Manchester UK Guide for Visiting Historic Places and Heritage Sites

Manchester has existed as a city since Roman times, but most of its historic sites and places of interest reflect the city’s significant role in the development of the modern world. The first ever passenger train ran to Manchester, the first commercial waterway was developed and the great cotton mills created the industrial wealth that turned Manchester into an important world city.

– Castlefield Urban Heritage Park

Castlefield is named after a Roman fort on the site that was abandoned in the 5th century. In the 18th century, the third Duke of Bridgewater commissioned James Brindley to construct a canal for the purposes of transporting coal from his mines. Construction on the world’s first commercial waterway began in 1759 and the original canal was completed in 1765. It ended at a wharf in Castlefield, which now forms part of Britain’s first Urban Heritage Park.

Castlefield Urban Heritage park has a wealth of industrial heritage. Here are original railway viaducts, canal systems and industrial museums. Most of the industrial buildings on this site have been renovated or restored, and several archaeological digs have revealed the early history of the area. Other visitor attractions include waterside pubs, towpath walks, boat trips and an outdoor arena.

– Museum of Science and Industry

Spread over five historic buildings, this museum contains galleries and collections of our scientific and industrial past. The Liverpool Street station building, and the warehouses that house the Museum of Science and Industry, all date from the earliest days of railway history.

George Stephenson’s steam locomotive, the Rocket, was chosen to haul passenger coaches between Liverpool and Manchester, and when the first ever passenger railway service was established, Liverpool Street station was opened in 1830 at its terminus. It is the oldest passenger railway terminus in the world.

– Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre

This is one of the most exciting architectural achievements in the UK. It is a theatre in the round, built within one of the most prestigious historic buildings in Manchester. In Victorian times the Manchester Royal Exchange was used for the commerce of cotton, and it was then the largest trading room in the world.

The theatre is a seven-sided steel and glass module constructed within the Great Hall of the Royal Exchange building. The stage area is at ground level, on the floor of the hall itself. The stage is surrounded by seating on all sides, suspended from the four massive columns which support the original central dome. There are three levels of seating for up to 700 people and it is the largest theatre in the round in the UK.

The Victorian architecture, the historic transportation systems and the cultural heritage of Manchester are all indications of the city’s status since the start of the Industrial Revolution. The advancement of arts and sciences have been a huge part of the development and the history of Manchester. Much of what started in Manchester has had an impact on the modern world.

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