The now disused Ancoats Mills Complex was once at the heart and soul of Manchester’s industrial community – a time now long gone. The imposing mills produced products like cotton, glass and chemicals and were affectionately termed “the workshop of the world”. What is now Anita Street was previously known as Sanitary Street, due to its row of dedicated workers’ residences, which were always kept in spick and span condition.
The Bolton Museum, Aquarium and Archive has recently had a revamp and now boasts an exhibition on local history. More displays have also been added, dedicated to the life and times of the people who lived here, such as Samuel Crompton. This man will forever go down in history as being the inventor of the Spinning Mule. This revolutionised the cotton industries in Manchester and Lancashire, and allowed it to grow exponentially as production took off.
Manchester boasts many historical districts, but it is widely agreed that Castlefield tells the story of Manchester better than anywhere else. This is where Mamucium, the ancient Roman fort, was built in the late first century AD. It is also where the Bridgewater Canal, the first in the world, was constructed in the mid 18th century. Not only this, but the train line that connected Liverpool to Manchester in the early 19th century – the first passenger line – ran through Castlefield. The Museum of Science and Industry has an extensive exhibition dedicated to this monumental time in history.
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The People’s History Museum is unique in that it is situated in an old Edwardian Pump House on the River Irwell, which was completely renovated in a project costing £12,300,000 for the purposes of housing a museum. This fascinating museum tells the story of all who campaigned and, in so many cases, made huge sacrifices for the right to vote under a democratic system. Whether they were politicians or ordinary folk, they have a place in history here. Manchester was where many significant events unfolded – here, visitors can learn how they contributed to improving politics in the country as a whole through interactive displays and exhibits which are changed regularly to show new artefacts and historical documents. A shop and café are also on site. Here, workshops for children are seen as being key to learning through play and fun. Armed with a Busy Bee pack, the museum comes alive in a way that makes sense to them and ensures that they will enjoy the facilities as much as the grown ups. The Engine Hall also offers picnicking facilities.
The landmark Peel Tower, situated in Ramsbottom on the steep Holcombe Hill, is a celebration of Sir Robert Peel. This great man is the pride of Bury, as he established the metropolitan police force. He has the distinction of having been voted in as Prime Minister on two occasions in the 1800s, and a monument was erected to him in the mid 19th century. The walk to the top of the hill may be a challenge, but it is well worth it as the views over Greater Manchester are amazing. The East Lancashire Railway and the village itself are well worth a visit in their own right.