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Coordinates: 53°28′N 2°14′W

City of Manchester
—  City & Metropolitan borough  —
Montage of Manchester

Coat of Arms of the City Council
Nickname(s): " Cottonopolis", "Warehouse City", "Sunny City", "Capital of the North", Madchester, Mancunia
Motto: "Concilio Et Labore" "By wisdom and effort"
Manchester shown within England
Coordinates: 53°28′N 2°14′W
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region North West England
Ceremonial county Greater Manchester
Admin HQ Manchester city centre
Founded 1st century
Town charter 1301
City status 1853
 • Type Metropolitan borough, City
 • Governing body Manchester City Council
 •  Lord Mayor Mark Hackett
 •  MPs: Paul Goggins (Lab)
Sir Gerald Kaufman (Lab)
John Leech (Lib Dem)
Tony Lloyd (Lab)
Graham Stringer (Lab)
 • City & Metropolitan borough 44.65 sq mi (115.65 km2)
Elevation 125 ft (38 m)
Population (2011 est.)
 • City & Metropolitan borough 502,900 ([[List of English districts by population|Ranked 7th]])
 • Density 9,880/sq mi (3,815/km2)
 •  Urban 2,240,230
( Greater Manchester Urban Area)
 •  County 2,547,700
 •  County Density 5,172.2/sq mi (1,997/km2)
 •  LUZ 2,539,100
 •  LUZ Density 5,140/sq mi (1,984/km2)
Demonym Mancunian
Time zone Greenwich Mean Time ( UTC+0)
Postcode M
Area code(s) 0161
( 2007 Estimates)
75.8% White
11.1% South Asian
5.5% Black
4.3% East Asian and Other
3.3% Mixed
ISO 3166-2 GB-MAN
ONS code 00BN
OS grid reference SJ838980

Manchester ( / ˈ m æ n ɛ s t ə /) is a city and metropolitan borough of Greater Manchester, England. In 2009, its population was estimated to be 483,800, making it the seventh-most populous local authority district in England. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas; the metropolitan county of Greater Manchester had an estimated population of 2,600,100, the Greater Manchester Urban Area 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 Plain 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 Mamucium, which was established c. AD 79 on a sandstone bluff near the confluence of the rivers Medlock and Irwell. Historically, most of the city was a part of Lancashire, although areas south of the River Mersey were in Cheshire. 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.

Manchester was the site of the world's first railway station, hosted the first meeting of the Trades Union Congress and is where scientists first split the atom and developed the first programmable computer. It is known for its music scene and its sporting connections. Manchester was the host of the 2002 Commonwealth Games, and its sports clubs include two Premier League football teams, Manchester City and Manchester United. Manchester is the third-most visited city in the United Kingdom by foreign visitors and the most visited in England outside London.



The name Manchester originates from the Ancient Roman name Mamucium, the name of the Roman fort and settlement, generally thought to be a Latinisation of an original Celtic name (possibly meaning "breast-like hill" from mamm- = "breast"), plus Old English ceaster = "town", which is derived from Latin castra = "camp". 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 Cathedral now stands, opposite the banks of the River Irwell. Their territory extended across the fertile lowland of what is now Salford and Stretford. Following the Roman conquest of Britain in the 1st century, General Agricola ordered the construction of a Roman fort named Mamucium in the year 79 to ensure that Roman interests in Deva Victrix ( Chester) and Eboracum (York) were protected from the Brigantes. 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 Castlefield. The Roman habitation of Manchester probably ended around the 3rd century; the vicus, or civilian settlement, appears to have been abandoned by the mid 3rd century, although the fort may have supported a small garrison until the late 3rd or early 4th century. 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
A map of Manchester and Salford from 1801.

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

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 Worsley to central Manchester. The canal was extended to the Mersey at Runcorn by 1776. The combination of competition and improved efficiency halved the cost of coal and halved the transport cost of raw cotton. 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

Cotton mills in Ancoats about 1820
Manchester from Kersal Moor, by William Wylde in 1857. Manchester acquired the nickname Cottonopolis during the early 19th century owing to its sprawl of textile factories.

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 Cheshire, 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 " Cottonopolis" and "Warehouse City" during the Victorian era. In Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, the term "manchester" is still 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 58 kilometres (36 mi) from Salford to Eastham Locks on the tidal Mersey. This enabled ocean going ships to sail right into the Port of Manchester. On the canal's banks, just outside the borough, the world's first industrial estate was created at Trafford Park. Large quantities of machinery, including cotton processing plant, were exported around the world.

The Peterloo Massacre of 1819 saw 15 deaths and several hundred injured.

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 Massacre of 16 August 1819. The economic school of Manchester capitalism developed there, and Manchester was the centre of the Anti-Corn Law League from 1838 onward.

Manchester has a notable place in the history of Marxism and left-wing politics; being the subject of Friedrich Engels' work The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844; Engels 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 Manchester Town Hall) date from then. The city's cosmopolitan atmosphere contributed to a vibrant culture, which included the Hallé Orchestra. In 1889, when county councils were created in England, the municipal borough became a county borough with even greater autonomy.

Although the Industrial Revolution brought wealth to the city, it also brought poverty and squalor to a large part of the population. Historian Simon Schama noted that "Manchester was the very best and the very worst taken to terrifying extremes, a new kind of city in the world; the chimneys of industrial suburbs greeting you with columns of smoke". An American visitor taken to 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 Bolton in the 1850s and Oldham 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.

The Second World War and the Manchester Blitz

Like most of the UK, the Manchester area mobilised extensively during the Second World War. For example, casting and machining expertise at Beyer, Peacock and Company's locomotive works in Gorton was switched to bomb making; Dunlop's rubber works in Chorlton-on-Medlock made barrage balloons; and just outside the city in Trafford Park, engineers Metropolitan-Vickers made Avro Manchester and Avro Lancaster bombers and Ford built the Rolls-Royce Merlin engines to power them. Manchester was thus the target of bombing by the Luftwaffe, and by late 1940 air raids were taking place against non-military targets. The biggest took place during the " Christmas Blitz" on the nights of 22/23 and 24 December 1940, when an estimated 467 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 Cathedral was among the buildings seriously damaged; its restoration took 20 years.

Post-Second World War

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 bombing, the detonation of a large bomb next to a department store in the city centre. The largest to be detonated on British soil, the bomb injured over 200 people, heavily damaged nearby buildings, and broke windows half a mile away. The cost of the immediate damage was initially estimated at £50 million, but this was quickly revised upwards. The final insurance payout was over £400 million; many affected businesses never recovered from the loss of trade.

Exchange Square during a BBC Big Screen showing of a FIFA World Cup football game.

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 Printworks and The Triangle have become popular shopping and entertainment destinations. The Manchester Arndale 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, Hulme has undergone extensive regeneration programmes, and million-pound lofthouse apartments have since been developed. The 169-metre tall, 47-storey Beetham Tower, completed in 2006, is the tallest building in the UK outside London. 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 Lords rejected the decision by three votes rendering previous House of Commons 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 Liverpool 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 terms of 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 Birmingham since the early 20th century.


Manchester Town Hall in Albert Square, seat of local governance, is an example of Victorian era Gothic revival architecture.

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


Climate chart ( explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm

At 53°28′0″N 2°14′0″W, 160 miles (257 km) northwest of London, Manchester lies in a bowl-shaped land area bordered to the north and east by the Pennines, a mountain chain that runs the length of northern England, and to the south by the Cheshire Plain. The city centre is on the east bank of the River Irwell, near its confluences with the Rivers Medlock and Irk, and is relatively low-lying, being between 115 to 138 feet (35 and 42 m) above sea level. The River Mersey flows through the south of Manchester. Much of the inner city, especially in the south, is flat, offering extensive views from many highrise buildings in the city of the foothills and moors of the Pennines, which can often be capped with snow in the winter months. Manchester's geographic features were highly influential in its early development as the world's first industrial city. These features are its climate, its proximity to a seaport at Liverpool, the availability of water power from its rivers, and its nearby coal reserves.

The City of Manchester. The land use is overwhelmingly urban

The name Manchester, though officially applied only to the metropolitan district of Greater Manchester, has been applied to other, wider divisions of land, particularly across much of the Greater Manchester county and urban area. The "Manchester City Zone", " Manchester post town" and the " Manchester Congestion Charge" are all examples of this. The economic geography of the Manchester City Region 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 Salford, plus the adjoining metropolitan boroughs of Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale and Wigan, together with High Peak (which lies outside the North West England region), Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester and Warrington.

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

Manchester experiences a temperate maritime climate, like much of the British Isles, with warm summers and cold winters. There is regular but generally light precipitation throughout the year. The city's average annual rainfall is 806.6 millimetres (31.76 in) compared to the UK average of 1,125.0 millimetres (44.29 in), 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 Forest hills that surround the city to its east and north receive more snow and roads leading out of the city can be closed due to snow. notably the A62 road via Oldham and Standedge, the A57 ( Snake Pass) towards Sheffield, and the M62 over Saddleworth Moor.

Location and climate

Climate data for Manchester (Ringway) 69m asl, 1981-2010, extremes 1960-2005
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 14.3
Average high °C (°F) 7.3
Average low °C (°F) 1.7
Record low °C (°F) −12
Rainfall mm (inches) 72.3
Avg. rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm) 13.1 9.7 12.3 11.2 10.4 11.1 10.9 12 11.1 13.6 14.1 13.5 142.9
Avg. snowy days 9 7 5 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 5 30
 %  humidity 87 86 86 85 82 84 86 88 89 89 87 87 86.3
Mean monthly sunshine hours 52.5 73.9 99 146.9 188.3 172.5 179.7 166.3 131.2 99.3 59.5 47.1 1416.2
Source #1: Met Office
Source #2: NOAA


The population of Manchester shown with other boroughs in the Greater Manchester county from 1801 to 2001.

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 Hattersley and Langley.

The inhabitants of Manchester, like in many other large cities, are religiously diverse. Christianity is the largest religion in the city; much like Liverpool and Glasgow Manchester has a large Catholic population due to Irish immigration. The Jewish population is second only to London, and Greater Manchester also has one of the largest Muslim populations.

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

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 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 Side, Longsight, Cheetham Hill, Rusholme, 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 Chinatown in the city with a substantial number of oriental restaurants and Chinese supermarkets. The area also attracts large numbers of Chinese students to the city, attending the local universities.

In terms of religion, in the 2001 census, 62.4% of the population are Christian and 9.1% Muslim. Other religions represent less than 1% each. The number of people without a religion is above the national average at 16%, with 9.7% not stating their religion.

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 Side and Wythenshawe. 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 Manchester. The Manchester LUZ is the second largest within the United Kingdom, behind that of London.


Manchester city centre from the Beetham Tower at night
The arched entrance into Chinatown

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 2010 as the second-best place to do business in the UK and the twelfth 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 Wales or North East England.

Manchester is a focus for businesses which serve local, regional and international markets. It is the fifth-largest financial centre in the United Kingdom outside London with more than 96,300 people employed in banking, finance and insurance. 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 commercial centre is in the centre of the city, adjacent to Piccadilly, focused on Mosley Street, Deansgate, King Street and Piccadilly. Spinningfields is a £1.5 billion mixed-use development that is expanding the district west of Deansgate. The area is designed to hold office space, retail and catering facilities, and courts. Several high-profile tenants have moved in, and a Civil Justice Centre opened in October 2007.

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 Hermès. The city has several shopping malls including the Manchester Arndale, the UK's largest inner city shopping mall.

Manchester City Centre Skyline Christmas Eve 2010


Beetham Tower on Deansgate, currently Manchester's tallest building and England's tallest residential tower

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 Hall, in Albert Square, was built in the Gothic revival style and is considered to be one of the most important Victorian buildings in England. It has been used in film as a replacement location for the Palace of Westminster, in which filming is not permitted. Manchester also has a number of skyscrapers built during the 1960s and 1970s, the tallest of which was the CIS Tower located near Manchester Victoria station until the Beetham Tower was completed in 2006; it is an example of the new surge in high-rise building and includes a Hilton hotel, a restaurant, and apartments. On its completion, it was the tallest building in the UK outside London, although an even taller building, the Piccadilly Tower, began construction behind Manchester Piccadilly station in early 2008 (a project currently in abeyance). The Green Building, opposite Oxford Road station, is a pioneering eco-friendly housing project, one of very few in the UK.

The award-winning Heaton Park in the north of the city borough is one of the largest municipal parks in Europe, covering 610 acres (250 ha) of parkland. 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 Gardens has monuments dedicated to Queen Victoria, Robert Peel, James Watt and the Duke of Wellington. The cenotaph in St Peter's Square, by Edwin Lutyens, is Manchester's main memorial to its war dead. The Alan Turing Memorial in Sackville Park commemorates his role as the father of modern computing. A larger-than-life statue of Abraham Lincoln by George Gray Barnard in the eponymous Lincoln Square (having stood for many years in Platt Fields) was presented to the city by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Phelps Taft of Cincinnati, Ohio, to mark the part that Lancashire played in the cotton famine and American Civil War of 1861–1865. A Concorde is on display near Manchester Airport. 


Manchester Airport has double the number of annual passengers of its nearest non-London airport rival.
Manchester Piccadilly Station, one of the two principal railway and Metrolink stations in Manchester
The Manchester Metrolink will have the largest tram system in the UK once expansion is complete.

Manchester and North West England are served by Manchester Airport. The airport is the busiest airport in the country outside the London region making it the 4th busiest airport in the United Kingdom in terms of passenger numbers, 3rd in terms of total aircraft movements and overall the 17th busiest airport in Europe as of 2009. 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 Heathrow). A second runway was opened in 2001 and there have been continued terminal improvements. Despite being a regional airport, the airport currently has the highest rating available, "Category 10" encompassing an elite group of airports which are able to handle "Code F" aircraft including the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8 From September 2010 the airport became one of only seventeen airports in the world and the only airport other than Heathrow Airport to operate the Airbus A380 in the United Kingdom .

Manchester is well served by trains. In terms of passengers, Manchester Piccadilly was the busiest English railway station outside London between 2007–08 and the third busiest between 2008-09. Local operator Northern Rail and First Transpennine Express operates all over the North of England, and other national operators include East Midlands Trains and Virgin Trains. The city's other main central railway station, Manchester Victoria, had many more platforms prior to the arrival of the Manchester Arena than it nowadays has. Mainly serving destinations to the north of the city, Victoria station is urgently in need of a major upgrade to bring it into the modern era. 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 23 mi (37 km)-network consists of three lines with 37 stations (including five on-street tram stops in the centre). An expansion programme is underway which will create 4 new lines to add to the current 3 and will be at least 99 stops, 62 more than in 2010. Upon completion Manchester will have the largest tram system in the UK.

The city has one of the most extensive bus networks outside London with over 50 bus companies operating in the Greater Manchester region radiating from the city. 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. Stagecoach Manchester is the Stagecoach Group's largest subsidiary serving operating around 690 buses and serving 87 million passengers a year. and operate the 192 bus service, the busiest bus route in the UK.

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

Bands that have emerged from the Manchester music scene include The Smiths, the Buzzcocks, The Fall, Joy Division and its successor group New Order, Oasis, Doves and Ten. Manchester was credited as the main regional driving force behind indie bands of the 1980s including Happy Mondays, Inspiral Carpets, James, and The Stone Roses. These groups came from what became known as the " Madchester" scene that also centred around the The Haçienda nightclub 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. Notable Manchester acts of the 1960s include The Hollies, Herman's Hermits and the Bee Gees, who grew up in Chorlton.

Manchester’s main pop music venue is the Manchester Evening News Arena, situated next to Victoria station. 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 Garden in New York and the O2 Arena in London, the second and third busiest respectively. Other major venues include the Manchester Apollo and the Manchester Academy. Smaller venues are the Band on the Wall Roadhouse, the Night and Day Cafe, the Ruby Lounge, and The Deaf Institute.

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

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 Saddleworth and Tameside.

Performing arts

The Opera House, one of Manchester's largest theatre venues

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

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

Museums and galleries

City Art Gallery
The Museum of Science and Industry

Manchester 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 Castlefield district, a reconstructed part of the Roman fort of Mamucium is open to the public in Castlefield. The Museum of Science and Industry, housed in the former Liverpool Road railway station, has a large collection of steam locomotives, industrial machinery and aircraft. The Museum of Transport 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 North. The Manchester Museum opened to the public in the 1880s, has notable Egyptology and natural history collections.

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

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

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


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 Preston, it shows the influence of his friend Mrs Gaskell.


Canal Street, one of Manchester's liveliest nightspots, part of the city's gay village

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 250,000 visitors, with 110–130,000 people visiting on a typical weekend night. The night-time economy has a value of about £100 million pa and supports 12,000 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 on clubs such as The Haçienda. The period was the subject of the film 24 Hour Party People. Many of the big clubs suffered problems with organised crime at that time; Haslam describes one where staff were so completely intimidated that free admission and drinks were demanded (and given) and drugs were openly dealt. Following a series of drug-related violent incidents, The Hacienda closed in 1997.

Gay Village

Public houses in the Canal Street 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, Manchester Pride, each August since 1991. The TV series Queer as Folk was set in the area.


The entrance to Whitworth Hall, part of the University of Manchester campus

There are two universities in the City of Manchester. The University of Manchester is the largest full-time non-collegiate university in the United Kingdom and was created in 2004 by the merger of Victoria University of Manchester and UMIST. It includes the Manchester Business School, which offered the first MBA course in the UK in 1965. Manchester Metropolitan University was formed as Manchester Polytechnic on the merger of three colleges in 1970. It gained university status in 1992, and in the same year absorbed Crewe and Alsager College of Higher Education in South Cheshire.

The University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and the Royal Northern College of Music are grouped around Oxford Road on the southern side of the city centre, which forms Europe's largest urban higher education precinct. 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 Crewe and Alsager in Cheshire.

One of Manchester's most notable secondary schools is the Manchester Grammar School. 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 Music. There are three schools nearby: William Hulme's Grammar School, Withington Girls' School and Manchester High School for Girls.

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


Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United F.C.
The City of Manchester Stadium, used for the 2002 Commonwealth Games and home of Manchester City F.C.

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 Stadium (near 48,000 capacity); Manchester United's Old Trafford 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 Trafford. 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. 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 Road, 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 Centre and the Manchester Aquatics Centre. Manchester has competed twice to host the Olympic Games, beaten by Atlanta for 1996 and Sydney for 2000. The Manchester Velodrome was built as a part of the bid for the 2000 games. 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 Arena hosted the FINA World Swimming Championships in 2008. Manchester also hosted the World Squash Championships in 2008, and also hosted the 2010 World Lacrosse Championship in July 2010.

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, Tampere, Finland is known as "the Manchester of Finland" – or "Manse" for short. Similarly, Ahmedabad, 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 Originally twinned with Date
Nicaragua Nicaragua Bilwi Bandera Atlàntic Nord.png Atlántico Norte City of Manchester
Germany Germany Coat of arms of Chemnitz.svg Chemnitz Flag of Saxony.svg Sachsen City of Manchester 1983
India India Kanpur City of Manchester 1970
Spain Spain COA Córdoba, Spain.svg Córdoba Bandera de Andalucia.svg Andalucía City of Manchester
Israel Israel Rehovot COA.png Rehovot HaMerkaz County Borough of Manchester
Russia Russia Coat of Arms of Saint Petersburg (2003).png Saint Petersburg Flag of Saint Petersburg Russia.svg Sankt-Peterburg County Borough of Manchester 1962
China China Wuhan Hubei City of Manchester 1986
Pakistan Pakistan Faisalabad Punjab City of Manchester 1997
United States United States Seal of Los Angeles, California.svg Los Angeles Flag of California.svg California City of Manchester 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.

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