A great man once said “this is Manchester, we do things differently.” Tony Wilson was widely regarded as the man who put Manchester on the map for its music and vibrant nightlife. But it’s Manchester’s nature to own what we do. Our courageousness and own little twist on individuality is infectious. It’s what stands us tall and puts us on the map.
Here’s a shortlist of a few things we have gifted the world.
1. Votes For Women: 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 the women’s right to vote.
2. Great 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 Ting Tings.
3. Anthony Burgess: 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.
Less depressing than the East Enders alternative, longer running than any other on TV, and herald of Betty’s famous hot pot.
4. Socialism: 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.
5. Libraries: The oldest library in the English speaking world opened in Manchester. The year was 1653.
6. Modern Computer Science: 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.
7. Rolls Royce: 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.
8. The Football League: In 1888, regular competitive football 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
9. Canals: Opened in 1761, the Bridgewater Canal was the first artificial waterway fully independent of natural rivers. Don’t get us started on Liverpool.
10. Railway: Transport has always featured in Manchester’s history. Manchester gave birth to the world’s first railway line which opened in 1830. Victoria Station is one of the world’s oldest continuously operating stations and it is still the second largest station in the UK.
11. The Submarine: In 1878, Manchester unprecedentedly developed the submarine.
12. Chemistry: John Dalton’s 1803 atomic theory with its pioneering work on the constitution of elements was the precursor of all modern chemistry.
13. The splitting of the atom: 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.
14. Graphene: The world’s thinnest substance, one atom thick, produced in Manchester 2004.
15. 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.
16. An accent: Certainly the warmest, most down-to-earth accent in the UK. If not; the world. Manchester City Airport insist 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?”
Few frontmen have influenced contemporary indie music as much as Ian Curtis and his band Joy Division. Their dark sound has had a lasting legacy and, in many ways, they are the most qualified band to adopt the term ‘alternative’.
Many subcultural fashion and musical movements in in the UK are indebted to this definitive act for their identity. They pioneered the post punk movement and influenced a range of bands including Nirvana, The Cure, Interpol and beyond.
The sustained impact Joy Division have had on indie music is remarkable considering they only released two albums. Unknown Pleasures in 1979 and Closer in 1980. Sadly Curtis killed himself in his home in Macclesfield just before the release of Closer and the impact he could have had had he still been with us today can only be dreamed of. We’ve drawn from those two essential albums that he’s left us to pick out the best tracks for you to discover.