Bauxite was discovered in Manchester in 1942 and the industry has been largely credited with the development of the parish.
Over 4000 persons are employed in the industry and Alcan Jamaican Company, the country’s first bauxite company operates its Kirkvine Works plant in the parish.
The agricultural industry has long been and still remains the primary provider of employment in the parish of Manchester. The soil and the climate are good for the cultivation of fruits such as strawberries and peaches, which are not typical in tropical climates.
The main crops are:
Mandeville, in particular, is known for its numerous citrus groves where oranges, grapefruits and ortaniques are cultivated. The parish is also known as the home of the Ortanique. This citrus fruit was developed by CP Jackson in 1920 and its title was coined by combining the words Orange, Tangerine and unique.
Manchester is counted among the highest producing coffee areas in the country.
The High Mountain Coffee Factory in Williamsfield produces coffee comparable in quality to that of Blue Mountain, which has the distinction of being the world’s best coffee.
- Irish Potatoes
A large portion of the Irish Potatoes that are consumed locally are grown in Manchester. Christiana is the main point for cultivation and the growers’ co-operative also has its headquarters there.
- Snow Peas
A recent addition to Manchester’s agricultural industry, a snow peas crop matures in just 60 days. The legume is considered a delicacy by lovers of fine cuisine.
Ocho Rios and Negril are the towns traditionally associated with Jamaican tourism, but Mandeville has long been a player in the game. At one point it was the site of two of Jamaica’s most popular hotels, the Mandeville Hotel and the Hotel Manchester.
Without much fanfare or promotion it remains a popular spot among tourists who seek a change from the busy North Coast beach towns.
The new wave sweeping through Manchester and much of the South Coast is community tourism. Residents in the local communities open their homes, providing meals, tours and accommodation for travelers. Community tourism allows visitors to get in touch with the people of Jamaica, explore un-exploited areas such as mountains, valleys and un-crowded beaches.
The Manchester Parish Library is the largest in the parish. In addition, twelve of the towns in the surrounding areas have libraries
The Hargreaves Memorial Hospital is the only such facility in the island which is community owned. The hospital started life as a Maternity facility in the 1920s which functioned as an adjunct of the Mandeville Public Hospital.