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40 great things Manchester gifted the world

Manchester has a long list of world firsts...

A great man once said, “This is Manchester, we do things differently here.”

Tony Wilson was widely regarded as the man who put Manchester on the map, unapologetically celebrating the city’s incredible music, vibrant nightlife and boisterous culture.

But it’s Manchester’s nature to own what we do. It’s in our DNA.

Our courageousness, our audacity and our penchant for individuality is contagious. We set the trends, the world follows.

It’s what elevates us, what makes us distinct, and what firmly plants us on the world stage.

Manchester world firsts

Here’s our list of some of the wonderful things Manchester has gifted the world

Votes for women

Photo: Pankhurst Trust

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 women’s right to vote.

Coronation Street

Turning 60 in 2020, Corrie has been. a mainstay of British television for decades. Less depressing than the Eastenders alternative, longer running than any other on TV, and is home of Betty’s famous hot pot.

Tony Wilson

Tonywilson Co

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 in 2007 aged 57.

Incredible music 

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 Blossoms, The Fall, The Buzzcocks, Elbow, The Courteeners, James…(checks watch – how long have you got?!?)

The list is literally endless. We rock.

Pioneering 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 merged with dance music, fashion, everything; it all came from the Haçienda. Rave on.

The 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.

Anthony Burgess

A Clockwork Orange By Anthony Burgess 74718

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. Set in a dystopian future, the novel follows the protagonist, Alex, through a journey of moral ambiguity and societal critique.

Burgess’s inventive use of the “Nadsat” language, a blend of Russian and Cockney slang, adds depth to the narrative and reflects the evolving youth cultures of the time – and even now. It’s still as vital as ever and a cornerstone of Manchester’s culture.

Two of the world’s largest indoor stadiums

Manchester Arena gig
Photo: Karin Albinnson

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).

And it has been joined by the GIGANTIC Co-Op Live Arena, which once it gets up and running, supersedes the Manchester Arena as the biggest in Europe.

We cannot wait to catch a gig there.

Modern computer science

Alan Turing First Computer

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 library

Chehtam’s School of Music Architecture

The oldest library in the English-speaking world opened in Manchester. The year was 1653. We’ve also got an incredible selection of libraries, from Manchester Central Library, to John Rylands Library, The Portico,  to Chethams. If you want a beautiful place to read and relax, you are spoiled for choice in this city.



The concept of abstinence from meat was launched in 1815 after sermons performed by the ironically named Revered William Cowherd. Now, everyone from Natalie Portman to Superman is a vegetarian.

British fashion

Textile Industry Manchester

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.

Last year saw fashion house Chanel have their much-lauded Métiers d’Art show in the Northern Quarter. And the city absolutely rocked it.

Baracuta Harrington jacket

Steve Mcqueen Baracuta Harrington Jacket

The classic Baracuta brand is famous for its 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

Joebloggs Stoneroses

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.


Vimtogardens Bsfs2woicaapckj

It all started in Manchester when Mr John Nichols created a healthy drink with a secret recipe to battle the evils of alcohol.

Rolls Royce

Rolls Royce Phantom Outside Midland Hotel Manchester

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. On May 4th 1904 Mr Charles Rolls linked up with Mr Henry Royce in the Grill Room (Now Mount Street Dining Room) where they enjoyed a slap-up meal, checked out the twin-cylinder 10hp car Mr Royce had designed, and the rest is, as they say – history.

The Football League

Newton Heath 1892 93

In 1888, regular competitive football was 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

Ladies Football

Manchester Corinthians

Manchester Corinthians are a legendary football team that defied an FA ban to become one of the world’s most beloved teams. Established in 1949, the club raised 100s of thousands of pounds for great causes, travelled the world to play exhibition matches, and inspired generations of women to take up the beautiful game.

The first British plane

The first British plane was designed and flown by A V Roe. Avro was a prominent British aircraft manufacturer responsible for producing many significant aircraft, including the Avro 504, which was one of the most used British aircraft during World War I.

Manchester United

Manchester United Class Of 92

It was a significant moment when Manchester United dropped 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 ongoing argument that everyone who actually lives in Manchester actually supports City.

But will the magical ‘Class of ’92’ ever happen again?

Marks & Spencer (M&S)

Marks And Spencer

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.


Victoria Station Manchester

Transportation has long been intertwined with Manchester’s history, with the city boasting the honour of the world’s first railway line.

The Liverpool and Manchester Railway (L&MR) made its groundbreaking debut on September 15, 1830, marking the advent of the world’s premier inter-city passenger railway line.

This monumental achievement not only catalyzed the evolution of Manchester and Liverpool as industrial powerhouses but also fostered vital connections between the two cities, streamlining the movement of goods and people alike.

The submarine

Thesubmarine Manchester

In 1878, Manchester unprecedentedly developed the submarine. The first mechanically powered submarine was launched to the designs of eccentric Hulme curate, the Reverend George Garrett.



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.

Gay Village

Manchester Pride

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.

Queer As Folk

Queer 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.

The Doctor Who revival

Doctor Rose Series 1 Promo

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.

The ‘Good Landlords Charter’

The Good Landlord Charter is a proposal for a new scheme to make renting in the city better.

It’s a scheme for landlords who want to commit to higher standards than they are currently required to by law.

It will be the first such scheme in the country open to all landlords, no matter whether they are private or social landlords, big or small.


John Dalton By Charles Turner

John Dalton’s 1803 atomic theory with its pioneering work on the constitution of elements was the precursor of all modern chemistry.

The splitting of the atom

Ernest Rutherford

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.


Graphene Chip

The world’s thinnest substance – Graphene is one atom thick – was produced in Manchester 2004.

The London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony

London2012 Olympics

The handiwork of one Danny Boyle, of Radcliffe, Bury, Greater Manchester. Visionary director.

Caroline Aherne

Caroline Aherne

The reigning queen of all gentle observational humour. And Mrs Merton. Mrs Merton! Currently battling with cancer, we wish her and her friends & family the best of wishes.

Parliamentary reform


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.

The Guardian

The Manchester Guardian

One of the direct consequences of the Peterloo Massacre was the formation of the Manchester Guardian in 1821.

Ricky Hatton

Ricky Hatton With A Super Magic Shake From Cnp

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 Guinness-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.

The Mancunian accent

Liam Gallagher

Certainly the warmest, most down-to-earth accent in the UK. If not; the world. Manchester City Airport insists 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?”

The sixth day

On The Sixth Day God Created Mcr

…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.

Did we miss something? Let us know: [email protected]

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