Manchester is one of the largest cities in the UK and home is a rich culture. But what is Manchester famous for exactly? Well, from its history in the industrial revolution to some of Britpop’s most iconic bands, Manchester has many reasons for fame.

1. Football rivalry

10 things Manchester is famous for
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Manchester United and Manchester City have been rivals for a long time, all the way back to 1881. At first, the competition was only a friendly rivalry. However, after George Best (Manchester United) broke Glyn Pardoe’s (Manchester City) leg in 1970 the rivalry became more serious. Since then the rivalry has only gotten stronger, especially after Manchester City’s takeover in 2008, since they have invested more money into them and now are often very successful. However, both teams are regularly ranked among the best football teams in the world. For a full in-depth look at the history of Manchester United and City’s rivalry, check out this article from Rookie Road.

2. Indie music

Manchester is famous for indie music
Source: oasis.gallagher.bros.001

Manchester is home to many of Britain’s most iconic bands. Most notably, Oasis formed in Manchester in 1991 and became one the best-selling bands of the 90s, including (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, which was the bestselling album of the 90s in the UK. But these are not the only notable bands that have come from Manchester. The Smiths, the Stone Roses, Joy Division, New Order, the 1975, the Verve and Happy Mondays all formed in Manchester and became some of the most iconic bands of their times. Artists like Harry Styles and Bugzy Malone also come from Manchester or the surrounding areas.

3. Coronation Street

Manchester is famous for Coronation STreet
Source: Lewis Clarke

With well over 10,000 episodes, Coronation Street is one of Britain’s most successful shows. First airing in 1960, Coronation Street is now one of the UK’s dominant soaps. Initially not a success, Daily Mirror Columnist Ken Irwin claimed the show would only last 3 weeks. However, by March 1961, Coronation Street was the number-one TV show in the UK. Since, it has only grown and now with some of the most iconic soap moments, it’s a staple of British culture. Filmed in Manchester, you can visit the set and do a set tour, for more information on the tours and set, check out their website.

4. The Haçienda

10 things Manchester is famous for
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The Haçienda was a nightclub and music venue, most popular during the 1980s and early 1990s, known for fostering Manchester’s Rave and Acid House scene of the late 1980s. The nightclub was opened in 1982 and was run by the record label Factory Records, the early success of their band New Order helped fund the nightclub. Later, the nightclub would close due to financial loss, mainly due to the lack of alcohol sales due to the popularity of drugs such as ecstasy. However, The Haçienda had and is still influential. Instrumental to some of Manchester’s biggest bands, such as Oasis, Happy Mondays and the Stone Roses. 

5. The world’s first railway station

what is Manchester is famous for
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Manchester and Liverpool are home to the first steam-powered inter-urban railway, which transported both goods and passengers. The first terminus of the first railway was Manchester Liverpool Road railway station. Now it’s the world’s oldest interior railway station and now exists as a museum. The station was opened in 1830. The railway was important as the canals, took 12 hours, and the roads were dangerously undeveloped. Therefore, the railway made Manchester and Liverpool connect safely and allowed for both goods such as cotton and people to go between the two.

6. Emmeline Pankhurst

what is manchester famous for - emmeline pankhurst

Manchester has a rich history in many human rights movements. One of the most notable is suffragette legend Emmeline Pankhurst, who led the Suffragette movement, to obtain votes for women. She was known for her militant tactics, their slogan was “deeds, not words”. The movement included bombings, handcuffing themselves to railings and hunger strikes. Born in 1958 in Moss-side, to activist parents, Emmeline would join many different advocacy groups, mainly for women’s suffrage but would form her own in 1903, as she claimed their tactics were too pacifist. It wasn’t until 1918 that women got the right to vote, under strict conditions. It wasn’t until 1928 that the right for all women to vote was given. Unfortunately, Emmeline died a month before this, however, her influence was key in the journey was women’s suffrage.

7. Industrial Revolution

10 things Manchester is famous for
Source: Science and Industry Museum

Manchester is the world’s first industrial city. Known for its towering mills, and warehouses, Manchester was once essentially a huge labour camp to allow for the industrial city to operate. Manchester became known as “Cottonopolis”, for how much cotton was exported from the city. Since its industrial roots, many historians and writers heavily criticised the practices that created it but from this suffering movements such as the Chartists (who wanted universal suffrage).

8. Vimto

Manchester is famous for vimto

Vimto is one of the UK’s most popular fizzy drinks and originates in Manchester. The original recipe was created by John Noel Nichols in 1903, he was from Blackburn. At first, Vimto was created as a health tonic but later became the carbonated drink, we know today. It’s now available as a sweet, ice lolly and a draught in pubs. Fun fact, Vimto is one of the most popular drinks during Ramadan in some Arab countries.

9. Sexy accents

what is manchester famous for

Manchester is known for the “manc accent” and it’s been voted as one of the sexiest accents in the UK several times. Even as recently as 2023, the Manchester accent has been voted as the sexiest. Following a survey on behalf of Best Casinos 53% said they thought Manchester was one of the sexiest in the UK. The study also looked into other facts about accents, read this article for all the information they collected.

10. The Manchester Ship Canal

10 things Manchester is famous for
Source: David Dixon

The Manchester ship canal was one of the most important civil engineering projects of the late Victorian period. When it was completed in 1894, it was the largest river canal navigation in the world. Construction first began in 1887, and it took 7 years to complete. Running 36 miles long, this became a key part of Manchester’s economy until the 1970s and 1980s when ships became too big to navigate the canal.

Now that you know what Manchester is famous for! But did you know that there are some famous alumni from the Manchester Met Uni? Check out our article to find out who they are.