I returned to the English city I would arrive in and depart from for a second proper visit in time for the Manchester Christmas Market. We enjoyed the commemorative hot chocolate mugs that you could either purchase completely or return after you drank from it in order to get part of the price back. In the German section of the market there were several types of sausage that we shared and sampled, but once again we were patrons of Sinclair’s Oyster Bar. Even through the cold and the rain of December, we found the surprise of an Abraham Lincoln statue smack in the centre of Manchester. The explanatory plaque told of the US president’s importance in bringing the raw cotton shipments back to Manchester where it would be spun into textiles during the US Civil War. This encounter was an unexpected reminder of home and was on our minds as our time in England was quickly drawing to a close.
The Manchester Christmas Market Saturday, Feb 6 2010
Industries of Manchester Wednesday, Jan 20 2010
Manchester has a similar history to Liverpool’s, as we learned about at the Museum of Science and Industry. It too was a city that flourished during the Industrial Revolution when factories worked to produce cotton for around the world. At the museum there is even an exhibit demonstrating the process of creating textiles with 19th century machines. This museum also highlighted Manchester as the first English city to have a 1830-built railroad warehouse (which is the building that houses the museum) along with toting the University of Manchester as the creator of one of the first computers.
The city even features a historic pub with Sinclair’s Oyster Bar that still features inexpensive pints and food in its original interior, even though the building was bombed away from its bombed location to today’s tourist center. World War II also took its toll on this Northwestern city as did foreign competition causing the factories to close. Today Manchester is home to department stores, a big wheel, and the glass-pyramid shaped Urbis, which will soon be changed into a football museum instead of showing traveling art exhibits.