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Greater Manchester

County History

Much of Greater Manchester's heritage is related to textile manufacturing and the towns that grew up to support this sector as a result of the boom in textile processing during the Industrial Revolution. In fact, by 1835, Manchester was seen as the first and greatest industrial city in the world and the largest market place for cotton goods, whilst towns such as Bolton, Bury and Oldham played a central economic role in the nation by becoming amongst some of the most productive mill towns in the world.

However, during the 20th century the cotton industry experienced a rapid decline, partly due to the Lancashire Cotton famine brought on by the American Civil War, but primarily as a result of the post-war economic depression that occurred in the 20th century.

Today, Greater Manchester is the economic centre of the North West with the largest economy in the UK outside London. The county spans some 500 square miles with a population of 2.6 million and borders Cheshire, Derbyshire, West Yorkshire, Lancashire and Merseyside. The county has ten metropolitan districts, namely Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan and the cities of Manchester and Salford. The overwhelming land use is high density urban conurbations, although there are also a number of delightful rural and semi rural locations.

In 1974, the county had a two-tier system of local government whereby District Councils shared power with the Greater Manchester County Council. However, the County Council was abolished in 1986 and the Districts effectively became unitary authority areas with the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) coordinating certain of their activities. This continues today, but in partnership the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) which was established in 2011 as the strategic countywide authority taking on functions and responsibilities for economic development, regeneration and transport. 

 

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