This 1834 view of Manchester was engraved by T Higham. It contrasts the smoking chimneys of industry with a surrounding rural setting.
Image: Science Museum / SSPL

Manchester - the first industrial city

Manchester, with its steam-powered cotton mills, was the world's first industrial city. Visitors such as Alexis de Tocquevillle, writing in 1835, were struck by how industrial it was:

'Thirty or forty factories rise on the tops of the hills... Their six stories tower up... [and] give notice from afar of the centralisation of industry... [The] crunching wheels of machinery, the shriek of steam from boilers, the regular beat of the looms... are the noises from which you can never escape.'