MANCHESTER OWES MUCH OF ITS STANDING IN THE WORLD TO ITS NORTH. THE IRK RIVER VALLEY, ITS WATERWAYS, ITS GEOLOGY AND ITS PEOPLE HAVE MOVED AND GROWN AND DRIVEN ITS PROGRESS. A GENERATIONS-LONG DEDICATION, READY TO BE RECOGNISED.
Collyhurst Clough gave us the pink stone which built Manchester. Chetham's School and Library, St Ann's Church, the original Cathedral stonework, Hanging Bridge at Hanging Ditch, even the fort at Castlefield – it all came from here. The stone was so well known that Collyhurst Sandstone became its official name. Sandhills park takes its name from the outcrop of this rock which still remains, untouched since the 18th century.
The River Irk was once a fast flowing river that teemed with trout and salmon. Until it became the power source for the industrial revolution. The Irk powered a corn mill around 1596, then later tanneries, rope works and businesses surrounding the textile industry. Manchester’s transformation from Roman backwater to 19th century powerhouse is thanks in part to this valley and its people. With new trade and industry came more people, overcrowding and pollution. Today the river is less polluted and, thanks to building demolition and disuse, woodland and wildlife has started to return to its banks.
The vision for Northern Gateway is not to start another revolution, or to take again from the land and the people. Instead, FEC and Manchester City Council want to build on the industrious attitude ingrained in this place. We want to use the strength of its heritage to inspire the potential of its future.