10 Bewildering Facts You Didn't Know About Manchester
Aside from the eternally quoted fact that it is the wettest region in England (a fallacy, in fact), there are plenty of other things that Mancunians, born, bred or adopted, can be proud of. No matter how well you think you know your home county, we bet we’ve found a fact or two to surprise you.
So, take a seat, grab some refreshment and mentally wander through our list of 10 bewildering facts you didn’t know about Manchester:
1. Postal Vote
It took more than 2 decades for the Royal Mail to add Greater Manchester as a postal county. After being formed in 1974, many Mancunians still had to use Cheshire or Lancashire in their addresses until the county was officially recognised by the mailman in 1996 - just in time for home delivery to take off!
2. Playing Mummies
At the risk of offending all fathers out there, Manchester is the only place in the world where you can gain a qualification in “Mummy Studies”. While the Biomedical Egyptology course won’t teach you how to raise children (nagging optional), The University of Manchester’s Mummy Tissue Bank will help students to learn about ancient civilisations from their mummified remains.
3. We’re Bus-ted
Greater Manchester has a phenomenal 12,000 bus stops - that’s an average of 25 for each square mile in the county. So, whether you’re looking for buses in Manchester City Centre or further afield, you’ll never have to go far to find one, especially when Europe’s busiest bus route lies within the city’s bounds along Wilmslow Road and Oxford Road.
4. Roaming Romans
Many cities and towns in the UK have Roman names, mostly based on physical features of the location. Manchester started life as a wooden fort built to guard the road between premier Roman cities Chester (Deva) and York (Eboracum) in the Castlefield area of the city somewhere around 79AD. Its Roman name? Mamucium meaning “breast-shaped hill”.
5. A City In Training
The world’s first passenger railway station was built on Liverpool Road, Castlefield in 1830 to cope with travellers on the newly constructed Liverpool & Manchester Railway. As the first purpose-built passenger railway to provide timetabled services hauled by steam locomotives to standard and first class travellers, the passenger terminal was an afterthought but did include a handy sundial over the First Class entrance!
6. Pudding It About
The European monks who introduced Black Pudding to the UK first arrived in Yorkshire before crossing eastwards over the Pennines. Here ‘bloodwurst’ became black pudding, making Bury its home. The grains of barley, included in the recipe provide benefits for blood, circulation and cancer prevention, making black pudding a veritable superfood.
7. Chetham Chatting
As the oldest free public library in the UK, Chetham has attracted many a notable person in its time. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, for example often met in Chetham’s library during Marx’s visit to Manchester in the summer of 1845. In a window seat they whiled away the hours, discussing their work on The Communist Manifesto.
8. The Home of Vegetarianism
Over 200 years ago, Rev. William Cowherd (how inappropriate!) began to preach the virtues of a meat-free diet at the tiny Beefsteak Chapel (we kid you not) in Salford. Although the benefits of a vegetarian diet were largely unknown at the time and many believed that abstaining from meat would be catastrophic, these Cowherdites went on to form the basis of the Vegetarian Society in 1847.
Mancunians are a cultured bunch! Per head of population, the county of Greater Manchester has the highest number of theatre seats outside of London. The Palace, Royal Exchange, Opera House, Contact and Lowry theatres are but a few of the venues where we can catch anything from a literary great to a playful panto...oh, no we can’t...oh, yes we can!
10. Simply The Best
It’s hardly surprising that with all of this going on, Manchester is officially THE best UK city to live in. Ranked 43 in the world, it beats London by a good 10 places on criteria such as healthcare, education, stability, culture, environment and infrastructure.
So as you go about your daily routine, on foot, by car, by train or by bus in Manchester, keep a smile on your face, confident in the knowledge that you’re in one of the finest areas to live, work and play.
If you want to enjoy all that Greater Manchester has to offer, why not get a System One Travelcard? You’ll be entitled to unlimited travel on buses, trains or trams for a day, weekend, week, month or even a whole year, giving you time to spot some more of Manchester’s surprises.