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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.

Its fortune declined after the Second World War, owing to deindustrialisation, but the IRA bombing in 1996 led to extensive investment and regeneration.

Similarly, the chemical industry started by producing bleaches and dyes, but expanded into other areas.

Commerce was supported by financial service industries such as banking and insurance.

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.He was a diligent puritan, turning out ale houses and banning the celebration of Christmas; he died in 1656.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.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.Competition between the various forms of transport kept costs down. This enabled oceangoing ships to sail right into the Port of Manchester.

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