This is a picture of a Barrage Balloon, It was used (alongside many others) to provide cover against enemy bombing attacks on Britain during world war II.
Despite its size and volume these balloons were terribly lightweight and required teams of operators to anchor them and keep them in position.
They were used in areas of strategic importance , such as Runways , Railways and Docks. The port of Manchester was considered a key target for the enemy airplanes in World War II because of the vast amount of goods coming through it.
The one you see on here , is part of Imperial War Museum North’s Large object collection where the balloon operators tale is one of many displayed throughout the Museum’s Main Exhibition Space