto. They were inspired by the social conditions here in Manchester by mid 19th century. This changed the history of the 20th century.
It’s totally free to visit, but you need to come at the top of the hour to be escorted in. It’s a school here, and the library is actually all the way there in the end. The Manchester Cathedral is very close to Chetham’s Library. This is the widest cathedral in England. Not sure it’s open though. From the Cathedral, you basically keep walking straight for 8 minutes and you arrive at John Rylands Library. There’s a piece of the original Bible there! John Rylands library . Surprised by the amount of construction here?
Here they have an original piece of the New Testament, let’s see if we can see it. Wow, look at this. Lots of rare books here. We found the room with the piece of the Bible. This is just a replica, the original is right beside, but you cannot film it. This is it. The Gospel of St. John It’s a very tiny piece of paper that is even kind of dark. But it is so amazing to think about the history of this document And more! it survived two thousand years! During World War 2, a quarter of the buildings here were destroyed, imagine this! Careful. Careful. Careful! You gotta be very careful walking here because you cross these lines, the train lines, and you don’t see the train. The train is very silent!
The next building I wanna tell you is Manchester Central Library. And basically in front, the Midland Hotel. Apparently even Adolf Hitler liked this building so much that he ordered it not to be bombed during the War. These buildings are located by St. Peter’s square, where one of the worst massacres in the UK took place 200 years ago. The calvary charged into 60 thousand people that where here demanding political reforms. Now, back to the Midland. This is where Mr Rolls met Mr Royce, leading to the formation of Rolls Royce.
And there’s more, the Beatles were supposedly refused access to the French restaurant inside for being in appropriately dressed And according to our guide, this is where David and Victoria Beckham had their first date. Another nice historical building nearby worth mentioning is Free Trade Hall. Here you go, as a bonus. Today, it’s another hotel. After this amazing sequence of architecture, let’s finish this in a place that it’s also amazing in it’s own way. And I hope this helps you plan your next trip to Manchester.