Angel Meadow’s tobacco factory loomed large over the slum’s skyline and added a sickly sweetness to the toxic atmosphere. The factory was built by the Co-operative Wholesale Society in 1898 and made cigarettes and cigars from leaves imported from as far away as Borneo, Sumatra, Brazil and Cuba. The most prized workers were the cigar makers, who could roll tobacco leaves with the dexterity of classical pianists. But the factory employed no local people, with managers revealing in 1902 that their workers came from ‘better class districts’.
Angel Meadow: Victorian Britain’s Most Savage Slum, the first history of Manchester’s Angel Meadow district, is set to be released on 28 February, 2016. Find out how to buy the book here.