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Image Number: 2039
Shock City

People came from all over the world to see Manchester, the first industrial city. They marveled at the brashness and scale of the new economy, the factories and warehouses and the striking contrasts between rich and poor:

"The town, strictly speaking is only inhabited by shopkeepers and operatives; the merchants and manufacturers have detached villas situated in the midst of gardens and parks in the country. The rich man spreads his couch amidst the beauties of the surrounding country, and abandons the town to the operatives, publicans, mendicants, thieves and prostitutes, merely taking the precaution to leave behind a police force whose duty it is to preserve some little of material order in this pell mell society"
Leon Faucher (1844)

"It cannot be said that Manchester is either an ugly or a beautiful town, for it is both at once. Some quarter are dirty mean, ugly and miserable-looking to an extreme, others are interesting, peculiar and beautiful in the highest degree. Market Street is always busy, noisy, and interesting, and contains numbers of splendid shops. In the evening its thousands of gas-lights glittering from the shops and street lamps make it almost painfully dazzling to eyes not yet accustomed to these nightly illuminations of the great English cities. In this street the beggars love to congregate, importuning the wealthy and idle as they pass"
Johann Georg Kohl (1844)


Sources
Leon Faucher (1844) Manchester in 1844. Its Present Condition and Future Prospects
Johann Georg Kohl (1844 ) Journeys through England & Wales pp106-147


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