Manchester is a city in North West England with a population of 514,417 in 2013. In the United Kingdom's second most populous urban area, which has a population of 2.55 million, Manchester is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east and an arc of towns with which it forms a continuous conurbation. The local authority is Manchester City Council.
The recorded history of Manchester began with the civilian settlement associated with the Roman fort of Mamucium, a variant of which name is preserved by the city's demonym: residents are still referred to as Mancunians (/mæŋkˈjuːnɪənz/). The Roman fort was established aroundad 79 on a sandstone bluff near the confluence of the rivers Medlock andIrwell. Historically part of Lancashire, although areas of Cheshire, south of the River Mersey were incorporated into the city during the 20th century. Throughout the Middle Ages Manchester remained a manorial townshipbut began to expand "at an astonishing rate" around the turn of the 19th century. Manchester's unplanned urbanisation was brought on by a boom in textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution, and resulted in it becoming the world's first industrialised city. The building of theBridgewater Canal in 1761 built to transport coal triggered an early 19th century factory building boom which transformed Manchester from a township into a major mill town and borough that culminated in city statusin 1853 - thus becoming the first new British city in over 300 years. In 1877, Manchester Town Hall was built and in 1894 the Manchester Ship Canal, at the time the longest river navigation canal in the world, opened, creating the Port of Manchester and linking the city to sea. Manchester's fortunes decreased after the Second World War due to deindustrialisation. However, investment spurred by the 1996 Manchester bombing led to extensive regeneration, particularly in the city centre.
The city is notable for its architecture, culture, music scene, media links,scientific and engineering output, social impact, sports clubs and transport connections. Known through time as a hotbed for radical ideas, Manchester was the site of the world's first railway station and is where scientists first split the atom, and developed the first stored-program computer. Manchester is also regarded as the birthplace of women's suffrage in the United Kingdom, and both capitalism and communism. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels began to write the Communist Manifesto atChetham Library, the oldest public library in the English-speaking world.
Today Manchester is ranked as a beta world city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Its metropolitan economy is the third largest in the United Kingdom with a GDP of $88.3bn (2012 est., PPP).Manchester is the third-most visited city in the UK by foreign visitors, after London and Edinburgh.
The name Manchester originates from the Latin name Mamucium or its variant Mancunium. These are generally thought to represent aLatinisation of an original Brittonic name, either from mamm- ("breast", in reference to a "breast-like hill") or from mamma ("mother", in reference to a local river goddess). Both meanings are preserved in languages derived from Common Brittonic, mam meaning "breast" in Irish and "mother" inWelsh. The suffix -chester is a survival of Old English ceaster ("fort; fortified town").
The Brigantes were the major Celtic tribe in what is now Northern England; they had a stronghold in the locality at a sandstone outcrop on which Manchester Cathedral now stands, opposite the banks of the River Irwell. Their territory extended across the fertile lowland of what is now Salford and Stretford. Following the Roman conquest of Britain in the 1st century, General Agricola ordered the construction of a fort named Mamucium in the year 79 to ensure that Roman interests in Deva Victrix (Chester) and Eboracum (York) were protected from the Brigantes. Central Manchester has been permanently settled since this time. A stabilised fragment of foundations of the final version of the Roman fort is visible in Castlefield. The Roman habitation of Manchester probably ended around the 3rd century; its civilian settlement appears to have been abandoned by the mid-3rd century, although the fort may have supported a small garrison until the late 3rd or early 4th century. After the Roman withdrawal and Saxon conquest, the focus of settlement shifted to the confluence of the Irwell and Irk sometime before the arrival of the Normans after 1066. Much of the wider area was laid waste in the subsequent Harrying of the North.
The Office for National Statistics does not produce economic data for the City of Manchester alone, but includes four other metropolitan boroughs, Salford,Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, in an area named Greater Manchester South, which had a GVA of £34.8bn. The economy grew relatively strongly between 2002 and 2012, where growth was 2.3% above the national average. With a GDP of $88.3bn (2012 est., PPP) the wider metropolitan economy is the third-largest in the United Kingdom. It is ranked as a beta world city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network.
As the UK economy continues to recover from the downturn experienced in 2008–10, Manchester compares favourably to other geographies according to the latest figures. In 2012 it is showed the strongest annual growth in business stock (5%) of all the Core Cities.The city experienced a relatively sharp increase in the number of business deaths, the largest increase of all the Core Cities, however this was offset by strong growth in new businesses which resulted in a strong net growth.
Manchester's civic leadership has a reputation for business acumen. It owns two of the country's four busiest airports and uses its earnings to fund local projects. Meanwhile KPMG's competitive alternative report found that in 2012 Manchester had the 9th lowest tax cost of any industrialised city in the world, and fiscal devolution has come earlier to Manchester than to any other British city: it can keep half the extra taxes it gets from transport investment.
KPMG's competitive alternative report also found that Manchester was Europe's most affordable city featured, ranking slightly better than Dutch cities, Rotterdam and Amsterdam, who all have a cost of living index less than 95.
Manchester is a city of contrast, where some of the country's most deprived and most affluent neighbourhoods can be found. According to the 2010 Indices of Multiple Deprivation Manchester is the 4th most deprived local council in the England. Unemployment throughout 2012–13 averaged 11.9%, which was above the national average, but lower than some of the country's other comparable large cities. On the other hand, Greater Manchester is home to more multi-millionaires than anywhere outside London, with the City of Manchester taking up most of the tally. In 2013 Manchester was ranked 6th in the UK for quality of life, according to a rating of the UK's 12 largest cities.
Women fare better in Manchester than the rest of the country in terms of equal pay to men. The per hours worked gender pay gap is 3.3%, in contrast to 11.1% for Great Britain. 37% of the working-age population in Manchester have degree level qualifications in contrast to the average of 33% across other Core Cities, although schools under-perform slightly when compared to the national average.
Manchester has the largest UK office market outside London according to GVA Grimley with a quarterly average office uptake of approximately 230,000 square ft – more than the quarterly office uptake of Leeds, Liverpool and Newcastlecombined and nearly 80,000 square feet more than the nearest rival Birmingham. The strong office market in Manchester has been partly attributed to 'Northshoring', (from offshoring) which entails the relocation or alternative creation of jobs away from the overheated South to areas where office space is possibly cheaper and workforce market may not be as saturated
Manchester's buildings display a variety of architectural styles, ranging from Victorian to contemporary architecture. The widespread use of red brick characterises the city. Much of the architecture in the city harks back to its days as a global centre for the cotton trade. Just outside the immediate city centre is a large number of former cotton mills, some of which have been left virtually untouched since their closure while many have been redeveloped into apartment buildings and office space. Manchester Town Hall, in Albert Square, was built in the Gothic revival style and is considered to be one of the most important Victorian buildings in England.
Two large squares hold many of Manchester's public monuments. Albert Square has monuments to Prince Albert, Bishop James Fraser, Oliver Heywood, William Ewart Gladstone,and John Bright. Piccadilly Gardens has monuments dedicated toQueen Victoria, Robert Peel, James Watt and the Duke of Wellington. The cenotaph in St Peter's Square, by Edwin Lutyens, is Manchester's main memorial to its war dead. The Alan Turing Memorial in Sackville Park commemorates his role as the father of modern computing. A larger-than-life statue of Abraham Lincoln by George Gray Barnard in the eponymous Lincoln Square (having stood for many years in Platt Fields) was presented to the city by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Phelps Taft of Cincinnati, Ohio, to mark the part that Lancashire played in the cotton famine and American Civil War of 1861–1865. A Concorde is on display near Manchester Airport.
In the south of the city, the Whitworth Art Gallery displays modern art, sculpture and textiles. Other exhibition spaces and museums in Manchester include the Cornerhouse, the Urbis centre, the Manchester Costume Gallery at Platt Fields Park, the People's History Museum and the Manchester Jewish Museum.
The works of Stretford-born painter L. S. Lowry, known for his "matchstick" paintings of industrial Manchester and Salford, can be seen in both the city and Whitworth Manchester galleries, and at the Lowry art centre in Salford Quays (in the neighbouring borough of Salford) devotes a large permanent exhibition to his works.
There are three universities in the City of Manchester. The University of Manchester is the largest full-time non-collegiate university in the United Kingdom and was created in 2004 by the merger of Victoria University of Manchester and UMIST. It includes the Manchester Business School, which offered the first MBA course in the UK in 1965. Manchester Metropolitan University was formed as Manchester Polytechnic on the merger of three colleges in 1970. It gained university status in 1992, and in the same year absorbed Crewe and Alsager College of Higher Education in South Cheshire. The University of Law has a campus in the city. It is the largest provider of vocational legal training in Europe.
The University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and the Royal Northern College of Music are grouped around Oxford Road on the southern side of the city centre, which forms Europe's largest urban higher education precinct. Together they have a combined population of 73 160 students in higher education, though almost 6 000 of these were based at Manchester Metropolitan University's campuses at Crewe and Alsager in Cheshire.
One of Manchester's most notable secondary schools is the Manchester Grammar School. Established in 1515, as a free grammar school next to what is now the Cathedral, it moved in 1931 to Old Hall Lane in Fallowfield, south Manchester, to accommodate the growing student body. In the post-war period, it was a direct grant grammar school (i.e. partially state funded), but it reverted to independent status in 1976 after abolition of the direct-grant system. Its previous premises are now used by Chetham's School of Music. There are three schools nearby: William Hulme's Grammar School, Withington Girls' School and Manchester High School for Girls.
In 2010, the Manchester Local Education Authority was ranked last out of Greater Manchester's ten LEAs – and 147th out of 150 in the country LEAs – based on the percentage of pupils attaining at least five A* grades at General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) including maths and English (38.6 per cent compared with the national average of 50.7 per cent). The LEA also had the highest occurrence of absences, with 11.11 per cent of "half-day sessions missed by pupils", above the national average of 5.8 per cent. Of the schools in the LEA with 30 or more pupils, four had 90 per cent or more pupils achieving at least five A*–C grades at GCSE including maths and English (Manchester High School for Girls, St Bede's College, Manchester Islamic High School for Girls, and The King David High School) while three managed 25 per cent or below (Plant Hill Arts College, North Manchester High School for Boys, Brookway High School and Sports College).