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(măn`chəstər, –chĕs'tər), city and metropolitan borough (1991 pop. 397,400), NW England, a port on the Irwell, Medlock, Irk, and Tib rivers. Manchester remains the center of the most densely populated area of England, despite the tremendous amount of outmigration between 1961 and 1981. It has been engaged in building new towns and complexes since the 1970s. Long the leading textile city (its textile industry dates back to the 14th cent.) of England, the late 20th cent. has seen a sharp drop in Manchester's textile-based economy. Other industries, especially chemical and pharmaceutical production and research industries, have moved to fill the void. It is also the center of printing and publishing in N England. Ringway is Manchester's international airport.

A Celtic settlement is believed to have existed on the site of Manchester. The Romans called the town Mancunium, and there are remains of their occupation. Manchester's first charter was granted in 1301. Representation in Parliament was achieved in 1832, and in 1838, thanks to the efforts of Richard CobdenCobden, Richard
, 1804–65, British politician, a leading spokesman for the Manchester school. He made a fortune as a calico printer in Manchester. A firm believer in free trade, after 1838 he devoted himself to the formation and work of the Anti-Corn-Law League.
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, Manchester was incorporated as a borough.

The Peterloo massacrePeterloo massacre,
public disturbance in St. Peter's Field, Manchester, England, Aug. 16, 1819, also called the Manchester massacre. A crowd of some 60,000 men, women, and children were peaceably gathered under the leadership of Henry Hunt to petition Parliament for the repeal
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 occurred in Manchester in 1819, and the city has played a prominent role in liberal reform movements. The influential liberal daily the Manchester Guardian was founded in 1821. Manchester was the center of the Manchester schoolManchester school,
group of English political economists of the 19th cent., so called because they met at Manchester. Their most outstanding leaders were Richard Cobden and John Bright.
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 of economics and the Anti-Corn-Law LeagueAnti-Corn-Law League,
organization formed in 1839 to work for the repeal of the English corn laws. It was an affiliation of groups in various cities and districts with headquarters at Manchester and was an outgrowth of the smaller Manchester Anti-Corn-Law Association.
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, led by Cobden and John Bright.

The first application of steam to machinery for spinning cotton was made in Manchester in 1789, and a terminus of the first English passenger railroad (to Liverpool) was constructed here by George StephensonStephenson, George,
1781–1848, British engineer, noted as a locomotive builder. He learned to read and write in night school at the age of 18, while working in a colliery.
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 in 1830. The Manchester Ship Canal, opened in 1894, enabled the inland city to become Britain's third busiest seaport. After World War I the artificial-silk industry tended to balance losses in the cotton market. The first municipal airport in Britain was established at Manchester in 1929. During World War II, Manchester suffered extensively from air raids. Shipping has declined significantly since the 1950s and 60s.

The city has several libraries, including the John Rylands Library (founded 1899) and the Chetham Library (founded 1653), one of Europe's first free public libraries. The Univ. of Manchester, which has its origins in the Manchester Mechanics' Institute (1824) and Owens College (1851), is Britain's largest single-site university; the Univ. of Salford also is located there. Manchester has been an important center for scientific research. John DaltonDalton, John
, 1766–1844, English scientist. He revived the atomic theory (see atom), which he formulated in the first volume of his New System of Chemical Philosophy (2 vol., 1808–27).
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, Lord RutherfordRutherford, Ernest Rutherford, 1st Baron,
1871–1937, British physicist, b. New Zealand. Rutherford left New Zealand in 1895, having earned three degrees from the Univ.
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, and Niels BohrBohr, Niels Henrik David
, 1885–1962, Danish physicist, one of the foremost scientists of modern physics. He studied at the Univ. of Copenhagen (Ph.D. 1911) and carried on research on the structure of the atom at Cambridge under Sir James J.
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, among others, did significant work in nuclear physics there. At the Jodrell Bank ObservatoryJodrell Bank Observatory
, observatory for radio astronomy located at Jodrell Bank, Macclesfield, England. Founded in 1945 on the site of a botanical experiment station, it is administered by the Univ. of Manchester.
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, nearby, is a large radio telescope, once the world's largest. Manchester has several art galleries; a symphony orchestra of international repute, the Hallé Orchestra, founded in 1857 by Sir Charles HalléHallé, Sir Charles
, 1819–95, German-English conductor and pianist, originally named Karl Halle. In 1857 he founded the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester, England He conducted many music festivals and was a noted educator.
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; and the striking Imperial War Museum North. Sir Robert PeelPeel, Sir Robert,
1788–1850, British statesman. The son of a rich cotton manufacturer, whose baronetcy he inherited in 1830, Peel entered Parliament as a Tory in 1809.
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, the statesman, and Thomas De QuinceyDe Quincey, Thomas
, 1785–1859, English essayist. In 1802 he ran away from school and tramped about the country, eventually settling in London. His family soon found him and entered him (1803) in Worcester College, Oxford, where he developed a deep interest in German
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, the author, were born in Manchester.


1 Town (1990 pop. 51,618), Hartford co., central Conn.; settled c.1672, inc. 1823. Its sawmills and paper mills date from before the Revolutionary War. The city was also known for its production of grandfather clocks. Contemporary manufactures include automobile parts, tools, and dairy and paper products. Hartford's Bradley International Airport is located nearby.

2 City (1990 pop. 99,567), Hillsboro co., S N.H., on both sides of the Merrimack River; settled 1722, inc. as a city 1846. It is the largest city in New Hampshire. Among its various manufactures are computer and electronic equipment, machinery, lobster holding systems, foods and beverages, clothing, hats, industrial brushes, and medical supplies. There are also Internet and high-technology companies. In 1838 textile interests founded the city and established a huge textile-manufacturing company; Amoskeag Falls on the Merrimack provided power for the first textile mills. Until the depression of the 1930s and the moving of much of the textile industry to the south, Manchester was heavily dependent on the industry. Many of the textile-mill buildings have been redeveloped as offices. St. Anselm College, a branch of the Univ. of New Hampshire, and the Currier Gallery of Art are there. John StarkStark, John,
1728–1822, American Revolutionary soldier, b. Londonderry, N.H. He fought in the French and Indian Wars. At the start of the Revolution he distinguished himself at Bunker Hill, and he served in the Quebec campaign and with George Washington at Princeton and
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 lived and is buried in Manchester. A number of ski areas are in the vicinity.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a city in Lancashire, Great Britain. Located on the western slope of the Pennines on the Irwell River. Population, 541,500 (1971). Manchester is the industrial, commercial and financial, and transportation center of a conurbation of “textile” towns in southeastern Lancashire (52 towns; population, 2.7 million in 1974). It has been the central city of the county of Greater Manchester since 1975. Manchester’s importance as a transportation hub increased in the late 19th century with the opening of the Manchester Ship Canal, which turned the city into a seaport. In the early 1970’s its cargo turnover was 18-20 million tons. Manchester has an airport.

About two-fifths of the economically active population (143,-000) is employed in industry, and more than two-fifths in the service industries and trade. Unlike surrounding cities, where the cotton fabric industry continues to be important, contemporary Manchester has textile enterprises specializing in finishing fabrics and in manufacturing them from artificial fibers, a process of relatively recent origin. The main industry is machine building, which employs 30 percent of the industrial labor force, of which almost half works in the electrical-engineering industry. Among the products of this industry are electric-power equipment, electronic equipment, machine tools, stationary engines, parts and equipment for motor-vehicle and airplane production, and textile machinery. The chemical industry, which employs 8 percent of the labor force, produces textile dyes, plastics, and other chemical items. The clothing industry, which is well developed, employs 15 percent of the labor force. The printing industry is important. Manchester, the site of a university and other institutions, is an important scholarly and cultural center of Great Britain.

The commercial and business area of Manchester—the “city”—is occupied by the four- and five-story buildings of various institutions, bank branches, and offices of insurance and industrial companies. Old industrial quarters with a mixed industrial and residential layout are located around the city. A number of Manchester’s industrial districts are concentrated around the port and along the railroads. Just beyond the “city” is a “ring” made up of rows of standard, late 19th-century, two-story houses, built close to each other and inhabited by clerks and members of the middle bourgeoisie. In the outer zone (mainly in the west and south) are villas owned by the wealthiest strata of the urban population. Manchester’s layout merges with that of neighboring towns, forming a conurbation. Since the mid-20th century the city’s residents have been moving farther from the center into the suburbs, and as a result, Manchester’s population has decreased (by 23 percent between 1951 and 1971).


Many architectural monuments have been preserved, including the Gothic “perpendicular style” cathedral (c. 1422-1520), the stock exchange (1806-09; architect T. Harrison) and the Atheneum (1837-39; architect C. Barry), which are in the classical style, and the Gothic revival city hall (1868-77; architect A. Waterhouse). There is an art gallery (1824-35; architect C. Barry) that houses a collection of English art of the 17th through 19th centuries.

Manchester, the first mention of which dates to the tenth century, was built on the site of the Celtic settlement of Mancenion and the Roman fortified camp of Mancunium (Mamucium), which was founded in A.D. 79. In the Middle Ages Manchester was a trading and artisan settlement. The town began to grow rapidly in the mid-18th century, in connection with the industrial revolution (in 1773, 22,000 inhabitants; in 1821, 126,000). In the 19th century, Manchester became a major world center of the cotton industry. In the 1830’s and 1840’s propagandists for the free trade movement (also known as the Manchester school) were active in the city. Manchester was an important center of the workers’ and democratic movement in the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1819 soldiers fired on a workers’ rally at St. Peter’s Field in Manchester. The proletariat of Manchester took an active part in the Chartist movement. F. Engels, who lived in the city from 1842 to 1844 and from 1850 to 1870, called Manchester the world’s first factory town.


Stewart, C. The Stones of Manchester. London, 1956.
Manchester and Its Region. Manchester, 1962.
Sharp, D. Manchester. London, 1969.



a mining region in central Jamaica; the country’s main bauxite-mining region (responsible for two-thirds of all mining) and one of the largest in the capitalist world. The ores are exported to the USA and are also processed into alumina for export (primarily to Canada). The deposits are worked by American monopolies.



a city in the northeastern USA, in the New England state of New Hampshire, located at rapids on the Merrimac River. Population, 88,000 (1970); including suburbs, 108,-000. There are 17,000 people employed in industry (1971). Industries are textiles, leather and footwear, rubber, metalworking, radio electronics, and printing. The city was founded in 1722. In the 19th century it was one of the country’s leading cotton textile production centers.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. a city in NW England, in Manchester unitary authority, Greater Manchester: linked to the Mersey estuary by the Manchester Ship Canal: commercial, industrial, and cultural centre; formerly the centre of the cotton and textile trades; two universities. Pop.: 394 269 (2001)
2. a unitary authority in NW England, in Greater Manchester. Pop.: 432 500 (2003 est.). Area: 116 sq. km (45 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005