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cottonopolis---manchester-the-growth-and-growing-pains-of-a-modern-city-victoria-bateman-lecture-transcript-19-april-2016-pdf

cottonopolis---manchester-the-growth-and-growing-pains-of-a-modern-city-victoria-bateman-lecture-transcript-19-april-2016-pdf

- LECTURE – Cottonopolis: Manchester, the Growth and Growing Pains of a Modern City By Victoria Bateman History of Capitalism Series 19 April 2016 Accompanying slides available here * * * Introduction In the words of the historian Eric Hobsbawm, “whoever says Industrial Revolution says cotton”. And, we should also add, whoever says cotton says Manchester. Whilst Manchester is perhaps best known internationally for its football (admittedly, my family were keen Manchester United fans and, as a result, I was dressed in red rather than baby pink as a child), it is the Industrial Revolution for which it truly deserves fame. Described by one tourist guide from 1807 as “an immense manufacturing, mercantile, and trading town” and by another, in 1897, as “the chief industrial town of England, and the great metropolis of the cotton manufacture”, it should be clear that this was a truly capitalist city. i Manchester, which lies in the cold and damp north of England, was at the centre of a global economy of cotton ii , importing raw cotton to produce cotton cloth that was subsequently exported across the world – along with the cotton machinery itself. . But for me, the city that came to be called “cottonopolis” isn’t just a figment of the past, it is one that lives and breathes in my genes today. My grandparents and their grandparents before them all earned a living working in cotton mills in or on the outskirts of Manchester . Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, I was bombarded with stories of an age that was by then rapidly vanishing. As my grandparents hearing stood testament, cotton mills were noisy places, in response to which cotton workers developed their own sign language to enable them to communicate during the working day. That working day was long and, traditionally at least, began at a young age. It is therefore of little surprise that the idea of my “staying on” at school after the age of sixteen was viewed as an 1