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June 05, 2014

Manchester, England: Lowry-loving. Bomb-rocked. Unbroken.

Flag waving
Boundry shoving

--from Carole Houlston's 2004 poem "Manchester"

Manchester, Britain's Second City, is feistier and rawer than London. Imagine another second city, Chicago, only smaller (in population, Manchester's center city is roughly 510,000, and its urban area is 2.6 million). But also a 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 tireless industrial expansion and a hardworking populace. The city was at the center of the Industrial Revolution that started in England in 19th century. Manchester became a major manufacturer worldwide, particularly in textiles, expanding steadily for decades. 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. In recent years, Manchester became primarily services-based. This new economy emerged as the fastest growing one in England, as well as one of the fastest growing economies in Europe. Maybe that's why 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 June 5, 2014 11:59 PM


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