27 Excellent Things Manchester Gave The World

“Manchester is the belly and guts of the nation.” - George Orwell

1. Coronation Street.

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Because it’s a good idea to start with the obvious, and the world’s greatest soap is a good and obvious place.

2. Feminism.

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Emmeline Pankhurst, the leader of the Suffragette movement, was born and raised in Moss Side.

3. The London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony.

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

4. The computer.

Wilmslow resident Alan Turing’s work at Manchester University saw him credited as the father of modern day computer science.

Turing was rewarded by his efforts by the UK government with chemical castration due to homosexual acts.

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5. Socialism.

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Karl Marx and Frederick Engels first met in Manchester in 1842.

6. Tony Wilson.

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Only in Manchester could the local newsreader turn music mogul when, but that’s what happened when Wilson, from Granada Reports happened upon a new band called Joy Division and founded Factory Records.

7. Joy Division.

Rob Verhost

The standard by which all moody alternative music must be judged forever. And by extension…

8. British dance music.

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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.

9. The modern British boyband.

Tim Roney

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.

10. The Smiths.

The quality of the bands here is getting a bit embarrassing for everyone else now, isn’t it?

11. The football team as global brand.

It was a significant moment when Manchester United dropped by the ‘Football Club’ bit from their logo. Indeed, everyone who actually lives in Manchester actually supports City.

12. And in fact, the whole notion of professional football in the first place.

Jon Super / AP

Because in 1888 the first professional league was set up at the Royal Hotel.

13. Canal Street.

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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.

14. 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.

15. The 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.

16. Caroline Aherne.

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The reigning queen of all gentle observational humour. And Mrs Merton. Mrs Merton!

17. Anthony Burgess

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The brilliant mind that gave the world A Clockwork Orange was trained up in Harpurhey.

18. A decent Radio 1 Breakfast Show.

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The Radio 1 Breakfast Show is good again. And it’s good again because of a boy from Oldham called Nick Grimshaw.

19. Marks and Spencer.

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They had a market stall in Leeds, but the first store opened on Stretford Road in Hulme in May 1894.

20. Canals.

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Opened in 1761, the Bridgewater Canal was the first artificial waterway fully independent of natural rivers.

21. Libraries.

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Chethams is the oldest public library in the English speaking world, opened by wealthy Mancunian Humphrey Chetham in 1653.

22. The Rolls-Royce.

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Because Henry Royce made his first, the Two Cylinder Royce 10 in a Manchester factory in 1904, and then met Charles Rolls at the Midland Hotel in May that year.

23. Chemistry

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

24. The splitting of the atom.

This was first achieved at Manchester University by Ernest Rutherford in 1919.

25. Parliamentary reform.

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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.

26. The Guardian.

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

27. And the warmest accent in the UK.

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