Visit Manchester and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Manchester, may claim to be the country's second city, but the radical innovations for which its history has been notable have often placed the city not second, but first. It is also the capital of the North: far enough south of the bulk of the western Pennines that compress Lancashire's northern area and far enough into their recess where the county widens to be a natural centre of communications.
Manchester's site has been important since Roman times, with several river crossings and easy access from other parts of the country. Later came the exploitation of the coal supplies, and the water power and the humid air helped the development of the textile industries. The fairly flat land favoured transport by railways and canals. Thus circumstances combined to encourage the rapid development of commerce and industry in the 19th century. The social and political struggles this engendered was the background for the radical ideas for which Manchester became prominent. In the earlier part of that century there was appalling squalor, moral degradation and poverty among people living under vile conditions in congested districts of the city, described by James P. Kay, the physician (later Sir James Kay-Shuttleworth). Workers, a third of them women, worked for 12 hours a day in mills. There were many strikes, food riots and machine smashing. Eventually discontent brought the notorious mass meeting, nicknamed Peterloo, when troops rode into the crowd with slashing sabres; there were 11 deaths and hundreds of injuries. This was a set-back for the working-class part of the Radical movement, but it strengthened the hands of middle-class Radicals, who finally achieved a measure of reform in the Factory Acts.
The Peterloo Chartists also wanted parliamentary reform, and a middle-class Radical, John Edward Taylor. founded the Manchester Guardian in 1821, two years after Peterloo, to support constitutional reform. The Guardian became outstanding under the driving force of great editors and its influence for reform was felt on a national scale. The greatest of these editors was C. P. Scott, LL.D.. and the art gallery has a bust of him by Epstein. Leading Manchester men founded the Anti-Corn Law League, which from 1838 had its headquarters in the city, with John Bright and Richard Cobden among its leaders. The Free Trade Hall was built as the League's headquarters in 1840. A great engineering feat was the building of the Ship Canal, which opened in 1894. Industry had tended to move to the ports, so the great spinners and merchants solved the problem by making Manchester an inland port. This helped to obviate dependence on the cotton trade, by bringing in raw materials for other industries.
The Cathedral stands on what was the old centre of the town. Largely a 15th-century structure, it was the parish church, and became the cathedral when the Manchester diocese was created in 1847. Chapels added to the outer north and south aisles make it one of the widest churches in the country. Cleaning has revealed the original sandstone. A special feature is the 30 choir stalls with canopies, all in intricately carved wood.
The John Rylands Library holds a multitude of treasures, and is of world importance for its collection of medieval jewelled bindings. As a whole, this library (open to the public) is the most notable of English provincial endowed libraries. It is remarkable that it arose from the industry of one man, Rylands, who was a weaver in Wigan. From his legacies, his widow founded the library as a memorial and bought many rare books and manuscripts for it.
The Central Library has, in its fine circular building by Vincent Hams, 1930-4, a Shakespeare hall and a huge window that depicts the playwright surrounded by many of his famous characters. The building contains one of the greatest reference libraries in England. It is also unusual in that the basement houses a fully equipped theatre, naturally called the Library Theatre.
Anyone approaching the centre of Manchester along Oxford Road will see the large number of university buildings on either side, and there are many more situated off the main roads.
Suburbs of Manchester: Ancoats, Ardwick, Beswick, Blackley, Bradford, Burnage, Cheetham, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Chorlton on Medlock, Clayton, Collyhurst, Crumpsall, Didsbury, Fallowfield, Gorton, Harpurhey, Hulme, Levenshulme, Longsight, Miles Platting, Moss Side, Moston, Newton Heath, Northenden, Openshaw, Rusholme, Victoria Park, Whalley Range, Withington & Ladybarn, Wythenshawe
Nearby towns: Altrincham, , Bacup, Bolton, Bury, Cheadle, Congleton, Knutsford, Macclesfield, Middleton, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stalybridge, Stockport, Wigan
Nearby suburbs: Barton upon Irwell, Barton upon Irwell, Chadderton, Davyhulme, Davyhulme, Droylsden, Eccles, Failsworth, Gorton, Hale, Heaton Chapel, Heaton Norris, Hollinwood, Levenshulme, Newton Heath, Openshaw, Pendlebury, Prestwich, Reddish, Ringley, Rusholme, Sale, Swinton, Trafford Park, Urmston, Victoria Park, Weaste, West Gorton
Have you decided to visit Manchester or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Manchester bed and breakfast (a Manchester B&B or Manchester b and b)
- a Manchester guesthouse
- a Manchester hotel (or motel)
- a Manchester self-catering establishment, or
- other Manchester accommodation