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Manchester ( ) is a city and metropolitan borough of Greater Manchestermarker, Englandmarker. In 2007, the population of the city was estimated to be 458,100. Manchester lies within one of the United Kingdommarker's largest metropolitan areas; the metropolitan county of Greater Manchester had an estimated population of 2,562,200, the Greater Manchester Urban Areamarker a population of 2,240,230, and the Larger Urban Zone around Manchester, the second-most-populous in the UK, had an estimated population in the 2004 Urban Audit of 2,539,100. The demonym of Manchester is Mancunian.

Manchester is situated in the south-central part of North West England, fringed by the Cheshire Plainmarker to the south and the Pennines to the north and east. The recorded history of Manchester began with the civilian vicus associated with the Roman fort of Mamuciummarker, which was established on a sandstone bluff near the confluence of the rivers Medlock and Irwell. Historically, most of the city was a part of Lancashiremarker, although areas south of the River Merseymarker were in Cheshiremarker. Throughout the Middle Ages Manchester remained a manorial township, but began expanding "at an astonishing rate" around the turn of the 19th century as part of a process of unplanned urbanisation brought on by a boom in textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution. The urbanisation of Manchester largely coincided with the Industrial Revolution and the Victorian era, resulting in it becoming the world's first industrialised city.

• As the result of an early-19th century factory building boom, Manchester was transformed from a township into a major mill town, borough and was later granted honorific city status in 1853.

Forming part of the English Core Cities Group, Manchester today is a centre of the arts, the media, higher education and commerce, factors all contributing to Manchester polling as the second city of the United Kingdom in 2002.

• In a poll of British business leaders published in 2006, Manchester was regarded as the best place in the UK to locate a business. A report commissioned by Manchester Partnership, published in 2007, showed Manchester to be the "fastest-growing city" economically. In the GaWC global city list, Manchester is ranked as a Gamma city. It is the third-most visited city in the United Kingdom by foreign visitors and the most visited in Englandmarker outside Londonmarker. Manchester was the host of the 2002 Commonwealth Games, and among its other sporting connections are its two Premier League football teams, Manchester United and Manchester City.



The name Manchester originates from the Ancient Roman name Mamuciummarker, 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". An alternative theory suggests that the origin is British Celtic 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.

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 Cathedralmarker now stands, opposite the banks of the River Irwell. Their territory extended across the fertile lowland of what is now Salfordmarker and Stretfordmarker. Following the Roman conquest of Britain in the 1st century, General Agricola ordered the construction of a Roman fort in the year 79 named Mamuciummarker to ensure Roman interests with Deva Victrixmarker (Chestermarker) and Eboracummarker (Yorkmarker) were protected from the Brigantes. Central Manchester has been permanently settled since this time. A stabilised fragment of foundations of the final version of the Roman fort is visible in Castlefieldmarker. 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. By the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066 the focus of settlement had shifted to the confluence of the rivers Irwell and Irk. Much of the wider area was laid waste in the subsequent Harrying of the North.

A map of Manchester circa 1650
Thomas de la Warre, lord of the manor, founded and constructed a collegiate church for the parish in 1421. The church is now Manchester Cathedralmarker; the domestic premises of the college currently house Chetham's School of Musicmarker and Chetham's Librarymarker. The library, which opened in 1653 and is still open to the public today, is the oldest free public reference library in the United Kingdommarker.

Manchester is mentioned as having a market in 1282. Around the 14th century, Manchester received an influx of Flemish weavers, sometimes credited as the foundation of the region's textile industry. 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." The cathedral and Chetham's buildings are the only significant survivors of Leland's Manchester.

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.

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. 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 Worsleymarker 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. Manchester became the dominant marketplace for textiles produced in the surrounding towns. A commodities exchange, opened in 1729, and numerous large warehouses, aided commerce.

In 1780, Richard Arkwright began construction of Manchester's first cotton mill.

Industrial Revolution

Much of 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 Cheshiremarker, and Manchester was for a time the most productive centre of cotton processing, and later the world's largest marketplace for cotton goods. Manchester was dubbed "Cottonopolismarker" and "Warehouse City" during the Victorian era. In Australia, New Zealandmarker and South Africa, the term "manchester" is used for household linen : sheets, pillow cases, towels, etc.

Manchester began expanding "at an astonishing rate" around the turn of the 19th century as part of a process of unplanned urbanisation brought on by the Industrial Revolution. It developed a wide range of industries, so that by 1835 "Manchester was without challenge the first and greatest industrial city in the world." 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 railway—the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. Competition between the various forms of transport kept costs down. In 1878 the GPO (the forerunner of British Telecom) provided its first telephones to a firm in Manchester.

The Manchester Ship Canal was built in 1894, in some sections by canalisation of the Rivers Irwell and Mersey, running from Salfordmarker 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 Parkmarker. 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 riot ended with the Peterloo Massacremarker of 16 August 1819.

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

At that time, it seemed a place in which anything could happen—new 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."

• Manchester's golden age was perhaps the last quarter of the 19th century. Many of the great public buildings (including the 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 Manchester’s blackspots saw "wretched, defrauded, oppressed, crushed human nature, lying and bleeding fragments".

The number of cotton mills in Manchester itself reached a peak of 108 in 1853. Thereafter the number began to decline and Manchester was surpassed as the largest centre of cotton spinning by Boltonmarker in the 1850s and Oldhammarker in the 1860s. However, this period of decline coincided with the rise of city as the financial centre of the region. Manchester continued to process cotton, and in 1913, 65% of the world's cotton was processed in the area. 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.

Post-World War II

Like most of the UK, the Manchester area mobilised extensively during World War II. For example, casting and machining expertise at Beyer, Peacock and Company's locomotive works in Gortonmarker was switched to bomb making; Dunlop's rubber works in Chorlton-on-Medlockmarker made barrage balloons; and just outside the city in Trafford Parkmarker, 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 23/24 December 1940, when an estimated 467 tons (475 tonnes) 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. Manchester Cathedralmarker was among the buildings seriously damaged; its restoration took 20 years.

Cotton processing and trading continued to fall in peacetime, and the exchange closed in 1968. By 1963 the port of Manchester was the UK's third largest,

• 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. 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.

Regeneration began in the late 1980s, with initiatives such as the Metrolink, the Bridgewater Concert Hall, the Manchester Evening News 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.

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 bombingmarker, 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. The final insurance payout was over £400 million; many affected businesses never recovered from the loss of trade.

Spurred by the investment after the 1996 bomb, and aided by the XVII Commonwealth Games, Manchester's city centre has undergone extensive regeneration.

New and renovated complexes such as The Printworksmarker and the Triangle have become popular shopping and entertainment destinations. The Manchester Arndalemarker is the UK's largest city centre shopping mall.

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, Hulmemarker has undergone extensive regeneration programmes, and million-pound lofthouse apartments have since been developed. The 169-metre tall, 47-storey Beetham Towermarker, completed in 2006, is the tallest building in the UK outside London and the highest residential accommodation in western Europe. The lower 23 floors form the Hilton Hotel, featuring a "sky bar" on the 23rd floor. Its upper 24 floors are apartments. In January 2007, the independent Casino Advisory Panel awarded Manchester a licence to build the only supercasino in the UK to regenerate the Eastlands area of the city,

• but in March the House of Lordsmarker rejected the decision by three votes rendering previous House of Commonsmarker acceptance meaningless.
This left the supercasino, and 14 other smaller concessions, in parliamentary limbo until a final decision was made. On 11 July 2007, a source close to the government declared the entire supercasino project "dead in the water". A member of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce professed himself "amazed and a bit shocked" and that "there has been an awful lot of time and money wasted". After a meeting with the Prime Minister, Manchester City Council issued a press release on 24 July 2007 stating that "contrary to some reports the door is not closed to a regional casino". The supercasino was officially declared dead in February 2008 with a compensation package described by the media as "rehashed plans, spin and empty promises."

Since around the turn of the 21st century, Manchester has been regarded by sections of the international press, British public, and government ministers as being the second city of the United Kingdom. A 2007 poll by the BBC placed it ahead of Birmingham and Liverpoolmarker in the category of second city of England, but also ahead in the category of third city. Neither category is officially sanctioned, and criteria for determining what 'second city' means are ill-defined. Manchester is not the second largest city in size or population, but it is argued that cultural and historical criteria are more important. The BBC reports that redevelopment of recent years has heightened claims that Manchester is the second city of the UK.

This title however, which is unofficial in the UK, has traditionally been held by Birminghammarker since the early 20th century.


Manchester is represented by three tiers of government, Manchester City Council ("local"), UK Parliament ("national"), and European Parliament ("Europe"). Greater Manchester County Council administration was abolished in 1986, and so the city council is effectively a unitary authority. Since its inception in 1995, Manchester has been a member of the English Core Cities Group, which, among other things, serves to promote the social, cultural and economic status of the city at an international level.

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.From a very early time, the township of Manchester lay within the historic county boundaries of Lancashiremarker. Pevsner wrote "That [neighbouring] Stretfordmarker and Salfordmarker are not administratively one with Manchester is one of the most curious anomalies of England". 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. It was this separation that resulted in Salford becoming the judicial seat of Salfordshiremarker, which included the ancient parish of Manchester. Manchester later formed its own Poor Law Union by the name of Manchester. In 1792, commissioners—usually known as police commissioners—were established for the social improvement of Manchester. In 1838, Manchester regained its borough status, and comprised the townships of Beswickmarker, Cheetham Hillmarker, Chorlton upon Medlockmarker and Hulmemarker. 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.

In 1885, Bradfordmarker, Harpurheymarker, Rusholmemarker and parts of Moss Sidemarker and Withingtonmarker 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. Between 1890 and 1933, more areas were added to the city from Lancashire, including former villages such as Burnagemarker, Chorlton-cum-Hardymarker, Didsburymarker, Fallowfieldmarker, Levenshulmemarker, Longsightmarker, and Withingtonmarker. In 1931 the Cheshiremarker civil parishes of Baguleymarker, Northendenmarker and Northen Etchellsmarker from the south of the River Merseymarker were added. In 1974, by way of the Local Government Act 1972, the City of Manchester became a metropolitan district of the metropolitan county of Greater Manchestermarker. That year, Ringwaymarker, the town where Manchester Airport is located, was added to the city.


At , northwest of Londonmarker, Manchester lies in a bowl-shaped land area bordered to the north and east by the Pennine hills, a mountain chain that runs the length of Northern England and to the south by the Cheshire Plainmarker. The city centremarker 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 and 42 m) above sea level. The River Merseymarker 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 Liverpoolmarker, the availability of water power from its rivers, and its nearby coal reserves.
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 townmarker" and the "Manchester Congestion Charge" are all examples of this. The economic geography of the Manchester City Regionmarker is used to define housing markets, business linkages, travel to work patterns, administrative areas etc. As defined by The Northern Way economic development agency the City Region territory encompasses most of the natural economy’s Travel to Work Area and includes the cities of Manchester and Salfordmarker, plus the adjoining metropolitan boroughs of Stockportmarker, Tameside, Traffordmarker, Boltonmarker, Burymarker, Oldhammarker, Rochdalemarker and Wiganmarker, together with High Peakmarker (which lies outside the North West England region), Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chestermarker and Warringtonmarker.

For purposes of the Office for National Statistics, Manchester forms the most populous settlement within the Greater Manchester Urban Areamarker, 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 , is Heaton Parkmarker. Manchester is contiguous on all sides with several large settlements, except for a small section along its southern boundary with Cheshiremarker. The M60marker and M56 motorways pass through the south of Manchester, through Northendenmarker and Wythenshawemarker respectively. Heavy rail lines enter the city from all directions, the principal destination being Manchester Piccadilly stationmarker.

Manchester experiences a temperate maritime climate, like much of the British Islesmarker, with relatively cool summers and mild winters. There is regular but generally light precipitation throughout the year. The city's average annual rainfall is compared to the UK average of , and its mean rain days are 140.4 per annum, compared to the UK average of 154.4. Manchester however has a relatively high humidity level, which optimised the textile manufacturing (with low thread breakage) which took place there. Snowfalls are not common in the city, due to the urban warming effect. However, the Pennine and Rossendale Forestmarker 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, notably the A62 road via Oldhammarker and Standedgemarker, the A57 (Snake Passmarker) towards Sheffieldmarker, and the M62 over Saddleworth Moormarker.


Manchester compared
UK Census 2001 Manchester Greater Manchestermarker England
Total population 441,200 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% 72%
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. Approximately 83,000 were aged under 16, 285,000 were aged 16–74, and 25,000 aged 75 and over. 75.9% of Manchester's population claim they have been born in the UK, according to the 2001 UK Census. Inhabitants of Manchester are known as Mancunians or Mancs for short. Manchester reported the second-lowest proportion of the population in employment of any area in the UK. A primary reason cited for Manchester's high unemployment figure is the high proportion of the population who are students. A 2007 report noted "60 per cent of Manchester people are living in some of the UK's most deprived areas".Mid-year estimates for 2006 indicate that the population of the metropolitan borough of Manchester stood at 452,000 making Manchester the most populous city in North West England. Historically the population of Manchester only began to rapidly increase during the Victorian era and peaked at 766,311 in 1931. After the peak the population began to decrease rapidly, reasons cited for this are slum clearance and the increased building of social housing overspill estates by Manchester City Council after WWII such as Hattersleymarker and Langleymarker.

The inhabitants of Manchester, like in many other large cities, are religiously diverse. The Jewish population is second only to London in the UK, and Greater Manchestermarker also has one of the largest Muslim populations. Manchester's Palace Hotel hosted the 2007 Lloyds TSB's Northern Jewel Awards, where leaders of the Asian community in the north of the UK were recognised.

The percentage of the population in Manchester who reported themselves as living in the same household in a same-sex relationship was 0.44%, compared to the English national average of 0.20%.

In terms of districts by ethnic diversity, the City of Manchester is ranked highest in Greater Manchester and 34th in England. 2005 estimates state 77.6% people as 'White' (71.0% of residents as White British, 3.0% White Irish, 3.6% as Other White – although those of mixed white European and British ancestry is unknown, there are over 25,000 Mancunians of Italian descent alone which represents 5.5% of the city's population). 3.2% as Mixed race (1.3% Mixed White and Black Caribbean, 0.6% Mixed White and Black African, 0.7% Mixed White and Asian, 0.7% Other Mixed). 10.3% of the city's population are South Asian (2.3% Indian, 5.8% Pakistani, 1.0% Bangladeshi, 1.2% Other South Asian). 5.2% are Black (2.0% Black Caribbean, 2.7% Black African and 0.5% Other Black). 2.3% of the city's population are Chinese, and 1.4% are another ethnic group. Kidd identifies Moss Sidemarker, Longsightmarker, Cheetham Hillmarker, Rusholmemarker, as centres of population for ethnic minorities. Manchester's Irish Festival, including a St Patrick's Day parade, is one of Europe's largest. There is also a well-established Chinatownmarker 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, attending the two universities.

Based on the population estimates for 2005, crime levels in the city are considerably higher than the national average. Some parts of Manchester were adversely affected by its rapid urbanisation, resulting in high levels of crime in areas such as Moss Sidemarker and Wythenshawemarker. The number of theft from a vehicle offences and theft of a vehicle per 1,000 of the population was 25.5 and 8.9 compared to the English national average of 7.6 and 2.9 respectively. The number of sexual offences was 1.9 compared to the average of 0.9. The national average of violence against another person was 16.7 compared to the Manchester average of 32.7. The figures for crime statistics were all recorded during the 2006/7 financial year.

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. In addition to Manchester itself, the LUZ includes the remainder of the county of Greater Manchestermarker. The Manchester LUZ is the second largest within the United Kingdom, behind that of Londonmarker.


Manchester was at the forefront of the 19th-century Industrial Revolution, 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. 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. The city was ranked in 2007 and 2008 as the second-best place to do business in the UK, and in 2009 as the third-best city in the UK and sixteenth best in Europe.

Manchester has the largest UK office market outside London. Greater Manchester represents over £42 billion of the UK GVA, the third largest of any English county and more than Walesmarker or North East England.

Manchester is a focus for businesses which serve local, regional and international markets. It is one of the largest financial centres in Europe with more than 15,000 people employed in banking and finance and more than 60 banking institutions. 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.

Manchester's Central Business District is in the centre of the citymarker, adjacent to Piccadilly, focused on Mosley Street, Deansgate, King Street and Piccadilly. Spinningfieldsmarker 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 Centremarker opened in October 2007.

Manchester is the commercial, educational and cultural focus for North West England, and is ranked as the third or fourth biggest retail area in the UK by sales.

The city centre retail area contains shops from chain stores up to high-end boutiques such as Vivienne Westwood, Emporio Armani, DKNY, Harvey Nichols, Chanel and Hermèsmarker. The city has several shopping malls including the Manchester Arndalemarker, the UK's largest inner city shopping mall.


Manchester skyline, May 2007
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. 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 Hallmarker, in Albert Squaremarker, was built in the gothic revival style and is considered to be one of the most important Victorian buildings in England. It has been used in film as a replacement location for the Palace of Westminstermarker, in which filming is not permitted.

Manchester also has a number of skyscrapers built during the 1960s and 1970s, the tallest of which is the CIS Towermarker located near Manchester Victoria stationmarker. The Beetham Towermarker, completed in 2006, 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 Towermarker, began construction behind Manchester Piccadilly stationmarker in early 2008. The Green Buildingmarker, opposite Oxford Road stationmarker, is a pioneering eco-friendly housing project, one of very few in the UK.The award-winning Heaton Parkmarker in the north of the city borough is one of the largest municipal parks in Europe, covering of parkland. The city has 135 parks, gardens, and open spaces. 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 Gardensmarker 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 Memorialmarker in Sackville Parkmarker commemorates his role as the father of modern computing. A statue of Abraham Lincoln by George Gray Barnard in the eponymous Lincoln Square 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 1861–1865. A Concorde is on display near Manchester Airport. 


Manchester and North West England are served by Manchester Airportmarker. The airport is the busiest in terms of passenger traffic in the UK outside London, serving 21.06 million passengers in 2008. Airline service exists to many destinations in Europe, North America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East and Asia (with more destinations from Manchester than from London Heathrowmarker). A second runway was opened in 2001 and there have been continued terminal improvements. Passenger figures have been virtually static since 2005.

Manchester is well served by trains. In terms of passengers, Manchester Piccadillymarker was the busiest English railway station outside London in 2005 and 2006. Local operator Northern Rail operates all over the north of England, and other national operators include Virgin Trains. The Liverpool and Manchester Railway was the first passenger railway in the world. Greater Manchester has an extensive countywide railway network, and two mainline stations. Manchester city centre is also serviced by over a dozen rail-based park and ride sites. 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.

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. The -network consists of three lines with 37 stations (including five on-street tram stops in the centre). An expansion programme is underway.

The city has one of the most extensive bus networks outside London with over 50 bus companies operating in the Greater Manchestermarker region radiating from the city. Prior to the deregulation of 1986, SELNEC and later GMPTE operated all buses in Manchester. 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 taken over by First Manchester and Stagecoach Manchester respectively. First Manchester also operates a three route zero-fare bus service called Metroshuttle which carries commuters around Manchester's business districts.

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.



The Bridgewater Hall
The MEN Arena
Manchester band The Smiths

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 and Doves. Manchester was credited as the main regional driving force behind indie bands of the 1980s including Happy Mondays, The Charlatans, Inspiral Carpets, James, and The Stone Roses. These groups came from what became known as the "Madchester" scene that also centred around the Fac 51 Haçienda (also known as simply The Haçiendamarker) developed by founder of Factory Records Tony Wilson. Although from southern England, The Chemical Brothers subsequently formed in Manchester. Ex-Stone Roses' frontman Ian Brown and ex-Smiths Morrissey continue successful solo careers. Other notable Manchester acts include Take That and Simply Red. Greater Manchester natives include A Guy Called Gerald, Richard Ashcroft of The Verve and Jay Kay of Jamiroquai. Older Manchester artists include the 1960s band's The Hollies, Herman's Hermits and the Bee Gees who, while commonly associated with Australia, grew up in Chorltonmarker.

Manchester’s main pop music venue is the Manchester Evening News Arenamarker, situated next to Victoria stationmarker. It seats over 21,000, is the largest arena of its type in Europe, and has been voted International Venue of the Year.

In terms of concert goers, it is the busiest indoor arena in the world ahead of Madison Square Gardenmarker in New Yorkmarker and the O2 Arenamarker in Londonmarker, the second and third busiest respectively. Other major venues include the Manchester Apollomarker and the Manchester Academymarker. Smaller venues are the Roadhouse, the Night and Day Cafe and the Ruby Lounge.

Manchester has two symphony orchestras, the Hallé Orchestra and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. 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 Musicmarker and Chetham’s School of Musicmarker. The main classical venue was the Free Trade Hallmarker on Peter Street, until the opening in 1996 of the 2,500 seat Bridgewater Hallmarker.

Brass band music, a tradition in the north of England, is an important part of Manchester's musical heritage; 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 Saddleworthmarker and Tameside.

Performing arts

The Opera House, one of Manchester's largest theatre venues
has a thriving theatre, opera and dance scene, and is home to a number of large performance venues, including the Manchester Opera Housemarker, which feature large-scale touring shows and West Endmarker productions; the Palace Theatremarker; the Royal Exchange Theatremarker in Manchester’s former cotton exchange; and the Lowry Centremarker, a touring venue in Salford which often hosts performances by Opera North.

Smaller performance spaces include the Library Theatremarker, a producing theatre in the basement of the Central Library; the Green Room; the Contact Theatremarker; and Studio Salford. The Dancehousemarker is dedicated to dance productions.

Museums and galleries

City Art Gallery
Museum of Science & Industry
has a wide selection of public museums and art 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. In the Castlefieldmarker district, a reconstructed part of the Roman fort of Mamucium is open to the public in Castlefield. The Museum of Science and Industrymarker, housed in the former Liverpool Road railway stationmarker, has a large collection of steam locomotives, industrial machinery and aircraft. The Museum of Transportmarker displays a collection of historic buses and trams. Salford Quays, a short distance from the city centre in the adjoining borough of Trafford, is home to the Imperial War Museum Northmarker. The Manchester Museummarker opened to the public in the 1880s, has notable Egyptology and natural history collections.

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

In the south of the city, The Whitworth Art Gallerymarker displays modern art, sculpture and textiles. Other exhibition spaces and museums in Manchester include the Cornerhousemarker, the Urbismarker centre, the Manchester Costume Gallery at Platt Fields Parkmarker, the People's History Museummarker, the Manchester United Museum in Old Trafford football stadiummarker and the Manchester Jewish Museummarker.

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


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), and The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844, written by Friedrich Engels while living and working in Manchester. Charles Dickens is reputed to have set his novel Hard Times in the city, and while it is partly modelled on Prestonmarker, it shows the influence of his friend Mrs Gaskell.


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. The more than 500 licensed premises in the city centre have a capacity to deal with over visitors, with 110– people visiting on a typical weekend night. The night-time economy has a value of about and supports jobs.

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 around clubs such as The Haçiendamarker. The period was the subject of the movie 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. Following a series of drug-related violent incidents, The Hacienda closed in 1997.

Gay Village

Public houses in the Canal Streetmarker area have had a gay clientele since at least 1940 and now form the centre of Manchester's gay community. Following the council's investment in infrastructure, the UK's first gay supermarket was opened; since the opening of new bars and clubs the area attracts 20,000 visitors each weekend and has hosted a popular festival each August since 1991. The TV series Queer as Folk is set in the area.


There are two universities in Manchester. The University of Manchestermarker 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. It includes the Manchester Business Schoolmarker, which offered the first MBA course in the UK in 1965. Manchester Metropolitan Universitymarker 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.

The University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and the Royal Northern College of Musicmarker are grouped around Oxford Road on the southern side of the city centre, which forms Europe's largest urban higher education precinct. Together they have a combined population of 73,160 students in higher education, though almost 6,000 of these were based at Manchester Metropolitan University's campuses at Crewemarker and Alsagermarker in Cheshiremarker.

One of Manchester's most notable secondary schools is the Manchester Grammar Schoolmarker. Established in 1515,

• 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. Its previous premises are now used by Chetham's School of Musicmarker. There are three schools nearby: William Hulme's Grammar Schoolmarker, Withington Girls' Schoolmarker and Manchester High School for Girlsmarker.


Manchester is well-known for being a city of sport. Two Premiership football clubs bear the city's name, Manchester United and Manchester City. Manchester City's ground is at the City of Manchester Stadiummarker (near 48,000 capacity); Manchester United's Old Traffordmarker ground, the largest club football ground in the United Kingdom, with a capacity of 76,000, is just outside the city, in the borough of Traffordmarker. It is the only club football ground in England to have hosted the UEFA Champions League Final, in 2003. It is also the venue of the Super League Grand Final in Rugby League. Lancashire County Cricket Club's ground is also in Trafford.

• Premier League champions Manchester United have the widest football club fanbase in the world, while Manchester City is the richest football club in the world, thanks to its wealthy owners.

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. In addition the ground level was lowered by approximately 10m and the entire level 1 seating area was constructed. The capacity for the Games was approximately 38,000. This increased in preparation for Manchester City's arrival in 2003, and the official capacity by April 2008 was recorded as 47,726. The stadium hosted the 2008 UEFA Cup Final.

Manchester City's former home Maine Roadmarker, now demolished, still holds a number of significant footballing milestones and records. These include the first World Cup qualifying match staged in England (1949); the record League crowd (83,260, Manchester United V Arsenal, 1948); and the record provincial attendance (84,569, Manchester City V Stoke City, FA Cup, 1934).

First class sporting facilities were built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games, including the City of Manchester Stadium, the National Squash Centremarker and the Manchester Aquatics Centremarker. Manchester has competed twice to host the Olympic Games, beaten by Atlantamarker for 1996 and Sydneymarker for 2000. The Manchester Velodromemarker was built as a part of the bid for the 2000 games. It hosted the UCI Track Cycling World Championships for the third time in 2008. Various sporting arenas around the city will be used as training facilities by athletes preparing for the 2012 Olympics in London. The MEN Arenamarker hosted the FINA World Swimming Championships in 2008. Manchester also hosted the World Squash Championships in 2008.


The Manchester Eye

ITV franchisee Granada Television has its headquarters in Quay Street, in the Castlefield area of the city. Granada produces the world's oldest and most watched television soap opera, Coronation Streetmarker, which is screened five times a week on ITV1. Local news and programmes for the north-west region are produced in Manchester.

Manchester is one of the three main BBC bases in England, alongside London and Bristolmarker. Programmes including A Question of Sport, Mastermind, and Real Story, are made at New Broadcasting House on Oxford Road, just south of the city centre. The hit series Cutting It was set in the city's Northern Quarter and ran on BBC1 for five series. Life on Mars was set in 1973 Manchester. Also, The Street, winner of a BAFTA and International Emmy Award in 2007 is set in Manchester. The first edition of Top of the Pops was broadcast from a studio (a converted church) in Rusholmemarker on New Year's Day 1964. Manchester is also the regional base for the BBC One North West Region so programmes like North West Tonight are produced here. The BBC intends to relocate large numbers of staff and facilities from London to Media City at Salford Quaysmarker. The Children's (CBBC), Comedy, Sport (BBC Sport) and New Media departments are all scheduled to move before 2010.

• Manchester has its own television channel, Channel M, owned by the Guardian Media Group and operated since 2000. The station produces almost all content including local news locally and is available nationally on the BSkyB television platform. Television characters from Manchester include Daphne Moon (played by Jane Leeves), of Frasier, Charlie Pace (played by Dominic Monaghan) of Lost, Naomi Dorrit (Lost) and Nessa Holt (Las Vegas), both played by local actress Marsha Thomason.

The city has the highest number of local radio stations outside London including BBC Radio Manchester, Key 103, Galaxy, Piccadilly Magic 1152, 105.4 Century FM, 100.4 Smooth FM, Capital Gold 1458, 96.2 The Revolution and Xfm. Radio Manchester returned to its former title in 2006 after becoming BBC GMR in 1988. Student radio stations include Fuse FM at the University of Manchester and MMU Radio at the Manchester Metropolitan University.

A community radio network is coordinated by Radio Regen, with stations covering the South Manchester communities of Ardwickmarker, Longsightmarker and Levenshulmemarker (All FM 96.9) and Wythenshawemarker (Wythenshawe FM 97.2). Defunct radio stations include Sunset (which became) Kiss 102 (now Galaxy Manchester), and KFM which became Signal Cheshire (now Imagine FM). These stations, as well as pirate radio, played a significant role in the city's House music culture, also known as the Madchester scene, which was based around clubs like The Haçiendamarker which had its own show on Kiss 102. Radio producer and author Karl Pilkington, of The Ricky Gervais Show fame, is from Manchester.

Manchester is also featured in several Hollywoodmarker films such as My Son, My Son! (1940), directed by Charles Vidor and starring Brian Aherne and Louis Hayward. Also Grand Hotel (1932), in which Wallace Beery often shouts "Manchester!". Others include Velvet Goldmine starring Ewan McGregor, and Sir Alec Guinness's The Man in the White Suit. More recently, the entire city of Manchester is engulfed in runaway fires in the 2002 film 28 Days Later. The 2004 Japanese animated film Steamboy was partly set in Manchester, during the times of the industrial revolution. The city is also home to the Manchester International Film Festival and has held the Commonwealth film festival.

The Guardian newspaper was founded in Manchester in 1821 as The Manchester Guardian. Its head office is still in Manchester, though many of its management functions were moved to London in 1964. Its sister publication, the Manchester Evening News, has the largest circulation of a UK regional evening newspaper. It is free in the city centre, but paid for in the suburbs. Despite its title, it is available all day. 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.

• 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, journalists were employed, though in the 1980s office closures began and today the "second Fleet Street" is no more. An attempt to launch a Northern daily newspaper, the North West Times, employing journalists made redundant by other titles, closed in 1988. 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 Yorkshiremarker or The Northern Echo does for the North East; it folded in October 2006.

There are several local lifestyle magazines, including YQ Magazine and Moving Manchester.

Twin cities and consulates

Manchester has formal twinning arrangements (or "friendship agreements") with several places. In addition, the British Council maintains a metropolitan centre in Manchester. Although not an official twin city, Tamperemarker, Finlandmarker is known as "the Manchester of Finland" – or "Manse" for short. Similarly, Ahmedabadmarker, India established itself as the centre of a booming textile industry, which earned it the nickname "the Manchester of the East".

Country Place County / District / Region / State Date
Nicaraguamarker Bilwimarker Puerto Cabezasmarker
Germany Chemnitzmarker Saxonymarker 1983
Spain Córdobamarker Córdobamarker
Israelmarker Rehovotmarker Center Districtmarker
Russia Saint Petersburgmarker Northwestern Federal District 1962
China Wuhanmarker Hubeimarker 1986
Pakistanmarker Faisalabadmarker Punjabmarker 1997
United States of Americamarker Los Angelesmarker Californiamarker 2009

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. The reduction in the amount of local paperwork required for modern international trade is partly offset by the increased number of international travellers. Many pass through Manchester Airport, easily the UK’s biggest and busiest airport outside the London area.

  • Australian Honorary Consul
  • Assistant High Commissioner for Bangladesh
  • Consulate General of the Peoples Republic of China
  • High Commission for Cyprus
  • Trade Commission of Denmark
  • Consulate of France
  • Consulate of Italy
  • Consulate of the Netherlands
  • Royal Norwegian Consulate
  • Consulate General of India
  • Consulate General of Pakistan
  • Consulate General of Poland
  • Consulate General of Portugal
  • Consulate General of Spain
  • Consulate of Sweden
  • Consulate of Switzerland


  1. Note: Manchester United's ground is in Greater Manchester but outside Manchester city limits; it is in the borough of Trafford
  2. The Antiquaries Journal (ISSN 0003-5815) 2004, vol. 84, pp. 353–357
  3. BBC NEWS | England | Manchester | Italians revolt over church closure
  4. Robinson (1986), The Architecture of Northern England, p. 153
  5. , pp388-391& p425
  6. , pp381-385
  7. See Radio at the Ofcom web site and subpages, especially the directory of analogue radio stations, the map Commercial Radio Styles (PDF), and the map Community Radio in the UK (PDF). Retrieved on 6 November 2007
  8. At the time of the twinning agreement, the city was in the German Democratic Republic and named Karl-Marx-Stadt.

Further reading

  • Architecture
  • General
  • Culture
  • Sport

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