10 Unique Facts about Manchester

So you think you know all about Manchester? Here are 10 unique facts you may not know about.

It’s easy enough to find the dry facts about Manchester in England when you search online. An obvious source of info is of course Wikipedia, where you can find all sorts of stats and data. But here are several unique facts about Manchester you may not have known before:

  1. There are about 200 languages spoken here. When you consider that only 260 languages are spoken in Europe, the linguistic diversity of Manchester is pretty impressive. It’s especially noteworthy because the city isn’t a huge one like London or New York. Its resident population is less than half a million. Manchester is officially recognized as the most linguistically diverse city in Western Europe. Half the population is multilingual, but 97% can also speak English.
  2. Urdu is the second most widely spoken language next to English. The language was brought by Indian immigrants during the immigration wave in the 1950s.  
  3. Feminism was born here. Forget about modern debates regarding feminism—more than a hundred years ago, the issue was about a woman’s right to vote. The National Society for Women’s Suffrage was founded here by Lydia Becker in 1867. Emmeline Pankhurst then founded the Women’s Socal and Political Union in 1903. Its HQ was her home, which still stands on Nelson Street.
  4. Wanted: Husband. In the weekly Manchester Weekly Advertiser, Helen Morrison became the first Briton to advertise for a husband in 1727. Many Mancunians found this a bit mental, and eventually poor Miss Morrison was packed off to a lunatic asylum.
  5. Packed football stadium. The English love football, but only once has the number of spectators at an English club match ever exceeded 84,000. This happened at Maine Road in 1934, when Manchester City played Stoke City in the 6th round of the FA Cup. The official attendance was 84,569 (Manchester City won the match, by the way).
  6. The birthplace of the Gunpowder Plot. Guy Fawkes supposed planned his plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in Ordsall Hall in Salford. Strangely enough, this failed assassination attempt on a King happened in 1605, and it was only in 1678 did the local authorities made it SOP to search the cellars of Parliament before opening a new session.
  7. Dry or wet? For the longest time, Manchester has been called The Rainy City. But it’s actually one of the drier areas in the UK. According to researchers at the University of Manchester, this false rep was from a 1926 climate map which showed heavily concentrated rainfall for the city.
  8. Scientific innovation. The University of Manchester is where many notable scientific breakthroughs occurred. This was where Ernest Rutherford managed to spit the atom for the first time in 1919.
  9. UK Matador. Britain has had only one matador throughout the long history of bullfighting. His name is Frank Evans, and he grew up in Salford, Manchester.
  10. The first canal. This was the Bridgewater Canal, an artificial waterway that was independent of natural rivers. It connects Runcorn, Manchester, and Leigh. It was a roaring success immediately after its opening in 1761, and it started a trend for canals all over the world.

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