Manchester is located in the south-central part of North West England, fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south and the Pennines to the north and east. It has an estimated population of 512,000 and lies within the United Kingdom’s second most populous urban area, Greater Manchester, which has a population of 2,553,379. The local authority is Manchester City Council and the city’s inhabitants are referred to as Mancunians.
The recorded history of Manchester began with the civilian settlement associated with the Roman fort of Mamucium, which was established in 79 AD on a sandstone bluff near the confluence of the rivers Medlock and Irwell. Historically, Manchester was in Lancashire, although areas of Cheshire, south of the River Mersey were incorporated into the city during the 20th century. Throughout the Middle Ages Manchester remained a manorial township but began to expand at an astonishing rate around the turn of the 19th century. Manchester’s urbanisation was brought on by a boom in textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution, and resulted in it becoming the world’s first industrialised city.
The building of the Bridgewater Canal in 1761 triggered an early-19th-century factory building boom which transformed Manchester into a major mill town that was granted city status in 1853. In 1877, the Neo Gothic Manchester Town Hall was built and in 1894 the 36 mile Manchester Ship Canal opened – at that time it was the longest river navigation canal in the world. This in turn created the Port of Manchester, linking the city to the sea.
Manchester’s fortunes declined in the subsequent years after WW2 due to deindustrialisation. However, investment in the last few decades, spurred by the IRA’s 1996 Manchester bombing, the largest bomb ever detonated in peacetime Britain, spearheaded extensive regeneration of Manchester. The city is notable for its architecture, culture, music scene, media links, scientific and engineering output, social impact and sporting connections. Sports clubs which bear the city name include Premier League football teams, Manchester City and Manchester United. Manchester was the site of the world’s first railway station, and the place where scientists first split the atom and developed the first stored-program computer.