The southern boundary of the North West once ran along the Mersey, but Manchester spread southwards across the Mersey and as I said, many now think of Cheshire as North West. While England has no official second city, many people agree that unofficially Manchester is it. Recently the government has tried to stem the overheating of the economy of London, which has placed enormous pressures on housing and services in the South East by empowering Manchester as part of its strategy to develop a northern powerhouse. Other cities are expected to join in the movement. The only condition is that these cities elect their own mayor. We have mayors already, but they are merely symbolic, but now we are pushing for mayors with power.
Manchester, in South East Lancashire, is the social hub of the North West, and is the place where many people go for entertainment. It is famous for its night clubs and restaurants. The ex-United and City footballer who claimed on his native Argentine television that Manchester had only two restaurants really meant that there were only two that he liked, and this was grossly unfair. The city has museums. Besides the museum at the university of Manchester, at which I studied, there is the museum of science and industry, which includes the Aerospace museum, and some smaller museums. Manchester United and Manchester City are the two largest clubs in a football loving conurbation, but there are others with their own great traditions, such as Bolton Wanderers. There is also the Whitworth Art Gallery.
At the Western end of South Lancashire there is Merseyside, at the centre of which is Liverpool. It is famed as the home of the Beatles and some other musicians. The city went through a bad patch economically, but there is currently much effort being made to drive it forward and it is a city making progress, for it shares in the dynamism of South Lancashire. It has two famous football clubs, Liverpool and Everton.
As you proceed further north you pass the resort town of Blackpool, which is one of several small towns in central Lancashire. It is a town known for its annual illuminations, which take place in Autumn. Many people take a day trip there. North from there you reach Morecambe and Lancaster. The word morecambe in old Cumbric [a Celtic tongue once spoken here], means Big Bay. It is a large sandy bay. Enjoy the view but abide by the warning signs. The sands are dangerous, and a few years ago some illegal Chinese immigrants employed as cockle pickers were drowned when caught by the fast incoming tide.
Further north you come to the Cumbria, one of England's most beautiful counties, where we find the Lake District, a region where there are beautiful lakes surrounded by mountains. It is the place where the Lakeland poets, Wordsworth and Coleridge worked, and you can still visit Wordsworth;s cottage in Grasmere, a beautiful village.