Manchester is a metropolitan county in North West England,
with a population of 2.8 million. It encompasses one of the
largest metropolitan areas in the
United Kingdom and comprises ten
metropolitan boroughs: Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport,
Tameside, Trafford, Wigan, and the cities of
Manchester and Salford.
Manchester was created on 1 April 1974 as a result of the
Local Government Act 1972; and designated a City Region on 1 April
Manchester spans 493 square miles (1,277 km2), which
roughly covers the territory of the Greater
Manchester Built-up Area,
the second most populous urban area in the UK. It is landlocked and
Cheshire (to the south-west and south),
Derbyshire (to the
West Yorkshire (to the north-east),
Lancashire (to the
Merseyside (to the west). There is a mix of high-density
urban areas, suburbs, semi-rural and rural locations in Greater
Manchester, but land use is mostly urban — the product of concentric
urbanisation and industrialisation which occurred mostly during the
19th century when the region flourished as the global centre of the
cotton industry. It has a focused central business district, formed by
Manchester city centre and the adjoining parts of Salford and
Trafford, but Greater
Manchester is also a polycentric county with ten
metropolitan districts, each of which has at least one major town
centre and outlying suburbs.
For the 12 years following 1974 the county had a two-tier system of
local government; district councils shared power with the Greater
Manchester County Council. The county council was abolished in 1986,
and so its districts (the metropolitan boroughs) effectively became
unitary authority areas. However, the metropolitan county has
continued to exist in law and as a geographic frame of reference,
and as a ceremonial county, has a Lord Lieutenant and a High Sheriff.
Several county-wide services were co-ordinated through the Association
Manchester Authorities until April 2011, when the Greater
Manchester Combined Authority was established as the strategic
county-wide authority for Greater Manchester, taking on functions and
responsibilities for economic development, regeneration and transport.
A further devolution of powers to Greater
Manchester took place upon
Andy Burnham as the inaugural Mayor of Greater Manchester
on 4 May 2017
Before the creation of the metropolitan county, the name SELNEC was
used for the area, from the initials of "South East
East Cheshire". Greater
Manchester is an amalgamation of 70 former
local government districts from the former administrative counties of
Lancashire, Cheshire, the
West Riding of Yorkshire
West Riding of Yorkshire and eight
independent county boroughs. Since deindustrialisation in the
mid-20th century, Greater
Manchester has become known as an exporter
of media and digital content, for its guitar and dance music and
1.2 Redcliffe-Maud Report
1.4 Combined Authority
2.2 Flora and fauna
2.3 Green belt
9.2 Galleries, museums and exhibitions
9.3 Media, film and television
9.4 Music, theatre and performing arts
10 See also
12 External links
See also: History of Manchester
Although the modern county of Greater
Manchester was not created until
1974, the history of its constituent settlements goes back centuries.
There is evidence of
Iron Age habitation, particularly at Mellor,
and Celtic activity in a settlement named Chochion, believed to have
been an area of
Wigan settled by the Brigantes.
Stretford was also
part of the land believed to have been occupied by the Celtic
Brigantes tribe, and lay on their border with the Cornovii on the
southern side of the River Mersey. The remains of 1st-century forts
Castlefield in Manchester, and
Castleshaw Roman fort
Castleshaw Roman fort in
Saddleworth, are evidence of Roman occupation. Much of the region
was omitted from the
Domesday Book of 1086; Redhead states that this
was because only a partial survey was taken, rather than sparsity of
Former weavers' cottages in Wardle. The development of Greater
Manchester is attributed to a shared tradition of domestic cloth
production, and textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution.
During the Middle Ages, much of what became Greater
within the hundred of Salfordshire – an ancient division of the
county of Lancashire. Salfordshire encompassed several parishes and
townships, some of which, like Rochdale, were important market towns
and centres of England's woollen trade. The development of what became
Manchester is attributed to a shared tradition of domestic
flannel and fustian cloth production, which encouraged a system of
cross-regional trade. In the late-18th century, the
Industrial Revolution transformed the local domestic system;
mechanisation enabled the industrialisation of the region's textile
trade, triggering rapid growth in the cotton industry and expansion in
ancillary trades. Infrastructure such as rows of terraced housing,
factories and roads were constructed to house labour, transport goods,
and produce cotton goods on an industrial scale for a global
market. The townships in and around
Manchester began expanding
"at an astonishing rate" around the turn of the 19th century as part
of a process of unplanned urbanisation brought on by a boom in
industrial textile production and processing. This population
increase resulted in the "vigorous concentric growth" of a conurbation
Manchester and an arc of surrounding mill towns, formed from a
steady accretion of houses, factories and transport
infrastructure. Places such as Bury,
Bolton played a
central economic role nationally, and by the end of the 19th century
had become some of the most important and productive cotton-producing
towns in the world. However, it was
Manchester that was the most
populous settlement, a major city, the world's largest marketplace for
cotton goods, and the natural centre of its region. By
Manchester was without challenge the first and greatest
industrial city in the world"; and by 1848 urban sprawl had fused
the city to its surrounding towns and hinterland to form a single
continuous conurbation. In the 1910s, local government reforms to
administer this conurbation as a single entity were proposed.
In the 18th century, German traders had coined the name Manchesterthum
to cover the region in and around Manchester. However, the English
term "Greater Manchester" did not appear until the 20th century. One
of its first known recorded uses was in a 1914 report put forward in
response to what was considered to have been the successful creation
County of London
County of London in 1889. The report suggested that a
county should be set up to recognise the "
Manchester known in
commerce", and referred to the areas that formed "a substantial part
Lancashire and part of Cheshire, comprising all municipal
boroughs and minor authorities within a radius of eight or nine miles
of Manchester". In his 1915 book Cities In Evolution, urban
Patrick Geddes wrote "far more than
is growing up another Greater London".
Manchester lies at the conjunction of the ancient county
boundaries of Cheshire,
Lancashire and the West Riding of Yorkshire.
Most of Greater
Manchester lay within the ancient county boundaries of
Lancashire; those areas south of the Mersey and Tame were in Cheshire.
Saddleworth area and a small part of
Mossley are historically part
Yorkshire and in the south-east a small part in Derbyshire. The
areas that were incorporated into Greater
Manchester in 1974
previously formed parts of the administrative counties of Cheshire,
West Riding of Yorkshire
West Riding of Yorkshire and of eight independent
county boroughs. By the early 1970s, this system of demarcation was
described as "archaic" and "grossly inadequate to keep pace both with
the impact of motor travel, and with the huge increases in local
Manchester Evening Chronicle brought to the fore the issue of
"regional unity" for the area in April 1935 under the headline
"Greater Manchester – The Ratepayers' Salvation". It reported
on the "increasing demands for the exploration of the possibilities of
a greater merger of public services throughout
Manchester and the
surrounding municipalities". The issue was frequently discussed by
civic leaders in the area at that time, particularly those from
Manchester and Salford. The Mayor of Salford pledged his support to
the idea, stating that he looked forward to the day when "there would
be a merging of the essential services of Manchester, Salford, and the
surrounding districts constituting Greater Manchester." Proposals
were halted by the Second World War, though in the decade after it,
the pace of proposals for local government reform for the area
quickened. In 1947,
Lancashire County Council proposed a three
"ridings" system to meet the changing needs of the county of
Lancashire, including those for
Manchester and surrounding
districts. Other proposals included the creation of a Manchester
County Council, a directly elected regional body. In 1951, the census
in the UK began reporting on South East
Lancashire as a homogeneous
Further information: Redcliffe-Maud Report
Local Government Act 1958
Local Government Act 1958 designated the south east Lancashire
area (which, despite its name, included part of north east Cheshire),
Special Review Area. The Local Government Commission for England
presented draft recommendations, in December 1965, proposing a new
county based on the conurbation surrounding and including Manchester,
with nine most-purpose boroughs corresponding to the modern Greater
Manchester boroughs (excluding Wigan). The review was abolished in
favour of the Royal Commission on Local Government before issuing a
The Royal Commission's 1969 report, known as the Redcliffe-Maud
Report, proposed the removal of much of the then existing system of
local government. The commission described the system of administering
urban and rural districts separately as outdated, noting that urban
areas provided employment and services for rural dwellers, and open
countryside was used by town dwellers for recreation. The commission
considered interdependence of areas at many levels, including
travel-to-work, provision of services, and which local newspapers were
read, before proposing a new administrative metropolitan area. The
area had roughly the same northern boundary as today's Greater
Manchester (though included Rossendale), but covered much more
Cheshire (including Macclesfield, Warrington, Alderley
Edge, Northwich, Middlewich,
Wilmslow and Lymm), and
towns of New Mills, Whaley Bridge,
a minority report suggested that
Buxton be included). The
metropolitan area was to be divided into nine metropolitan districts,
based on Wigan, Bolton, Bury/Rochdale, Warrington, Manchester
(including Salford and Old Trafford), Oldham, Altrincham, Stockport
and Tameside. The report noted "The choice even of a label of
convenience for this metropolitan area is difficult". Seven years
earlier, a survey prepared for the British Association intended to
define the "South-East
Lancashire conurbation" noted that "Greater
Manchester it is not ... One of its main characteristics is the
marked individuality of its towns, ... all of which have an
industrial and commercial history of more than local
significance". The term Selnec (or SELNEC) was already in use as
an abbreviation for south east
Lancashire and north east Cheshire;
Redcliffe-Maud took this as "the most convenient term available",
having modified it to south east Lancashire, north east and central
Following the Transport Act 1968, in 1969 the SELNEC Passenger
Transport Executive (an authority to co-ordinate and operate public
transport in the region) was set up, covering an area smaller than the
proposed Selnec, and different again to the eventual Greater
Manchester. Compared with the Redcliffe-Maud area, it excluded
Macclesfield, Warrington, and Knutsford but included
Saddleworth in the West Riding of Yorkshire. It excluded Wigan, which
was in both the Redcliffe-Maud area and in the eventual Greater
Manchester (but had not been part of the 1958 act's review area).
Redcliffe-Maud's recommendations were accepted by the
Labour-controlled government in February 1970. Although the
Redcliffe-Maud Report was rejected by the Conservative government
after the 1970 general election, there was a commitment to local
government reform, and the need for a metropolitan county centred on
the conurbation surrounding
Manchester was accepted. The new
government's original proposal was much smaller than the
Redcliffe-Maud Report's Selnec, with areas such as Winsford,
Glossop retained by their
original counties to ensure their county councils had enough revenue
to remain competitive (
Cheshire County Council would have ceased to
exist). Other late changes included the separation of the proposed
Rochdale authority (retained from the Redcliffe-Maud report) into
Metropolitan Borough of Bury
Metropolitan Borough of Bury and the Metropolitan Borough of
Rochdale were originally planned to form a single
district (dubbed "Botchdale" by local MP Michael Fidler) but
were divided into separate boroughs. To re-balance the districts, the
Rochdale took Middleton from Oldham. During the passage
of the bill, the towns of Whitworth,
objected to their incorporation in the new county.
Manchester is an amalgamation of 70 former local government
districts, including eight county boroughs and 16 municipal
Prestwich • Radcliffe
Ramsbottom • Tottington • Whitefield
Blackrod • Horwich • Kearsley • Little
Lever • Turton • Westhoughton
Chadderton • Crompton • Failsworth •
Lees • Royton • Saddleworth
Middleton • Heywood
Littleborough • Milnrow • Wardle
Eccles • Swinton and Pendlebury
Irlam • Worsley
Bredbury and Romiley • Cheadle and Gatley • Hazel Grove
and Bramhall • Marple
Ashton-under-Lyne • Dukinfield • Hyde •
Mossley • Stalybridge
Audenshaw • Denton • Droylsden • Longendale
Altrincham • Sale • Stretford
Bowdon • Hale • Urmston
Abram • Ashton in Makerfield • Aspull •
Atherton • Billinge and Winstanley • Hindley •
Ince-in-Makerfield • Golborne • Orrell •
Standish-with-Langtree • Tyldesley
Manchester Exhibition Centre (better known as the G-Mex
centre and now rebranded as
Manchester Central) was the converted
Manchester Central railway station in
Manchester city centre
used for hosting the county's cultural events.
Stockport Bus Station in 1988. Greater
Manchester Transport (later GM
Buses) operated bus services throughout the county, from 1974 to 1993.
GMC County Hall (now known as Westminster House) in
Manchester County Council until its abolition in 1986.
Local Government Act 1972
Local Government Act 1972 reformed local government in
creating a system of two-tier metropolitan and non-metropolitan
counties and districts throughout the country. The act formally
Manchester on 1 April 1974, although Greater
Manchester County Council (GMCC) had been running since elections in
1973. The leading article in
The Times on the day the Local
Government Act came into effect noted that the "new arrangement is a
compromise which seeks to reconcile familiar geography which commands
a certain amount of affection and loyalty, with the scale of
operations on which modern planning methods can work effectively".
Frangopulo noted that the creation of Greater
Manchester "was the
official unifying of a region which, through history and tradition,
had forged for itself over many centuries bonds ... between the
communities of town and village, each of which was the embodiment of
the character of this region". The name Greater
adopted, having been favoured over Selnec by the local population.
The coat of arms of Greater
Manchester County Council
By January 1974, a joint working party representing Greater Manchester
had drawn up its county Structure Plan, ready for implementation by
Manchester County Council. The plan set out objectives for
the forthcoming metropolitan county. The highest priority was to
increase the quality of life for its inhabitants by improving the
county's physical environment and cultural facilities which had
suffered following deindustrialisation—much of Greater Manchester's
basic infrastructure dated from its 19th-century growth, and was
unsuited to modern lifestyles. Other objectives were to reverse
the trend of depopulation in central-Greater Manchester, to invest in
country parks to improve the region's poor reputation on leisure
facilities, and to improve the county's transport infrastructure and
Because of political objection, particularly from Cheshire, Greater
Manchester covered only the inner, urban 62 of the 90 former districts
that the Royal Commission had outlined as an effective administrative
metropolitan area. In this capacity, GMCC found itself "planning
for an arbitrary metropolitan area ... abruptly truncated to the
south", and so had to negotiate several land-use, transport and
housing projects with its neighbouring county councils. However a
"major programme of environmental action" by GMCC broadly succeeded in
reversing social deprevation in its inner city slums. Leisure and
recreational successes included the Greater
Centre (better known as the G-Mex centre and now branded Manchester
Central), a converted former railway station in
Manchester city centre
used for cultural events, and GMCC's creation of five new country
parks within its boundaries. GMCC was, however, criticised for
being too Manchester-centric by representatives from the outer
Unlike the other counties created by the Act, Greater
never adopted as a postal county by the Royal Mail. A review in 1973
noted that "Greater Manchester" would be unlikely to be adopted
because of confusion with the
Manchester post town. The component
areas of Greater
Manchester therefore retained their pre-1974 postal
counties until 1996, when the counties were abolished..
A decade after they were established, the mostly Labour-controlled
metropolitan county councils and the
Greater London Council
Greater London Council (GLC) had
several high-profile clashes with the Conservative government of
Margaret Thatcher, with regards overspending and high rates charging.
Government policy on the issue was considered throughout 1982, and the
Conservative Party put a "promise to scrap the metropolitan county
councils" and the GLC, in their manifesto for the 1983 general
Manchester County Council was abolished on
31 March 1986 under the Local Government Act 1985. That the
metropolitan county councils were controlled by the Labour Party led
to accusations that their abolition was motivated by party
politics: the general secretary of the National Association of
Local Government Officers described it as a "completely cynical
manoeuvre". Most of the functions of GMCC were devolved to the ten
Manchester metropolitan district councils, though functions
such as emergency services and public transport were taken over by
joint boards and continued to be run on a county-wide basis. The
Association of Greater
Manchester Authorities (AGMA) was established
to continue much of the county-wide services of the county
council. The metropolitan county continues to exist in law, and as
a geographic frame of reference, for example as a NUTS 2
administrative division for statistical purposes within the European
Union. Although having been a
Lieutenancy area since 1974, Greater
Manchester was included as a ceremonial county by the Lieutenancies
Act 1997 on 1 July 1997.
Further information: Greater
Manchester Statutory City Region and
Manchester Combined Authority
In 1998, the people of
Greater London voted in a referendum in favour
of establishing a new
Greater London Authority, with mayor and an
elected chamber for the county. The New Local Government Network
proposed the creation of a new
Manchester City Region based on Greater
Manchester and other metropolitan counties as part of on-going reform
efforts, while a report released by the Institute for Public Policy
Centre for Cities proposed the creation of two
administrative city regions based on
Manchester and Birmingham. In
July 2007, The Treasury published its Review of sub-national economic
development and regeneration, which stated that the government would
allow those city regions that wished to work together to form a
statutory framework for city regional activity, including powers over
transport, skills, planning and economic development. In January
2008, AGMA suggested that a formal government structure be created to
cover Greater Manchester. The issue resurfaced in June 2008 with
regards to proposed congestion charging in Greater Manchester; Sir
Richard Leese (leader of
Manchester City Council) said "I've come to
the conclusion that [a referendum on congestion charging should be
held] because we don't have an indirectly or directly elected body for
Manchester that has the power to make this decision". On
14 July 2008 the ten local authorities in Greater
Manchester agreed to
a strategic and integrated cross-county Multi-Area Agreement; a
voluntary initiative aimed at making district councils "work together
to challenge the artificial limits of boundaries" in return for
greater autonomy from the central government of the UK. A
referendum on the Greater
Manchester Transport Innovation Fund was
held in December 2008, in which voters "overwhelmingly rejected"
plans for public transport improvements linked to a peak-time
weekday-only congestion charge.
Following a bid from AGMA highlighting the potential benefits in
combatting the late-2000s financial crisis, it was announced in the
United Kingdom Budget that Greater
Manchester and the Leeds City
Region would be awarded Statutory City Region Pilot status, allowing
(if they desired) for their constituent district councils to pool
resources and become statutory Combined Authorities with powers
comparable to the
Greater London Authority. The stated aim of the
pilot was to evaluate the contributions to economic growth and
sustainable development by Combined Authorities. The Local
Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 enabled the
creation of a Combined Authority for Greater
Manchester with devolved
powers on public transport, skills, housing, regeneration, waste
management, carbon neutrality and planning permission, pending
approval from the ten councils. Such strategic matters would
be decided on via an enhanced majority rule voting system involving
ten members appointed from among the councillors of the metropolitan
boroughs (one representing each borough with each council nominating
one substitute) without the input of central government. The ten
district councils of Greater
Manchester approved the creation of the
Greater Manchester Combined Authority
Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) on 29 March 2010, and
submitted final recommendations for a constitution to the Department
for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Transport.
On 31 March 2010 the Communities Secretary John Denham approved the
constitution and launched a 15-week public consultation on the draft
bill together with the approved constitution. Following requests
by the Association of Greater
Manchester Authorities, which was
superseded by the GMCA, the new authority came into being
on 1 April 2011. On the same day, the Transport for Greater
Manchester Committee was also formed from a pool of 33 councillors
allocated by council population (roughly one councillor per 75,000
residents) to scrutinise the running of Greater Manchester's transport
bodies and their finances, approve the decisions and policies of said
bodies and form strategic policy recommendations or projects for the
approval of the Combined Authority.
On 3 November 2014, George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer,
announced that there would be an eleventh member of the GMCA — a
directly elected Mayor of Greater Manchester, with "powers over
transport, housing, planning and policing" from 2017.
Main articles: Geography of Greater
Manchester and List of places in
An aerial photograph of Greater Manchester
Manchester Urban Area, as defined in 2001, highlighted in
red against the boundaries of the Metropolitan County
A view over the borough of Tameside, towards
Manchester city centre.
Manchester is a landlocked county spanning 493 square miles
(1,277 km2). The
Pennines rise to the north and east of the
county with the
West Pennine Moors
West Pennine Moors in the northwest, the South
Pennines in the northeast and the
Peak District in the east. Several
coalfields (mainly sandstones and shales) lie in the west of the
county while the
Cheshire Plain fringes the south. The rivers
Mersey, Irwell and Tame run through Greater Manchester, all of which
rise in the Pennines. Other rivers traverse the region as
tributaries to the major rivers, including the Douglas, the Irk, and
Black Chew Head
Black Chew Head is the highest point in Greater
Manchester which forms part of the
Peak District National Park, rising
1,778 feet (542 m) above sea-level, within the parish of
Manchester is characterised by dense urban and industrial
development, which includes centres of commerce, finance, retail and
administration, as well as commuter suburbs and housing, interspersed
with transport infrastructure such as light rail, roads and motorway,
and canals. There is a mix of high density urban areas, suburbs,
semi-rural and rural locations in Greater Manchester, but land use is
mostly urban. The built environment of Greater
red brick and sandstone prominently as a building material, alongside
structures composed of modern materials, high-rise towers, and
landmark 19th-, 20th- and 21st-century buildings in the city and town
Manchester city centre is the commercial and geographic
heart of Greater Manchester, and with the adjoining parts
of Salford and Trafford, is defined as Greater Manchester's "Regional
Centre" for purposes of urban planning and public
transport. Political and economic ties between the
city centre and neighbouring Salford and
Trafford have strengthened
with the shift from town and district centres to metropolitan-level
centres in England, and this area's high-rise landmark
buildings provide a visual orientation point of reference as a central
business district. However, Greater
Manchester is also a
polycentric county with ten metropolitan districts, each of which
has a major town centre – and in some cases more than
one – and many smaller settlements. The major towns
Manchester city centre, and between them are smaller towns
(such as Denton, Middleton and Failsworth) which are suburban to both
the Regional Centre and the major town centres. Combined, these
factors make Greater
Manchester the most complex "polycentric
functional urban region" in the UK outside London.
Prestwich, Radcliffe, Ramsbottom, Tottington, Whitefield
Blackrod, Farnworth, Horwich, Kearsley, Little Lever, South Turton,
Blackley, Cheetham Hill, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Didsbury, Ringway,
Chadderton, Shaw and Crompton, Failsworth, Lees, Royton, Saddleworth
Heywood, Littleborough, Middleton, Milnrow, Newhey, Wardle
Eccles, Clifton, Little Hulton, Walkden, Worsley, Salford, Irlam,
Pendlebury, Cadishead, Patricroft, Monton
Bramhall, Bredbury, Cheadle, Gatley, Hazel Grove, Marple, Romiley
Audenshaw, Denton, Droylsden, Dukinfield, Hyde, Longdendale, Mossley,
Altrincham, Bowdon, Hale, Sale, Urmston, Partington
Abram, Ashton-in-Makerfield, Aspull, Astley, Atherton, Bryn, Golborne,
Higher End, Hindley, Ince-in-Makerfield, Leigh, Orrell, Shevington,
Standish, Tyldesley, Winstanley
Manchester Built-up Area is the conurbation or continuous
urban area based around Greater Manchester, as defined by the Office
for National Statistics. In 2011, it had an estimated population of
2,553,379, making it the second most populous built-up area in the UK,
and occupied an area of 630.3 square kilometres
(243.4 sq mi) at the time of the 2011 census. The
European Union designate the conurbation as a single homogonous urban
city region. The Built-up Area includes most of Greater
Manchester, omitting areas of countryside and small villages, as well
as noncontiguous urban towns such as
Wigan and Marple. Outside the
boundary of Greater
Manchester it includes several adjacent areas of
settlement and a few outliers connected to the urban sprawl by ribbon
development, such as
Alderley Edge in Cheshire, Glossop
and Hadfield in Derbyshire, and Whitworth in Lancashire. This
conurbation forms part of a megalopolis of 9.4 million across northern
A view over Greater Manchester. The county is heavily urbanised and
consists of vast built up areas and many settlements, fringed by
sparsely populated countryside such as the West Pennine Moors.
Manchester experiences a temperate maritime climate, like most
of the British Isles, with relatively cool summers and mild winters.
The county's average annual rainfall is 806.6 millimetres
(31.76 in) compared to the UK average of 1,125.0 millimetres
(44.29 in), and its mean rain days are 140.4 mm
(5.53 in) per annum, compared to the UK average of
154.4 mm (6.08 in). The mean temperature is slightly
above average for the United Kingdom. Greater
Manchester has a
relatively high humidity level, which lent itself to the optimised and
breakage-free textile manufacturing process that took place around the
county. Snowfall is not common in the built up areas because of the
urban warming effect but the
West Pennine Moors
West Pennine Moors in the northwest,
Pennines in the northeast and
Peak District in the east receive
more snow, and roads leading out of the county can be closed due to
heavy snowfall. They include the
A62 road via Standedge, the
Pennine section of the M62 and the A57, Snake Pass, towards
Sheffield. At the most southern point of Greater Manchester,
Met Office weather station recorded a temperature of
−17.6 °C (0.3 °F) on 8 January 2010.
Climate data for
Manchester (MAN), elevation: 69 m or
226 ft, 1981-2010 normals, extremes 1958-2004
Record high °C (°F)
Mean maximum °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Mean minimum °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)
Average snowy days
Average relative humidity (%)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Source #1: Met Office NOAA (relative humidity and snow days
Source #2: KNMI
Flora and fauna
See also: List of Sites of
Special Scientific Interest in Greater
Common cottongrass (Eriophorum angustifolium), seen here at Light
Hazzles Reservoir near Littleborough, was voted the county flower of
Manchester in 2002
Contrary to its reputation for urban sprawl, Greater
Manchester has a green belt (see section below), constraining urban
drift, and a "wide and varied range" of wildlife and natural
habitats. For instance, the wooded valleys of Bolton,
Stockport, the moorlands north and east of Rochdale,
Stalybridge, and the reed beds between
Wigan and Leigh, harbour flora
and fauna of national importance. Mature woodland, scrubland,
grassland, high moorland, mossland, agricultural land, lakes,
wetlands, river valleys, embankments, urban parks and suburban gardens
are habitats found in Greater
Manchester which further contribute to
biodiversity. The Greater
Manchester Ecology Unit classifies
Sites of Biological Importance.
The 21 Sites of
Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in Greater
Manchester, and the 12.1 square miles (31 km2) of common land in
Greater Manchester are of particular interest to organisations
such as the Greater
Manchester Local Record Centre, the Greater
Manchester Biodiversity Project and the
Manchester Field Club, which
are dedicated to wildlife conservation and the preservation of the
region's natural history. Among the SSSIs are Astley
and Bedford Mosses which form a network of ancient peat bog on the
fringe of Chat Moss, which in turn, at 10.6 square miles
(27 km2) comprises the largest area of prime farmland in Greater
Manchester and contains the largest block of semi-natural woodland in
the county. The
Wigan Flashes, such as those at Pennington Flash
Country Park, are the by-product of coal mining, where subsidence has
led to waterbodies collecting in the resulting hollows which form an
important reed bed resource in Greater Manchester. Opened in
Sale Water Park
Sale Water Park is a 152-acre (62 ha) area of countryside
and parkland in Sale which includes a 52-acre (21 ha) artificial
lake by the River Mersey.
Clover, sorrel, nettle and thistle are common, and grow wild in
Greater Manchester. Common heather (
Calluna vulgaris) dominates
the uplands, such as
Saddleworth Moor, which lies within the South
Dark Peak area of the
Peak District National Park.
Rochdale Canal harbours floating water-plantain (Luronium), an
endangered aquatic plant. In 2002,
launched its County Flowers campaign, asking members of the public to
nominate and vote for a wild flower emblem for their county. Common
cottongrass (Eriophorum angustifolium), a plant with fluffy white
plumes native to wet hollows on high moors, was announced as the
county flower of Greater Manchester. The house sparrow,
common starling, and common blackbird are among the most populous bird
species in Greater Manchester;
Eurasian magpie and feral pigeon are
common and breed in habitats across the county. The South
Pennines support internationally important numbers of European golden
plover, curlew, merlin and twite.
Further information: North West Green Belt
Manchester contains green belt interspersed throughout the
county, surrounding the urban core in places, and expanding towards
its borders, as a central component of the North West Green Belt. It
was first drawn up from the 1950s. and meets the South and West
Yorkshire Green Belt along the Greater
West Yorkshire county boundary. All the county's
districts contain some portion of belt.
See also: Mayor of Greater Manchester, Greater
Authority, List of Parliamentary constituencies in Greater Manchester,
List of civil parishes in Greater Manchester, and High Sheriff of
Andy Burnham has served as the
Mayor of Greater Manchester
Mayor of Greater Manchester since May
Greater Manchester Combined Authority
Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) is the top-tier
administrative body for the local governance of Greater Manchester. It
was established on 1 April 2011 as a pilot combined authority, unique
to local government in the United Kingdom. It consists of ten
indirectly elected members, each a directly elected councillor from
one of the ten metropolitan boroughs that comprise Greater Manchester.
The authority derives most of its powers from the Local Government Act
2000 and Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act
2009, and replaced a range of single-purpose joint boards and
quangos in 2011, to provide a formal administrative authority for
Manchester with powers over public transport, skills, housing,
regeneration, waste management, carbon neutrality and planning
permission. Functional executive bodies, such as Transport for
Greater Manchester, are responsible for delivery of services in these
areas. On 3 November 2014, the
Devolution to the Greater
Manchester Combined Authority agreement was signed to pass further
powers and responsibilities, as well as the establishment of an
elected Mayor of Greater Manchester. From April 2016, Greater
Manchester became the first area of
England to "get full control of
its health spending" with a devolution deal which unites the region's
health and social care systems under one budget under the control of
local leaders, including Greater Manchester's new directly elected
mayor. On 4 May 2017, Labour politician
Andy Burnham was elected
as the first mayor.
Beneath the GMCA are the ten councils of Greater Manchester's ten
districts, which are Bolton, Bury, the City of Manchester, Oldham,
Rochdale, the City of Salford, Stockport, Tameside,
Wigan. These district councils have the greatest powers over public
services, and control matters such as council tax, education
provision, social housing, libraries and healthcare. Eight of the ten
metropolitan boroughs were named after the eight former county
boroughs that now compose the largest centres of population and
greater historical and political prominence. As an example, the
Metropolitan Borough of Stockport is centred on the town of Stockport,
a former county borough, but includes other smaller settlements, such
as Cheadle, Gatley, and Bramhall. The names of two of the
metropolitan boroughs were given a neutral name because, at the time
they were created, there was no agreement on the town to be put
forward as the administrative centre and neither had a county borough.
These boroughs are
Tameside and Trafford, centred on Ashton-under-Lyne
and Stretford, respectively, and are named with reference to
geographical and historical origins. The lowest formal tier of
local government in Greater
Manchester are the parish councils, which
cover the various civil parishes in Greater Manchester, and have
limited powers over upkeep, maintenance and small grants.
For the first 12 years after the county was created in 1974,
Manchester had a two-tier system of local government, and the
metropolitan borough councils shared power with the Greater Manchester
County Council. The Greater
Manchester County Council, a
strategic authority based in what is now Westminster House off
Piccadilly Gardens, comprised 106 members drawn from the ten
metropolitan boroughs of Greater Manchester. It was a
sub-regional body running regional services such as transport,
strategic planning, emergency services and waste disposal. In 1986,
along with the five other metropolitan county councils and the Greater
London Council, the Greater
Manchester County Council was abolished,
and most of its powers were devolved to the boroughs. Between
1986 and 2011, the boroughs were effectively unitary authority areas,
but opted to co-operate voluntarily under the Association of Greater
Manchester Authorities (AGMA), which served to create a co-ordinated
county-wide approach to issues of common interest to Greater
Manchester, such as public transport and the shared labour market, as
well as making representations to central government and the European
A bus stop in Denton bearing the logo of Transport for Greater
Manchester (TfGM). TfGM is a functional executive body of the Greater
Manchester Combined Authority and has responsibilities for public
transport in Greater Manchester.
Although used as a "successful brand", Greater Manchester's
politics have been characterised by "entrenched localism and related
rivalries", historically resistant to regionalism. The major towns
Manchester retain a "fierce independence", meaning
Manchester is administered using "inter-municipal
coordination" on a broadly voluntary basis. That eight of the ten
borough councils have (for the most part) been Labour-controlled since
1986, has helped maintain this informal co-operation between the
districts at a county-level. After the abolition of the county
council, the ten authorities of Greater
voluntarily on policy issues like Local Transport Plans as well as
funding the Greater
Manchester County Record Office, and local
services were administered by statutory joint boards. Now under the
direction of the Greater
Manchester Combined Authority, these joint
boards are Transport for Greater
Manchester (TfGM) which is
responsible for planning and co-ordinating public transport across the
county; the Greater
Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, who are
administered by a joint Fire and Rescue Authority; and the Greater
Manchester Waste Disposal Authority. These joint boards are made up of
councillors appointed from each of the ten boroughs (except the Waste
Disposal Authority, which does not include the Metropolitan Borough of
Manchester Police was formerly overseen by a joint
police authority, but is now overseen by the Greater
and Crime Commissioner owing to reforms introduced in 2012. The
ten borough councils are joint-owners of the
Manchester Airport Group
Manchester Airport and three other UK airports.
Other services are directly funded and managed by the local
Manchester is a ceremonial county with its own Lord-Lieutenant
who is the personal representative of the monarch. The Local
Government Act 1972 provided that the whole of the area to be covered
by the new metropolitan county of Greater
Manchester would also be
included in the Duchy of Lancaster – extending the duchy to
include areas which were formerly in the counties of
Cheshire and the
West Riding of Yorkshire. Until 31 March 2005, Greater Manchester's
Keeper of the Rolls was appointed by the Chancellor of the Duchy of
Lancaster; they are now appointed by the Lord High Chancellor of Great
Britain. The first
Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester
Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester was Sir
William Downward who held the title from 1974 to 1988. The
current Lord Lieutenant is Warren James Smith. As a geographic
Manchester is used by the government (via the Office
for National Statistics) for the gathering of county-wide statistics,
and organising and collating general register and census
In terms of representation in the Parliament of the United Kingdom,
Manchester is divided into 28 parliamentary
constituencies – 18 borough constituencies and 10 county
constituencies. Most of Greater
Manchester is controlled by the Labour
party, and is generally considered a Labour stronghold,. At
the 2015 UK General Election in Greater Manchester, Labour won 22
seats and the Conservatives won 5.
Main article: Demography of Greater Manchester
The population of Greater
Manchester increased from around
328 thousand in 1801, to 2.68M in 2011, peaking in 1971 at 2.7M.
Much of Greater Manchester's housing stock consists of terraced houses
constructed as low-cost dwellings for the populations of local factory
towns. This street in Salford was renovated by Urban Splash.
Population changes for Greater Manchester
Pre-1974 statistics were gathered from local government areas that now
comprise Greater Manchester
Source: Great Britain Historical GIS.
Manchester has a population of 2,732,854 (2014 est.,),
making it the third most populous county in
England after Greater
London and the West Midlands and the highest ever for the county.
It is the sixth most densely populated county of England. The demonym
Manchester is "Greater Mancunian". The Manchester
accent and dialect, native to Manchester, is common in the city and
adjacent areas, but gives way to "slower, deeper accents" towards
Greater Manchester's fringes and suburbs.
Manchester is home to a diverse population and is a
multicultural agglomeration with an ethnic minority population
comprising 8.5% of the total population in 2001. In 2008,
there were over 66 refugee nationalities in the county. At
the 2001 UK census, 74.2% of Greater Manchester's residents were
Christian, 5.0% Muslim, 0.9% Jewish, 0.7% Hindu, 0.2% Buddhist, and
0.1% Sikh. 11.4% had no religion, 0.2% had an alternative religion and
7.4% did not state their religion. This is similar to the rest of the
country, although the proportions of Muslims and Jews are nearly twice
the national average. It contains the Heaton Park Hebrew
Congregation, a large
Ashkenazi Orthodox synagogue located in North
Manchester is covered by the Roman Catholic
Dioceses of Salford and Shrewsbury, and the Archdiocese of
Liverpool. Most of Greater
Manchester is part of the Anglican Diocese
of Manchester, apart from
Wigan which lies within the Diocese of
Following the deindustrialisation of Greater
Manchester in the
mid-20th century, there was a significant economic and population
decline in the region, particularly in
Salford. Vast areas of low-quality squalid terraced housing
that were built throughout the
Victorian era were found to be in a
poor state of repair and unsuited to modern needs; many inner-city
districts suffered from chronic social deprivation and high levels of
Slum clearance and the increased building of
social housing overspill estates by Salford and
Councils lead to a decrease in population in central Greater
Manchester. During the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, the population of
Manchester declined by over 8,000 inhabitants a
year. While Manchester's population shrank by about 40% during
this time (from 766,311 in 1931 to 452,000 in 2006), the total
population of Greater
Manchester decreased by only 8%.
Greater Manchester's housing stock comprises a variety of types.
Manchester city centre is noted for its high-rise apartments,
while Salford has some of the tallest and most densely populated tower
block estates in Europe.
Saddleworth has stone-built properties,
including farmhouses and converted weavers' cottages.
Throughout Greater Manchester, rows of terraced houses are common,
most of them built during the Victorian and Edwardian periods. House
prices and labour markets differ in Greater
Manchester between north
and south, such that in the 2000s, the Housing Market
Renewal Initiative identified Manchester, Salford,
Rochdale and Oldham
as areas with terraced housing unsuited to modern needs. In
contrast, towns and villages in southern Greater Manchester, from
Bramhall through Woodford to
Altrincham constitute an arc of wealthy
Altrincham in particular, with its neighbours
Bowdon and Hale, forms a "stockbroker belt, with well-appointed
dwellings in an area of sylvan opulence".
See also: List of schools in Greater Manchester
Manchester has five universities: the
University, the University of Bolton, the University of Law, the
Manchester and the University of Salford. Together with
Royal Northern College of Music
Royal Northern College of Music they had a combined population of
students of 101,165 in 2007 – the third highest number in England
Greater London (360,890) and the West Midlands (140,980),
and the thirteenth highest in
England per head of population. The
majority of students are concentrated on Oxford Road in Manchester,
Europe's largest urban higher education precinct.
As of 2010, further education in Greater
Manchester is co-ordinated by
Manchester Colleges Group, a joint venture composed of an
association of 24 colleges in the region. Primary and secondary
education within Greater
Manchester are the responsibility of the
constituent boroughs which form local education authorities and
administer schools. The county has several independent schools such as
Bury Grammar School,
Manchester Grammar School, Oldham
Hulme Grammar School, St Bede's College and
Stockport Grammar School.
See also: List of companies based in Greater
Manchester and Economy of
Oldham, painted during the
Industrial Revolution by J. H. Carse. Many
towns in Greater
Manchester were built around the mills.
Trafford Centre in
Trafford is one of the largest shopping centres
in the United Kingdom.
Much of Greater Manchester's wealth was generated during the
Industrial Revolution, particularly textile manufacture. The
world's first cotton mill was built in the town of Royton,
and the county encompasses several former mill towns. An Association
for Industrial Archaeology publication describes Greater
"one of the classic areas of industrial and urban growth in Britain,
the result of a combination of forces that came together in the 18th
and 19th centuries: a phenomenal rise in population, the appearance of
the specialist industrial town, a transport revolution, and weak local
lordship". Much of the county was at the forefront of textile
manufacture during the
Industrial Revolution and into the early-20th
century; Peter Smith, Baron Smith of Leigh, chair of the Greater
Manchester Combined Authority said "clearly, all of the Greater
Manchester area was once at the heart of a very vibrant [textiles]
industry", represented by former textile mills found throughout
the county. The territory that makes up Greater Manchester
experienced a rapid decline of these traditional sectors, partly
Cotton famine brought on by the American Civil
War, but mainly as part of the post-war economic depression and
deindustrialization of Britain that occurred during the 20th
Considerable industrial restructuring has helped the region to recover
from deindustrialisation and the demise of the mass production of
textiles. Historically, the docks at
Salford Quays were an
industrial port, though are now (following a period of disuse) a
commercial and residential area which includes the Imperial War Museum
The Lowry theatre and exhibition centre. The
BBC is now
established in their new home at MediaCityUK, at Salford Quays. This
is home to
BBC North West, several
BBC departments, including BBC
Sport, Blue Peter and, since April 2012,
Manchester are connected to the history of the cooperative movement;
Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers (an early consumer
co-operative) was founded in
Rochdale in 1844, and The
Co-operative Group, the UK's largest mutual business and North West
England's biggest company, is headquartered at One Angel Square
in central Manchester. Despite this economic diversification, as
of November 2012, government plans are under development to revive
textile production in Greater Manchester, and restore it as the
national home of British textile manufacture.
Manchester is the economic centre of the North West
England and is the largest sub-regional economy in the UK
outside London and South East England. Greater Manchester
represents more than £42 billion of the UK regional GVA, more
than Wales, Northern Ireland or North East England. Manchester
city centre, the central business district of Greater Manchester, is a
major centre of trade and commerce and provides Greater Manchester
with a global identity, specialist activities and employment
opportunities; similarly, the economy of the city centre is dependent
upon the rest of the county for its population as an employment pool,
skilled workforce and for its collective purchasing power.
Manchester today is a centre of the arts, the media, higher education
and commerce. In a poll of British business leaders published in 2006,
Manchester was regarded as the best place in the UK to locate a
business. A report commissioned by
published in 2007, showed
Manchester to be the "fastest-growing city"
economically. It is the third most visited city in the United
Kingdom by foreign visitors and is now often considered to be the
second city of the UK. The
Trafford Centre is one of the largest
shopping centres in the United Kingdom, and is located within the
Metropolitan Borough of Trafford.
At the 2001 UK census, there were 1,805,315 residents of Greater
Manchester aged 16 to 74. The economic activity of these people was
40.3% in full-time employment, 11.3% in part-time employment, 6.7%
self-employed, 3.5% unemployed, 5.1% students without jobs, 2.6%
students with jobs, 13.0% retired, 6.1% looking after home or family,
7.8% permanently sick or disabled and 3.5% economically inactive for
other reasons. The figures follow the national trend, although the
percentage of self-employed people is below the national average of
8.3%. The proportion of unemployment in the county varies, with
Metropolitan Borough of Stockport having the lowest at 2.0% and
Manchester the highest at 7.9%. In 2001, of the
1,093,385 residents of Greater
Manchester in employment, the
industry of employment was: 18.4% retail and wholesale; 16.7%
manufacturing; 11.8% property and business services; 11.6% health and
social work; 8.0% education; 7.3% transport and communications; 6.7%
construction; 4.9% public administration and defence; 4.7% hotels and
restaurants; 4.1% finance; 0.8% electricity, gas, and water supply;
0.5% agriculture; and 4.5% other. This was roughly in line with
national figures, except for the proportion of jobs in agriculture
which is only about a third of the national average of 1.5%, due to
the overwhelmingly urban, built-up land use of Greater
Regional gross value added by the metropolitan county of Greater
Manchester at current basic prices. Figures are in millions of British
Gross Value Added
Main article: Transport for Greater Manchester
See also: Transport in Manchester,
Manchester Airport, Manchester
Metrolink, and List of railway stations in Greater Manchester
The M60 motorway, seen here at Failsworth, is an orbital motorway in
A Metrolink tram in Radcliffe, part of Greater Manchester's light rail
Manchester operate bus services in northern-Greater
Public transport services in Greater
Manchester are co-ordinated by
Transport for Greater
Manchester (TfGM), a public body with powers
between those of a passenger transport executive and Transport for
London, established as SELNEC PTE in 1969 in accordance with the
Transport Act 1968. The original SELNEC Passenger Transport
Executive was renamed as the Greater
Manchester Passenger Transport
Executive (GMPTE) when taken over by the Greater
Council on 1 April 1974 to co-ordinate public transport modes within
the new county. The council had overall responsibility for
strategic planning and all policy decisions covering public transport
(such as bus and rail services) and highways. GMPTE's purpose was to
secure the provision of a completely integrated and efficient system
of passenger transport for Greater
Manchester on behalf of the county
council. In 1977, it was noted as the largest authority for
public transport in the
United Kingdom after London Transport.
GMPTE was renamed as Transport for Greater
Manchester in April 2011
when it became a functional body of the Greater
Authority and obtained powers additional to those of a regular
passenger transport executive from central government.
Manchester lies at the heart of the North West transport
network. Much of the infrastructure converges at
centre with the
Manchester Inner Ring Road, an amalgamation of several
major roads, circulating the city centre. The county is the only place
in the UK to have a fully orbital motorway, the M60, which passes
through all of the boroughs except
Bolton and Wigan. Greater
Manchester has a higher percentage of the motorway network than any
other county in the country, and according to the Guinness Book
of World Records, it has the most traffic lanes side by side (17),
spread across several parallel carriageways (M61 at
Walkden, close to the M60 interchange). Greater Manchester's
85 miles (137 km) of motorway network saw 5.8 billion
vehicle kilometres in 2002 – about 6% of the UK's total, or
89,000 vehicles a day. The A580 "East Lancs" road is a
primary A road that connects
Manchester and Salford with Liverpool. It
was the UK's first purpose-built intercity highway and was officially
George V on 18 July 1934. Throughout 2008, there were
proposals for congestion charging in Greater Manchester.
Unlike the London scheme, two cordons would have been used, one
covering the main urban core of the Greater
Manchester Urban Area and
Manchester city centre.
Metrolink is Greater Manchester's light rail system, which began
operating in 1992. Principally used for suburban commuting, as of
December 2014 the 57-mile (92 km) long network consists of seven
lines which radiate from
Manchester city centre and terminate at
Altrincham, Ashton-under-Lyne, Bury, Didsbury, Eccles, Manchester
Airport and Rochdale. The system is owned by TfGM and operated
and maintained under contract by RATP Group. Greater
Manchester has a heavy rail network of 142 route miles
(229 km) with 98 stations, forming a central hub to the North
West rail network. Train services are provided by private
operators and run on the national rail network which is owned and
managed by Network Rail. There is an extensive bus network which
Manchester city centre. The largest providers are First
Manchester for the northern parts of the county and Stagecoach
Manchester for the southern parts. An extensive canal network also
remains from the Industrial Revolution.
Manchester Airport, which is the third busiest in the United Kingdom,
serves the county and wider region with flights to more worldwide
destinations than any other airport in the UK. Since June 2007 it
has served 225 routes. The airport handled 21.06
million passengers in 2008.
The three modes of public surface transport in the area are heavily
used. 19.7 million rail journeys were made in the then
GMPTE-supported area in the 2005/2006 financial year – an
increase of 9.4% over 2004/2005; there were 19.9 million journeys
on Metrolink; and the bus system carried 219.4 million
See also: Sport in
Manchester and List of football clubs in Greater
Old Trafford, home to
Manchester United F.C.
Bolton Wanderers F.C. are based at the Macron Stadium, in Horwich
The main entrance of Old
Trafford Cricket Ground
The City of
Manchester Stadium, the main venue of the 2002
Commonwealth Games and home to
Manchester City F.C.
Manchester hosted the
2002 Commonwealth Games
2002 Commonwealth Games which was, at a cost of
£200M for the sporting facilities and a further £470M for local
infrastructure, by far the biggest and most expensive sporting event
held in the UK and the first to be an integral part of urban
regeneration. A mix of new and existing facilities were used. New
amenities included the
Manchester Aquatics Centre,
Bolton Arena, the
National Squash Centre, and the City of
Manchester Stadium. The
Manchester Velodrome was built as part of the
Manchester bid for the
2000 Summer Olympics. After the Commonwealth Games the City of
Manchester Stadium was converted for football use, and the adjacent
warm-up track upgraded to become the
Manchester Regional Arena.
Other facilities continue to be used by elite athletes. Cambridge
Policy Consultants estimate 4,500 full-time jobs as a direct
consequence, and Grattan points to other long-term benefits accruing
from publicity and the improvement of the area's image.
Association football is "woven into the cultural fabric of Greater
Manchester", by way of its numerous football clubs – two of which
play in the
Premier League - which draw support, visitors and economic
benefits to Greater
Manchester valued at £330 million per year as of
Manchester Football Association is the sport's
governing body in Greater Manchester, and is committed to its
promotion and development.
Manchester United F.C. are one of the
world's best-known football teams, and in 2008 and 2017 Forbes
estimated that they were the world's richest club. They have
won the League Championship a record twenty times (most recently in
FA Cup twelve times, the Football League Cup five
times and have been European Champions three times. Their Old
Trafford ground has hosted the
FA Cup Final
matches and the
2003 UEFA Champions League Final
2003 UEFA Champions League Final between
Manchester City F.C. moved from
Maine Road to the City of
Manchester Stadium after the 2002 Commonwealth Games. They have won
the league championship four times (most recently in 2013-2014) and
FA Cup five times. In addition,
Wigan Athletic F.C. are one
of the county's younger sides, and won their first major trophy in
Manchester City F.C. in the
FA Cup final. They
currently play in the Championship. Other professional clubs in
the area include
Bolton Wanderers F.C.,
Oldham Athletic A.F.C., Bury
Rochdale A.F.C., all playing in League One, as well as
National League North
National League North clubs
Stockport County F.C. and F.C United of
In rugby league,
Salford Red Devils
Salford Red Devils and Leigh
Centurions compete in the Super League, the top-level professional
rugby league football club competition in Europe.
Wigan have won the
Football League Championship
Football League Championship twenty–one times,
Challenge Cup nineteen times, and the
World Club Challenge
World Club Challenge three
times. Swinton Lions,
Oldham R.L.F.C. and
Rochdale Hornets play
in the second tier Championship. There is also a large network of
junior/community rugby league clubs across the metropolitan area which
act as feeder teams to the elite sides, the most notable being
Manchester Rangers. In rugby union, Stockport's
Sale Sharks compete in
the Guinness Premiership, and won the league in 2006. Whitefield
based Sedgley Park RUFC compete in National Division One, Manchester
National Division Two
National Division Two and
Orrell R.U.F.C. in
National Division Three North.
Lancashire County Cricket Club began as
Manchester Cricket Club and
represents the (ancient) county of Lancashire.
the original 1890 County Championship. The team has won the County
Championship nine times, most recently in 2011. Their Old
Trafford ground, near the football stadium of the same name, regularly
hosts test matches. Possibly the most famous took place in 1956, when
Jim Laker took a record nineteen wickets in the fourth test against
Cheshire County Cricket Club are a minor counties club
who sometimes play in the south of the county.
The Kirkmanshulme Lane stadium in Belle Vue is the home to top-flight
speedway team the
Belle Vue Aces
Belle Vue Aces and regular greyhound racing.
Professional ice hockey returned to the area in early 2007 with the
opening of a purpose-designed rink in Altrincham, the
Dome, to host the
Manchester Phoenix. Their predecessor, Manchester
Storm, went out of business in 2002 because of financial problems that
led to them being unable to pay players' wages or the rent for the
Manchester Arena in which they played.
Horse racing has taken place at several sites in the county. The two
biggest courses were both known as
Manchester Racecourse –
though neither was within the boundaries of Manchester – and
ran from the 17th century until 1963. Racing was at
Kersal Moor until
1847 when the racecourse at Castle Irwell was opened. In 1867 racing
was moved to New Barnes, Weaste, until the site was vacated (for a
hefty price) in 1901 to allow an expansion to
Manchester Docks. The
land is now home to Dock 9 of the re-branded Salford Quays. Racing
then moved back to Castle Irwell which later staged a Classic –
the 1941 St. Leger – and was home to the
(nowadays run at Haydock Park) and the November Handicap, which was
traditionally the last major race of the flat season. Through the late
50s and early 60s the track saw
Scobie Breasley and Lester Piggott
annually battle out the closing acts of the jockey's title until
racing ceased on 7 November 1963.
Manchester Athletics Association is the governing body of
athletics in Greater Manchester, and organises events and competitions
within Greater Manchester. The Greater
Manchester Marathon is a
long-distance running event along a 26-mile and 385-yard course
throughout the borough of Trafford. Professional athletics takes
place at the Regional Athletics Arena in Sportcity, which has hosted
numerous national trials, Robin Park in Wigan, Longford Park in
Stretford (home to
Trafford Athletic Club), Woodbank Stadium in
Stockport (home to
Stockport Harriers) and the Cleavleys Track in
Winton (home to Salford Harriers). As of 2008, new sports facilities
including a 10,000 capacity stadium and athletics venue are being
constructed at Leigh Sports Village.
Manchester Community Basketball Club is an association
which represents Greater
Manchester in basketball. It supports a
variety of teams, including
Manchester Magic. The Greater
Manchester County Crown Green Bowling Association appoints Junior,
Senior and Veteran teams to represent Greater
Manchester in the sport
of bowls. Founded by Greater Manchester's ten district
councils in 1996, GreaterSport is the County Sports Partnership for
Manchester which works closely with the sports and physical
activity sectors and coordinates events such as the Greater Manchester
Youth Games. The Greater
Manchester Sports Fund aims to ensure
that people in Greater
Manchester aged 12–21 competing in any kind
of sport, irrespective of background, are able to obtain grants of up
to £750 so that they can better fulfil their potential.
Art, tourism, culture and sport provide 16% of employment in Greater
Manchester, with the proportion highest in Manchester. In 2014,
Will Straw remarked that "Greater
Manchester is a creative
powerhouse", recognised for its cultural output in areas such as
association football, media and digital content, and guitar and dance
Eccles cake is a small round flaky pastry cake filled with currants,
sugar and spice. It is native to Eccles.
There are several delicacies native to Greater Manchester.
Savoury dishes include black pudding, a blood sausage typically
Bury Market; pasty barm, a combined
pasty-barm cake created in Bolton; and rag pudding, a suet pastry
Oldham filled with steak and onion and steamed in a cloth
or wrapper to cook; the
Manchester egg was introduced in 2010.
Sweet dishes include
Eccles cake — native to Eccles — a small
round flaky pastry cake filled with currants, sugar and spice;
Manchester tart, a baked tart which consists of a shortcrust pastry
shell spread with raspberry jam, covered with a custard filling and
topped with flakes of coconut; and Uncle Joe's Mint Balls, traditional
sweet mild mints manufactured in
Wigan since their inception in
Tizer are soft drinks invented in
1908 and 1924 respectively. Boddingtons is a bitter developed in
Manchester and promoted as the "Cream of Manchester" in a popular
1990s advertising campaign credited with raising the city's
Campaign for Real Ale
Campaign for Real Ale is a branch of the
national Campaign for Real Ale, an advocacy group that supports,
promotes and preserves the beer and drinks industry, and recognising
outstanding venues with awards; The Nursery in
Heaton Norris was its
National Pub of the Year in 2001, and The Baum in
Rochdale was its
National Pub Of The Year in 2012. The
and Drink Festival was launched in 1997 as an urban beverage and
gastronomy fair, principally held in
Manchester city centre with
further events throughout Greater Manchester; smaller separate
local events include the
Prestwich Food and Drink Festival, the annual
World Pie Eating Championship in Wigan, and the annual Ramsbottom
Chocolate Festival. As of 2012, Greater
Manchester has no
Michelin-starred restaurants, but three eateries in the Bib Gourmand
Galleries, museums and exhibitions
Imperial War Museum North
Imperial War Museum North in
Trafford Park was designed by Daniel
Libeskind, and is one of the Imperial War Museum's five branches.
Manchester Museums Group (GMMG) is a partnership of eight
of the ten Museum Services in Greater Manchester. Its exhibition
centres include: Gallery Oldham, which has in the past featured work
by Pablo Picasso; Salford Museum and Art Gallery, a local museum
with a recreated Victorian street; and
Bolton Museum, which
houses material from private collectors, including geological
specimens from the estate of Caroline Birley. Separate from the
The Lowry at Salford Quays, which has a changing display of L.
S. Lowry's work alongside travelling exhibitions.
Gallery is a major provincial art gallery noted for its collection of
Pre-Raphaelite art and housed in a Grade I listed building by
Greater Manchester's museums showcase the county's industrial and
social heritage. The
Hat Works in
Stockport is the UK's only museum
dedicated to the hatting industry; the museum moved in 2000 to a
Grade II listed Victorian mill, previously a hat factory.
The Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, amongst other
displays, charts the rise of science and industry and especially the
Manchester played in its development; the Museums, Libraries and
Archives Council described the displays as "pre-eminent collections of
national and international importance".
Urbis began its life as a
museum of the modern city, which attempted to explain the effects and
experiences of life in the city. It was then transformed into an
exhibition centre, which had its most successful year in 2006. Urbis
entered its third phase since opening in 2012 as the National Football
Stockport Air Raid Shelters uses a mile of underground
tunnels, built to accommodate 6,500 people, to illustrate life in the
Second World War's air raid shelters. The Imperial War Museum
Trafford Park is one of the Imperial War Museum's five
branches. Alongside exhibitions of war machinery are displays
describing how people's lives are affected by war. The Museum of
Transport in Manchester, which opened in 1979, has one of the largest
collections of vehicles in the country. The People's History
Museum is "the national centre for the collection, conservation,
interpretation and study of material relating to the history of
working people in Britain". The Pankhurst Museum is based in the early
feminist Emmeline Pankhurst's former home and includes a parlour laid
out in contemporary style.
Lancashire CCC all have dedicated museums illustrating their
Wigan Pier, best known from George Orwell's book The Road
Wigan Pier, was the name of a wharf on the Leeds and Liverpool
Canal in Wigan. The name has been reused to describe an
industrial-based visitor attraction, partly closed for redevelopment
as of 2008.
Media, film and television
Manchester Film Festival was launched in 2012. It is an
international film festival designed to capitalise on Greater
Manchester's "huge strengths in film and television, along with its
growing media presence". MediaCityUK, a host venue of the Greater
Manchester Film Festival, is a 200-acre (81 ha) mixed-use
property development site at Salford Quays; its principal tenants are
mass media organisations such as
ITV Granada and the BBC. One of
Greater Manchester's most lucrative and acclaimed television exports
is Coronation Street, which is a televised soap opera set in
Weatherfield, a fictional borough of Greater Manchester,
inspired by life in Salford. Created by Tony Warren, Coronation
Street was first broadcast on 9 December 1960, making it the world's
longest-running TV soap opera in production. It has been filmed
Granada Studios since its inception, but filming is
now done at a new set at MediaCityUK. Launched in 2004 by the Guardian
Channel M is a television station that broadcast local
news and content about Greater Manchester. It effectively closed
in 2010. In January 2011 Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt stated
that a new Greater
Manchester channel will be available on Freeview by
Manchester Evening News is a regional daily newspaper covering
Greater Manchester, published every day except Sunday. It is
Trinity Mirror and produced by MEN Media. It sells around
81,000 copies a day and gives away nearly 100,000, making it the
market leader in Greater Manchester. The paper was first
published in 1868 by
Mitchell Henry as part of his Parliamentary
election campaign for the
Manchester constituency. MEN Media
"dominates Greater Manchester", reaching 7 out of 10 adults each week
within the region through its portfolio of products which also
Oldham Advertiser, the
Rochdale Observer, and the Salford
Music, theatre and performing arts
The Lowry is a combined theatre and exhibition centre at Salford
Quays, and is Greater Manchester's most visited tourist
Manchester has the highest number of theatre seats per head of
population outside London. Most, if not all, of the larger theatres
are subsidised by local authorities or the North West Regional Arts
Board. The Royal Exchange Theatre formed in the 1970s out of a
peripatetic group staging plays at venues such as at the University
[of Manchester] Theatre and the Apollo Theatre. A season in a
temporary stage in the former Royal Exchange,
Manchester was followed
by funding for a theatre in the round, which opened in 1976. The
Lowry — Greater Manchester's most visited tourist attraction
— houses two theatres, used by travelling groups in all the
performing arts. The Opera House is a 1,900-seat venue
hosting travelling productions, often musicals just out of the West
End. Its sister venue, The Palace, hosts generally similar shows.
Oldham Playhouse, one of the older theatres in the region, helped
launch the careers of
Stan Laurel and Charlie Chaplin. Its productions
are described by the 2007 CityLife guide as 'staunchly
populist' – and popular. There are many other venues
scattered throughout the county, of all types and sizes.
Manchester has four professional orchestras, all based in
Hallé Orchestra is the UK's oldest symphony orchestra
(and the fourth oldest in the world), supports a choir and a
youth orchestra, and releases its recordings on its own record
label. The Hallé is based at the Bridgwater Hall but often
tours, typically giving 70 performances "at home" and 40 on
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, one of five
can trace its history back to the early days of radio broadcasting in
1926. As of 2008 it is based at the BBC's Oxford Road
studios, but is expected to move to
MediaCityUK in Salford.
Manchester Camerata and the
Northern Chamber Orchestra are
smaller, though still professional, organisations. The main
classical venue is the 2,341-seat
Bridgewater Hall in Manchester,
opened in 1996 at a cost of £42m.
Manchester is also a centre
for musical education, via the
Royal Northern College of Music
Royal Northern College of Music and
Chetham's School of Music.
Manchester Arena seats over 21,000, and is the largest indoor
arena in Europe. It has been voted International Venue of the Year,
and for several years was the most popular venue in the world.
The sports grounds in the county also host large pop concerts. A
new flexible, large-scale cultural, arts, and exhibition space named
The Factory is to be built on the former site of
Granada Studios in
central Manchester. It is named with reference to Factory
Records, a Manchester-based independent record label, founded in 1978
Tony Wilson and Alan Erasmus.
Factory Records — which featured
acts such as Joy Division, New Order, and the
Happy Mondays — and
The Haçienda, served as a catalyst in the late-1980s for a blending
of alternative rock, psychedelic rock and electronic dance music known
as Madchester. Greater
Manchester continues to be associated with
guitar and dance music.
United Kingdom portal
Outline of England
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Grade II* listed buildings in Greater Manchester
List of people from Greater Manchester
List of public art in Greater Manchester
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Greater Manchester.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Greater Manchester.
Wikinews has news related to:
www.agma.gov.uk, the Association of Greater
www.gmcro.co.uk, the Greater
Manchester County Record Office, for
historical records relating to Greater Manchester
www.visitmanchester.com, the official tourism website for Greater
Manchester at Curlie (based on DMOZ)
Ceremonial county of Greater Manchester
Statutory City Region
Manchester Combined Authority
Manchester Statutory City Region
Mayor of Greater Manchester
City of Manchester
City of Salford
Metropolitan Borough of Bolton
Metropolitan Borough of Bury
Metropolitan Borough of Oldham
Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale
Metropolitan Borough of Stockport
Metropolitan Borough of Tameside
Metropolitan Borough of Trafford
Metropolitan Borough of Wigan
See also: List of civil parishes in Greater Manchester
Parliamentary constituencies and Members of Parliament
Population of major settlements
Grade I listed buildings
Grade II* listed buildings
Places of interest
1974–1996 ← Ceremonial counties of
England → current
East Riding of Yorkshire
Isle of Wight
City of London
Tyne and Wear
Districts of North West England
Cheshire West and Chester
Blackburn with Darwen
Tyne and Wear