Oh Manchester Is Wonderful…

A recent poll from Foursquare has named Manchester as the rudest city in the world.

Mancunians are forthright, innovative and naturally rebellious and Manchester historically has an independent spirit. The Manchester Ship Canal was constructed due to the Liverpool Dock trust imposing crippling levies on Manchester’s export trade. With a defiance that is characteristic of Mancunians, the city mayor, Sir Bosdin Leech, decided to commission Daniel Adamson, an engineer, to build the Ship Canal. This resulted in Manchester being able to ship their own exports and take Liverpool out of the equation.

Mode Wheel Lock, Manchester Ship Canal

What we now know as the premier liberal newspaper in the UK, The Guardian, was founded in Manchester  by John Edward Taylor in 1821. Until 1959, the vehicle was universally known as The Manchester Guardian. The paper was a dissenting voice in a media that was considered free but in practice, was complicit to the wishes of the authorities.

The first Trade Union Congress was held in Manchester in 1862 at The Mechanics Institute. The TUC gave access to education, culture and protection from exploitation that had previously been denied to proletarians.  Emmeline Pankhurst (nee Goulden) was born in Moss Side in 1858. In 1889, Mrs Pankhurst founded the Women’s Franchise League and revolutionised the patriachal society that she lived in. Mrs Pankhurst was instrumental in the succesful campaign of women getting the right to vote which commenced in earnest in 1903 with the formation of the Women’s Social and Political Union (colloquially known as the suffragettes)

Manchester has historically been a hotbed of football. Players of Manchester United football club were instrumental in the first ever players dispute with The FA in 1909 which eventually resulted in the formation of the PFA. This was in protest of the serf like working conditions that footballers in general were expected to happily live with. Nearly fifty years later, Manchester United gained international recognition by being the first English club to participate in European football in 1956, in defiance of the wishes of the Football League. Chelsea (as League champions) were invited to take part in 1955 but as is the way with London,  they did what they were told with full compliance. Ultimately, Mancunians as a collective are not rude, just honest, straight talking and down to earth. The last word on Manchester, it’s identity and it’s people I will leave to a Parisian, Eric Cantona whom in 1996 said

“I feel close to the rebelliousness and vigour of the youth here. Perhaps time will separate us, but nobody can deny that here, behind the windows of Manchester, there is an insane love of football, of celebration and of music”

Manchester Ship Canal photograph copyright of Martin Clark and used courtesy of Creative Commons licence 

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6 thoughts on “Oh Manchester Is Wonderful…”

  1. Nice article. Whenever I’m home I like to go for a wander around the People’s History Museum and remind myself of Manchester’s socialist brilliance. Yes, Mancunians can be rude, but sometimes only on the surface… It’s a tough old world and people from Manchester have become tough to survive it. I know that’s a cliche but it’s true. Newcomers to Manchester may receive a less than effusive welcome at first, but if they stick around they’ll become part of a warm community which looks after its own. I live in Spain at the moment, where the opposite is true: everyone’s huggy-kissy on the surface but truly nobody gives a shit about me. When the chips are down, people in Manchester stick together. But yes, on the flip side, aggression and distrust are also part of our characteristics. Manchester people are subject to the same old stereotypes; I have heard so many opinions on Manchester from people who’ve never even been there. It’s changed a lot in the last ten years, and looks set to keep changing. I have a love-hate relationship with this change; there are brilliant things going on in town now, but I have only limited tolerance for the bearded hipsters of the Northern Quarter for example. Isn’t that such a Mancunian attitude? Thinking I’m cooler than cool? Well I am, and we are. Carry on.

  2. A highly informative piece, which helps to explain Manchester and Mancunian’s rebellious spirit. I did not realise Eric Cantona was so articulate! Moving to Manchester some eighteen months ago I have grown to love Manchester and it’s population- never have i lived anywhere as welcoming and with people who freely express their opinions, regardless of what others may think. An excellent article to rebuff a ridiulous poll!

  3. As a foreigner who has been to manchester more times than anywhere else (apart from my hometown Dublin), I’d completely disagree with any suggestion that Mancunians are rude. Having visited London a lot of times as well, something I often comment on is how i think the people are much friendlier up North. For me Manchester has a vibe like nowhere else, it’s a much more pleasant and less hectic place to be in compared to London and other big cities. It’s more diverse than Dublin and the people, in my experience are great and make the city what it is. I tend to meet a lot of like-minded people, but maybe I’m just rude too. I know a few Irish who have moved there and never come back, it’s the only place I’ve been in the world outside of Dublin where I could see myself happily living.

  4. I wouldn’t say Mancunians are rude in the slightest. When I moved to Manchester last year I found them so helpful when I was wandering around aimlessly looking for places. They are perhaps direct and honest but some people aren’t on for that type of personality. Also, to me, rudeness usually comes from someone having a bad day, immaturity or someone who perhaps isn’t happy in their own life so you can’t generalise a place as being ‘the rudest’. Everywhere has ‘rude’ people.

  5. Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinion but for me I wholeheartedly disagree that Mancunians are very rude. I may not know a whole lot about the history of Manchester as I’m not originally from there but as an outsider looking in – there is one thing I do know and that is that the people of Manchester who I have met whilst on my travels there have always been welcoming, friendly, helpful and warm.

    I too was born and raised in Dublin, at times city life here can be quite hectic and rushed but in comparison to Manchester, Manchester for me has always been on a calmer and less hectic pace – which for me is a big plus! The excitement and buzz I get when returning to Manchester never fades for me. Every trip is different, no trip is ever the same.

    There is always something to do in Manchester, the city is full of gems & hidden treasures tucked down alley ways and around street corners, Incredible pubs with great atmospheres, buzzing market stalls, stocked up Record Stores, fantastic venues – I could go on forever really! My boyfriend & I try get over to Manchester as often as we possibly can, it’s our home away from home and we have gained some great friends over there who always keep us in the loop of whats happening in the city upon our arrival and they always go out of their way to introduce us to new places, yummy ales & lovely new people.

    I can’t get my head around the fact that Manchester was ranked as the rudest city in the world… for me, it’s so far beyond the truth.

    Manchester is electric,
    Manchester is exciting,
    Manchester is always where I want to be…
    and as for the people of Manchester, they help make it the wonderful place it is!

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