It was Britain’s first industrial suburb, a land of massive mills, smoking chimneys, mean terraced housing with ne’er a tree or blade of grass in sight. That was 1820. Now in 2020 it has been reborn as the main mighty meme of Manchester, high-life Central, with a high-maintenance history. Here is a hit of hot history from the ’hood.
Guided tour: Saturday 19 September 2020, 11.30 from the Band on the Wall.
- Royal Ruby motorcycles of Cannel Street got an order for hundreds of supercharged bikes from the Russian Royal family early in 1917. Oops. Firm collapses.
- The man who designed the gorgeous modernist vitrolite-filled Daily Express building also created Wembley’s twin towers, needlessly vandalised by the FA in 2003.
- To honour Manchester’s pioneering Victorian sewerage system the council named an attractive Ancoats street “Sanitary Street”. The residents weren’t happy at the connotations. What’s it called now?
- An Ancoats warehouse became the world’s first designated aircraft manufactory in 1910. We will take you there.
- The services at the most beautiful church in Ancoats, though built in the Italianate style, shocked the immigrant Catholics in the mid-19th century.
- Manchester might be a nuclear-free zone but there’s an Ancoats street named after radium, dating from the days when society thought it was the new wonder material.
- The key building in the entire area was New Islington Hall where the Ancoats Brotherhood gave mind-improving intellectual lectures from celebrated figures such as George Bernard Shaw.