"Lost in Manchester's city centre - architectural chronicler Nicolas Pevsner called it " one of the
most confusing city centres in England" one senses Manchester's enduring grittiness, particularly
in the bohemian Northern Quarter. But much of it has followed American cities' example of
transforming industrial zones into
"warehouse districts". Manchester's cotton mills, insurance halls and warehouses have become
lofts, restaurants, bars and graphic design HQs."
From " A bright outlook in the North" by Oliver Bennett, Daily Express, October 1998.
"I still..... have yet to gaze upon (Manchester's) cathedral.. .containing some of the richest
medieval wood carving in England - or, for that matter, upon Marx and Engel's old rendezvous in
Chetham's, Europe's first free public lending library. But I have sailed in a narrow boat, heard one
of the world's great orchestras playing Stravinsky and drunk the cheapest ale in Britain, although
not quite at the same time. Can a man ask for more?"
"The thing about Manchester is...it all comes from here"
"Anthony Wilson says that for a big City, Manchester is just small enough. It's true. People know
each other, collaborate, cross-pollinate. Ideas can mix and match. It's easy to get things moving.
But Manchester's size also makes the social processes more visible. Things can't be contained.
Even as you stroll round the new urban pleasure zones you can see the collapsed excluded
communities. You can see how things are developing. Where they might end up is another
matter. ..Will everything keep spinning and never actually fall down?....Who knows. But
Manchester, as Mancs love to tell you, has been ahead of the game. Perhaps it'll be the first place
to show us whether our new cities work."
"The first time I came here I knew it was a place rich in culture. Italian restaurants in the city
centre, China-town, Asian restaurants in Rusholme, the Gay Village, the English pubs, the cafe
bars, and then you've got the inner city in Moss Side. Manchester reminds me very much of San
Francisco. Even the weather's the same. The thing is that the English don't do a good job selling
England - but they do an excellent job selling Florida. There are so many people in America who
need to come because they think England's full of cobbled roads. When I go back home to
California, people ask me if I'm homesick. How can you be homesick in Manchester? There's so
much going on here."
"By no stretch of the imagination is Manchester a picturesque city. It is however, emphatically if
unconventionally beautiful. In common with all things beautiful...It is fundamentally flawed. It
has a compulsion to preen and show off. It is narcissistic, contrary and wayward, and yet you
cannot help but love it. It is both admirable and maddening."
"Manchester's got everything except a beach."
"Manchester, so much to answer for."
"Manchester has everything but good looks..., the only place in England which escapes our
characteristic vice of snobbery."
"Manchester....the belly and guts of the Nation"
"(Mancunians) make an affectation of candour and trade a little on their county's reputation for uncouthness."
"For Manchester is the place where people do things.... 'Don't talk about what you are going to do,
do it.' That is the Manchester habit. And in the past through the manifestation of this quality the
word Manchester became a synonym for energy and freedom and the right to do and to think
"...Looking for the Apollo music saloon on London Road one Saturday night in 1849...
"Itinerant bands blow and bang their loudest; organ boys grind monotonously; ballad singers or
flying stationers make bold proclamations of their wares. The street is one swarming mass of
people. Boys or girls shout and laugh and disappear into the taverns together...From the byways
and the alleys and back streets fresh crowds every moment emerge."
" But the most horrible spot .... lies....immediately south west of Oxford Road and is known as
Little Ireland. The race that lives in these ruinous cottages, behind broken windows, mended with
oilskin, sprung doors, and rotten door-posts, or in dark, wet cellars, in measureless filth and
stench....must surely have reached the lowest stage of humanity."
"Certainly Manchester is the most wonderful city
of modem times."
"When entering for the first time a town like Manchester, a stranger, overwhelmed by the new
and interesting spectacle presented to him, scarcely dares look this giant full in the face at once...."
"On this waterlogged landscape....are scattered palaces and hovels....It is here that the human spirit
becomes perfect, and at the same time brutalised, that civilisation produces its marvels and that
civilised man returns to the savage."
"Manchester is frequently represented as under the visitation of perpetual rain, but in reality the
air and the climate of this place do not....differ from other parts of the county."
"I arrived in a shower, in the wet now set off,
"Manchester is large, opulent, well-built. The women are esteemed handsome. Manchester is the
best regulated town in England."
"If I should be so blessed as to revisit again my own country, but more especially Manchester, all
that I could hope or desire would be presented before in one view."
"Mancestre....is the fairest, best buildied,
quikkest and most populus Tounne of al Lancastreshire"
The above references were compiled by Jonathan Schofield with the help of Manchester by Alan Kidd, Manchester 'This Good Old Town' by Brooks and Haworth, Manchester Historical Recorder by Axon, Twin Cities - Manchester and Salford by Douglas Measor.