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Manchester Liverpool Road railway station was the world's first inter-city passenger railway station; scientists first split the atom, developed the stored-program computer and produced graphene in the city. Both meanings are preserved in Insular Celtic languages, such as mam meaning "breast" in Irish and "mother" in Welsh.The Brigantes were the major Celtic tribe in what is now known as Northern England; they had a stronghold in the locality at a sandstone outcrop on which Manchester Cathedral now stands, opposite the banks of the River Irwell.Manchester's unplanned urbanisation was brought on by a boom in textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution, Manchester achieved city status in 1853.The Manchester Ship Canal opened in 1894, creating the Port of Manchester and directly linking the city to the Irish Sea, 36 miles (58 km) to the west.Manchester began expanding "at an astonishing rate" around the turn of the 19th century as people flocked to the city for work from Scotland, Wales, Ireland and other areas of England as part of a process of unplanned urbanisation brought on by the Industrial Revolution.Engineering firms initially made machines for the cotton trade, but diversified into general manufacture.
The Irwell and Mersey were made navigable by 1736, opening a route from Manchester to the sea docks on the Mersey.The Bridgewater Canal, Britain's first wholly artificial waterway, was opened in 1761, bringing coal from mines at Worsley to central Manchester.The canal was extended to the Mersey at Runcorn by 1776.For the wider metropolitan county, see Greater Manchester. It is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, and an arc of towns with which it forms a continuous conurbation.
The local authority for the city is Manchester City Council.The recorded history of Manchester began with the civilian settlement associated with the Roman fort of Mamucium or Mancunium, which was established in about AD 79 on a sandstone bluff near the confluence of the rivers Medlock and Irwell.