What is Manchester Famous For? 21 Incredible Things

Manchester is one of the most vibrant cities in the world, and it has this swagger and confidence that comes from the fact that it has been home to some of the finest advancements, inventions, and trends the world has ever seen.


If you have recently moved into student accommodation in Manchester keep an eye out for information about some of these amazing things that have come out of the city:

1. The Suffragette Movement

Think about how different the world is today than it was at the turn of the 20th The Suffragette movement was an important part in our social history, protesting and campaigning tirelessly for women to get the right to vote.

Leader of the Suffragette movement in the early 1900s was Emmeline Pankhurst, a Moss-Side born, Manchester native.


2. Coronation Street

Whether you like soap operas or not you cannot fail to be anything but impressed by the longest running show on TV.

Coronation Street is set and filmed in Manchester, and it’s given us famous characters like Ken and Dierdre, as well as inspirational Lancashire food such as Betty’s hot pot!


3. Factory Records/The Hacienda

At various times Manchester has felt like the centre of the Universe, and the late-70s through to the early 90s was a time when it truly felt that way.

With Tony Wilson championing local bands, Factory Records putting them out to the wider world, and The Hacienda nightclub creating a whole new scene in dance music and ‘baggy’ culture happiness was all around and Manchester was inspiring the world.


4. The Modern Boyband

When you think about modern day pop music and the format of boy bands and girl bands that have been so consistently successful over the past 30 years, still the biggest draw is Take That.

The popularity surge in the early 90s that would become a phenomenon and change the way we looked at and consumed pop music in the UK was defined in Manchester.


5. Alan Turing

Alan Turning performed some admirable and world-changing tasks during his life, including breaking the German Enigma code during World War Two and helping defeat Nazi Germany.

He was a mathematician and pioneer of theoretical computer science, inventing the first computer and changing the way we communicate with each other through his work at the University of Manchester.


6. Oldest English-Speaking Library

Libraries gave us power, providing us with a space and base of knowledge to learn, to read, to write, and to become better people.

The oldest English-speaking library in the world opened in Manchester, as far back as 1653, changing what was possible in the minds of many.


7. Meat Free Lifestyle

Vegetarianism and Veganism might sometimes feel like they have only been on the scene as a realistic concept for the past couple of decades, but in fact it was first put forward as a viable lifestyle back in 1815 when Reverend William Cowherd gave sermons in Manchester about the benefits of abstinence from meat.


Also Read: How To Make Manchester Tart


8. Textile Industry

The industrial revolution changed everything, and Manchester was the beating heart.

The textile industry was one of the biggest components of the industrial revolution and it was through the cotton and textiles trade that Manchester first put itself on the map and became one of the biggest proponents of the fashion world from then to now.


9. Vimto

Vimto is much-loved drink in the UK, and it was invented in Manchester in 1908.

John Nicols was looking to create a health drink to help battle alcohol, but instead created a unique soft drink made of grapes, raspberries, and blackcurrants.

There is even a monument on the spot where it was created, with a giant bottle of Vimto.


10. The Football League

The beautiful game is the most popular sport in the world, and you won’t be surprised to hear that regular competitive competition was devised in Manchester.

The first competitive football competition to be played on a regular (league standings) basis, was formed in 1888 with The Combination, a regional league for football clubs.

Manchester National Football Museum


11. Big Premier League Football Clubs

Fast forward to the modern day and football is massive business, with football clubs in England becoming big brands that are recognised the world over.

Manchester City are one of the biggest clubs in the world with one of the best managers of all time, and Manchester United started football as big business, becoming the first super club in the 1990s as the Premier League grew.


12. The Contraceptive Pill

Back in 1961, Herchel Smith was a lecturer in organic chemistry at the University of Manchester.

He developed the contraceptive pill whilst looking at inexpensive ways in which chemicals could be produced to stop women ovulating during their menstrual cycle each month.

Often pointed to as one of the greatest inventions of all time, the contraceptive pill has been taken by around 70% of women in the UK.


13. Canals

The first artificial waterway was opened at the Bridgewater Canal in Manchester in 1761.

It completely revolutionised industry and the potential for transportation across long distances, which at that time were particularly cumbersome and dangerous (especially with larger, awkward loads and materials).


14. Railways

In much the same way as canals changed the game, the railways did so on an even grander scale, and with the opening of the first railway line in Manchester in 1830 the world would never be the same again.

Manchester Victoria station is one of the oldest stations in the world to continuously operate since opening, and is still the second largest in the country.

Student's Guide to Preston - Preston Train Station


15. The Submarine

The submarine was developed in Manchester in 1878, by George Garrett, a vicar turned inventor.

He came up with plans for the Resurgam (his prototype) from an office on Deansgate, and the second model (the Resurgam II) was built and trialled in Wallasey docks in 1879.


16. Socialism

We all know how modern-day socialism was developed by Marx and Engels, but you might not know that they first met in Manchester in 1842.

It was from this first meeting that the seeds of The Communist Manifesto were first sown, and the ideology that would shape much of the 20th century began to manifest.


17. UK Gay Scene

The LGBTQ+ community continues to grow, and Manchester is rightly heralded as one of the most welcoming and inclusive cities in the UK.

In fact, the area around Canal Street was one of the first to have such an active gay community from the early 90s on, referring to itself as a gay village within the city.


18. Splitting of the Atom

The monumental achievement of the splitting of the atom was first achieved at Manchester University in 1919 by Ernest Rutherford. It would lead to the development of fission and nuclear energy.


19. Peterloo Massacre

August 16th 1819 – the worst violence ever encountered on British soil at a political event. The cavalry was brutal in its dispersal of a peaceful crowd of over 60,000 people.

It was a marker that stood for something righteous, and would lead to further political discourse that moved the country closer to universal suffrage and political reform.


20. The Guardian

In direct response to the Peterloo Massacre the Manchester Guardian was formed in 1821, and has since become a bastion of free-press and left of centre media that continues to provide a voice to the masses.


21. Music

So much music has come out of Manchester over the years, and it continues to inspire some of the finest music the world over.

Think back to The Hollies, Joy Division and New Order, The Smiths, Inspiral Carpets, The Stone Roses, The Happy Mondays, Oasis, and The 1975 and you can see a clear succession that is likely to continue for many years.

Glasgow musicians