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Coordinates: 53°28N 2°14W / 53.467°N 2.233°W / 53.467; -2.233

City of Manchester
  City & Metropolitan borough  
Clockwise from top: the city seen from a distance, Beetham Tower, Manchester Civil Justice Centre, Midland Hotel, One Angel Square, Manchester Town Hall

Coat of Arms of the City Council
Nickname(s): "Cottonopolis", "Warehouse City", "Rainy City",[1] Madchester, Mancunia
Motto: "Concilio Et Labore" "By wisdom and effort"
Manchester shown within Greater Manchester and England
Coordinates: 53°28N 2°14W / 53.467°N 2.233°W / 53.467; -2.233
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region North West England
Ceremonial county Greater Manchester
Admin HQ Manchester Town Hall,
Manchester city centre
Founded 1st century
Town charter 1301
City status 1853
  Type Metropolitan borough, City
  Governing body Manchester City Council
  Lord Mayor Elaine Boyes[2]
  MPs: Paul Goggins (Lab)
Sir Gerald Kaufman (Lab)
John Leech (Lib Dem)
Lucy Powell (Lab)
Graham Stringer (Lab)
  Total 44.65 sq mi (115.65 km2)
Elevation 125 ft (38 m)
Population (2011 est.)
  Total 502,900 (ranked 7th)
  Density 11,260/sq mi (4,349/km2)
  County 2,682,500
  Ethnicity[3] 66.7% White
(59.3% White British)
4.7% Mixed Race
17.1% British Asian
(12.1% S.Asian, 2.7% Chinese)
3.1% Other
8.6% Black British
Demonym Mancunian
Time zone Greenwich Mean Time (UTC+0)
Postcode M
Area code(s) 0161
OS grid reference SJ838980
Website www.manchester.gov.uk

Manchester i/mæntstr/ is a city and metropolitan borough in North West England with an estimated population of 503,000.[4] Manchester lies within the United Kingdom's third largest urban area which has a population of 2,240,230.[5] People from Manchester are known as Mancunians and the local authority is Manchester City Council. Manchester is situated in the south-central part of North West England, fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south and the Pennines to the north and east.

The recorded history of Manchester began with the civilian settlement associated with the Roman fort of Mamucium, which was established in c. 79 AD on a sandstone bluff near the confluence of the rivers Medlock and Irwell. Historically, most of the city was a part of Lancashire, although areas south of the River Mersey were in Cheshire.[6] Throughout the Middle Ages Manchester remained a manorial township, but it began to expand "at an astonishing rate" around the turn of the 19th century. Manchester's unplanned urbanisation was brought on by a boom in textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution,[7] and resulted in it becoming the world's first industrialised city.[8] An early-19th-century factory building boom transformed Manchester from a township into a major mill town and borough that was granted city status in 1853. In 1877, the Manchester Town Hall was built and in 1894 the Manchester Ship Canal was opened, creating the Port of Manchester.

The city is notable for its architecture, culture, music scene, media links, scientific and engineering output, social impact and sporting connections. Manchester's sports clubs include Premier League football teams, Manchester City and Manchester United.[9] Manchester was the site of the world's first railway station, and the place where scientists first split the atom and developed the first stored-program computer. Manchester is served by two universities, including the largest single-site university in the UK, and has the country's third largest urban economy.[10] Manchester is also the third-most visited city in the UK by foreign visitors, after London and Edinburgh, and the most visited in England outside London.[11]




The name Manchester originates from the Ancient Roman name Mamucium, the name of the Roman fort and settlement, generally thought to be a Latinisation of an original Celtic name (possibly meaning "breast-like hill" from mamm- = "breast"), plus Old English ceaster = "town", which is derived from Latin castra = "camp".[12] An alternative theory suggests that the origin is Brythonic mamma = "mother", where the "mother" was a river-goddess of the River Medlock which flows below the fort. Mam means "female breast" in Irish Gaelic and "mother" in Welsh.[13]

Early history

The Brigantes were the major Celtic tribe in what is now Northern England; they had a stronghold in the locality at a sandstone outcrop on which Manchester Cathedral now stands, opposite the banks of the River Irwell.[14] Their territory extended across the fertile lowland of what is now Salford and Stretford. Following the Roman conquest of Britain in the 1st century, General Agricola ordered the construction of a Roman fort named Mamucium in the year 79 to ensure that Roman interests in Deva Victrix (Chester) and Eboracum (York) were protected from the Brigantes.[14] Central Manchester has been permanently settled since this time.[15] A stabilised fragment of foundations of the final version of the Roman fort is visible in Castlefield. The Roman habitation of Manchester probably ended around the 3rd century; the vicus, or civilian settlement, appears to have been abandoned by the mid-3rd century, although the fort may have supported a small garrison until the late 3rd or early 4th century.[16] By the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066, the focus of settlement had shifted to the confluence of the rivers Irwell and Irk.[17] Much of the wider area was laid waste in the subsequent Harrying of the North.[18][19]

Thomas de la Warre, lord of the manor, founded and constructed a collegiate church for the parish in 1421. The church is now Manchester Cathedral; the domestic premises of the college house Chetham's School of Music and Chetham's Library.[17][20] The library, which opened in 1653 and is still open to the public today, is the oldest free public reference library in the United Kingdom.[21]

Manchester is mentioned as having a market in 1282.[22] Around the 14th century, Manchester received an influx of Flemish weavers, sometimes credited as the foundation of the region's textile industry.[23] Manchester became an important centre for the manufacture and trade of woollens and linen, and by about 1540, had expanded to become, in John Leland's words, "The fairest, best builded, quickest, and most populous town of all Lancashire."[17] The cathedral and Chetham's buildings are the only significant survivors of Leland's Manchester.[18]

During the English Civil War, Manchester strongly favoured the Parliamentary interest. Although not long lasting, Cromwell granted it the right to elect its own MP. Charles Worsley, who sat for the city for only a year, was later appointed Major General for Lancashire, Cheshire and Staffordshire during the Rule of the Major Generals. He was a diligent puritan, turning out ale houses and banning the celebration of Christmas; he died in 1656.[24]

Significant quantities of cotton began to be used after about 1600, firstly in linen/cotton fustians, but by around 1750 pure cotton fabrics were being produced and cotton had overtaken wool in importance.[17] The Irwell and Mersey were made navigable by 1736, opening a route from Manchester to the sea docks on the Mersey. The Bridgewater Canal, Britain's first wholly artificial waterway, was opened in 1761, bringing coal from mines at Worsley to central Manchester. The canal was extended to the Mersey at Runcorn by 1776. The combination of competition and improved efficiency halved the cost of coal and halved the transport cost of raw cotton.[17][20] Manchester became the dominant marketplace for textiles produced in the surrounding towns.[17] A commodities exchange, opened in 1729,[18] and numerous large warehouses, aided commerce.

In 1780, Richard Arkwright began construction of Manchester's first cotton mill.[18][20]

Industrial Revolution

Manchester's history is concerned with textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution. The great majority of cotton spinning took place in the towns of south Lancashire and north Cheshire, and Manchester was for a time the most productive centre of cotton processing,[25] and later the world's largest marketplace for cotton goods.[17][26] Manchester was dubbed "Cottonopolis" and "Warehouse City" during the Victorian era.[25] In Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, the term "manchester" is still used for household linen: sheets, pillow cases, towels, etc.[27] The industrial revolution brought about huge change in Manchester and was key to the population increase which was seen in Manchester | |</ref>

Manchester began expanding "at an astonishing rate" around the turn of the 19th century as people flocked to the city for work from Scotland, Wales, Ireland and other areas of England as part of a process of unplanned urbanisation brought on by the Industrial Revolution.[28][29][30] It developed a wide range of industries, so that by 1835 "Manchester was without challenge the first and greatest industrial city in the world."[26] Engineering firms initially made machines for the cotton trade, but diversified into general manufacture. Similarly, the chemical industry started by producing bleaches and dyes, but expanded into other areas. Commerce was supported by financial service industries such as banking and insurance.

Trade, and feeding the growing population, required a large transport and distribution infrastructure: the canal system was extended, and Manchester became one end of the world's first intercity passenger railwaythe Liverpool and Manchester Railway. Competition between the various forms of transport kept costs down.[17] In 1878 the GPO (the forerunner of British Telecom) provided its first telephones to a firm in Manchester.[31]

The Manchester Ship Canal was built in 1894, in some sections by canalisation of the Rivers Irwell and Mersey, running 58 kilometres (36 mi)[32] from Salford to Eastham Locks on the tidal Mersey. This enabled ocean going ships to sail right into the Port of Manchester. On the canal's banks, just outside the borough, the world's first industrial estate was created at Trafford Park.[17] Large quantities of machinery, including cotton processing plant, were exported around the world.

A centre of capitalism, Manchester was once the scene of bread and labour riots, as well as calls for greater political recognition by the city's working and non-titled classes. One such gathering ended with the Peterloo Massacre of 16 August 1819. The economic school of Manchester capitalism developed there, and Manchester was the centre of the Anti-Corn Law League from 1838 onward.

Manchester has a notable place in the history of Marxism and left-wing politics; being the subject of Friedrich Engels' work The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844; Engels spent much of his life in and around Manchester,[33] and when Karl Marx visited Manchester, they met at Chetham's Library. The economics books Marx was reading at the time can be seen in the library, as can the window seat where Marx and Engels would meet.[21] The first Trades Union Congress was held in Manchester (at the Mechanics' Institute, David Street), from 2 to 6 June 1868. Manchester was an important cradle of the Labour Party and the Suffragette Movement.[34]

At that time, it seemed a place in which anything could happennew industrial processes, new ways of thinking (the Manchester School, promoting free trade and laissez-faire), new classes or groups in society, new religious sects, and new forms of labour organisation. It attracted educated visitors from all parts of Britain and Europe. A saying capturing this sense of innovation survives today: "What Manchester does today, the rest of the world does tomorrow."[35] Manchester's golden age was perhaps the last quarter of the 19th century. Many of the great public buildings (including Manchester Town Hall) date from then. The city's cosmopolitan atmosphere contributed to a vibrant culture, which included the Hallé Orchestra. In 1889, when county councils were created in England, the municipal borough became a county borough with even greater autonomy.

Although the Industrial Revolution brought wealth to the city, it also brought poverty and squalor to a large part of the population. Historian Simon Schama noted that "Manchester was the very best and the very worst taken to terrifying extremes, a new kind of city in the world; the chimneys of industrial suburbs greeting you with columns of smoke". An American visitor taken to Manchesters blackspots saw "wretched, defrauded, oppressed, crushed human nature, lying and bleeding fragments".[36]

The number of cotton mills in Manchester itself reached a peak of 108 in 1853.[25] Thereafter the number began to decline and Manchester was surpassed as the largest centre of cotton spinning by Bolton in the 1850s and Oldham in the 1860s.[25] However, this period of decline coincided with the rise of city as the financial centre of the region.[25] Manchester continued to process cotton, and in 1913, 65% of the world's cotton was processed in the area.[17] The First World War interrupted access to the export markets. Cotton processing in other parts of the world increased, often on machines produced in Manchester. Manchester suffered greatly from the Great Depression and the underlying structural changes that began to supplant the old industries, including textile manufacture.

The Second World War and the Manchester Blitz

Like most of the UK, the Manchester area mobilised extensively during the Second World War. For example, casting and machining expertise at Beyer, Peacock and Company's locomotive works in Gorton was switched to bomb making; Dunlop's rubber works in Chorlton-on-Medlock made barrage balloons; and just outside the city in Trafford Park, engineers Metropolitan-Vickers made Avro Manchester and Avro Lancaster bombers and Ford built the Rolls-Royce Merlin engines to power them. Manchester was thus the target of bombing by the Luftwaffe, and by late 1940 air raids were taking place against non-military targets. The biggest took place during the "Christmas Blitz" on the nights of 22/23 and 24 December 1940, when an estimated 467 long tons (474 t)s) of high explosives plus over 37,000 incendiary bombs were dropped. A large part of the historic city centre was destroyed, including 165 warehouses, 200 business premises, and 150 offices. 376 were killed and 30,000 houses were damaged.[37] Manchester Cathedral was among the buildings seriously damaged; its restoration took 20 years.[38]

Post-Second World War

Cotton processing and trading continued to fall in peacetime, and the exchange closed in 1968.[17] By 1963 the port of Manchester was the UK's third largest,[39] and employed over 3,000 men, but the canal was unable to handle the increasingly large container ships. Traffic declined, and the port closed in 1982.[40] Heavy industry suffered a downturn from the 1960s and was greatly reduced under the economic policies followed by Margaret Thatcher's government after 1979. Manchester lost 150,000 jobs in manufacturing between 1961 and 1983.[17]

Regeneration began in the late 1980s, with initiatives such as the Metrolink, the Bridgewater Concert Hall, the Manchester Arena, and (in Salford) the rebranding of the port as Salford Quays. Two bids to host the Olympic Games were part of a process to raise the international profile of the city.[42]

Manchester has a history of attacks attributed to Irish Republicans, including the Manchester Martyrs of 1867, arson in 1920, a series of explosions in 1939, and two bombs in 1992. On Saturday 15 June 1996, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out the 1996 Manchester bombing, the detonation of a large bomb next to a department store in the city centre. The largest to be detonated on British soil, the bomb injured over 200 people, heavily damaged nearby buildings, and broke windows half a mile away. The cost of the immediate damage was initially estimated at £50 million, but this was quickly revised upwards.[43] The final insurance payout was over £400 million; many affected businesses never recovered from the loss of trade.[44]

Spurred by the investment after the 1996 bomb, and aided by the XVII Commonwealth Games, Manchester's city centre has undergone extensive regeneration.[42] New and renovated complexes such as The Printworks and The Triangle have become popular shopping and entertainment destinations. The Manchester Arndale is the UK's largest city centre shopping mall.[45]

Large sections of the city dating from the 1960s have been either demolished and re-developed or modernised with the use of glass and steel. Old mills have been converted into modern apartments, Hulme has undergone extensive regeneration programmes, and million-pound lofthouse apartments have since been developed. The 169-metre tall, 47-storey Beetham Tower, completed in 2006, is the tallest building in the UK outside London and when finished was the highest residential accommodation in Europe.[46] In January 2007, the independent Casino Advisory Panel awarded Manchester a licence to build the only supercasino in the UK,[47] however plans were officially abandoned in February 2008.[48]

Since around the turn of the 21st century, Manchester has been regarded by sections of the international press,[49] British public,[50] and government ministers[51] as being the second city of the United Kingdom.[52] The BBC reports that redevelopment of recent years has heightened claims that Manchester is the second city of the UK.[53] Manchester and Birmingham have traditionally been considered for this unofficial title.[53]


Manchester is governed by Manchester City Council. Greater Manchester County Council was abolished in 1986 so it is effectively a unitary authority. Manchester has been a member of the English Core Cities Group since its inception in 1995.[54]

The town of Manchester was granted a charter by Thomas Grelley in 1301 but lost its borough status in a court case of 1359. Until the 19th century, local government was largely provided by manorial courts, the last of which ended in 1846.[55]

From a very early time, the township of Manchester lay within the historic county boundaries of Lancashire.[55] Pevsner wrote "That [neighbouring] Stretford and Salford are not administratively one with Manchester is one of the most curious anomalies of England".[23] A stroke of a Norman baron's pen is said to have divorced Manchester and Salford, though it was not Salford that became separated from Manchester, it was Manchester, with its humbler line of lords, that was separated from Salford.[56] It was this separation that resulted in Salford becoming the judicial seat of Salfordshire, which included the ancient parish of Manchester. Manchester later formed its own Poor Law Union using the name "Manchester".[55] In 1792, commissionersusually known as police commissionerswere established for the social improvement of Manchester. In 1838, Manchester regained its borough status, and comprised the townships of Beswick, Cheetham Hill, Chorlton upon Medlock and Hulme.[55] By 1846 the borough council had taken over the powers of the police commissioners. In 1853 Manchester was granted city status in the United Kingdom.[55]

In 1885, Bradford, Harpurhey, Rusholme and parts of Moss Side and Withington townships became part of the City of Manchester. In 1889, the city became the county borough of Manchester, separate from the administrative county of Lancashire, and thus not governed by Lancashire County Council.[55] Between 1890 and 1933, more areas were added to the city from Lancashire, including former villages such as Burnage, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Didsbury, Fallowfield, Levenshulme, Longsight, and Withington. In 1931 the Cheshire civil parishes of Baguley, Northenden and Northen Etchells from the south of the River Mersey were added.[55] In 1974, by way of the Local Government Act 1972, the City of Manchester became a metropolitan district of the metropolitan county of Greater Manchester.[55] That year, Ringway, the town where Manchester Airport is located, was added to the city.


Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Climate-Charts.com

At 53°280N 2°140W / 53.46667°N 2.23333°W / 53.46667; -2.23333, 160 miles (257 km) northwest of London, Manchester lies in a bowl-shaped land area bordered to the north and east by the Pennines, a mountain chain that runs the length of northern England, and to the south by the Cheshire Plain. The city centre is on the east bank of the River Irwell, near its confluences with the Rivers Medlock and Irk, and is relatively low-lying, being between 115 to 138 feet (35 to 42 metres) above sea level.[57] The River Mersey flows through the south of Manchester. Much of the inner city, especially in the south, is flat, offering extensive views from many highrise buildings in the city of the foothills and moors of the Pennines, which can often be capped with snow in the winter months. Manchester's geographic features were highly influential in its early development as the world's first industrial city. These features are its climate, its proximity to a seaport at Liverpool, the availability of water power from its rivers, and its nearby coal reserves.[58]

The name Manchester, though officially applied only to the metropolitan district of Greater Manchester, has been applied to other, wider divisions of land, particularly across much of the Greater Manchester county and urban area. The "Manchester City Zone", "Manchester post town" and the "Manchester Congestion Charge" are all examples of this.

For purposes of the Office for National Statistics, Manchester forms the most populous settlement within the Greater Manchester Urban Area, the United Kingdom's third largest conurbation. There is a mixture of high-density urban and suburban locations in Manchester. The largest open space in the city, at around 260 hectares (642 acres),[59] is Heaton Park. Manchester is contiguous on all sides with several large settlements, except for a small section along its southern boundary with Cheshire. The M60 and M56 motorways pass through the south of Manchester, through Northenden and Wythenshawe respectively. Heavy rail lines enter the city from all directions, the principal destination being Manchester Piccadilly station.

Manchester experiences a temperate maritime climate, like much of the British Isles, with warm summers and cold winters. There is regular but generally light precipitation throughout the year. The city's average annual rainfall is 806.6 millimetres (31.76 in)[60] compared to the UK average of 1,125.0 millimetres (44.29 in),[61] and its mean rain days are 140.4 per annum,[60] compared to the UK average of 154.4.[61] Manchester however has a relatively high humidity level and this, along with the abundant supply of soft water, was one of the factors that led to the localisation of the textile industry in the area.[62] Snowfalls are not common in the city, due to the urban warming effect. However, the Pennine and Rossendale Forest hills that surround the city to its east and north receive more snow and roads leading out of the city can be closed due to snow.[63] notably the A62 road via Oldham and Standedge, the A57 (Snake Pass) towards Sheffield,[64] and the M62 over Saddleworth Moor.

Climate data for Manchester (Ringway) 69m asl, 1981-2010, extremes 1960-2005
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 14.3
Average high °C (°F) 7.3
Average low °C (°F) 1.7
Record low °C (°F) 12.0
Rainfall mm (inches) 72.3
Avg. rainy days ( 1.0 mm) 13.1 9.7 12.3 11.2 10.4 11.1 10.9 12.0 11.1 13.6 14.1 13.5 142.9
Avg. snowy days 9 7 5 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 5 30
 % humidity 87 86 86 85 82 84 86 88 89 89 87 87 86.3
Mean monthly sunshine hours 52.5 73.9 99.0 146.9 188.3 172.5 179.7 166.3 131.2 99.3 59.5 47.1 1,416.2
Source #1: Met Office[65]
Source #2: NOAA [66]


Manchester compared[67][68]
UK Census 2001 Manchester Greater Manchester England
Total population 398,819 2,547,700 49,138,831
Foreign born 15.0% 7.2% 9.2%
White 81.0% 91.0% 91.0%
Asian 9.1% 5.7% 4.6%
Black 4.5% 1.2% 2.3%
Over 75 years old 6.4% 7.0% 7.5%
Christian 62.4% 74% 71.8%
Muslim 9.1% 5.0% 3.1%

The United Kingdom Census 2001 showed a total resident population for Manchester of 392,819, a 9.2% decline from the 1991 census.[69] Approximately 83,000 were aged under 16, 285,000 were aged 1674, and 25,000 aged 75 and over.[69] According to the 2001 census, 85.2% of Manchester's population claim they have been born in the UK. Inhabitants of Manchester are known as Mancunians or Mancs for short. The census also revealed that Manchester had the second-lowest proportion of the population in employment of any local authority in the UK. In part this was due to the high proportion of students as Manchester had the highest proportion of students amongst local authorities.[69] A 2007 report noted "60 per cent of Manchester people are living in some of the UK's most deprived areas".[70]

Historically the population of Manchester began to increase rapidly during the Victorian era, peaking at 766,311 in 1931. From then the population began to decrease rapidly, due to slum clearance and the increased building of social housing overspill estates by Manchester City Council after the Second World War such as Hattersley and Langley.[71]

The inhabitants of Manchester, as of many other large cities, are religiously diverse. At the time of the 2001 census, 62.4% of the city's population were Christian, and 9.1% Muslim. Other religions represented less than 1% each. The proportion of people without a religion (16%) was above the national average (14.8%), with 9.7% not stating their religion.[72] The Jewish population is second only to London,[73] and Greater Manchester also has one of the largest Muslim populations.

The percentage of the population in Manchester who reported themselves as living in the same household in a same-sex relationship was 0.4%, compared to the English national average of 0.2%.[74]

In terms of ethnic composition, the City of Manchester has the highest non-white proportion of any district in Greater Manchester. Statistics from the 2011 census showed that 66.7% of the population was White (59.3% White British, 2.4% White Irish, 0.1% Gypsy or Irish Traveller, 4.9% Other White  although those of mixed European and British ancestry is unknown; there are reportedly over 25,000 Mancunians of at least partial Italian descent alone which represents 5.5% of the city's population[75]). 4.7% were mixed race (1.8% White and Black Caribbean, 0.9% White and Black African, 1.0% White and Asian, 1.0% Other Mixed), 17.1% Asian (2.3% Indian, 8.5% Pakistani, 1.3% Bangladeshi, 2.7% Chinese, 2.3% Other Asian), 8.6% Black (5.1% African, 1.6% Other Black), 1.9% Arab and 1.2% of other ethnic heritage.[76] Kidd identifies Moss Side, Longsight, Cheetham Hill, Rusholme, as centres of population for ethnic minorities.[17] Manchester's Irish Festival, including a St Patrick's Day parade, is one of Europe's largest.[77] There is also a well-established Chinatown in the city with a substantial number of oriental restaurants and Chinese supermarkets. The area also attracts large numbers of Chinese students to the city who, in attending the local universities,[78] contribute to Manchester having the third-largest Chinese population in Europe.[79][80]

The Manchester Larger Urban Zone, a Eurostat measure of the functional city-region approximated to local government districts, has a population of 2,539,100 in 2004.[81] In addition to Manchester itself, the LUZ includes the remainder of the county of Greater Manchester.[82] The Manchester LUZ is the second largest within the United Kingdom, behind that of London.


Manchester was at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, and was a leading centre for manufacturing. The city's economy is now largely service-based and, as of 2007, is the fastest growing in the UK, with inward investment second only to the capital.[83] Manchester's State of the City Report identifies financial and professional services, life science industries, creative, cultural and media, manufacturing and communications as major activities.[83] The city was ranked in 2010 as the second-best place to do business in the UK and the twelfth best in Europe.[84]

A 2008 report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers showed that Manchester had the third largest city economy in the United Kingdom and the 74th largest in the world, with a GDP of $85bn.[10] Manchester has the largest UK office market outside London according to GVA Grimley with a quarterly average office uptake of approximately 230,000 square ft - more than the quarterly office uptake of Leeds, Liverpool and Newcastle combined and nearly 80,000 square feet more than the nearest rival Birmingham.[85] The wider Greater Manchester region which Manchester is at the heart of represents over £42 billion of the UK GVA, the third largest of any English county and more than Wales or North East England.[86]

Manchester is a focus for businesses which serve local, regional and international markets.[87] It is the fifth-largest financial centre in the United Kingdom outside London with more than 96,300 people employed in banking, finance and insurance.[88] The Co-operative Group, the world's largest consumer-owned business, is based in Manchester and is one of the city's biggest employers. Legal, accounting, management consultancy and other professional and technical services exist in Manchester.[87]

Manchester's commercial centre is in Manchester city centre, adjacent to Piccadilly, focused on Mosley Street, Deansgate, King Street and Piccadilly. Spinningfields is a £1.5 billion mixed-use development that is expanding the district west of Deansgate. The area is designed to hold office space, retail and catering facilities, and courts. Several high-profile tenants have moved in, and a Civil Justice Centre opened in October 2007.[89]

Manchester is the commercial, educational and cultural focus for North West England,[87] and in 2010 was ranked as the fourth biggest central retail area in the UK by sales.[90] The city centre retail area contains shops from chain stores up to high-end boutiques such as Vivienne Westwood, Emporio Armani, DKNY, Harvey Nichols, Boodles, Chanel and Hermès.


Manchester's buildings display a variety of architectural styles, ranging from Victorian to contemporary architecture. The widespread use of red brick characterises the city. Much of the architecture in the city harks back to its days as a global centre for the cotton trade.[20] Just outside the immediate city centre is a large number of former cotton mills, some of which have been left virtually untouched since their closure while many have been redeveloped into apartment buildings and office space. Manchester Town Hall, in Albert Square, was built in the Gothic revival style and is considered to be one of the most important Victorian buildings in England.[91]

Manchester also has a number of skyscrapers built during the 1960s and 1970s, the tallest of which was the CIS Tower located near Manchester Victoria station until the Beetham Tower was completed in 2006; it is an example of the new surge in high-rise building and includes a Hilton hotel, a restaurant, and apartments. On its completion, it was the tallest building in the UK outside London, although an even taller building, the Piccadilly Tower, began construction behind Manchester Piccadilly station in early 2008 (a project in abeyance).[92] The Green Building, opposite Oxford Road station, is a pioneering eco-friendly housing project, while the recently completed One Angel Square, is one of the most sustainable large buildings in the world.[93] The award-winning Heaton Park in the north of the city borough is one of the largest municipal parks in Europe, covering 610 acres (250 ha) of parkland.[94] The city has 135 parks, gardens, and open spaces.[95]

Two large squares hold many of Manchester's public monuments. Albert Square has monuments to Prince Albert, Bishop James Fraser, Oliver Heywood, William Ewart Gladstone,and John Bright. Piccadilly Gardens has monuments dedicated to Queen Victoria, Robert Peel, James Watt and the Duke of Wellington. The cenotaph in St Peter's Square, by Edwin Lutyens, is Manchester's main memorial to its war dead. The Alan Turing Memorial in Sackville Park commemorates his role as the father of modern computing. A larger-than-life statue of Abraham Lincoln by George Gray Barnard in the eponymous Lincoln Square (having stood for many years in Platt Fields) was presented to the city by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Phelps Taft of Cincinnati, Ohio, to mark the part that Lancashire played in the cotton famine and American Civil War of 18611865.[96] A Concorde is on display near Manchester Airport.

Manchester has six designated Local Nature Reserves which are Chorlton Water Park, Blackley Forest, Clayton Vale and Chorlton Ees, Ivy Green, Boggart Hole Clough and Highfield Country Park.[97]


Manchester and North West England are served by Manchester Airport. The airport is the third busiest in the United Kingdom and the largest outside the London region. Airline services exist to many destinations in Europe, North America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East and Asia (with more destinations from Manchester than from London Heathrow).[98] A second runway was opened in 2001 and there have been continued terminal improvements. Despite being a regional airport, the airport has the highest rating available, "Category 10" encompassing an elite group of airports which are able to handle "Code F" aircraft including the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8.[99] From September 2010 the airport became one of only 17 airports in the world and the only airport other than Heathrow Airport to operate the Airbus A380 in the United Kingdom.[100]

Manchester is well served by the rail network.[101] In terms of passengers, Manchester Piccadilly was the busiest English railway station outside London in 2007/08 and the third busiest in 2008/09.[102] Local operator Northern Rail and First Transpennine Express operates all over the North of England, and other national operators include East Midlands Trains and Virgin Trains. The city's other main central railway station, Manchester Victoria, had many more platforms before the arrival of the Manchester Arena than it now has. The Liverpool and Manchester Railway was the first passenger railway in the world. Manchester is at the centre of an extensive countywide railway network with two mainline stations: Piccadilly and Victoria. Manchester city centre is also serviced by over a dozen rail-based park and ride sites.[103] In October 2007, the government announced that a feasibility study had been ordered into increasing the capacity at Piccadilly Station and turning Manchester into the rail hub of the north.[104] Future improvements include a £560 million Northern Hub scheme by Network Rail to alleviate bottlenecks on Manchester's rail routes and, if constructed, the High Speed 2 link to London.

Manchester became the first city in the UK to acquire a modern light rail tram system when the Manchester Metrolink opened in 1992. The present system mostly runs on former commuter rail lines converted for light rail use, and crosses the city centre via on-street tram lines.[105] The 23 mi (37 km)-network consists of three lines with 37 stations (including five on-street tram stops in the centre). An expansion programme is underway[106] which will create four new lines to add to the current three and will be at least 99 stops, 62 more than in 2010. Upon completion Manchester will have the largest tram system in the UK.[107]

The city has one of the most extensive bus networks outside London with over 50 bus companies operating in the Greater Manchester region radiating from the city. Before the deregulation of 1986, SELNEC and later GMPTE operated all buses in Manchester.[108] The bus system was then taken over by GM Buses which after privatisation was split into GM Buses North and GM Buses South and at a later date these were taken over by First Greater Manchester and Stagecoach Manchester respectively.[109] First Greater Manchester also operates a three route zero-fare bus service called Metroshuttle which carries commuters around Manchester's business districts.[110] Stagecoach Manchester is the Stagecoach Group's largest subsidiary and operates around 690 buses and serves 87 million passengers a year.[111] One of its services is the 192 bus service, the busiest bus route in the UK.[112]

An extensive canal network remains from the Industrial Revolution, nowadays mainly used for leisure. The Manchester Ship Canal is open, but traffic to the upper reaches is light.[113]



Bands that have emerged from the Manchester music scene include The Smiths, the Buzzcocks, The Fall, Joy Division and its successor group New Order, Oasis, Doves and Ten. Manchester was credited as the main regional driving force behind indie bands of the 1980s including Happy Mondays, Inspiral Carpets, James, and The Stone Roses. These groups came from what became known as the "Madchester" scene that also centred around The Haçienda nightclub developed by founder of Factory Records Tony Wilson. Although from southern England, The Chemical Brothers subsequently formed in Manchester.[114] Ex-Smiths Morrissey continues a successful solo career. Notable Manchester acts of the 1960s include The Hollies, Herman's Hermits, Davy Jones of the Monkees and the Bee Gees, who grew up in Chorlton.[115]

Its main pop music venue is the Manchester Arena with over 21,000 seats, the largest arena of its type in Europe which was voted International Venue of the Year in 2007.[116] In terms of concert goers, it is the busiest indoor arena in the world ahead of Madison Square Garden in New York and the O2 Arena in London, the second and third busiest respectively.[117] Other major venues include the Manchester Apollo and the Manchester Academy. Smaller venues are the Band on the Wall, the Roadhouse,[118] the Night and Day Café,[119] the Ruby Lounge,[120] and The Deaf Institute.[121]

Manchester has two symphony orchestras, the Hallé and the BBC Philharmonic. There is also a chamber orchestra, the Manchester Camerata. In the 1950s, the city was home to the so-called 'Manchester School' of classical composers, which comprised Harrison Birtwistle, Peter Maxwell Davies, David Ellis and Alexander Goehr. Manchester is a centre for musical education, with the Royal Northern College of Music and Chethams School of Music.[122] Forerunners of the RNCM were the Northern School of Music (founded 1920) and the Royal Manchester College of Music (founded 1893). The main classical venue was the Free Trade Hall on Peter Street, until the opening in 1996 of the 2,500 seat Bridgewater Hall.[123]

Brass band music, a tradition in the north of England, is an important part of Manchester's musical heritage;[124] some of the UK's leading bands, such as the CWS Manchester Band and the Fairey Band, are from Manchester and surrounding areas, and the Whit Friday brass band contest takes place annually in the neighbouring areas of Saddleworth and Tameside.

Performing arts

Manchester has a thriving theatre, opera and dance scene, and is home to a number of large performance venues, including the Manchester Opera House, which feature large-scale touring shows and West End productions; the Palace Theatre; and the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchesters former cotton exchange.

Smaller performance spaces include the Library Theatre, a producing theatre in the basement of the Central Library; the Contact Theatre; and Studio Salford. The Dancehouse is dedicated to dance productions.[125] The Library Theatre closed in 2010, and will reopen in 2014 in a new custom built arts complex it will share with Cornerhouse.[126]

Museums and galleries

Manchester's museums celebrate Manchester's Roman history, rich industrial heritage and its role in the Industrial Revolution, the textile industry, the Trade Union movement, women's suffrage and football. A reconstructed part of the Roman fort of Mamucium is open to the public in Castlefield. The Museum of Science and Industry, housed in the former Liverpool Road railway station, has a large collection of steam locomotives, industrial machinery and aircraft.[127] The Museum of Transport displays a collection of historic buses and trams.[128] Trafford Park in the neighbouring borough of Trafford is home to Imperial War Museum North.[129] The Manchester Museum opened to the public in the 1880s, has notable Egyptology and natural history collections.[130]

The municipally-owned Manchester Art Gallery on Mosley Street houses a permanent collection of European painting, and has one of Britain's most significant collections of Pre-Raphaelite paintings.[131][132]

In the south of the city, the Whitworth Art Gallery displays modern art, sculpture and textiles.[133] Other exhibition spaces and museums in Manchester include the Cornerhouse, the Urbis centre, the Manchester Costume Gallery at Platt Fields Park, the People's History Museum and the Manchester Jewish Museum.[134]

The works of Stretford-born painter L. S. Lowry, known for his "matchstick" paintings of industrial Manchester and Salford, can be seen in both the city and Whitworth Manchester galleries, and at the Lowry art centre in Salford Quays (in the neighbouring borough of Salford) devotes a large permanent exhibition to his works.[135]


In the 19th century, Manchester featured in works highlighting the changes that industrialisation had brought to Britain. These included Elizabeth Gaskell's novel Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester Life (1848),[136] and The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844, written by Friedrich Engels while living and working in Manchester.[137] Charles Dickens is reputed to have set his novel Hard Times in the city, and while it is partly modelled on Preston, it shows the influence of his friend Mrs Gaskell.[138]


The night-time economy of Manchester has expanded significantly since about 1993, with investment from breweries in bars, public houses and clubs, along with active support from the local authorities.[139] The more than 500 licensed premises[140] in the city centre have a capacity to deal with over 250,000 visitors,[141] with 110130,000 people visiting on a typical weekend night.[140] The night-time economy has a value of about £100 million pa[142] and supports 12,000 jobs.[140]

The Madchester scene of the 1980s, from which groups including The Stone Roses, the Happy Mondays, Inspiral Carpets, 808 State, James and The Charlatans emerged, was based on clubs such as The Haçienda.[143] The period was the subject of the film 24 Hour Party People. Many of the big clubs suffered problems with organised crime at that time; Haslam describes one where staff were so completely intimidated that free admission and drinks were demanded (and given) and drugs were openly dealt.[143] Following a series of drug-related violent incidents, The Hacienda closed in 1997.[139]

Gay Village

Public houses in the Canal Street area have had a gay clientele since at least 1940[139] and now form the centre of Manchester's gay community. Since the opening of new bars and clubs, the area attracts 20,000 visitors each weekend[139] and has hosted a popular festival, Manchester Pride, each August since 1991.[144] The TV series Queer as Folk was set in the area.


There are three universities in the City of Manchester. The University of Manchester is the largest full-time non-collegiate university in the United Kingdom and was created in 2004 by the merger of Victoria University of Manchester and UMIST.[145] It includes the Manchester Business School, which offered the first MBA course in the UK in 1965. Manchester Metropolitan University was formed as Manchester Polytechnic on the merger of three colleges in 1970. It gained university status in 1992, and in the same year absorbed Crewe and Alsager College of Higher Education in South Cheshire.[146] The University of Law has a campus in the city. It is the largest provider of vocational legal training in Europe.[147]

The University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and the Royal Northern College of Music are grouped around Oxford Road on the southern side of the city centre, which forms Europe's largest urban higher education precinct.[148] Together they have a combined population of 73 160 students in higher education,[149] though almost 6 000 of these were based at Manchester Metropolitan University's campuses at Crewe and Alsager in Cheshire.[150]

One of Manchester's most notable secondary schools is the Manchester Grammar School. Established in 1515,[151] as a free grammar school next to what is now the Cathedral, it moved in 1931 to Old Hall Lane in Fallowfield, south Manchester, to accommodate the growing student body. In the post-war period, it was a direct grant grammar school (i.e. partially state funded), but it reverted to independent status in 1976 after abolition of the direct-grant system.[152] Its previous premises are now used by Chetham's School of Music. There are three schools nearby: William Hulme's Grammar School, Withington Girls' School and Manchester High School for Girls.

In 2010, the Manchester Local Education Authority was ranked last out of Greater Manchester's ten LEAs  and 147th out of 150 in the country LEAs  based on the percentage of pupils attaining at least five A* grades at General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) including maths and English (38.6 per cent compared with the national average of 50.7 per cent). The LEA also had the highest occurrence of absences, with 11.11 per cent of "half day sessions missed by pupils", above the national average of 5.8 per cent.[153][154] Of the schools in the LEA with 30 or more pupils, four had 90 per cent or more pupils achieving at least five A*C grades at GCSE including maths and English (Manchester High School for Girls, St Bede's College, Manchester Islamic High School for Girls, and The King David High School) while three managed 25 per cent or below (Plant Hill Arts College, North Manchester High School for Boys, Brookway High School and Sports College).[155]


Manchester is well known for being a city of sport.[156] Two Premier League football clubs bear the city's name, Manchester City, the 2011-12 Premier League champions, and Manchester United the current Premier League champions and record title winners.[157] Manchester City's ground is the City of Manchester Stadium (also known as the Etihad Stadium for sponsorship purposes); its former ground, Maine Road was demolished. The City of Manchester Stadium was built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games. After the games, a temporary stand at the northern end of the stadium was dismantled and a permanent structure matching the rest of the stadium was developed. Manchester United's Old Trafford ground, the largest club football ground in the United Kingdom, with a capacity of 76,000 is located in the borough of Trafford.[158] Manchester has hosted every domestic and international football competition including the FIFA World Cup (1966), UEFA European Football Championship (1996), Olympic Football (2012), UEFA Champions League Final (2003), UEFA Cup Final (2008), five FA Cup Finals (1893, 1911, 1915, 1970) and three League Cup Finals (1977, 1978, 1984).

First class sporting facilities were built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games, including the City of Manchester Stadium, the National Squash Centre and the Manchester Aquatics Centre.[159] Manchester has competed twice to host the Olympic Games, beaten by Atlanta for 1996 and Sydney for 2000. The Manchester Velodrome was built as a part of the bid for the 2000 games and has become a catalyst for British success in cycling.[139] The velodrome is home to British Cycling, UCI ProTeam Team Sky and Sky Track Cycling and it hosted the UCI Track Cycling World Championships for a record third time in 2008. The Manchester Arena hosted the FINA World Swimming Championships in 2008.[160] The National Indoor BMX Arena (2,000 capacity) adjacent to the velodrome opened in 2011. Manchester Cricket Club evolved into Lancashire County Cricket Club and play at Old Trafford Cricket Ground. Manchester also hosted the World Squash Championships in 2008,[161] and also hosted the 2010 World Lacrosse Championship in July 2010.[162] Future sporting events to be hosted in Manchester include Ashes 2013 cricket, 2013 Rugby League World Cup and 2015 Rugby World Cup.


The ITV franchisee Granada Television which has headquarters in Quay Street[163] produces Coronation Street,[164] local news and programmes for North West England. Although its influence has waned Granada had been described as 'the best commercial television company in the world'.[165][166]

Manchester was one of the BBC's three main centres in England.[163] Programmes including Mastermind,[167] and Real Story,[168] were made at New Broadcasting House. The Cutting It series set in the city's Northern Quarter and The Street were set in Manchester[169] as was Life on Mars. The first edition of Top of the Pops was broadcast from a studio in Rusholme on New Year's Day 1964.[170] Manchester was the regional base for BBC One North West Region programmes before it relocated to MediaCityUK in nearby Salford Quays.[171][172] The Manchester television channel, Channel M, owned by the Guardian Media Group operated from 2000 but closed in 2012.[163][173]

The city has the highest number of local radio stations outside London including BBC Radio Manchester, Key 103, Galaxy, Piccadilly Magic 1152, Real Radio North West, 100.4 Smooth FM, Capital Gold 1458, 96.2 The Revolution, NMFM (North Manchester FM) and Xfm.[174][175] Student radio stations include Fuse FM at the University of Manchester and MMU Radio at the Manchester Metropolitan University.[176] A community radio network is coordinated by Radio Regen, with stations covering Ardwick, Longsight and Levenshulme (All FM 96.9) and Wythenshawe (Wythenshawe FM 97.2).[175] Defunct radio stations include Sunset 102, which became Kiss 102, then Galaxy Manchester), and KFM which became Signal Cheshire (now Imagine FM). These stations and pirate radio played a significant role in the city's house music culture, the Madchester scene, which was based in clubs like The Haçienda.

The Guardian newspaper was founded in 1821 as The Manchester Guardian. Its head office is still in the city, though many of its management functions were moved to London in 1964.[17] Its sister publication, the Manchester Evening News, has the largest circulation of a UK regional evening newspaper. It is free in the city centre on Thursdays and Fridays, but paid for in the suburbs. Despite its title, it is available all day.[177] The Metro North West is available free at Metrolink stops, rail stations and other busy locations. The MEN group distributes several local weekly free papers.[178] For many years most of the national newspapers had offices in Manchester: The Daily Telegraph, Daily Express, Daily Mail, The Daily Mirror, The Sun. Only The Daily Sport remains based in Manchester. At its height, 1,500 journalists were employed, though in the 1980s office closures began and today the "second Fleet Street" is no more.[179] An attempt to launch a Northern daily newspaper, the North West Times, employing journalists made redundant by other titles, closed in 1988.[180] Another attempt was made with the North West Enquirer, which hoped to provide a true "regional" newspaper for the North West, much in the same vein as the Yorkshire Post does for Yorkshire or The Northern Echo does for the North East; it folded in October 2006.[180] There are several local lifestyle magazines, including YQ Magazine and Moving Manchester.[181]

Twin cities and consulates

Manchester has formal twinning arrangements (or "friendship agreements") with several places.[182][183][184] In addition, the British Council maintains a metropolitan centre in Manchester.[185] Although not an official twin city, Tampere, Finland is known as "the Manchester of Finland" or "Manse" for short. Similarly, Osaka is nicknamed as "The Manchester of Japan", and Ahmedabad, India established itself as the centre of a booming textile industry, which earned it the nickname "the Manchester of India".[186][187]

Manchester is home to the largest group of consuls in the UK outside London. The expansion of international trade links during the Industrial Revolution led to the introduction of the first consuls in the 1820s and since then over 800, from all parts of the world, have been based in Manchester. Manchester has remained (in consular terms at least) the second city of the UK for two centuries, and hosts consular services for most of the north of England.[188]


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Further reading

  • Architecture
    • Atkins, Philip (1975). Guide across Manchester. Manchester: Civic Trust for the North West. ISBN 0-901347-29-9. 
    • Hands, David; Parker, Sarah (2000). Manchester: A Guide to Recent Architecture. London: Ellipsis Arts. ISBN 1-899858-77-6. 
    • Hartwell, Clare (2001). Manchester. Pevsner Architectural Guides. London: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-071131-7. 
    • Hartwell, Clare; Hyde, Matthew, Pevsner, Nikolaus (2004). Lancashire: Manchester and the South-East. The Buildings of England. New Haven & London: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-10583-5. 
    • Parkinson-Bailey, John J. (2000). Manchester: an Architectural History. Manchester: Manchester University Press. ISBN 0-7190-5606-3. 
    • Robinson, John Martin (1986). The Architecture of Northern England. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-37396-0. 
  • General
    • Beesley, Ian (1988). Victorian Manchester and Salford. Keele: Ryburn. ISBN 1-85331-006-9. 
    • Hylton, Stuart (2003). A History of Manchester. Chichester: Phillimore & Company. ISBN 1-86077-240-4. 
    • Kidd, Alan J. (1993). Manchester. Town and City Histories. Keele: Ryburn. ISBN 1-85331-016-6. 
    • Price, Jane; Stebbing, Ben (eds.) (2002). The Mancunian Way. Manchester: Clinamen Press. ISBN 1-903083-81-8. 
    • Redhead, Brian (1993). Manchester: a Celebration. London: André Deutsch. ISBN 0-233-98816-5. 
    • Schofield, Jonathan (2005). The City Life Guide to Manchester. Manchester: City Life. ISBN 0-9549042-2-2. 
    • Worthington, Barry (2011). Discovering Manchester. Ammanford: Sigma Leisure. ISBN 1-85058-862-7. 
  • Culture
    • Cantrell, J. A. (1985). James Nasmyth and the Bridgewater Foundry, A study of entrepreneurship in the early engineering industry. Manchester: Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-0-7190-1339-3. 
    • Champion, Sarah (1990). And God Created Manchester. Manchester: Wordsmith. ISBN 1-873205-01-5. 
    • Gatenby, Phill (2002). Morrissey's Manchester: The Essential "Smiths" Tour. Manchester: Empire Publications. ISBN 1-901746-28-3. 
    • Haslam, Dave (2000). Manchester, England. New York: Fourth Estate. ISBN 1-84115-146-7. 
    • Lee, C. P. (2002). Shake, Rattle and Rain: popular music making in Manchester 19551995. Ottery St Mary: Hardinge Simpole. ISBN 1-84382-049-8. 
    • Lee, C. P. (2004). Like the Night (Revisited): Bob Dylan and the Road to the Manchester Free Trade Hall. London: Helter Skelter Publishing. ISBN 1-900924-33-1. 
    • Savage, John, ed. (1992). The Haçienda Must Be Built. Woodford Green: International Music Publications. ISBN 0-86359-857-9. 
  • Sport

External links

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