Manchester Cotton Districts Learning Journey
Come with Victorian visitors and follow the Learning Journey steps into Manchester's busy cotton districts.
Click on the steps below to explore.
Manchester Cotton Districts Learning Journey Step 1: Manchester - City of Revolutions
Step back in time to the nineteenth century and walk the streets of Manchester's new cotton districts. The mill buildings which are empty and abandoned today roar with the sound of steam engines powering hundreds of machines, racing to produce the cloth that would give the city its international reputation for "Manchester Goods", as Lancashire cotton became known around the world.
Cotton manufacturing created great wealth and people flooded into Manchester hoping for a share of it. It also brought a new social order which was reflected in the spread of manufacturing districts and suburbs. Back-to-back workers houses were crammed in between the newly built factories where the air was thick with smoke. Anyone who was rich enough moved out to the suburbs. Warehouses and merchants offices trading in raw cotton and finished cloth sprang up around the Royal Exchange.
In the mid to late 19th century cotton manufacturing in Manchester began to decline. With the opening of the Manchester Ship Canal in 1894, Manchester prospered as a major port and world trading centre for Lancashire Cotton, before the final decline of the cotton industry in the 1950's.