A great man once said “this is Manchester, we do things differently.” Tony Wilson was widely regarded as the man who put Manchester on the map for its music and vibrant nightlife. But it’s Manchester’s nature to own what we do. Our courageousness and own little twist on individuality is infectious. It’s what stands us tall and puts us on the map.
Here’s an illustrated shortlist of a few things we have gifted the world.
1Votes For Women
Where would we be without Emmeline Pankhurst, Moss Side-born and the mother of the Suffragette movement? Manchester’s Pankhurst led the British suffragette movement in the early 1900s and campaigned tirelessly for the women’s right to vote.
Less depressing than the East Enders alternative, longer running than any other on TV, and herald of Betty’s famous hot pot.
Anthony Wilson was the owner of record label Factory Records, a radio and television presenter, founder and manager of the Haçienda nightclub, impresario and journalist for Granada Television and the BBC. The music mogul behind some of Manchester’s most successful bands, Tony Wilson was known as Mr Manchester, dubbed as such for his work in promoting the culture of Manchester throughout his career. Factory’s best-known group, Joy Division, became New Order after the 1980 suicide of singer Ian Curtis. Wilson died of a heart attack in Manchester’s Christie Hospital on in 2007 aged 57.
It’s a cliche for a reason. Manchester has spawned more rock stars per head than any other British city. We’re talking Joy Division (and New Order), The Smiths, Inspiral Carpets, The Stone Roses, Oasis The Happy Mondays, The 1975, The Hollies, The Ting Tings.
5British dance music
After Ian Curtis’ suicide, Joy Division started hanging out in New York gay clubs and became New Order; inadvertently kicking off the clubbing revolution in the UK. Whether you like it or not, the whole indie music merging with dance music, the fashion, everything; it all came from the Haçienda. Rave on.
6The modern British boyband
Sure, their svengali Nigel Martin-Smith may have just been attempting a British New Kids On The Block knock-off when he assembled Take That, but once they ditched the dodgy leather outfits, the whole thing exploded in a way that would redefine pop music.
Without Anthony Burgess we would not have A Clockwork Orange. Without A Clockwork Orange we would not have a truly excellent and comprehensive guide to the meaning of free will.
8One of the world’s largest indoor stadiums
It certainly wasn’t the world’s first, but Manchester Arena is one of the world’s biggest indoor arenas, seating up to 23,000 for concerts and events. It was also the second busiest concert venue in the world on the basis of ticket sales in 2011 (1.2 million tickets sold).
9Modern Computer Science
In addition to inventing the very first computer, Alan Turing’s work at the University of Manchester completely revolutionised the way we communicate. Without him, you would not be reading this.
The oldest library in the English speaking world opened in Manchester. The year was 1653.
The concept of abstinence from meat launched in 1815 after sermons performed by the ironically named Revered William Cowherd. Now, everyone from Natalie Portman to Superman is a veggie.
Manchester was the beating heart of the textile industry during the Industrial Revolution, and this undeniable essentiality was finally recognised last year by VOGUE editor in chief Alexandra Schulman when she brought her reputable Vogue Fashion’s Night Out up North.
13Baracuta Harrington Jacket
The classic Baracuta brand famous for it’s original Harrington Jackets with tartan linings. Worn by iconic figures such as James Dean, Elvis Presley and Steve McQueen; the history of the brand dates back to 1937 in Chorlton, Manchester where the Baracuta G9 harrington jacket was born. Modern dudes such as Liam Gallagher, Jason-Statham and Daniel Craig don the jacket today.
Joe Bloggs was the name of a clothing brand which became popular during the Madchester baggy era of the late 1980’s. Even though no-one has actually worn Joe Bloggs clothes since about 1993, teachers in Britain (due to a lack of imagination) continually refer to this as an example name.
It all started in Manchester when Mr John Nichols created a health drink with a secret recipe in order to battle the evils of alcohol.
It’s not all kitchen sink inventions; luxury gets a look-in too. Manchester is also the city in which Henry Royce created the first model of his world famous car.
17The Football League
In 1888, regular competitive football devised with the Football League in Manchester. Manchester United Football Club was formed in 1878 as Newton Heath LYR Football Club. The team initially played games against other departments and rail companies at their home ground at North Road, but by 1888 the club had become a founding member of The Combination, a regional football league
It was a significant moment when Manchester United dropped by the ‘Football Club’ bit from their logo. You can’t go anywhere in the world and whisper Manchester without someone retorting ‘Manchester United!’ Creating the on-going argument that everyone who actually lives in Manchester actually supports City. But will the magical ‘Class of ’92’ ever happen again?
19Marks & Spencer (M&S)
M&S had a market stall in Leeds, but the first store opened on Stretford Road in Hulme in 1894.
Opened in 1761, the Bridgewater Canal was the first artificial waterway fully independent of natural rivers. Don’t get us started on Liverpool.
Transport has always featured in Manchester’s history. Manchester gave birth to the world’s first railway line which opened in 1830. Victoria Station is one of the world’s oldest continuously operating stations and it is still the second largest station in the UK.
In 1878, Manchester unprecedentedly developed the submarine.
Karl Marx and Frederick Engels first met in Manchester in 1842. The 22-year-old Engels was sent by his parents to Manchester, to work in Weaste at Ermen and Engels’ “Victoria Mill” which made sewing threads.
The area around Canal Street became one of the UK’s most thriving and active gay communities in the early 90s, making a point of referring to itself as a ‘gay village’. Instrumental in this was the opening of Bar Manto, which pointedly had glass walls on the front so everyone could see what was going on, a pointed move away from the previously furtive nature of the scene.
25Queer As Folk
Russell T Davies’ 1999 drama about life on Manchester’s gay scene broke ground for LGBT depictions on UK television. It was also brilliant. And very explicit.
26The Doctor Who Revival
The success of Queer As Folk in turn made RTD one of the most powerful writers in British television. When the BBC were courting him, the Manchester resident and lifelong fan used his bargaining power to broker a deal that would see Doctor Who return to TV screens.
John Dalton’s 1803 atomic theory with its pioneering work on the constitution of elements was the precursor of all modern chemistry.
28The splitting of the atom
This was first achieved at Manchester University by Ernest Rutherford in 1919. There’s currently an exhibition at the Museum Of Science and Industry (MOSI) titled ‘Collider’ that demonstrates the science behind it.
The world’s thinnest substance, one atom thick, produced in Manchester 2004.
30The London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony
The handiwork of one Danny Boyle, of Radcliffe, Bury, Greater Manchester. Visionary director.
The reigning queen of all gentle observational humour. And Mrs Merton. Mrs Merton! Currently battling with cancer, we wish her and her firneds & family the best of wishes.
There was nothing excellent about the horrific Peterloo Massacre of 1819, but historians point to it as being one of the most significant events on the road towards universal suffrage in the UK.
One of the direct consequences of the Peterloo Massacre was the formation of the Manchester Guardian in 1821.
Responsible for putting boxing back on the British map, The Hitman’ was a world champion in five different divisions. Born in Stockport, Hatton was raised on the Hattersley council estate in Hyde where he learned his trade during carpet fitting. Ricky packed arenas around the world since his early days. Along with thousands of British fans following him all the way to Vegas, Hatton had quite the American fan base too. What with his ballistic and powerful approach to the sweet science, The Hitman was known for his exciting and none-stop battles. Infamously putting on excessive weight between fights, Ricky ‘Fatton’ couldn’t go without his full English breakfasts. Famously wearing flashy sky blue shorts and entering the ring to his own rock version of ‘Blue Moon’, Rick is a Guiness drinking, die hard Man City fan. He even had the opportunity to play for them at a young age. He chose boxing, thank god. There’s only one Ricky Hatton.
35The Mancunian accent
Certainly the warmest, most down-to-earth accent in the UK. If not; the world. Manchester City Airport insist that their call centre staff speak to customers in an authentic Mancunian accent. For those that are not au fait with typical Northern dialect, a linguistics specialist is on hand to help newbies with the local accent. Presumably operators are able to answer the phone with “alright our kid are you sorted?”
36The Sixth Day
…And on the sixth day, God created MANchester.
Leo Stanley; owner of clothes shop ‘Identity’ in Afflecks Palace where all the Madchester bands shopped said: “One night after the Haçienda I couldn’t sleep, so I picked up the Bible and read: ‘On the sixth day, God created Man.’ and wrote down in my Filofax: ‘On the sixth day, God created Manchester.’ That T-shirt went mental. We couldn’t print them fast enough. Someone sent me a photograph from a French magazine of Jean-Paul Gaultier and Madonna at a party, both wearing “On the Sixth Day” T-shirts.”
The phrase was then reflected in the form of a mosaic by local artist Mark Kennedy. It’s on the outside wall next to the entrance of Afflecks Palace.