So vile were the conditions off Deansgate in the 1860s, Alfred Alsop opened a mission to alleviate hardship. Later, in his memoirs, he was to describe his neighbours as “The very scum of the city”. Charming.
Rivers clogged with excrement and decomposing bodies. Rampant crime. Factories vomiting toxic plumes and changing the colour of the horizon for miles around. That was Victorian Manchester.
People came from afar to gasp at the horrors of Manchester, the world’s first industrial city, with its death and disease, with its squalor, chaos and deprivation.
But this was also a city of style and sophistication. The grandest of Gothic architecture; prime progress with the advent of the railways; the birthplace of trade unionism and the suffrage movement.
Relive the 19th century from the safety of the 21st century.