Great Ancoats Street, Manchester: cottonopolis to urban village

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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.

By: Dr Georgina Blakeley (Department of Politics and International Studies)

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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

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