From humble beginnings as a Roman fort known as Mamucium, the northern settlement of Manchester rose gradually to become one of England's most important cities. A leading light during the Industrial Revolution, today the city of Manchester is home to some of northern England's most important historical sites. Let Flight Centre take you through nearly two millennia of history with our guide to Manchester's Top 5 historical sites.
Medieval Manchester was a largely unassuming market town until the arrival of Flemish weavers during the 14th Century. Their presence sparked a textiles boom and as Manchester gradually grew in stature, so too did the city's cathedral. Founded in 1421, Manchester Cathedral is built principally in the Perpendicular Gothic style and has survived widespread destruction over the years - including World War II. This striking structure is undergoing major renovations throughout 2013, in preparation for many more years of service.
To the naked eye, Castlefield resembles a picturesque but otherwise unremarkable industrial site. Bounded by the River Irwell and laying claim to a series of inner-city canals, this revitalised urban area is actually the site of the first Roman settlement. Situated strategically at the confluence of the Irwell and Medlock rivers, today the unearthed remains of Mamucium are clearly visible amidst the docks and warehouses which transformed this historic part of the city during the Industrial Revolution.
The People's History Museum
In keeping with its long history as a working city, the People's History Museum is housed in a former hydraulic pumping station not far from the canals which helped transform Manchester into a textile giant known as "Cottonopolis." At one time, Manchester was the centre of the world's cotton spinning industry and thousands of its residents laboured in the textile mills which clung close to the busy canals. Their colourful history is remembered in a museum which links closely the relationship between the working class and the rise of democracy in Britain.
Manchester is synonymous with sport, owing in large part to its two famous football teams. After years in the doldrums, Manchester City recently joined the nouveau riche but it's their cross-town rivals Manchester United who still command most of the headlines. Their Old Trafford home is world famous and houses more than 100 years of sporting history. All but destroyed by German bombing raids in World War II, the so-called 'Theatre Of Dreams' also houses several poignant reminders of the Busby Babes who perished in the catastrophic 1958 Munich air disaster which claimed the lives of 23 passengers – including eight first-team players.
Musical Walk of Fame
The bohemian Northern Quarter lies in the heart of the Manchester city centre and its Musical Walk of Fame along Oldham Street pays homage to the bands that put this eclectic city on the cultural map. Exploding onto the British consciousness in the late 1980s and early 90s, the 'Madchester' era spawned the legendary Factory Records and infamous nightclub The Haçienda, as bands like New Order, The Happy Mondays, Inspiral Carpets and The Stone Roses took control of the musical direction of the city. Their success inspired perhaps the most popular Manchester band of all, Oasis, and the feats of the city's legendary rock groups are documented in a series of plaques along the popular Musical Walk of Fame.