The World's First 'Industrial Suburb'
The industrialisation of Ancoats, close to the centre of Manchester, started in the late 18th century and accelerated after the opening of the Rochdale Canal in 1804. The canal brought raw materials and goods into the heart of Ancoats, and stimulated the construction of large cotton mills in the neighbourhood.
By 1886, when the Manchester Art Museum opened in Ancoats Hall, the district was dense mixture of manufacturing sites and workers’ housing. Within a few hundred yards of the Art Museum were a printing and dying works, a sawmill, a timber yard, Pin Mill (now a cotton mill), an iron and brass foundry, and a rubber works.
The proximity of these sites to the streets and alleys of back-to-back housing and court dwellings gave Ancoats the name ‘the world's first industrial suburb.’