In my novel, The Bowes Inheritance, there is a brief glimpse of life in Angel Meadow, Manchester, where Fenian sympathies ran high and lawlessness prevailed.
The area was undoubtedly named for its idyllic scenery on the banks of the River Irk. However, the Industrial Revolution with its factories and workers’ houses soon swallowed up those verdant pastures. At the height of its notoriety, it became known as one of the worst slum districts in the United Kingdom. Today, regeneration has restored some of the area and Angel Meadow is now a public park – a far cry from a nineteenth century, rather chilling, description of the area:
“The lowest, most filthy, most unhealthy, and most wicked locality in Manchester is called Angel Meadow. It lies off the Oldham Road, is full of cellars and is inhabited by prostitutes, their bullies, thieves, cadgers, vagrants, tramps, and, in the very worst sites of filth, and darkness.” (Image copyright Manchester Libraries)