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Friday, 13 September, 2002, 20:06 GMT 21:06 UK
Warehouses 'world heritage sites'
A warehouse in Manchester City Centre
Warehouses helped put the city on the industrial map
The warehouses of Manchester will line up alongside the Taj Mahal as globally historic sites, if English Heritage gets its way.

The organisation published a book on Friday that claims the cityscape of the rows of warehouses is "as unique as the grandeur of Whitehall."

Heritage experts hope the large quarter of the city centre that was its commercial heart 150 years ago will help it be named as a World Heritage Site.

It says nowhere else in Britain was there such a large concentration of warehouses that dominated a city's skyline in the 19th Century.

Workers at the height of Manchester's industrial past
Workers helped drive Manchester's industrial domination

Dr Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, said without the slump suffered by the city last century, many of its warehouses, that are now becoming restaurants and gyms, would have been "swept away".

Speaking at the launch of the book, Dr Thurley said:"These buildings are not just important for Manchester, not just important for England - it is a site for world significance and importance.

"You have to remember that Manchester did it first. It had the first canal, the first passenger railway and the first railway warehouses."

While the ornate-fronted, eight-storey buildings drove the city's global domination of the 19th Century cotton trade, they are now the focus of Manchester's regeneration.

"The city centre of Manchester is now undergoing an urban renaissance, with people moving back into it, and the warehouses...are now a vibrant and desirable part of the 21st Century economy," said Dr Thurley.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBCs Colin Sykes
"You don't have to travel miles to see them, you just have to look up"

Click here to go to Manchester
See also:

12 Sep 02 | England
13 Aug 02 | England
27 Jun 02 | England
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