Manchester Project


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Manchester Project

  1. 1. Swansea ITEC - October 2010 Manchester: facts, culture and change Cristina Lepri mikecolvin82, (2010) CC - Some Rights Reserved.
  2. 2. Why Manchester? This is the first question I should answer. It is not just about me; with the development of the Quays well under way, and MediaCityUK happening in Salford, hundreds of people will move North in the next few years. The few snippets of information that do not cater for tourists are scattered like gravel, making that big decision just a little bit harder. It is not just about a job either; it is about understanding the city’s history and its undercurrents, and making the place a home. It does not have to be complicated. The purpose of this project is to collect information that is skipped out of touristic sites. A Few Drops of History: from Cottonopolis to Madchester While the area was primarily inhabited by Celtic tribes, Manchester is believed to originate from the Roman fort of Mamucium, built in 79 AD at a junction between the rivers Medlock and Irwell. Its history, however, remains unsettled, as the land was contested between the kingdoms of Mercia, Northumbria and Wessex until the 10th Century. By 1086, Manchester formed part of the Salford Hundred, a territory constituted 2
  3. 3. after the Norman occupation.1 During the 13th Century the Roman fort was reinforced, and used by the local barons for all organizational purposes; the land was rented out to tenants, creating allotments that would include work and domestic dwellings. The barons also owned the only mill in the area, and allowed tenants to use it for domestic purposes.2 Between the 14th and the 16th Century, Flemish immigration kick-started the wool weaving industry; further growth occurred in 1620, as the textile industry diversified into fustian weaving. Politically, Manchester’s history is not less turbulent; a member of parliament gained as part of the Commonwealth in 1654 was swiftly removed in 1660, as part of the Reformation policies against the city’s support for the parliamentarian manifesto. It is believed that the city’s lack of governance led to the quick victory by the Jacobean army in 1745, coupled with the local judges’ unwillingness to compromise their interests by supporting rebellion.3 Supported by a system of canals connecting the city to Liverpool, the manufacturing and sales of cotton goods refreshed the textile industry; bleaching and mechanical parallel trades also developed in and around Manchester4 . The textile trade entered recession in the late 1700s; widespread poverty and the unsettled political situation fuelled outburst of violence, which culminated in the St. Peter’s Field’s riot in 1819, leaving fifteen casualties and hundreds injured.5 During WW2, Manchester was heavily involved in the war effort, producing aircraft as part of a wider economic diversification that concentrated on chemical and mechanical engineering, which had started in the early 20th Century. This resulted in extended bombardments during the Blitz.6 The 1980s marked a further period of decline, due to privatization policies and deep economic changes deployed by the Conservative leadership. Recovery started in earnest in the following decade, aided by a successful music scene, securing the city the nickname of Madchester.7 On 15th June 1996 an IRA device exploded in the city centre; however, Manchester was able to persist in its renewal bid by hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2002, and the Europride celebrations in 2003, promoting the new cosmopolitan and tolerant face of Britain.8 The Industrial Past 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Bridgewater Canal, Warrington helena.40proof, (2010) CC Some rights reserved. 3
  4. 4. Population Growth in Manchester 1801-2001.9 Economic expansion surged in the late 18th Century, coupled with an increasing workforce. Cotton firms accounted for around 80,000 employees in 1851, while the population expanded in the decades across the turn of the century. Original figures from 1835 state that 1113 cotton mills were in operation in Britain, 943 in the North-west alone; export revenue is estimated to have grown from £1 million in 1785 to £16 million in 1816, culminating at 31 million in 185110 . Manchester developed a system of cotton spinning factories and warehouses, which would cover every phase of production, from manufacturing to storage and distribution, structured by a few major firms and an array of smaller enterprises.11 Population and economic growth also changed the landscape, assimilating rural spots between villages and the city itself, and creating a community of around 1 million individuals. Many had originally moved to the city attracted by employment opportunities, leaving the cosmopolitan legacy that characterise modern Manchester.12 Manchester was also pioneering pollution concern through the work of Robert Angus Smith; from the 1840s onwards, he researched the atmosphere’s properties, and the effects of pollution on all aspects of life13 Class and Gender Early 20th Century societal structure can be broadly explained by examining leisure patterns variations between genders in working class households. As most commonly enjoyed leisure activities were inaccessible to women, men enjoyed more social opportunities, and were able to spend money on drinking and other activities. In contrast, female interests were severely restricted to household matters; public opinion expected women to give up spare time in favour of the family’s wellbeing and fulfil a conservative image of motherhood. Those women that did work had to balance a job with household responsibilities, which diminished leisure time even further. Although opportunities for relaxation did occur, these tended to keep genders apart; for example, 9 10 Taylor, Evans and Frasier, 1996: 50. 11 Lloyd-Jones and Lewis, 1988: 32-38. 12 Taylor, Evans and Frasier, 1996: 48-49. 13 Guardian News and Media Ltd. (2009) Ethnicity (2005) % Total White 88.91 2,261,200 Mixed Race 1.56 39,700 South Asian 6.52 165,700 Black 1.71 43,600 East Asian & Other 1.31 33,300 4
  5. 5. women’s pub outings will be organized at regular intervals.14 During the 1960s, a demarcation existed in social structures as defined by class. Middle class families would consider the city a place for work or shopping, but generally lived outside Manchester itself, in the suburb and the surrounding countryside. Their emphasis would also be on social activities: from music at the Free Trade Hall to art exhibitions and theatre performances, which were presented to a Northern audience before launching them in the capital. In comparison, working class family life was still regulated by gender divisions; while most men would spend time between home, work and amenities, women’s sphere of movement remained domestic. Surprisingly, within that subsided role, their position gave them considerable authority over young people in the household and the immediate surroundings.15 Crime and Moral Panic Evidence suggests unrest and violent episodes were common in Manchester from the 19th Century to the 1930s; more recently, such reputation rests mainly on the Moss Side riot in July 1981 between young people and the police, culminating in the murder of a teenager. The riot was not unique, similar incidents had happened in Brixton and Liverpool; in Manchester’s case, this might have been fuelled by a more general discontent, as crime figures were indeed high (although not necessarily on violent crimes) and the manufacturing sector was experiencing a downturn. In any case, the negative coverage helped to establish Manchester’s reputation as a dangerous place.16 Culture and Education As previously discussed, Manchester remains a hub for cultural activities; a particular example is the People’s History Museum, which re-opened in 1990 an offer an insight in family life and working condition during the last two century. It also keeps an extensive record of political and parties’ activities in Britain.17 The “Gay Village” As part of the general regeneration project during the 1990s, an old warehouse location in the central area of Manchester was redeveloped into a series of establishments especially catering for the gay community in the city and further afield. This singles out the city as somewhat unique in the North-west environment.18 14 Davies, 1992: 55-56 15 Taylor, Evans and Frasier, 1996: 81-82. 16 Taylor, Evans and Fraser, 1996: 82-83. 17 18 Taylor, Evans, and Fraser, 1996: 180. 5
  6. 6. However, it could be argued that, if the project was really about equality and tolerance, than the work should concentrate on making a gay identity acceptable in every bar or club, without the need for a specific location. Conclusion It is obvious that Manchester has been a close-knit community were attitudes and behaviours were dictated by social convention, gender differences and class divisions. It has been the scene for a colourful history from its origins in Roman times, to the re-birth at the turn of the century into a cosmopolitan city. Recent development, like the creation of the “Gay Village” and a vibrant cultural scene are setting the pace for the demographic and social changes to come. Canal Street, Manchester Pimlico Badger (2010) CC Some rights reserved. 6
  7. 7. Bibliography Davies, A. (1992) Leisure, gender and poverty, Buckingham: Open University Press (ISBN 0-335-15638-X). Demography of Greater Manchester, available Guardian News and Media Ltd. (2009) Manchester: industrial revolution’s birthplace poised for green renaissance, 29th May 2009, available at: change helena.40proff (2010) Bridgewater Canal,Warrington, available at: History of Manchester, available at: Lloyd-Jones, R. and Lewis, M.J. (1988) Manchester and the Age of the Factory: The Business Structure of Cottonopolis in the Industrial Revolution, London: Croom Helm (ISBN 0-7099- 4158-7). mikecolvin82 (2010) manchester at night, available at: People’s History Museum, available at: %27s_History_Museum Pimlico Badger, (2010) Canal Street, Manchester, available at: Taylor, I., Evans, K. and Fraser, P. (1996) A Tale of Two Cities: A Study in Manchester and Sheffield, London: Routledge (0-415-13829-9). 7