Manchester’s Hidden Stories – Industrial Beginnings
Continuing our discovery of the stories behind the people and places featured in the #MCRHiddenStories mural, this blog takes a look at some of the businesses, big and small, established in the city.
Did you know that one of the most famous car brands in the world started right here in Manchester?
It all began in 1904 when Henry Royce, founder of F.H. Royce and Company based in the city, decided to move on from making electrical fittings and start making motor cars. His first car was the two-cylinder Royce 10, and it was this motor that was pitched to car dealership owner Charles Rolls. Their first meeting took place at the Midland Hotel, on Peter Street, on the 4th of May 1904. Thoroughly impressed by the Royce 10, in December of the same year, Rolls agreed to take all of the cars Royce could make.
Through Royce’s engineering expertise and Roll’s experience in the automobile trade, the first Rolls-Royce car, the Rolls-Royce 10 hp, was unveiled at the Paris Salon in December 1904. The pair went on to establish Rolls-Royce Limited in 1906 and the rest, as they say, is history!
Top Tip: If you’re ever near the Midland, be sure to head up the steps and on the right you’ll find a sculpture and plaque dedicated to the meeting of Rolls and Royce.
An example of a small, purpose-built warehouse, this former textile factory has remained pretty much unaltered since it was first built in 1860. Found on Richmond Street in the Northern Quarter, it was first a shirt factory until 1946 when Albert Jones Textiles took it over. It’s still used by for the textile industry to this day and is currently owned by a Lebanese family.
Thanks goes to Skyliner Manchester for bringing the Albert Jones story to our attention.
A family-run Chinese Bakery, Ho’s is well known in Manchester as the place to go for home-cooked cakes, traditional Chinese sweets, and dumplings.
Found on the corner of the famous square by the Chinese Arch in Manchester’s China Town, Ho’s has been a Manchester institution since it first opened in 1980. Now run by the third generation of the Ho family, the bakery specialises in traditional Hong Kong style sweet and savoury patisseries such as Sweet Melon Cake, Pork Dumplings, and our personal favourite, the irresistible Honey Bun’s. They also offer a range of celebration cakes, all of which are suitable for vegetarians.
Inside you’ll find a few tables to eat at however if the temperamental Manc weather is uncharacteristically sunny, we’d recommend eating outside on the pagoda-topped benches to really soak up the atmosphere of China Town.
Shudehill Mill, also known as Simpsons Mill, was a five storey mill built in 1782 by inventor and entrepreneur, Richard Arkwright and his partners. Found between Miller Street and Angel Street, the mill is considered the first powered textile factory in Manchester. Originally, the mill was designed to be powered by a Newcomen (fuel-burning) engine, but for unknown reasons, this did not come to fruition and the steam-powered textile mill was born, paving the way for Manchester to become an industrial powerhouse.
Unfortunately the mill was badly damaged by fire in 1854 and had to be rebuilt before being completely demolished in 1940, following damage as a result of the Manchester Blitz.
As images of Shudehill Mill itself are hard to come by, Meha has created this board in the style of L. S. Lowry, inspired by his work which depicted industrial Northern life and often featured mills similar to Shudehill.
To stay up to date with the progress of the #MCRHiddenStories mural, be sure to follow Meha on Instagram here.
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