Explore Manchester

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Lancashire and, Yorkshire Railway, system map

MANCHESTER is one of England's great cities, outstanding for its combination of Victorian architecture and industrial heritage. It lies on the banks of the River Irwell near the south western foothills of the Pennines, less than forty miles from the west coast.
In the centre grand civic and commercial architecture gives way on the south side to some of the most memorable streetscapes of the city, where 19th century and early 20th century commercial warehouses line the streets and the Rochdale Canal can be glimpsed. Pre-19th century Manchester is recalled on the N side of the centre in the medieval buildings of the collegiateGlossary Term church (now the Cathedral) and little pockets of late 18th century buildings amongst the 19th century warehouses and 20th century offices.

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Manchester, Princess Street

Beyond the centre Ancoats, on the north-east side, was the world's first industrial suburb, and still retains some of Manchester's famous cotton mills. Cheetham and Strangeways, to the north, was the centre of the city's 19th century Jewish community, and the area to the south-east in Chorlton-on-Medlock is largely the province of the academic quarter. Canals and railways dominate the landscape to the south-west in Castlefield, today a tourist attraction, but once the hub of the industrial transport network. To the south is the residential suburb of Hulme, rebuilt in the mid 20th century, now the site of some of the most innovative new housing schemes in the city.

The pages in this sectionGlossary Term provide a short introduction to the history and architecture of central Manchester and its surrounding neighbourhoods. Other subjects in Buildings in Focus include a tour of the city's banks; a selection of buildings of interest and a short study of buildings erected to alleviate the conditions of the poor in Ancoats. We hope you will use the information provided to explore the city on-line or in person.



(of church seating): Arranged in confronted rows facing north and south, rather than towards the altar; so called after the chapels of the older university colleges.


Two-dimensional representation of a building, moulding etc., revealed by cutting across it.