This article is about the city in England. For alternative meanings, see Manchester (disambiguation).

Template:GBdot Manchester is a city in the north-west of England. The metropolitan borough of Manchester, with a population of 422,302, lies at the heart of a large conurbation called Greater Manchester, with a population of 2,513,468. The term "Manchester" is often used to refer to the entire conurbation, much as "London" is usually used to mean Greater London, but many of the constituent parts of Greater Manchester, such as Salford, Wigan and Bolton, also have separate identities. People from Manchester are called Mancunians.

Manchester is perhaps best known for its nightlife and its music scene. In recent years many have come to regard it as England's second city, a claim traditionally made by Birmingham. This is backed by a MORI poll of the British people which identified Manchester as "England's Second City". It is also backed by statements by both the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, who both stated in public that they regard Manchester as the UK's second city.

 is an example of the  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 (


Main article History of Manchester

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.

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:Template:Coor dm
- 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
MPs:Paul Goggins, Gerald Kaufman, John Leech, Tony Lloyd, Graham Stringer

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

Manchester remained a small market town until the Industrial Revolution, beginning in the 18th century. Its damp climate made it and the surrounding area 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. Trafford Park, south west of Manchester, became the first industrial estate in the world, feeding Manchester's industrial growth, and is still the biggest in Europe. Trafford Park contains, among others, the Kellogg Company Europe, Rolls Royce, Manchester United Football Club and the Trafford Centre. Trafford Park was also the first place outside North America that the Ford Motor Company produced the Model T car, in 1911. The Midland Hotel in Manchester, originally built by the Midland Railway company, which owned the adjacent Central Station (now the G-Mex) to attract businessmen to the area, was the building in which Rolls met Royce in 1904, leading to the incorporation of Rolls Royce. The Midland Hotel was also 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.

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.

At 11.20 am on Saturday 15 June 1996 the IRA detonated a large bomb in the city centre. The consequent reconstruction has 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 hosted the XVII Commonwealth Games very successfully, earning praise from many previously sceptical 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.)


Art galleries

There are many art galleries in Manchester, notably:


Museums in Manchester include:

Classical music

Manchester is home to two symphony orchestras, the Hall 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 Hall 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.

Although Manchester had an impressive music scene before 1976 (with groups like The Hollies, The Bee Gees and 10cc, and with Top of the Pops being recorded by the BBC in the city), undoubtedly the key moment in Manchester’s musical history occurred on 4 June 1976, when the Sex Pistols, at the invitation of Howard Devoto & Pete Shelley (of the Buzzcocks), arrived at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Castlefield to play a legendary gig—legendary, because in spite of an audience of fewer than 42 people, several key members of Manchester’s future music scene were present: Tony Wilson Granada TV presenter and creator of Factory Records, Ian Curtis, Peter Hook, Bernard Sumner (of Joy Division & New Order), Morrissey—later to form The Smiths with Johnny Marr—producer Martin Hannett, and Mick Hucknall of Simply Red. Soon after this gig, Tony Wilson created Factory Records and signed Joy Division.

With the industrial revolution as its model, Factory Records played upon Manchester's traditions, invoking at once the apparently incongruous images of the industrial north and the glamorous pop art world of Andy Warhol. It was Factory's Joy Division who somehow managed to grimly define what exactly it was to be a Mancunian as the 1970s drew to an end. At the same time, and out of the same post punk energy, emerged Mark.E.Smith’s ground breaking group The Fall, who would become one of the most inventive, original and prolific groups of the next three decades. The group that would ultimately become the definitive Manchester group of the 1980s was The Smiths, lead by Morrissey and Johnny Marr. With songs like 'Rusholme Ruffians' and 'Suffer Little Children', Morrissey sang explicitly about Manchester, creating images that are as iconic of Manchester as the paintings of L. S. Lowry.

As the 1980s drew to a close, a new energy arrived in Manchester, fuelled by the drug ecstasy. A new scene developed around The Haienda night club (again part of the Factory Records ‘empire’), creating what would become known as the Madchester scene, – the main proponents being the Happy Mondays, The Inspiral Carpets, and The Stone Roses. The history of the Manchester music scene over this period was loosely dramatised in Michael Winterbottom's 2002 film 24 Hour Party People.

After the "Madchester" period, Manchester music lost much of its provincial energy, though many successful and interesting acts were still to emerge. Other notable musical acts in Manchester have been Take That, 808 State, M People, Oasis, James, Badly Drawn Boy, Michael McGoldrick, Elbow, Mr Scruff, Lamb and Doves. Morrissey and The Fall along with Gold Blade still continue to produce original ground breaking music.

Manchester's main popular music venue is the Manchester Evening News Arena, which seats over 20,000, and is the largest arena of its type in Europe. Other venues major 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.

See list of Manchester bands

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, numerous bars and clubs, and each August bank holiday 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 portrayed life in the village. The year round gay and lesbian heritage trail ( exhibits Manchester's colourful and often dark gay history. Manchester's status as gay capital of the UK was affirmed in 2003 when it played host city to the annual Europride festival.


Missing image

Famous writers to come from the Manchester area include Elizabeth Gaskell, and Anthony Burgess who wrote 'A Clockwork Orange', later adapted into a film by Stanley Kubrick. W. G. Sebald lived in Manchester when he first came to England, and it 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, among them:

  • Contact Theatre, a theatre for young people with a bold contemporary design
  • The Green Room, a small fringe venue
  • The Library Theatre, a small producing theatre situated in the basement of the city's central library
  • The Lowry, a large touring venue in Salford
  • The Opera House, a commercial theatre promoting large scale touring shows which regularly plays host to touring West End shows
  • The Palace Theatre, another large scale commercial theatre
  • The Royal Exchange Theatre, a large producing theatre located in Manchester's former cotton exchange

The city is also home to two highly-regarded drama schools; The Manchester Metropolitan University School of Theatre and the Arden School of Theatre.


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Piccadilly Gardens, one of the city's main public squares
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Manchester in the morning.

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:

Public monuments


The BBC has its north-west headquarters in New Broadcasting House on Manchester's Oxford Road, while Granada Television also has its original headquarters in the Castlefield area of the city. The city is the main television broadcasting centre outside London. The BBC will soon move its sport, Radio Five Live, new media, children's television and other departments to the city.

The city's main newspaper is the Manchester Evening News and the city is home to local radio stations such as BBC GMR, Key 103, Galaxy, Piccadilly Magic 1152, 105.4 Century FM and 100.4 Smooth FM, Capital Gold 1458, as well as some smaller stations. Xfm is to begin broadcasting later in 2005.

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 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 of the former Victoria University of Manchester with UMIST.

Together with nearby Salford University, and the Royal Northern College of Music, these give the area a student population in excess of 65,000. This is one of the biggest student populations in Europe.


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 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 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 and Bolton Wanderers. The legacy of the Commonwealth Games includes many first class sporting facilities such as 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 matches including Test Matches.

Manchester is also represented in Rugby Union by Sale Sharks and Manchester RU, who currently play their home games at Edgeley Park in Stockport; and in Rugby League by Wigan Warriors, who share the JJB Stadium with Wigan Athletic, and Salford City Reds, who are currently in the process of constructing a new state-of-the-art stadium.



Manchester International Airport is the third-largest airport in the UK (after Heathrow and Gatwick). In 2003 it handled 20 million passengers and provided direct flights to over 180 destinations worldwide by over 90 airlines.


The main roads serving Manchester are the M56, M6, M60, M61, M62 and M66 motorways. This accounts for a large percentage of the UK's motorway network and is the best network provided for any city in the UK outside of London.

Manchester and the surrounding area have a good 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 has two major stations, Manchester Victoria and Manchester Piccadilly, linking Manchester to the rest of the United Kingdom. There are also many smaller local stations, such as Manchester Oxford Road.


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

Despite Manchester's size, it does not have an underground train system, such as the famous London Underground or the Glasgow Subway.

Instead, the city has a tram system called the Metrolink. Operated by Serco, Metrolink links the city centre to Altrincham, Eccles and Bury.

Plans to extend Manchester Metrolink into the surrounding towns and boroughs that form Greater Manchester have recently been resurrected. 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.


The city's buses are operated by a range of companies including First Bus, Stagecoach (incorporating the lower-cost Magic Bus), 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 into the city centre.


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 the only urban area in the country to be able to boast two indoor shopping centres, each with over 280 stores. The first is the Arndale Centre in the middle of the city, the largest city-centre shopping centre in Europe. The second is the out-of-town Trafford Centre which boasts a massive food hall, multi-screen cinema and Namco games centre. Other shopping centres are provided, including The Triangle which caters for a more youthful clientele. The city also provides two Selfridges department stores, a Harvey Nichols store, the largest Next store in the UK and a large John Lewis department store. There is also a range of designer clothing stores including Tommy Hilfiger, DKNY, and Louis Vuitton. Alternative tastes are catered for by Affleck's Palace on Oldham Street, a building which provides low-cost stalls for independent start-up traders and creatives, and has become popular among students and younger Mancunians.


Manchester urban area

Towns in the Manchester urban area include Salford, Sale, Altrincham, Cheadle, Stockport, Ashton-under-Lyne, and Oldham, Bury, Rochdale, Stockport 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.

Borough of Manchester

Places in the City of Manchester include:

Streets and plazas in Manchester

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

External links

Districts of England - North West England Flag of England

Allerdale | Barrow-in-Furness | Blackburn with Darwen | Blackpool | Bolton | Burnley | Bury | Carlisle | Chester | Chorley | Congleton | Copeland | Crewe and Nantwich | Eden | Ellesmere Port and Neston | Fylde | Halton | Hyndburn | Knowsley | Lancaster | Liverpool | Macclesfield | Manchester | Oldham | Pendle | Preston | Ribble Valley | Rochdale | Rossendale | St Helens | Salford | Sefton | South Lakeland | South Ribble | Stockport | Tameside | Trafford | Vale Royal | Warrington | West Lancashire | Wigan | Wirral | Wyre

Administrative counties with multiple districts: Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside


da:Manchester de:Manchester es:Manchester eo:Manchester fr:Manchester it:Manchester he:מנצ'סטר la:Mamucium nl:Manchester ja:マンチェスター no:Manchester pl:Manchester pt:Manchester fi:Manchester sv:Manchester zh:曼彻斯特


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