The Mighty Reds, Manchester United, the evocative paintings of L S Lowry and their depiction of the city’s life, the beloved national institution of Coronation Street and internationally acclaimed popsters like Oasis, Simply Red and The Smiths; these are perhaps some of the likely first things that enter your head when thinking of Manchester, that vibrant proud city of nearly half a million inhabitants, set in the North West of England. Manchester has always had this reputation as being a tough no-nonsense city that doesn’t suffer fools gladly and calls a spade a spade. Not only tough, but the people have a reputation as being very warm and sociable with traditionally a very strong sense of community. This tough but warm-hearted image is wholly justified, and has its roots in the city’s history as one of the key centres of commercial activity, primarily textile manufacturing, during the industrial revolution of the nineteenth century. The growth of the city at the turn of the nineteenth century was phenomenal. Famously, factories were erected alongside endless rows of workers homes so as to provide a vast ready-made army of workers for the ‘satanic mills’. Conditions at home and work were to say the least basic and ‘difficult’ and inevitably cultivated both a strong sense of community and a toughness necessary to survive. Today, Manchester is recognised and respected as a thriving commercial, cultural and academic centre and, after London, is the most visited city in England by both British and foreign visitors. Why not pay a visit?
It is hard to believe but we have almost reached the end of