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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, 58 kilometres (36 mi) to the west.Commerce was supported by financial service industries such as banking and insurance.Trade, and feeding the growing population, required a large transport and distribution infrastructure: the canal system was extended, and Manchester became one end of the world's first intercity passenger railway—the Liverpool and Manchester Railway.
On the canal's banks, just outside the borough, the world's first industrial estate was created at Trafford Park.
The great majority of cotton spinning took place in the towns of south Lancashire and north Cheshire, and Manchester was for a time the most productive centre of cotton processing, The industrial revolution brought about huge change in Manchester and was key to the increase in Manchester's population.
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.
Significant quantities of cotton began to be used after about 1600, firstly in linen/cotton fustians, but by around 1750 pure cotton fabrics were being produced and cotton had overtaken wool in importance.
The Irwell and Mersey were made navigable by 1736, opening a route from Manchester to the sea docks on the Mersey.
Manchester Liverpool Road railway station was the world's first inter-city passenger railway station and 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.