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Hidden Manchester

Glynis Cooper

Manchester has suffered from being identified with images of ‘dark Satanic mills’; of being a wet and dirty city which spawned the saying ‘where there’s muck there’s brass’. It may still be a city of mills, but it is also a city of surprises, a city of the unexpected, and of hidden treasures.

Curiosities include a hidden grave under a busy city-centre shopping precinct, with instructions on how to reach it written on the walls of a nearby church; the Roman fort under a ‘spaghetti junction’ of waterways; a Victorian restaurant in an 18th-century graveyard; the Jewish museum in a Spanish synagogue; and Manchester’s own ‘Taj Mahal’; while beneath them all lies a strange subterranean world of lost rivers and canals flowing silently through the darkness.

Today the mills are full of luxury air-conditioned apartments to rent, while the old cotton warehouses are home to chic restaurants and ‘cool’ nightspots surrounding the 17th-century library (where Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels worked together), built on the site of a 14th-century manor house. Close to the old Ship Canal stands a glass and chrome theatre in memory of the artist L.S. Lowry, who gave the world ‘matchstick men’, and a war museum built to ‘represent shards of air, earth and water’.

This book tells the story of a city that is discovered only by the more discerning, a city of the unusual and unexpected, a city that is completely different from the grim millscapes of the past.

 

 

 

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