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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’?


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