I haven’t found any places in Lancashire beginning with ‘V’ so this week I’m looking at a different kind of V with some links between 'Victoria' and my adopted city of Manchester. Yes, I know Manchester is no longer (administrively) in Lancashire, but it was in Victorian times! By the time Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837, Manchester had become the centre of the Lancashire cotton industry. Its nickname was Cottonopolis and many of its present buildings date from the Victorian era when merchants, industrialists and bankers built imposing edifices in the city centre. So here are some of the places in Manchester that were named after Queen Victoria.
Victoria Park is a suburban area of Manchester, about two miles from the city centre. It was established in the 1830’s by an architect whose aim was to build a residential area with substantial houses for prosperous business and professional families. By 1850 about 50 houses had been built, and the area still has about 20 listed buildings dating from that time. One notable resident was the suffragette leader, Emmeline Pankhurst, and Mrs Gaskell, author of Cranford, also lived in this area at one time. Now many of the large houses have been converted into apartments, often for the use of the large student population at the nearby university.
The station has now been reduced in size, mainly due to the construction of the Manchester Arena, and its general fabric deteriorated. So much so that in 2009 it was identified as the worst station in the country! There have been various plans for refurbishment which have fallen through because the withdrawal of government funding, but a new project was announced in 2010 which hopefully will improve the place!
When the city council decided to close the Baths in 1993, there was strong reaction from the local community, and a charitable trust was set up to preserve and restore them. Nothing was done for about 6 years, and the building started to fall into disrepair, until the charity received a large grant from English Heritage. The project is still ongoing.