Greater Manchester is a metropolitan county in North West England, with a population of 2.68 million. It encompasses one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United Kingdom and comprises ten metropolitan boroughs: Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan, and the cities of Manchester and Salford. Greater Manchester was created on 1 April 1974 as a result of the Local Government Act 1972.
Greater Manchester spans 493 square miles (1,277 km2). It is landlocked and borders Cheshire (to the south-west and south), Derbyshire (to the south-east), West Yorkshire (to the north-east), Lancashire (to the north) and Merseyside (to the west). There is a mix of high-density urban areas, suburbs, semi-rural and rural locations in Greater Manchester, but land use is mostly urban. It has a focused central business district, formed by Manchester city centre and the adjoining parts of Salford and Trafford, but Greater Manchester is also a polycentric county with ten metropolitan districts, each of which has at least one major town centre and outlying suburbs. The Greater Manchester Urban Area is the third most populous conurbation in the UK, and spans across most of the county's territory.
For the 12 years following 1974 the county had a two-tier system of local government; district councils shared power with the Greater Manchester County Council. The county council was abolished in 1986, and so its districts (the metropolitan boroughs) effectively became unitary authority areas. However, the metropolitan county has continued to exist in law and as a geographic frame of reference, and as a ceremonial county, has a Lord Lieutenant and a High Sheriff. Several county-wide services were co-ordinated through the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities up until April 2011, when the Greater Manchester Combined Authority was established as the strategic county-wide authority for Greater Manchester, taking on functions and responsibilities for economic development, regeneration and transport.
Shaw and Crompton is a town and civil parish within the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham, in Greater Manchester, and is regularly referred to as Shaw. Crompton (as it was originally known) has provided evidence of ancient British and Anglian activity in the area. During the Middle Ages, Crompton formed a small township with weak local lordship, and so it failed to emerge as a manor with its own lord and court. Farming was the main industry of this area, with locals supplementing their incomes by hand-loom woollen weaving in the domestic system.
The introduction of textile manufacture initiated a process of rapid and unplanned urbanisation. A building boom began in Crompton during the mid-19th century, when suitable land in Oldham was becoming scarce. By the late-19th century Crompton had emerged as a densely populated mill town. At its spinning zenith, Shaw and Crompton was reported to have had more millionaires per capita than any other town in the world. Imports of foreign cotton goods began the decline in the region's textile industry during the mid-20th century; Shaw and Crompton's last mill closed in 1989. Today, Shaw and Crompton is a predominantly residential area of mixed affluence with a population of 21,721.
Joy Division were an English rock band formed in 1976 in Salford, Greater Manchester. Originally named Warsaw, the band primarily consisted of Ian Curtis, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook and Stephen Morris.
Joy Division rapidly evolved from their initial punk rock influences, to develop a sound and style that pioneered the post-punk movement of the late 1970s. According to music critic Jon Savage, the band "were not punk but were directly inspired by its energy." Their self-released 1978 debut EP, An Ideal for Living, caught the attention of the Manchester television personality Tony Wilson. Joy Division's debut album, Unknown Pleasures, was released in 1979 on Wilson's independent record label Factory Records, and drew critical acclaim from the British press. Despite the band's growing success, vocalist Ian Curtis was beset with depression and personal difficulties, including a dissolving marriage and his diagnosis with epilepsy.
In May 1980, on the eve of the band's first American tour, Curtis, overwhelmed with depression, committed suicide. Joy Division's posthumously released second album, Closer (1980), and the single "Love Will Tear Us Apart" became the band's highest charting releases. After the death of Curtis, the remaining members reformed as New Order, achieving critical and commercial success.
Ancoats, Manchester. McConnel & Company's mills, about 1820.
Painting credit: Unknown