MANCHESTER, a city of the United States, one of the shire towns of Hillsborough county, New Hampshire, is situated mainly on the left bank of the Merrimac, in a broad plain about 90 feet above the level of the river, in 42° 35' N. lat. and 71° 31' W. long., 16 miles from Concord and 40 north-west of Boston. It is a terminus of several railroads, as well as a principal station on the Boston, Lowell, and Concord line. The general plan is regular and spacious; there are several large and ornamental squares, and the main thoroughfare, Elm Street, is 100 feet wide, more than a mile long, and bordered by the trees from which it takes its name. Towards the river the frontage consists of great brick-built factories and substantial tenements for the accommodation of the operatives. A city-hall (rebuilt after the fire in 1842), the county court-house, the State reform school (for one hundred and fifty pupils), two opera-houses, and a Roman Catholic convent (St Ann's) and orphan asylum are among the buildings of note. The city library (24,000 volumes), founded by private enterprise in 1814 as the Manchester Athenæum, became public property in 1854. Water from Lake Massabesic (4 miles distant and 2300 acres in extent) was introduced into the town in 1874, at a cost of nearly $1,000,000, and is stored in a reservoir capable of containing 16,000,000 gallons. It is almost exclusively to the water-power furnished by the Blodgett Canal (built in 1816 round the Amoskeag Falls, which have a descent of 47 feet) that Manchester owes its prosperity as a manufacturing centre. The Amoskeag Company (dating from 1831), the Stark mills (1838), the Manchester mills (1839), the Langdon mills (1857), and the Amory mills (1880) are the leading establishments; they possess an aggregate capital of $7,650,000, work 12,000 looms and 409,000 spindles, and make 143 miles of web daily. Locomotive engines (produced at the rate of fourteen per month), steam fire-engines, edge tools, circular saws, files, sewing machines, carriages, leather, boots and shoes, paper, and ale all likewise form important items in the local industry. Manchester is governed by a mayor, a board of aldermen (one member for each of the eight wards), and a common council (three members for each ward). The assessed value of property in 1881 was $19,175,408; and the city debt $965,550. The population, which was 13,932 in 1850, stands in the succeeding decades at 20,107, 23,536, and 32,630, and is stated in 1882 at 36,500.

Originally settled in the close of the 17th century by Scotch Presbyterians and Massachusetts Puritans, Derryfield, as it was then called, though incorporated in 1751, continued for upwards of seventy years to be a place of less than one hundred inhabitants, with neither minister nor lawyer, and so dependent on the river fisheries that the eels were known as the “Derryfield beef.” The name Manchester was legally recognized in 1810, and a city charter was granted in 1846. The city has recently been described as paying nearly one-ninth of the State tax and producing one-eighth of the manufactured goods made in the State, as embracing one-tenth of the population of the State, as the fourth city of the Union in the value of its cotton and woollen manufactures, and the third city in New England in increase during the last decade.