Amazing Vintage Photos of Manchester, England During the 1970s

Manchester is a major city in Greater Manchester, England, with a population of more than two million in 2018, it is the second largest city by urban area in the United Kingdom. It is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east and the neighbouring city of Salford to the west. The two cities and the surrounding towns form a large continuous conurbation. Due to Manchester’s size and global influence, it is considered the second city of the United Kingdom.

The history of Manchester began with the civilian settlement associated with the Roman fort (castra) of Mamucium or Mancunium, established in about AD 79 on a sandstone bluff near the confluence of the rivers Medlock and Irwell. Historically part of Lancashire, areas of Cheshire south of the River Mersey were incorporated into Manchester in the 20th century, including Wythenshawe in 1931. Throughout the Middle Ages Manchester remained a manorial township, but began to expand “at an astonishing rate” around the turn of the 19th century. Manchester’s unplanned urbanisation was brought on by a boom in textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution, and resulted in it becoming the world’s first industrialised city. Manchester achieved city status in 1853. The Manchester Ship Canal opened in 1894, creating the Port of Manchester and linking the city to the Irish Sea, 36 miles (58 km) to the west. Its fortune declined after the Second World War, owing to deindustrialisation, but the IRA bombing in 1996 led to extensive investment and regeneration. Following successful redevelopment after the IRA bombing, Manchester was the host city for the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

The city is notable for its architecture, culture, musical exports, media links, scientific and engineering output, social impact, sports clubs and transport connections. Manchester Liverpool Road railway station was the world’s first inter-city passenger railway station. At the University of Manchester, Ernest Rutherford first split the atom in 1917, Frederic C. Williams, Tom Kilburn and Geoff Tootill developed the world’s first stored-program computer in 1948, and Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov isolated the first graphene in 2004. (Wikipedia)

Manchester went through enormous changes in the seventies—a decade of confusion, of a loss of direction, of new music, and the arrival of a vast city center monster. During the 1970s, the City Council lost most of its remaining vital responsibilities. After WWII cities such as Manchester lost power over local gas and electrical supply – thus much of their income. All control of local transport was taken and the city’s famous red buses became grotesque pop orange and brown under a broader transport authority.

In 1974, Greater Manchester County was created from south-east Lancashire and north east Cheshire. Thus the city of Manchester lost power over its police force and fire services. With the creation of the North West Water Authority it also lost its management of water and sewage services. Even the airport was taken out of Manchester’s hands to be shared by the new Greater Manchester authority. It was also during this decade that Manchester Ship Canal began a steep decline at its headwaters in Salford and Trafford as container traffic began to make it unviable. Between 1961 and 1983, Manchester lost 150,000 jobs in manufacturing.

Take a look back at the city in the 1970s through 36 fascinating vintage photographs.


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