Manchester, the UK’s third largest city is a fantastic place whether you choose to visit.
Whether you are just visiting or you are considering a permanent move here, you won’t be disappointed.
Providing a rich and diverse history, Manchester continues to be a city of innovation and culture.
Manchester’s dynamic and ever-evolving cultural landscape makes it a city worth exploring for its history, arts, and vibrant communities.
Music, history, and contemporary culture are all covered, so Manchester has something to offer everyone.
Did you know that there is a mountain of trivia and bizarre facts to discover about the city?
Here are some fun and lesser-known facts about Manchester you may not have heard of.
What is in a Name?
Manchester, like so many of our great cities, has over the centuries accrued many different nicknames, here are some of them and why they are used:
In 79 AD the Romans founded the city known as Mamucium, a name that aptly described its location amidst the “Breast shaped hills.”
Subsequently, the Normans arrived and initiated a new settlement. In keeping with their tradition, most Norman settlements in Britain were suffixed with the word ‘chester.’
Consequently, Manchester emerged as the fusion of its original name, “Mamucium,” with the Norman addition of ‘chester’ at the end, marking its transformation into the city we now know as Manchester.
Throughout its history, the city has had a number of different nicknames some are positive, some negative and some just plain weird:
Cottonopolis. Due to its prominence in the cotton industry during the Industrial Revolution.
Mancunia. This is a poetic or Latinized nickname for Manchester, sometimes used to give the city a more classical or elegant feel.
The Rainy City. The weather can often be overcast and rainy in Manchester.
The Blue Mood City. This name is a nod to one of the town’s football teams Manchester City. The fans are often heard chanting the song “Blue Moon” at their matches.
Gaychester: An LGBTQ+-friendly city, Manchester is known for its many LGBTQ+-friendly bars and venues. The New Union Pub, in the city’s Gay Village district, is the oldest LGBT venue in the world.
Famous People Born in Manchester
The city residents are known as Mancunians and Manchester has been the birthplace of many well-known Mancunian sportsmen and women, singers, bands, actors and TV personalities.
Here are just a few:
- Caroline Aherne. BAFTA Award-winning actress, comedian and writer, The Mrs Merton Show.
- Max Beesley. English actor and musician.
- S Lowry, painter, known for his depictions of matchstick men and women.
- Aaron Davis. Better known by his stage name Bugzy Malone, rapper and actor, the first artist in the grime genre from Manchester to commercially succeed in the UK.
- Les Dawson. Well-known and much-loved comedian.
- Judy Finnigan. Television presenter and columnist; married to presenter Richard Madeley.
- Liam and Noel Gallagher. Brothers and founder members of the band Oasis.
- The Bee Gees. All were born in Manchester, Andy, Barry, Robin, and Maurice.
- Nick Grimshaw. Manchester-born Radio 1 DJ.
- Mick Hucknall. Lead singer of the band Simply Red.
- Emmeline Pankhurst. Leader of the Suffragette Movement, born in Moss Side.
- John Thaw. Actor, known for his roles in The Sweeney, and Inspector Morse.
- Katie Zelem. Footballer for England.
Manchester Foodie Facts
There is a host of facts and trivia regarding Manchester’s culinary fare too.
Manchester is known for its variety of local foods that reflect the city’s history and culture. From cakes to peas, pickles to pastry, you will find it all in this incredible city:
Manchester Tart is baked using jam, custard, a pinch of coconut, and a cherry on top it is Manchester’s signature cake.
Mushy peas are popular everywhere, particularly with fish and chips.
Vimto, the blackcurrant drink was invented in Manchester in 1908. Made with a blend of blackcurrant, raspberry, grape, herbs, and spices, it was first manufactured as a health tonic in cordial form, then decades later as a carbonated drink.
Originating from the town of the same name, Eccles Cake, another of the city’s best bakes, filled with currents and topped with sugar.
You can’t visit without tasting a Manchester Cob. An especially crafted bread traditionally baked into a round loaf featuring a crusty outer layer adorned with a charming criss-cross pattern.
A breakfast staple in Manchester, the Manchester Egg uses a pickled egg wrapped in black pudding and sausage meat before being covered in panko breadcrumbs and deep-fried.
Rag Pudding is made with beef, port and onions and wrapped in a suet pastry. First originating from Oldham, it is traditionally served with potatoes and gravy.
Gin has made a comeback in recent years being produced in a wide range of flavours. Manchester Gin is a popular brand of craft gin produced in the city. Founded in 2016 by couple Seb and Jen, it has quickly gained recognition for its quality and unique Flavors.
Manchester is home to the cereal kings “Kellogg’s” who have been making some of our favourite breakfast cereals in Manchester since 1938.
Historical Manchester Facts
Having been founded as a town in 1301, it is no surprise that Manchester and its surroundings are the perfect location for a myriad of weird and wonderful historical facts:
However, there were people inhabiting the area far earlier than 1301.
The first major inhabitants of the area were ancient Britons called the Brigantes. A Celtic tribe who in pre-Roman times controlled the largest section of what would become Northern England.
In 1421 Thomas de la Warre founded and constructed a collegiate church for the parish, which is now known as Manchester Cathedral.
Richard Arkwright began construction of Manchester’s first cotton mill in 1780.
John Dalton formulated his atomic theory in Manchester in the early 1800s.
The Guardian newspaper, originally known as The Manchester Guardian, was founded in Manchester in 1821. It later moved to London but retains its historical connection to the city.
By 1835 Manchester was without challenge the first and greatest industrial city in the world due to the cotton trade.
The number of cotton mills in Manchester itself reached a peak of 108 in 1853
The world’s first industrial estate (Trafford Park) was established in the city on the banks of the river Mersey in the early 1900s.
Although officially named Manchester Prison, Strangeways opened in 1868. It was the site of many executions until it became an illegal practice in the 1960’s.
Britain’s longest-recorded prison riot began at Strangeways in 1990, it lasted for 25 days.
Many of the country’s most notorious criminals were held at Strangeways. Perhaps one of the most well-known was the Moors murderer Ian Brady.
In 1948 the first-ever electronic, stored-program computer was designed and built by professors at the University of Manchester. Nicknamed ‘Baby’, it is the forerunner of the PCs we use today.
Manchester’s Architectural Facts
World’s Oldest surviving railway station is believed to be Liverpool Road railway station in Manchester. It was built in 1830 and is now part of the Museum of Science and Industry.
The Tallest Residential Building, Beetham Tower, also known as the Hilton Tower, is the tallest residential building in the UK outside of London.
Opened in 2002, the Imperial War Museum designed by Daniel Libeskind is an architectural masterpiece. Its distinctive aluminium-clad structure depicts a world torn apart by violence.
Manchester Town Hall is a stunning Victorian Gothic building. The tower clock is known as the “Big Ben of the North”.
11 million bricks were used to build the Manchester viaduct, which if laid out straight would stretch to Madrid and back.
Movie and TV Connections
Thanks to Manchester’s well-preserved Industrial-era warehouses and buildings a host of TV shows and movies have used it as a backdrop:
Much of the first Captain America movie was shot in Dale Street in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.
Peaky Blinders the BBC drama regularly used the city’s backstreets and waterways to double for 1920s and 30s Birmingham.
Season 4 of The Crown was shot in the city. The Northern Quarter was totally transformed in order to replicate a mini–New York.
TV legend Coronation Street is the longest-running TV series in England. It is mostly filmed on a set in Quay Street, Manchester, which was opened by The Queen in 1982. “Corrie” has been running since December 9th, 1960.
Though famously set in London, many scenes from Guy Ritchie’s film adaptations of Sherlock Holmes were actually filmed in Manchester.
The John Ryland’s Library within the University of Manchester was the inspiration behind Harry Potters Hogwarts School. Its iconic hall with its tall pillars and antiquated facades was deemed perfect for the part!
Shameless is yet another classic Manchester-filmed TV series. The comedy is set amid the fictional Chatworth council estate where the Gallaghers and the Maguires lived.
Cold Feet, Life on Mars, and Snatch were all filmed in parts of Manchester.
Random Manchester Facts
Manchester is home to two of England’s most famous football clubs, Manchester United and Manchester City. The rivalry between these clubs is one of the most iconic in English football.
When Manchester United and Manchester City play against each other it is known as the “Manchester Derby”.
Mr Scruff, a popular DJ and producer from Manchester, is known for his love of tea. He even has his own brand of tea called “Make Us a Brew,” which includes various blends of loose-leaf tea.
The famous chemist John Dalton developed the atomic theory whilst in the city. Bizarrely, his eyes are on display at the Manchester Royal Infirmary in a glass jar. They have remained remarkably well-preserved since his death in 1844.
Manchester’s Wilmslow Road in the Rusholme area is known as the “Curry Mile” because it’s home to numerous Indian, Pakistani, and Middle Eastern restaurants.
Alan Turing, the man responsible for breaking the Enigma Code, worked in Manchester.
Manchester boasts the first free public library. Housed in a building built in 1421 and opened to the public in 1653, Chetham’s library is the oldest public library in the English-speaking world.
To date, an impressive total of 25 Nobel Prize laureates have connections to Manchester University.
The Midland Hotel is one of the most famous hotels in Manchester. It is said to be the birthplace of Rolls Royce. The hotel is where Mr Rolls a car salesman and Mr Royce an engineer, first met in 1904.
Rolls Royce launched the Silver Ghost in 1907, which was their first car. Rolls Royce Merlin engines also powered the legendary RAF Spitfire planes that helped win the Battle of Britain and defeat the Nazis in World War II.
Manchester has a huge population of around 560,000 residents, a testament to its popularity.
Many who first come here as visitors or to study make the decision to stay.
The mix of cultural diversity, thriving job market, music, art, creativity and not forgetting football! combine to make it a pretty dynamic location in which to live.
It is also a city that continues to evolve.
New housing developments and improved transport infrastructure have helped to make life that much easier for those who already live here and for prospective new residents.
Do you Have Plans to Relocate to Manchester?
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Max is a seasoned writer and blogger in the real estate and home moving sectors, as well as a knowledgeable source of information for expatriates living and working abroad. His detailed insights have helped thousands of people move and live abroad with greater simplicity and ease.