February 21, 2014
Manchester, England: Lowry-loving. Bomb-rocked. Unbroken.
--from Carole Houlston's 2004 poem "Manchester"
Manchester, Britain's Second City, is rawer and feistier than London. In America, imagine Chicago, only smaller (in population, Manchester's center city is roughly 510,000, and its urban area is 2.6 million) but also bit tougher. Proud blue collar towns like Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Baltimore also come to mind. No nonsense and shamelessly tough and gritty, Manchester's history in the last 200 years is one of relentless industrial expansion and a remarkably hardworking populace. The city was at very center of the Industrial Revolution that started in England in 19th century. Manchester quickly became a major manufacturer worldwide, particularly in textiles, expanding steadily for decades. As a result, Manchester even had a school of thought based on free trade and laissez faire economic principles named after it ("Manchester School"), coined by England Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. Over the last 20 years, greater Manchester became primarily services-based. Its new economy has emerged as the fastest growing one in England, as well as one of the fastest growing economies in Europe. No one in Manchester ever seems to yearn to move to London. Or to any other town. The city has everything--including a tradition of prospering on its own. Gritty Manchester. It's a "mean old town to live in by yourself".
Johnny Winter: Mean Town Blues
Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at February 21, 2014 11:59 PM