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For other uses, see Manchester (disambiguation).
City of Manchester
Status: Metropolitan borough, City (1853)
Region: North West England
Ceremonial County: Greater Manchester
- Total
Ranked 228th
115.65 km²
Admin. HQ: Manchester
ONS code: 00BN
Geographical coordinates: 53°29′ N 2°15′ W
- Total (2003 est.)
- Density
Ranked 6th
3,740 / km²
Ethnicity: 81.0% White
9.1% S.Asian
4.5% Afro-Carib.
1.3% Chinese
Arms of the City of Manchester
Manchester City Council
Leadership: Leader & Cabinet
Executive: Labour
MPs: Paul Goggins, Gerald Kaufman, John Leech, Tony Lloyd, Graham Stringer

Manchester is a city in the North West of England. The place is named from the old British name Mamucium plus ceaster, derived from the old Latin "Castra". Manchester is a metropolitan borough with city status. The city has a population of 437,000 and is situated in the county of Greater Manchester which has a population of 2,539,000.[1] It is one of England's core cities and is regarded by some as England's second city, a title also claimed by Birmingham.[2]

The term "Manchester" is often used to refer to the entire metropolis, much as "London" is usually used to mean Greater London, but many of the constituent parts of this conurbation are substantial and separate towns (city in the case of Salford) that retain strong identities. People from Manchester are called Mancunians.


Geography and climate

Manchester is located on the River Irwell and at the foot of the southern slope of a range of hills. It has some geographic features which were influential in its early development as an industrial city. These are its proximity to a sea port at Liverpool, the availabilty of water power from the Pennine mountains and nearby coal reserves.

Manchester has a damp climate and a reputation as a rather rainy city. The average annual rainfall is 809mm, meaning that this reputation is undeserved[3]. This total is less than Plymouth, Cardiff, Glasgow, and Edinburgh for example. In international terms, Manchester receives substantially less rain than New York City, which receives 1200mm of rain in an average year and the average annual rainfall total is comparable with that of Rome.


Main article: History of Manchester

Earlier history

The Manchester area was settled in Roman times: General Agricola called a fort he set up there Mamucium, meaning "breast shaped hill". A facsimile of a Roman fort exists in Castlefield, in the city centre.

In the 14th Century Manchester became home to a community of Flemish weavers who settled in the town to produce wool and linen, beginning the tradition of cloth manufacture.

Manchester remained a small market town until the Industrial Revolution, beginning in the 18th century. Its damp climate was ideal for cotton processing and with the development of steam-powered engines for spinning and weaving, the cotton industry quickly developed throughout the region (eg Quarry Bank Mill in Styal, Cheshire). Manchester quickly grew into the most important industrial centre in the world.

Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries Manchester was an important seat of radical, reformist politics. A famous meeting, held in furtherance of parliamentary reform, took place in St Peter's Field on 16 August 1819. This resulted in a civil commotion and the deaths of 11 people, as local magistrates, fearful of a large crowd, ordered soldiers to clear the area. The so-called Peterloo massacre became a cause celebre for the reformers of that era. Manchester was a focus of the movement to reform the Corn Laws (the Anti Corn Law League (ACLL), set up in 1836 by Cobden and Bright) and later the Free Trade movement known as "The Manchester School".

In 1903 Emmeline Pankhurst (b. Manchester 1858), and her daughters Christabel (b. 1880) and Sylvia (b. 1882), formed the Women's Social and Political Union, to campaign for voting rights (suffrage) for women. The union became better known as the Suffragettes. In 1905 the organisation created a stir when Christabel Pankhurst and Annie Kenney interrupted a political meeting in Manchester to ask two Liberal politicians (Winston Churchill and Sir Edward Grey) if they believed women should have the right to vote. Neither man replied. As a result, the two women got out a banner which had on it "Votes for Women" and shouted at the two politicians to answer their questions. Pankhurst and Kenney were thrown out of the meeting and arrested for causing an obstruction and a technical assault on a police officer.

Trafford Park, south west of Manchester, became the world's first industrial estate and is still the biggest in Europe as of 2005. In 1911, it became the first place outside North America to produce Ford's Model T car. The companies at Trafford Park in 2005 include the Kellogg Company Europe, Rolls Royce, Manchester United Football Club and the Trafford Centre.

The Midland Hotel in Manchester was originally built by the Midland Railway company which owned the adjacent Central Station[4]. This was the building in which Charles Stewart Rolls met Henry Royce in 1904, leading to the incorporation of Rolls Royce. It was later coveted by Hitler as a possible Nazi headquarters in Britain. Manchester's population exploded as people moved away from the surrounding countryside and into the city seeking new opportunities. Its growth was also aided by its proximity to Liverpool's ports and the emerging canal and rail networks. Manchester became the world's first industrial city and the model for industrial development throughout the western world.

In 1838 Manchester, like many of the largest towns during this period, was incorporated as a municipal borough. City status for the borough was conferred in 1853. In 1889, when county councils were created in England, the municipal borough became a county borough with even greater autonomy. In 1974 the county borough was abolished and the Metropolitan Borough of Manchester was created.

The proximity of Liverpool and the similarity in size of the two centres has led to a rivalry between the two cities that has not always been amicable.

Recent history

At 11.20 am on Saturday 15 June 1996 the IRA detonated a large bomb in the city centre. The consequent reconstruction spurred a massive regeneration of the city centre, with complexes such as the Printworks and the Triangle creating new city focal points for both shopping and entertainment.

In 2002, the city successfully hosted the XVII Commonwealth Games, earning praise from many sources. The city has twice failed in its bid to host the Olympic Games, losing to Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000.

Rapidly developing institutions always attract crime and disorder, and Manchester is no exception. (See main article crime and policing in Manchester)

Since the regeneration after the 1996 IRA attack and leading up to the XVII Commonwealth Games Manchester has changed significantly. Old 1960's focal points in the city centre were torn down in favour of a new more modern upmarket look. Some areas, like Hulme, have undergone extensive regeneration programs and many million pound lofthouse apartments have since been developed to cater for its growing business class community.


Manchester has had a considerable problem with crime since the late 1980s. A number of people have died in gang-related shootings and the press have nicknamed the city Gunchester.

Much of the violence remains in the area of South Manchester which includes Moss Side and Longsight. The modern gangs of today have their origins at the Alexandra Park estate where the Gooch Close, Doddington Close and Pepperhill gangs emerged. Other gangs in South Manchester include the Longsight Crew, Pit Bull Crew and Longsight Soldiers. Cheetham Hill is one of the main gangs in North Manchester.

[Manchester Gangs]



There are many art galleries in Manchester, notably:


Museums in Manchester include:

Classical music

Manchester is home to two symphony orchestras, the Hallé Orchestra and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. There is also a chamber orchestra, the Manchester Camerata.

For many years the city's main classical venue was the Free Trade Hall on Peter Street. Since 1996, however, Manchester has had a modern 2,500 seat concert venue called the Bridgewater Hall, which is also home to the Hallé Orchestra. The hall is one of the country's most technically advanced classical music and lecture venues, with an acoustically designed interior and suspended foundations for an optimum sound. Other venues for classical concerts include the RNCM, the Royal Exchange Theatre and Manchester Cathedral.

Manchester is a centre for musical education, being home to the Royal Northern College of Music and Chetham's School of Music.

In the 1950s the city was home to the so-called "Manchester School" of classical composers, which comprised Harrison Birtwistle, Peter Maxwell Davies and Alexander Goehr.

Popular music

Main article: History of popular music in Manchester

For Mancunians, the popular musical heritage of the city has always been a source of great pride. The city's eclectic mix of music has created the sense among its inhabitants that Manchester is the most important city in world music.

Local groups have included The Hollies, 10cc, Buzzcocks, Joy Division, New Order (both on local label Factory Records), The Smiths, M People, Oasis and the Madchester scene bands the Happy Mondays, The Inspiral Carpets, and The Stone Roses.

Manchester's main popular music venue is the Manchester Evening News Arena, which seats over 21,000, and is the largest arena of its type in Europe. It was voted International Arena Of The Year beating New York's Madison Square Garden in the United States.

Other major venues include the Manchester Apollo and the Manchester Academy. The many smaller venues throughout the city, such as the Roadhouse and Night and Day Cafe, ensure that Manchester's music scene is always vibrant and interesting.


Famous writers from the Manchester area include Elizabeth Gaskell and Anthony Burgess, the author of A Clockwork Orange. W. G. Sebald lived in Manchester when he first came to England, and the city features prominently in his novel The Emigrants. Jeff Noon, the author of Vurt, writes novels which take place in Manchester.

The Writer's Bureau also runs its offices from the city. Manchester is home to the Manchester Metropolitan University Writers School, one of the top creative writing schools in the country.


Manchester is noted for its excellent theatres. Larger venues include the Opera House, a commercial theatre promoting large scale touring shows which regularly plays host to touring West End shows, the Palace Theatre and the Royal Exchange Theatre, a large producing theatre located in Manchester's former cotton exchange. The Library Theatre is a small producing theatre situated in the basement of the city's central library and the Lowry is a large touring venue in Salford.

Smaller sites include the Green Room, which focuses on fringe productions and Contact Theatre, a theatre for young people with a bold contemporary design. The Dancehouse is a theatre dedicated to dance productions. The city is also home to two highly-regarded drama schools; The Manchester Metropolitan University School of Theatre and the Arden School of Theatre. In addition the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) has 4 theatre spaces especially noted for it's opera and classical music productions.


Television and radio

ITV franchisee Granada Television has its original headquarters on Quay Street in the Castlefield area of the city. The city is the main UK television production centre outside London and is where programmes including Coronation Street and many Children's ITV presentations are produced.

The BBC has its headquarters for Northern England in New Broadcasting House on Oxford Road in the south of the city. Programmes including A Question of Sport, Mastermind and Real Story are made from here.

The BBC intends to move the following to Manchester by 2010:

They will need to relocate in order to do this, as their present offices will not be big enough, so they are currently choosing between sites in Manchester and neighbouring Salford.

Manchester has its own television channel, Channel M, owned by the Guardian Media Group and operated since 2000. It has several local radio stations including BBC GMR, Key 103, Galaxy, Piccadilly Magic 1152, 105.4 Century FM and 100.4 Smooth FM, Capital Gold 1458. Xfm is to begin broadcasting in late 2005. There is also a community radio network coordinated by Radio Regen[5], and with stations covering the South Manchester communities of Ardwick, Longsight and Levenshulme (ALL FM 96.9) and Wythenshawe (Wythenshawe FM 97.2)


The Guardian newspaper was founded in Manchester in 1821 as The Manchester Guardian. Its head office is in Manchester, though many of its management functions were moved to London in 1964. It still shares a Manchester office on Deansgate with its sister publication, the Manchester Evening News, Manchester's biggest-selling daily paper. Free commuting papers include Manchester Evening News Lite and Metro North West, both of which are available from Metrolink stops, rail stations and other busy locations across the city at rush-hour.

Gay and lesbian

Manchester has the UK's largest gay population outside of London, and is renowned for its gay village; centred around the Canal Street area the gay village is home to various gay shops, restaurants, bars and clubs. On the last weekend in August it hosts the Manchester Pride Festival (previously known as Mardi Gras and Gayfest). Manchester's gay culture was brought to mainstream attention in 1999 by the acclaimed and controversial Channel 4 drama series Queer as Folk, which was set in the village. The year round gay and lesbian heritage trail exhibits Manchester's gay history. Manchester's claim to status of gay capital of the UK was strengthened in 2003 when it played host city to the annual Europride festival.



Manchester is home to two universities: The University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University. The former is the largest full-time non-collegiate university in Britain, and was created in autumn 2004 by the merger between the former Victoria University of Manchester and UMIST. Within nearby Salford is the University of Salford, which is within 2 miles of Manchester City Centre.

Together with the University of Bolton and the Royal Northern College of Music nearby, these give the area a student population in excess of 73,000, one of the largest in Europe. Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Manchester and the Royal Northern College of Music are grouped together on the southern side of the city centre, and effectively form one large campus.


The B of the Bang, a sculpture commemorating the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester
The B of the Bang, a sculpture commemorating the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester

Sport and especially football are an important part of Manchester culture. Two major football clubs, Manchester United and Manchester City, bear the city's name. Manchester City play at the City of Manchester Stadium, while Manchester United's Old Trafford ground, the largest club football ground in England, is just outside the city proper in the borough of Trafford. These football teams are just two examples: according to the Urbis centre, Greater Manchester has the highest concentration of football clubs per capita of anywhere in the world. Other football teams in Greater Manchester include Oldham Athletic, Stockport County, Bury, Wigan Athletic, Rochdale, Bolton Wanderers and F.C. United of Manchester.

Many first class sporting facilities were built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games, including the Manchester Velodrome, the City of Manchester Stadium, the National Squash Centre and the Manchester Aquatics Centre.

Old Trafford cricket ground, home of Lancashire County Cricket Club, hosts many first-class cricket and important international matches including Test Matches.

The Manchester area is also represented in rugby union by Sale Sharks, who currently play their home games at Edgeley Park in Stockport and Manchester R.C.; and in Rugby League by Wigan Warriors, who share the JJB Stadium with Wigan Athletic, St Helens RFC and Salford City Reds, who are currently in the process of constructing a new state-of-the-art stadium not far from Manchester City Centre.

Transport and infrastructure

A Metrolink Tram in Manchester city centre
A Metrolink Tram in Manchester city centre


Manchester International Airport, formerly Manchester Ringway Airport, is the third busiest airport in the UK in terms of passengers per year[6] and is served by a dedicated railway station. In 2002 the airport handled 19 million passengers and provided direct flights to over 180 destinations worldwide by over 90 airlines.

The aiport has been voted the best airport in the UK by: Which Consumer Magazine, Travel Weekly Globe, Business Magazines International and in the Airport World's Service Excellence Awards (European runner up, 2nd only to Copenhagen).


The main roads serving Manchester are the M56, M6, M61, M62 and M66 motorways. Most of these routes link onto the M60, Manchester's orbital motorway.


The city has two main stations, Manchester Victoria and Manchester Piccadilly, linking Manchester to other places in the United Kingdom. There are also many smaller city stations, such as Manchester Oxford Road, Deansgate Station and Salford Central.


Manchester has a tram system called the Metrolink. Operated by Serco, Metrolink links the city centre to Altrincham, Eccles and Bury. It is a high frequency service, with trams running every 6-12 minutes. It carries nearly 20 million passengers a year

Plans to extend Manchester Metrolink were resurrected after an election time U-Turn by the Labour government which had rejected the plans months earlier. GMPTE (the Passenger Transport Executive responsible for the Greater Manchester area) is leading the fight to ensure that the extensions are built, with significant support from local councils and community. If the desired system (nicknamed the big bang) is completed, passenger numbers will more than double to an estimated 50 million per year.


Manchester and the surrounding area have an extensive bus network, with regular services in and out of the city connecting to all the satellite towns and villages. Maps of bus routes and a public transport journey planner for the Greater Manchester can be found on the GMPTE website.

The city's buses are operated by a range of companies including First Bus, Stagecoach (incorporating the lower-cost Magicbus), Finglands, UK North, and R. Bullock. Most major routes are well provided for, including Oxford Road/Wilmslow Road, one of the busiest routes in Europe, bringing large numbers of students from Fallowfield and Withington to the two universities that have campuses scattered around the city centre.

First Manchester also operates free Metroshuttle services which link important areas of the city like Manchester Victoria, Piccadilly and Oxford Road stations with Chinatown, Deansgate, Salford Central, and Albert Square. These services are very successful and therefore often busy. They run every 5-10 Minutes and are divided in to three routes, complement the metrolink and national rail services and link them with the city's car parks, tourist attractions and Bus Termini.

High frequency Bendy Bus routes include the Bury-Manchester 135 service and the Bolton-Manchester 8 service, which operate every six minutes.


One legacy of the industrial revolution is an extensive network of canals: the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal, Rochdale Canal, Manchester Ship Canal which provides access to the sea, Bridgewater Canal, Ashton Canal and the Leigh Branch of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. Today, most of these canals are used for recreation.



Manchester is one of the main retail centres of the North. There are two large shopping centres; the Arndale Centre in the middle of the city and the out-of-town Trafford Centre which includes food hall, multi-screen cinema and Namco games centre. Other shopping centres include the Triangle (formerly known as the Corn Exchange Building) which caters for a more youthful and upmarket clientele and the Royal Exhange Centre.

The city also contains a Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Marks and Spencer and John Lewis department stores. There is also a range of designer clothing stores. Affleck's Palace is a building providing low-cost stalls for independent traders and creatives. Affleck's is located on Oldham Street, in the Northern Quarter, along with a range of independent music, clothing and other shops.

Food and drink

Manchester has a vibrant and exciting range of restaurants, bars and clubs, spanning the famous curry mile in Rusholme to traditional "grub", China Town, modern bars and bistros at Deansgate Lock in the city centre.

Regional favourites include the Eccles cake and the traditional pie capital of the UK is supposedly at the heart of Wigan, 15 miles outside the city.

There is a Hard Rock Cafe, chain restaurants such as Wagamama and bars that include Waxy O'Connors and The Living Room. The coffee chain Starbucks has 12 outlets in a 2 mile radius. Other, independent restaurants, bars and clubs can be found in the Northern Quarter area of the city centre.

Manchester is also famous for its beer. Although "The Cream of Manchester", Boddingtons has left the city, there are still many international, local and independent breweries operating in the Greater Manchester area.

The scene set in Coronation Street of real northern life with a traditional English pub can also be found in the region.

Places of interest


Manchester Town Hall is an example of the Victorian architecture found in Manchester and is the home of Manchester City Council
Manchester Town Hall is an example of the Victorian architecture found in Manchester and is the home of Manchester City Council
Manchester in the morning.
Manchester in the morning.
Piccadilly Gardens, one of the city's main public squares
Piccadilly Gardens, one of the city's main public squares

Manchester has a wide variety of buildings from Victorian architecture through to modern. Much of the architecture in the city harks back to its former days as a global centre for the cotton trade. Many warehouses have now been converted for other uses but the external appearance remains mostly unchanged so the city maintains much of its original character.

Structures of interest in Manchester include:


The only skyscraper[7] outside London in the United Kingdom is currently under construction in Manchester: the Beetham Hilton tower, on Deansgate. The tallest building in Manchester as of 2005 is the CIS Tower. Another skyscraper, even taller than the Beetham Hilton tower, has been approved and will be built near to Piccadilly station.

Public monuments

Within Manchester there are monuments to several people and events that have helped to shape the city and influence the wider community. The Alan Turing Memorial situated in Sackville Park close to Canal street remembers the farther of modern computing and the Albert Memorial, Albert Square, by Thomas Worthington is in memory of Queen Victoria's consort. Queen Victoria is also remembered by Edward Onslow Ford's Queen Victoria statue in Piccadilly Gardens.

The success of the 2002 Commonwealth Games is commemorated by B of the Bang, Britain's tallest sculpture, located near the City of Manchester Stadium. A monument to Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln Square marks the cotton famine of 1861 - 1865.

Streets and plazas

Manchester has a number of busy squares, plazas and shopping streets. In the city center Deansgate has many shops, including the department store Kendals, along with pubs and bars, while King Street is an affluent shopping area with many original notable buildings preserved in a conservation area. Canal Street, is the center of Manchesters Gay Village and home to may pubs and bars. Two large squares, Albert Square, in front of Manchester Town Hall, and Piccadilly Gardens, the original site of the Manchester Royal Infirmary, are public plazas that hold many of Manchester's public monuments.

To the south of the city center, Wilmslow Road is the hub of much student life and is home to Manchester's curry mile.

Other notible places in Manchester include:

  • Exchange Square featuring a BBC Big Screen
  • Portland Street
  • Great Northern Square
  • Spring Gardens
  • Cathedral Gardens
  • Market Street
  • St Peters Square
  • St Ann's Square
  • New Cathedral Street


The Anglican Diocese of Manchester was established in 1847. Manchester lies within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salford (part of the Archdiocese of Liverpool). Manchester is in the Central North Division of the Salvation Army. Manchester has the largest Jewish community outside of the capital and there is a large Muslim population.


Greater Manchester

Main article: Greater Manchester

The metropolitan county of Greater Manchester is made up of 10 metropolitan boroughs:

Towns in the Manchester urban area include Salford, Sale, Altrincham, Cheadle, Stockport, Ashton-under-Lyne, Oldham, Bury, Rochdale, Glossop, Stockport, Middleton and Stretford. Places like Trafford and Salford can be considered part of the Manchester urban area in a way that Wigan or Bolton are not.

The centre of Salford is adjacent to the centre of Manchester, with only the River Irwell seperating the two.

Political divisions

The City of Manchester is divided into 32 wards. See Manchester City Council.

Law enforcement

Greater Manchester Police Badge

Manchester and its metropolitan conurbation are policed by Greater Manchester Police who are based at Manchester's Chester House Police Station. Manchester's railways are policed by the nationwide British Transport Police.

See also



  • Manchester architecture
    • Manchester. Clare Hartwell. Pevsner Architectural Guides ISBN 0300096666
    • Manchester: A guide to recent architecture. David Hands and Sarah Parker. Ellipsis. ISBN 1899858776
    • Manchester - an Architectural History John Parkinson Bailey. Manchester University Press. ISBN 0719056063
  • General
  • Manchester culture
    • Morrissey's Manchester: The Essential Smiths Tour Phil Gatenby ISBN 1901746283
    • Manchester, England. The story of the pop cult city. Dave Haslam ISBN 1841151467
    • And God Created Manchester. Sarah Champion. Wordsmith. ISBN 1873205015
    • The Hacienda Must be Built. Edited by Jon Savage. International Music Publications ISBN 0863598579
    • Shake, Rattle and Rain - Popular Music in Manchester 1955-1995. CP Lee ISBN 1843820498
    • Like The Night - Bob Dylan and the road to the Manchester Free Trade Hall. CP Lee ISBN 1900924331



  1. ^  "2004 estimates Quinary age groups and sex for local authorities in England and Wales; estimated resident population; Mid-2004 Population Estimates". National Statistics Online. URL accessed on November 2, 2005.
  2. ^  "Manchester 'England's Second City'". MORI. URL accessed on November 2, 2005.
  3. ^  "Manchester tourist guide — Geography & weather". Manchester Online. URL accessed on November 2, 2005.
  4. ^  This has since been converted into the Greater Manchester Exhibition Centre, better known as G-Mex.
  5. ^  See
  6. ^  The busier airports are Heathrow and Gatwick.
  7. ^  Defined as a habitable building of whose height is at least 150m.

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