Manchester is a city that has helped shape the world. Whether it is in industry, science or culture Manchester has always pioneered new ways of working and thinking and has, in doing so, transformed itself into a modern cosmopolitan powerhouse.
Recast for the 21st century as the original modern city, Greater Manchester has experienced a contemporary resurgence marked culturally by the acclaimed reopening of the Whitworth art gallery, arts centre HOME and the world-leading Manchester International Festival; by a property and investment boom that has outstripped the rest of the country; and by major changes to its governance and infrastructure, positioning it the central focus of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ agenda. Young people are flocking here to take advantage of its thriving economy, unrivalled student experience and smart jobs in science and the creative and digital sectors while Greater Manchester racks up accolades as the UK’s most competitive, economically productive, liveable and vibrant region. It’s difficult to keep track of bar and restaurant openings; new hotels abound to keep up with increased tourist numbers; original festivals and events have emerged to cater for a culture-hungry demographic; investment in sport has created a plethora of home-grown heroes; and Manchester Airport’s route network is rapidly growing, connecting Greater Manchester with over 200 global cities.
Manchester began as a Roman fort established on the banks of the River Medlock and developed over the years into small but bustling marketing town. It was in the 19th century when Manchester’s fortunes transformed. The introduction of mechanised weaving made Manchester the world’s first industrial city. Cotton mills sprang up around the region and we became ‘Cottonopolis’, the world centre for the cotton and textile trade. More developments followed, including the world’s first passenger steam railway and many of Manchester’s most iconic building which you can still see today, such as the gothic town hall and the Royal Exchange were built.
It was not only in industry that Manchester led the way. Manchester championed free trade and fought hard for the abolition of slavery. The Peterloo Massacre in 1819 helped galvanise political change that brought in social reforms and it was in Manchester Emmeline Pankhurst established The Women’s Social and Political Union, dubbed the’ Suffragettes’, who fought for women’s right to vote.
Manchester has always been synonymous with science. It was here that Rutherford first split the atom, it was here that the first test-tube baby was born and it was here that Geim and Novoselov, winners of the Nobel Prize, discovered the new wonder material graphene. Now Manchester is leading the way in sectors including smart textiles, digital health and quantum dot technology.
Our city has long been a home to artists, playwrights and musicians. Famous writers to set their work in Manchester include Thomas De Quincy, Elizabeth Gaskell and Anthony Burgess. Charles Dickens’ Hard Times is based on the city and it’s where Charlotte Bronte began Jane Eyre. Our music ranges from The Smiths, The Stone Roses and Oasis to the Hallé and BBC Philharmonic orchestras. Every two years the Manchester International Festival puts on a world-class festival of new art, theatre and performance.
And, of course, Manchester has always been the city of first-rate football. Manchester United and Manchester City are both at the top of the game, drawing fans from all around the world to see them play on their home turf.