Manchester: More than textile

  l Manchester was known as the Textile Capital of the World. During the industrial revolution in early 19th Century much of the cotton processing was done in and around Manchester. Soon many other industries located in the city and Manchester became the major center of the industrial revolution in Britain. As conditions of the workers deteriorated in the urban center, the working class movement took shape and grew in the city. Manchester of today reflects much of this history. Remnants, memories and Museums of this history of the industrial revolution are to be found everywhere and in the most unexpected places as well.    I have visited Manchester N number of times. In my most recent visit to the city, the Hotel I stayed in opposite the Royal Exchange Theatre in downtown Manchester I was pleasantly surprised to see various artifacts in the dining hall, corridors and rooms, depicting this history.
Sewing Machine model in the Dining Hall
Real spools of rough yarn, decor in the Dining Hal, 
 We visited the Chetham’s Library which is now a fancy School specializing in Music. It was and continues to be a Public Library. It was built of sandstone and was originally some form of a Seminary that was designed to house priest. 

The entire inside of the building was amazing wood work, the structure, rows and rows of book stacks, the stairwell, the roof, the chairs and tables. The reading room was special with magnificent wooden furniture, leather backed chairs, an ancient grandfather clock and carvings and painting on the wall each of which had a special historical reason for being there! As was explained to us by our tour guide! It was originally the accommodation of the Warden!

This library housed the original Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language published in 1755. He took seven years to write this and remained the most influential dictionary till 173 years later when the Oxford English Dictionary was published. Our guide brought this volume out to the ornate Reading Room and read out passages. Johnson’s innovation was to write short quotations to illustrate the meaning of the word.
Humphrey Chettam in his will of 1651 allocated a precious sum of £200 for providing small libraries of books “chained to the desks or to be fixed to the pilalrs” to be located in Churches of Manchester and Bolton. The Chetham’s Library too had a shelf of Chained books. Obvious books were a precious commodity in those times, something not valued as much in today’s times of 
‘Google Baba’.  
The most fascinating discovery was that Karl Marx had visited Manchester in 1845 and he and Frederich Engels used the Chetham’s Library as a meeting place. The books that they read are set aside and the alcove they sat in preserved!! Our heads whirled at the thought that we were sitting in the very spot where Marx and Engels probably read and discussed about the famous theories they later propounded which changed the world. Marx may also have used the industrial scene and conditions of the working class in Manchester during the industrial revolution to propound his views on private property and the class struggle. Marx was all of 27 years at that time!
The Library housed the ancient original Wooden Printing Press real and original fireplaces, very fine dining halls where many eminent persons had dined according to the lists reeled out by our guide.  

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The city outside the library was no less fascinating. The Manchester Cathedral, the oldest Pub in the city, the Old Wellington and quaint walkaway passages to get from one street to another.


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