Society, Politics & Law
  • Activity
  • 15 mins
  • Level 1: Introductory

Great Ancoats Street, Manchester: cottonopolis to urban village

Updated Friday 4th May 2012

What are the stories behind this unique 'urban village'? From the largest mills of Manchester's 19th century industrial era to slum dwellings in the 1920s. 21st century Ancoats sees revamped canals, squares and modern, stylish apartments.

From 19th century mills to 21st century luxury apartments

Fredrich Engels described 19th century working class housing in Great Ancoats Street as ‘ruinous’ rows of ‘back-to-backs’ amongst the towering mill buildings. In the 20th century, industry declined and housing deteriorated further into slums amongst the derelict factories. But 21st century Great Ancoats Street is rising again above the rubble, with many of the great mills converted into apartments and offices. What would Engels think of this gentrified urban living space? What are the stories behind the new Ancoats ‘urban village’?

Great Ancoats Street, Manchester

Click each image to find maps, pictures and stories from Great Ancoats Street.

Our story of Ancoats starts with towering mill developments, with ‘back-to-back’ housing for the workers, described by Engels in graphic detail. Creative-Commons Out of copyright Explore the Great Ancoats Street area on Google map streetview. Copyright Isis Waterside Regeneration The decline of industries around Ancoats, and slum clearance in the 1960s pave the way for 21st century regeneration. Copyright Anthony Rea Many of the mill buildings and warehouses bordering Great Ancoats Street have been converted into stylish city-living apartments. Copyright New East Manchester
Copyright Background: Cassini historical maps

For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

Have a question?

Other content you may like

Upper Buckingham Street, Dublin, Ireland: from speculative landowners to multi-tenanted tenements Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: G&T Crampton Limited Archive activity icon

Society, Politics & Law 

Upper Buckingham Street, Dublin, Ireland: from speculative landowners to multi-tenanted tenements

The story of Upper Buckingham Street, from its initial layout in 1788 to the present day, reflects the ups and downs of Dublin city and its people.

A walk around... Glasgow Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC audio icon

History & The Arts 

A walk around... Glasgow

A roaring trade with the Americans and Europeans helped transform Glasgow from a nondescript, small town into a thriving metropolis with huge and expensive buildings. Find out how the Tobacco Lords changed the face of the city with Neil Oliver and guests.

30 mins
Urban Heritage Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Stuart Mitchell article icon

History & The Arts 

Urban Heritage

A look up and down the high street could reveal more about our heritage than we realise, as Stuart Mitchell explains

Timeline: Marx, Nietzsche and Freud activity icon

Society, Politics & Law 

Timeline: Marx, Nietzsche and Freud

Explore the lives and works of Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud with our interactive timeline.

A taxing question Creative commons image Icon Tree Santos under CC-BY-ND licence under Creative-Commons license article icon

Society, Politics & Law 

A taxing question

Scotland's bid for independence is posing many questions, one of the most important questions concerns funding. So, what effect will devolution have on taxes and how is Scotland funded at the moment?

Introducing international development management Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 3 icon

Society, Politics & Law 

Introducing international development management

If you wonder why, when so much development action is taking place, life seems to stay so bad for so many people and you want to be involved in managing development better, this free course, Introducing international development management, is for you.

Free course
40 hrs
Autumn Statement 2016: Tories shift to growth strategy in an Ed Balls-style pirouette Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Artwork by Catherine Pain © The Open University article icon

Society, Politics & Law 

Autumn Statement 2016: Tories shift to growth strategy in an Ed Balls-style pirouette

Philip Hammond's first Autumn Statement bears a striking resemblance to Ed Balls' ideas six years earlier, Alan Shipman uncovers.

Finding information about society Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 1 icon

Society, Politics & Law 

Finding information about society

This free course, Finding information about society, will help you to identify and use information in society, whether for your work, study or personal purposes. Experiment with some of the key resources in this subject area, and learn about the skills which will enable you to plan searches for information, so you can find what you are looking for more easily. Discover the meaning of information quality, and learn how to evaluate the information you come across. You will also be introduced to the many different ways of organising your own information, and learn how to reference it properly in your work. Finally, discover how to keep up to date with the latest developments in your area of interest by using tools such as RSS and mailing lists.

Free course
9 hrs
Saving capitalists from themselves? Creative commons image Icon Jonny White under Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 license article icon

Society, Politics & Law 

Saving capitalists from themselves?

Dr Joe Hanlon explains his thoughts on the EU and recent global treaties being biased toward global corporations. Do we really think Teresa May and Donald Trump will defend us? 'Talk about foxes guarding hen houses' says Joe.