65 Fun & Interesting Facts About Manchester, England

Manchester is known for many things: historic architecture, academic achievements, groundbreaking bands and, perhaps more than anything, football.

Below you’ll find 65 up-to-date, fascinating, and fun facts about Manchester. We’ll start with the general before covering more random/weird facts, historical facts, and finally facts about football in Manchester.

General Manchester Facts

  • Manchester is the largest city in Northern England.
  • Manchester city has 555,741 residents, the 5th largest in England.
  • 2.8 million people live in Greater Manchester, making it the second largest urban area in the UK after London and Birmingham.
  • Manchester sits at the middle of a triangle of urban centers consisting of Leeds to the northeast, Sheffield to the southeast, and Liverpool to the west. It is roughly 50 km (31 mi) from each of the above.
A view of MediaCityUK across the water
MediaCityUK in Manchester hosts a division of the BBC and other media outlets.
  • English is the most common language spoken in Manchester followed by South Asian languages such as Urdu, Panjabi, and Bengali, then Polish.
  • People from Manchester are called Mancs.
  • On the Manchester City Council’s coat of arms, the three stripes represent the three rivers running through the city: the River Irwell, the Irk, and the Medlock. See the historical section below to find out what the bees stand for!
The Manchester coat of arms
The Manchester coat of arms
  • Manchester is known for its two famous football teams: Manchester United F.C. (red) and Manchester City F.C. (blue).
  • Manchester has three official sister cities: Wuhan (China), St. Petersburg (Russia), and St. Chemnitz (Germany).

Random Interesting Facts

  • Manchester has the first free public library in the English-speaking world, Chetham’s Library. It was first opened in 1653, in a building dating to 1421.
Interior of John Rylands Research & Institute and Library, with a hanging lamp and bookshelves
The Harry Potter-esque John Rylands Library
  • Manchester Cathedral is the city’s most important church, with the oldest sections dating to 1421.
  • The Science and Industry Museum building is housed in former Liverpool Road railway station.
Manchester Science and Industry Museum viewed from the street
Manchester Science and Industry Museum
  • Manchester is the home to the world’s longest-running TV soap opera, Coronation Street. It started airing on December 9, 1960. It reached its 10,000th show on February 7, 2020, and is still airing today.
  • Several parts of the famous English series Peaky Blinders were filmed in Manchester.
  • You can appear on TV in Manchester if you’re part of the audience of several TV shows aired on BBC, ITV, and Channel 4.
  • Anyone can be a part of a real-life detective game by participating in CluedUpp Games’ Detective Day. On this day, the whole city is considered the playing ground and over a million people participate in it.
Exterior of an old building at the University of Manchester
University of Manchester’s Sackville Street Building
  • The University of Manchester’s Rutherford’s Lab is named after Ernest Rutherford, who split an atom for the first time in history in 1917.
  • In 1948, Tom Kilburn, Frederic C. Williams, and Geoff Tootill developed the first-ever stored-program computer at the University of Manchester. It was lovingly called the “Manchester Baby.”
  • In 2004, Kostya Novoselov and Andre Geim isolated the first graphene (a sheet of carbon one-atom thick) from graphite at the University of Manchester, winning them the Nobel prize.
  • Charlotte Brontë started writing her world-famous novel Jane Eyre in 1846 while staying in Hulme, and inner city area of Manchester.
  • Manchester hosts the largest concentration of South Asian restaurants outside of Asia, called The Curry Mile, on Wilmslow Road. It has at least 70 eateries within half a mile.
Indian restaurants on the Curry Mile in Manchester in the evening
“The Curry Mile” by Pappapersson is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
  • According to Nomis (official labor market statistics), over 100 languages are spoken in Manchester. The spectrum ranges from just one speaker to over six thousand speakers.
  • Manchester is considered the birthplace of indie music, having produced seminal bands such as The Hollies, Joy Division, New Order, The Stone Roses, Oasis, and The Smiths.
  • Other bands from Greater Manchester include The Buzzcocks, The Happy Mondays, The Chemical Brothers, The Blossoms, The Courteneers, and The Verve.
  • In 2010, Manchester witnessed the birth of the “car-puccino.” It was the first car to travel from Manchester to London fueled only by coffee beans, requiring around 11,000 espresso shots.
  • Manchester has one of Europe’s largest St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations, with Manchester Irish Festival festivities lasting a full week. Around 35% of Mancs have some Irish blood.
24 cans of Vimto, a drink invented in Manchester
Vimto is a Manchester invention.
  • UK’s beloved Vimto drink was invented in Manchester in 1908. It’s a carbonated drink with blackcurrant, raspberry, grape, herbs, and spices.
  • Signature dishes associated with Manchester include Lancashire hot pot (popularized by Coronation Street), Manchester tart, rag pudding, and “Manchester caviar” (it’s just mushy peas…)

Historical Manchester Facts

  • Romans founded Manchester in the 1st century by Romans, building a fort there in 79 AD.
  • The Romans first named it Mamucium, which translates to ‘breast-shaped hill.’
Mamucium Roman Fort in Manchester
A reconstruction of the Mamucium Roman fort in Manchester
  • Manchester was founded as an official town in 1301.
  • Manchester was the world’s first industrial city, at the outset of the Industrial Revolution.
  • The city was famous for its textile and cotton industry, which is why it was nicknamed Cottonopolis during the 19th century.
  • Cotton was associated with to the extent that, to this day, some department stores in Australia still call their textile sections the “Manchester department.” 
  • During the Industrial Revolution, Manchester started using the worker bee as a symbol, and it became part of the Manchester coat of arms in 1842.
Stephenson's rocket at the Science and Industry Museum
Stephenson’s Rocket locomotive was built in 1829 for trials of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway.
  • Back in 1761, Bridgewater Canal became England’s first artificial waterway running without any river supply. It connected Manchester to Worsley, and has since been expanded to Runcorn and Leigh. It was named after the Third Duke of Bridgewater; a concert hall in the city today also bears its name.
  • William Cowhere (1763–1816) of the Beefsteak Chapel in Greater Manchester founded the first vegetarian church. After his death, his followers created the Vegetarian Society in 1847, and there were more vegetarian restaurants in Victorian Manchester than there are today.
Bridgewater Canal in Manchester
Bridgewater Canal has remained unchanged since the Victorian era.
  • On 5 May 1821, the Manchester Guardian newspaper was founded. Now called simply The Guardian, it is one of the world’s leading news publishers.
  • In 1887, construction of the Manchester Ship Canal started, and it opened in 1894. It was largest river navigation canal in the world at the time, connecting Manchester to the Irish Sea near Liverpool.
  • In the early 1900s, Manchester was the home to one of the biggest movements to support women’s right to vote, the Suffragette Movement.
  • On May 4, 1904, Charles Rolls and Henry Royce met at the Midland Hotel, a meeting which would lead to the creation of one of the world’s greatest car companies.
  • Manchester was the first city in the UK to have a modern tram system when the Manchester Metrolink opened in 1992.
A streetcar in Manchester with people waiting for it.
Manchester Metrolink
  • In 2002, Manchester hosted the Commonwealth Games, coinciding with the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II. At the time, it was the largest sporting event ever to be hosted in the UK.
  • In November 2014, it was announced that Greater Manchester would receive a directly elected mayor. In 2017, Andy Burnham was elected as the first mayor of Greater Manchester.

Manchester Football Facts

  • After a preliminary meeting in London, the English Football League was officially created and named at the Royal Hotel in Manchester in 1888. 
A crowd of people watching a football game at Etihad Stadium in Manchester
Football game at Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City F.C.
  • Despite having similar names, the two teams aren’t based in the same city. Manchester City F.C. is based in the City of Manchester, and Manchester United F.C. is based in Trafford, Greater Manchester.
  • Manchester United is nicknamed the “Red Devils”, while Manchester City is nicknamed “The Citizens”, “The Sky Blues”, or simply “City”.
  • The two teams enjoy roughly equally popularity in the city, varying by area, but Manchester United is more popular worldwide.
Statue of the Manchester United Trinity
The Manchester “United Trinity”, George Best, Denis Law, and Sir Bobby Charlton
  • According to a global survey, 1 out of 10 people in the world is a Manchester United fan.
  • Manchester United F.C. is considered the most successful football club in England. They’ve won 20 league titles (more than any other team), as well as 12 FA cups and 3 European Cups.
  • Manchester United was the first team to ever win the European Cup, and the first to win a “treble” (three trophies in one season–Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League) in 1999.
  • Manchester United holds the title for most consecutive season wins, winning in 2007, 2008, and 2009, and again in 1999, 2000, and 2001.
A crowd watching a football game at Old Trafford in Manchester
“Old Trafford Manchester United” by Paolo Camera is licensed under CC BY 2.0
  • Ryan Giggs is considered one of the best Manchester United players of all time. He has the most Premier League assists (162), goals in the most seasons (20), and most medals/wins (13).
  • Manchester United’s home stadium, Old Trafford (nicknamed “Theater of Dreams”, is the second largest football stadium in the UK after London’s Wembley.
  • The City of Manchester F.C.’s Stadium, Etihad Stadium (named after its sponsorship by the UAE airline) was first constructed for the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
  • Manchester City’s old stadium, Maine Road, hosted the second highest attendance for any football game in England’s history, 84,569 people in 1934. It was surpassed by Wembley (85,512 people) in 2016.
Logo of the Manchester City football club
Manchester City’s club badge
  • Manchester City holds the record for most Premier League points in a season, 100.
  • Manchester City’s John Burridge was the oldest Premier League player ever, at age 43.