To us, Manchester is just home. Nothing more, nothing less. But to other people, it is a city cemented in incredible history that continues to make its stamp on the world.
Despite its continuous expansion and growth, Manchester and its people never really change. And that’s what makes it so special. Here are 14 reasons why the world knows and loves Manchester:
The late Tony Wilson, known as ‘Mr Manchester’ himself was the founder Factory Records, the city’s most famous record label. Also, the manager of the famous Hacienda nightclub, Tony Wilson transformed Manchester’s music scene into one with world-wide recognition. As the brains behind huge names such as the Happy Mondays and Joy Division, Tony Wilson will forever be celebrated for promoting the culture of Manchester throughout his undeniably successful career.
Whilst not particularly celebrated during his lifetime, Alan Turing is now considered the father of modern computing and artificial intelligence. This mathematical genius, who was responsible for cracking the German’s enigma code in the Second World War, conducted most of his ground-breaking work at the University of Manchester from 1948 until his death (suicide) in Cheshire, in 1954. As the first man to address the problem of artificial intelligence and to create a test in which to determine the level of intelligence of a machine (the Turing test), Alan Turing will forever be remembered as one of Britain’s most inquisitive thinkers. Without him, computers may never have been created.
Although people across the world may not know much about Manchester as a city, everyone knows of Manchester United- one of the world’s most well-known and widely supported football clubs, with approximately 659 million fans! In fact, this year, Manchester United overtook the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona to become the most valuable football club in the entire world; with a net worth of around £2.8bn.
In 1830, the first inter-city passenger railway with scheduled services opened in Manchester, thus paving the way for future railway lines across the UK. It was the first commercial railway to carry passengers as well as cargo and proved to be cheaper and more efficient way of travel. Within only a few decades, the UK would have a full network of railway lines; all thanks to the success of the first.
Graphene is a relatively new material; having only been invented in 2004 by two men named Prof Andre Geim and Prof Kostya Novoselov. But guess what? These geniuses perfected their masterful creation at our very own University of Manchester. This might not sound like a big deal, but trust us, it is, because graphene is the strongest material ever tested, despite a single layer being only an atom thick! It therefore comes as no surprise that Geim and Novoselov won the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics. Well-deserved lads, well deserved.
It is believed that around 375 million people in the world practice vegetarianism; but would you be surprised to hear that the concept was first introduced by Mancunian, William Cowherd, in 1815. The Salford based Christian minister founded the ‘Vegetarian Society’ in 1847 whereby he encouraged a group of followers known as ‘Cowherdites’ to abstain from eating meat. His movement then began to spread across the world when it was preached in the U.S in 1817.
The first submarine
Nowadays, we all know how widely-used submarines are in the military. But would you believe that the first ever submarine was created in Manchester? Named the ‘Resurgam’ or ‘the curate’s egg’, The Rev George Garrett created a one-man military submarine which was devised in his very own office in 1878. Unsurprisingly, the tiny 14m long vessel proved to be less than a success and sank in Liverpool Bay on the 25th February 1880. However, the wreckage wasn’t discovered till 1995, well over a century later.
The Gay Village
In recent years, the LGBT community has spread its wings and became more open and accepted in modern day society. However, this wasn’t always the case- even in the 90’s which wasn’t all that long ago. Despite the stigma surrounding homosexuality, Canal Street in Manchester became known as the ‘Gay Village’- a place where homosexuals from across the country could celebrate and enjoy their sexuality without judgment. Even now, it remains one of the largest gay scenes in the country, and continues to be a prolific haven for people across the world.
The Atom Theory
In 1803, chemist John Dalton presented a paper to the Manchester Literary & Philosophical Society, proposing that all matter is comprised of atoms. Little did Dalton know that he would change the face of science forever. His innovative theory is still valid today, and is believed to be Manchester’s first critical acclaims. Even now, Mancunians still honour Dalton.
Rolls Royce- one of the most well-known and luxurious car manufacturers. And guess what? This genius business venture was established in Manchester- in the Midland Hotel to be exact. In 1904, local engineer, Frederick Henry Royce met with London playboy Charles Stewart Rolls. Together, they would form one of the greatest unions in automotive history.
In 1996, Manchester made world-wide headlines after being hit with the biggest bomb since World War two. The attack, which was carried out by members of the Provisional Irish Republican (IRA), caused around £700m worth of damage to the city centre, but thankfully claimed no lives. Since then, the Arndale centre and surrounding buildings has been completely reconstructed; however, the people have never forgotten.
It’s crazy to think that once upon a time, in our diverse and accepting city, that women weren’t allowed to vote. However, this was the case- until Moss Side born activist, Emmeline Pankhurst got involved. Praised as one of the most important people of the 20th Century, Pankhurst was the leader of the British suffragette movement that fought for the right for women to vote. In July 1928, the Conservative government finally extended the vote to women over the age of 21, after years of campaigning. Sadly, Pankhurt died merely a few weeks before the decision was passed, but it hasn’t stopped her from being celebrated still.
Believe it or not, Manchester is the proud home to the oldest library in the English-speaking world- Chetham’s Library. Established by wealthy Mancunian, Humphrey Chetham, the library has been in constant use since 1653, and continues as an independent charity that is open to visitors, free of charge. And one more interesting fact- this library was the meeting place of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, where it is argued they established socialism.
The Manchester Arena Bombing
Sadly, this event is a little fresher in our minds then we would probably like, but this horrible event in May 2017 will now be cemented in our city’s history forever. The Islamic terror attack carried out by suicide bomber Salman Ramadan Abedi who was responsible for killing 23 people and injuring over 500 shortly after an Ariana Grande concert. Whilst this event was condemned across the world, it inspired a world-wide wave of support and brought the community even closer together. This union is symbolised by a bee logo, which can be seen scattered around the city.