Manchester

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Posted by sonny 04/01/2009 @ 00:15

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News headlines
Richard Jolly: Manchester United reclaim the Comeback Kings' crown ... - ESPN
By Richard Jolly Long before Liverpool emerged as the principal claimants to Manchester United's Premier League crown, they seemed to have taken one of the unofficial titles that resided at Old Trafford. When autumn recoveries occurred almost on a...
Charities join forces to save women - BBC News
Following the murder, several domestic violence agencies have come together to create Manchester Women's Aid. Yvonne Hypolite, chair of the charity's board, said: "It is absolutely tragic what happened to this lady, especially so soon after she sought...
Rafa rues star duo's absences - SkySports
The second-placed Reds remain in the hunt, but fierce rivals Manchester United moved to within one point of a third successive top-flight title on Wednesday night as they came from behind to win 2-1 at Wigan. Liverpool's bid to prevent United equalling...
Manchester Boss Ferguson Will Not Alter Approach To Arsenal Tie - Goal.com
Manchester United are just one title shy from equaling north west neighbors Liverpool's total haul of 18. The league leaders have a chance to equal the record on Saturday, when just a solitary point will ensure that they will be mathematically...
Marlon Devonish Spoiling to Beat Usain Bolt in Manchester 150m ... - Buzzle
Marlon Devonish believes he has his best chance yet of putting one over on the triple world record holder Usain Bolt in the Great City Games 150m sprint in Manchester on Sunday. The Coventry-born Olympic sprint relay gold medallist, who produced his...
Stephen Ireland set to agree Manchester City deal - Telegraph.co.uk
Stephen Ireland, the Manchester City midfielder, looks set to agree a new four-year deal at Eastlands, worth around £75000 per week. Ireland has scored 13 goals this season and has been an influential part of Mark Hughes's side, often overshadowing...
Bruce hails Latics spirit - SkySports
Steve Bruce felt his Wigan side were slightly unfortunate to come away from their game with Manchester United empty-handed. The Latics came agonisingly close to taking at least a point from their meeting with the reigning Premier League champions on...
Visual Science Reconstructing the Master Molecules of Life - New York Times
Chemists at the University of Manchester, led by John D. Sutherland, have now provided a way around. The diagram above shows, in blue, the reaction that doesn't work and, in green, the new work-around. Both reactions start off with simple chemicals...
Perez vows to take Real Madrid back to the top - ESPN
When asked about Manchester United winger Ronaldo at a press conference at the Ritz Hotel in Madrid, Perez would only commit himself to saying: ''Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best players in the world.'' As for AC Milan midfielder Kaka,...
Citigroup Eliminated From Bidding for Gatwick Airport - Bloomberg
Global Infrastructure Partners, the owner of London City airport, and a team including Manchester airport are the other contenders, people close to the sale have said. Neither GIP nor Manchester would comment when contacted by Bloomberg....

Manchester

Manchester skyline from the River Irwell

Manchester (pronounced /ˈmænˌtʃɪstə/ (UK) /ˈmænˌtʃɛstər/ (US)) is a city and metropolitan borough of Greater Manchester, England. Manchester was granted city status in 1853. In 2007, the population of the Manchester local government district was estimated to be 458,100, while the surrounding Metropolitan County of Greater Manchester had an estimated population of 2,562,200. Manchester itself lies at the centre of the wider Greater Manchester Urban Area, which at the 2001 census was shown to have a population of 2,240,230 (of which 394,269 lived within the Manchester subdivision), and it was the United Kingdom's third-largest conurbation at that census. Manchester is part of the second-most-populous Larger Urban Zone (LUZ) in the UK with an estimated population in the 2004 Urban Audit of 2,539,100 and is the fourteenth-most populated in Europe.

Forming part of the English Core Cities Group, nicknamed 'Second City' and 'Capital of the North', 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 Manchester Partnership, 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. Manchester was the host of the 2002 Commonwealth Games, and among its other sporting connections are its two Premier League football teams, Manchester City and Manchester United.

Historically, most of the city was a part of Lancashire, with areas south of the River Mersey being in Cheshire. Manchester was the world's first industrialised city and played a central role during the Industrial Revolution. It was the dominant international centre of textile manufacture and cotton spinning. During the 19th century it acquired the nickname Cottonopolis, suggesting it was a metropolis of cotton mills. Manchester city centre is now on a tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, mainly due to the network of canals and mills constructed during its 19th-century development.

The name Manchester originates from the Ancient Roman name Mamucium, the name of the Roman fort and settlement, generally thought to be a Latinisation of an original Celtic name (possibly meaning "breast-like hill" from mamm- = "breast"), plus Old English ceaster = "town", which is derived from Latin castra = "camp". An alternative theory suggests that the origin is British Celtic mamma = "mother", where the "mother" was a river-goddess of the River Medlock which flows below the fort. Mam means "female breast" in Irish Gaelic and "mother" in Welsh.

The Brigantes were the major Celtic tribe of 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 Roman fort in the year 79 named Mamucium to ensure Roman interests with 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; the vicus, or 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 centuries. By the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066 the focus of settlement had shifted to the confluence of the rivers Irwell and Irk. Much of the wider area was laid waste in the subsequent Harrying of the North.

Thomas de la Warre, lord of the manor, founded and constructed a collegiate church for the parish in 1421. The church is now Manchester Cathedral; the domestic premises of the college currently house Chetham's School of Music and Chetham's Library. Manchester is mentioned as having a market in 1282.

Around the 14th century, Manchester received an influx of Flemish weavers, sometimes credited as the foundation of the region's textile industry. Manchester became an important centre for the manufacture and trade of woollens and linen, and by about 1540, had expanded to become, in John Leland's words, "The fairest, best builded, quickest, and most populous town of all Lancashire." The cathedral and Chetham's buildings are the only significant survivors of Leland's Manchester.

During the English Civil War, Manchester strongly favoured the Parliamentary interest. Although not long lasting, Cromwell granted it the right to elect its own MP. Charles Worsley, who sat for the city for only a year, was later appointed Major General for Lancashire, Cheshire and Staffordshire during the Rule of the Major Generals. He was a diligent puritan, turning out ale houses and banning the celebration of Christmas; he died in 1656.

Significant quantities of cotton began to be used after about 1600, firstly in linen/cotton fustians, but by around 1750 pure cotton fabrics were being produced and cotton had overtaken wool in importance. The Irwell and Mersey were made navigable by 1736, opening a route from Manchester to the sea docks on the Mersey. The Bridgewater Canal, Britain's first wholly artificial waterway, was opened in 1761, bringing coal from mines at Worsley to central Manchester. The canal was extended to the Mersey at Runcorn by 1776. The combination of competition and improved efficiency halved the cost of coal and halved the transport cost of raw cotton. Manchester became the dominant marketplace for textiles produced in the surrounding towns. A commodities exchange, opened in 1729, and numerous large warehouses, aided commerce.

In 1780, Richard Arkwright began construction of Manchester's first cotton mill.

Much of Manchester's history is concerned with textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution. The great majority of cotton spinning took place in the towns of south Lancashire and north Cheshire, and Manchester was for a time the most productive centre of cotton processing, and later the world's largest marketplace for cotton goods. Manchester was dubbed "Cottonopolis" and "Warehouse City" during the Victorian era. In Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, the term "manchester" is used for household linen : sheets, pillow cases, towels, etc.

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 the Industrial Revolution. It developed a wide range of industries, so that by 1835 "Manchester was without challenge the first and greatest industrial city in the world." Engineering firms initially made machines for the cotton trade, but diversified into general manufacture. Similarly, the chemical industry started by producing bleaches and dyes, but expanded into other areas. Commerce was supported by financial service industries such as banking and insurance. Trade, and feeding the growing population, required a large transport and distribution infrastructure: the canal system was extended, and Manchester became one end of the world's first intercity passenger railway—the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. Competition between the various forms of transport kept costs down. In 1878 the GPO (the forerunner of British Telecom) provided its first telephones to a firm in Manchester.

The Manchester Ship Canal was created by canalisation of the Rivers Irwell and Mersey for 36 miles (58 km) from Salford to the Mersey estuary. This enabled ocean going ships to sail right into the Port of Manchester. On the canal's banks, just outside the borough, the world's first industrial estate was created at Trafford Park. Large quantities of machinery, including cotton processing plant, were exported around the world.

A centre of capitalism, Manchester was frequented by bread and labour riots, as well as calls for greater political recognition by the city's working and non-titled classes. The most famous example ended in the Peterloo Massacre on 16 August 1819. Manchester was the subject of Friedrich Engels' The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844; Engels himself spent much of his life in and around Manchester. The first Trades Union Congress was held in Manchester (at the Mechanics' Institute, David Street), from 2 to 6 June 1868. Manchester was also an important cradle of the Labour Party and the Suffragette Movement.

At that time, it seemed a place in which anything could happen—new industrial processes, new ways of thinking (the Manchester School, promoting free trade and laissez-faire), new classes or groups in society, new religious sects, and new forms of labour organisation. It attracted educated visitors from all parts of Britain and Europe. A saying capturing this sense of innovation survives today: "What Manchester does today, the rest of the world does tomorrow." Manchester's golden age was perhaps the last quarter of the 19th century. Many of the great public buildings (including the town hall) date from then. The city's cosmopolitan atmosphere contributed to a vibrant culture, which included the Hallé Orchestra. In 1889, when county councils were created in England, the municipal borough became a county borough with even greater autonomy.

Although the Industrial Revolution brought wealth to the city, it also brought poverty and squalor to a large part of the population. Historian Simon Schama noted that "Manchester was the very best and the very worst taken to terrifying extremes, a new kind of city in the world; the chimneys of industrial suburbs greeting you with columns of smoke". An American visitor taken to Manchester’s blackspots saw “wretched, defrauded, oppressed, crushed human nature, lying and bleeding fragments”.

The number of cotton mills in Manchester itself reached a peak of 108 in 1853. Thereafter the number began to decline and Manchester was surpassed as the largest centre of cotton spinning by Bolton in the 1850s and Oldham in the 1860s. However, this period of decline coincided with the rise of city as the financial centre of the region. Manchester continued to process cotton, and in 1913, 65% of the world's cotton was processed in the area. The First World War interrupted access to the export markets. Cotton processing in other parts of the world increased, often on machines produced in Manchester. Manchester suffered greatly from the Great Depression and the underlying structural changes that began to supplant the old industries, including textile manufacture.

Like most of the UK, the Manchester area mobilised extensively during World War II. For example, casting and machining expertise at Beyer, Peacock and Company's locomotive works in Gorton was switched to bomb making; Dunlop's rubber works in Chorlton-on-Medlock made barrage balloons; and just outside the city in Trafford Park, engineers Metropolitan-Vickers made Avro Manchester and Avro Lancaster bombers and Ford built the Rolls-Royce Merlin engines to power them. Manchester was thus the target of bombing by the Luftwaffe, and by late 1940 air raids were taking place against non-military targets. The biggest took place during the "Christmas Blitz" on the nights of 22/23 and 23/24 December 1940, when an estimated 467 tons (475 tonnes) of high explosives plus over 37,000 incendiary bombs were dropped. A large part of the historic city centre was destroyed, including 165 warehouses, 200 business premises, and 150 offices. 376 were killed and 30,000 houses were damaged. Manchester Cathedral was among the buildings seriously damaged; its restoration took 20 years.

Cotton processing and trading continued to fall in peacetime, and the exchange closed in 1968. By 1963 the port of Manchester was the UK's third largest, and employed over 3,000 men, but the canal was unable to handle the increasingly large container ships. Traffic declined, and the port closed in 1982. Heavy industry suffered a downturn from the 1960s and was greatly reduced during the economic reforms associated with Margaret Thatcher's government (i.e. 1979 onwards). Manchester lost 150,000 jobs in manufacturing between 1961 and 1983.

Regeneration began in the late 1980s, with initiatives such as the Metrolink, the Bridgewater Concert Hall, the Manchester Evening News Arena, and (in Salford) the rebranding of the port as Salford Quays. Two bids to host the Olympic Games were part of a process to raise the international profile of the city.

Manchester has a history of attacks attributed to Irish Republicans, including the Manchester Martyrs of 1867, arson in 1920, a series of explosions in 1939, and two bombs in 1992. On Saturday 15 June 1996, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) detonated a large bomb next to a department store in the city centre. The largest to be detonated on British soil, the bomb injured over 200 people, heavily damaged nearby buildings, and broke windows half a mile away. The cost of the immediate damage was initially estimated at £50 million, but this was quickly revised upwards. The final insurance payout was over £400 million; many affected businesses never recovered from the loss of trade.

Spurred by the investment after the 1996 bomb, and aided by the XVII Commonwealth Games, Manchester's city centre has undergone extensive regeneration. New and renovated complexes such as The Printworks and the Triangle have become popular shopping and entertainment destinations. The Manchester Arndale is the UK's largest city centre shopping mall.

Manchester has recently been regarded by sections of the international press, British public, and government ministers as being the second city of the United Kingdom. A 2007 poll by the BBC placed it ahead of Birmingham and Liverpool in the category of second city of England, but also ahead in the category of third city. Neither category is officially sanctioned, and criteria for determining what 'second city' means are ill-defined. Manchester is not the second largest city in size or population, but it is argued that cultural and historical criteria are more important. The BBC reports that redevelopment of recent years has heightened claims that Manchester is the second city of the UK. This title however, which is unofficial in the UK, has traditionally been held by Birmingham since the early 20th century.

Manchester is represented by three tiers of government, Manchester City Council ("local"), UK Parliament ("national"), and European Parliament ("Europe"). Greater Manchester County Council administration was abolished in 1986, and so the city council is effectively a unitary authority. Since its inception in 1995, Manchester has been a member of the English Core Cities Group, which, among other things, serves to promote the social, cultural and economic status of the city at an international level.

The town of Manchester was granted a charter by Thomas Grelley in 1301 but lost its borough status in a court case of 1359. Until the 19th century, local government was largely provided by manorial courts, the last of which ended in 1846. From a very early time, the township of Manchester lay within the historic county boundaries of Lancashire. Pevsner wrote "That Stretford and Salford are not administratively one with Manchester is one of the most curious anomalies of England". A stroke of a Norman baron's pen is said to have divorced Manchester and Salford, though it was not Salford that became separated from Manchester, it was Manchester, with its humbler line of lords, that was separated from Salford. It was this separation that resulted in Salford becoming the judicial seat of Salfordshire, which included the ancient parish of Manchester. Manchester later formed its own Poor Law Union by the name of Manchester. In 1792, commissioners—usually known as police commissioners—were established for the social improvement of Manchester. In 1838, Manchester regained its borough status, and comprised the townships of Beswick, Cheetham Hill, Chorlton upon Medlock and Hulme. By 1846 the borough council had taken over the powers of the police commissioners. In 1853 Manchester was granted city status in the United Kingdom.

In 1885, Bradford, Harpurhey, Rusholme and parts of Moss Side and Withington townships became part of the City of Manchester. In 1889, the city became the county borough of Manchester, separate from the administrative county of Lancashire, and thus not governed by Lancashire County Council. Between 1890 and 1933, more areas were added to the city from Lancashire, including former villages such as Burnage, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Didsbury, Fallowfield, Levenshulme, Longsight, and Withington. In 1931 the Cheshire civil parishes of Baguley, Northenden and Northern Etchells from the south of the River Mersey were added. In 1974, by way of the Local Government Act 1972, the City of Manchester became a metropolitan district of the metropolitan county of Greater Manchester. That year, Ringway, the town where Manchester Airport is located, was added to the city.

At 53°28′0″N 2°14′0″W / 53.46667°N 2.23333°W / 53.46667; -2.23333, 160 miles (257 km) northwest of London, Manchester lies in a bowl-shaped land area bordered to the north and east by the Pennine hills, a mountain chain that runs the length of Northern England and to the south by the Cheshire Plain. The city centre is on the east bank of the River Irwell, near its confluences with the Rivers Medlock and Irk, and is relatively low-lying, being between 115 to 138 feet (35 and 42 m) above sea level. The River Mersey flows through the south of Manchester. Much of the inner city, especially in the south, is flat, offering extensive views from many highrise buildings in the city of the foothills and moors of the Pennines, which can often be capped with snow in the winter months. Manchester's geographic features were highly influential in its early development as the world's first industrial city. These features are its climate, its proximity to a seaport at Liverpool, the availability of water power from its rivers, and its nearby coal reserves.

The name Manchester, though officially applied only to the metropolitan district of Greater Manchester, has been applied to other, wider divisions of land, particularly across much of the Greater Manchester county and urban area. The "Manchester City Zone", "Manchester post town" and the "Manchester Congestion Charge" are all examples of this. The economic geography of the Manchester City Region is used to define housing markets, business linkages, travel to work patterns, administrative areas etc. As defined by The Northern Way economic development agency the City Region territory encompasses most of the natural economy’s Travel to Work Area and includes the cities of Manchester and Salford, plus the adjoining metropolitan boroughs of Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale and Wigan, together with High Peak (which lies outside the North West England region), Congleton, Macclesfield, Vale Royal and Warrington.

For purposes of the Office for National Statistics, Manchester forms the most populous settlement within the Greater Manchester Urban Area, the United Kingdom's third largest conurbation. There is a mixture of high-density urban and suburban locations in Manchester. The largest open space in the city, at around 618 acres (3 km2), is Heaton Park. Manchester is contiguous on all sides with several large settlements, except for a small section along its southern boundary with Cheshire. The M60 and M56 motorways pass through the south of Manchester, through Northenden and Wythenshawe respectively. Heavy rail lines enter the city from all directions, the principal destination being Manchester Piccadilly station.

Manchester experiences a temperate maritime climate, like much of the British Isles, with relatively cool summers and mild winters. There is regular but generally light precipitation throughout the year. The city'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 per annum, compared to the UK average of 154.4. Manchester however has a relatively high humidity level, which optimised the textile manufacturing (with low thread breakage) which took place there. Snowfall is not a common sight in the city, due to the urban warming effect. However, the Pennine and Rossendale Forest hills that surround the city to its east and north receive more snow and roads leading out of the city can be closed due to snow, notably the A62 road via Oldham and Standedge, the A57 (Snake Pass) towards Sheffield, and the M62 over Saddleworth Moor.

The United Kingdom Census 2001 showed a total resident population for Manchester of 392,819, a 9.2% decline from the 1991 census. Approximately 83,000 were aged under 16, 285,000 were aged 16–74, and 25,000 aged 75 and over. 75.9% of Manchester's population claim they have been born in the UK, according to the 2001 UK Census. Inhabitants of Manchester are known as Mancunians or Mancs for short. Manchester reported the second-lowest proportion of the population in employment of any area in the UK. A primary reason cited for Manchester's high unemployment figure is the high proportion of the population who are students. A 2007 report noted "60 per cent of Manchester people are living in some of the UK's most deprived areas". Mid-year estimates for 2006 indicate that the population of the metropolitan borough of Manchester stood at 452,000 making Manchester the most populous city in North West England. Historically the population of Manchester only began to rapidly increase during the Victorian era and peaked at 766,311 in 1931. After the peak the population began to decrease rapidly, reasons cited for this are slum clearance and the increased building of social housing overspill estates by Manchester City Council after WWII such as Hattersley and Langley.

The inhabitants of Manchester, like in many other large cities, are religiously diverse. The Jewish population is second only to London in the UK, and it also has one of the largest Muslim populations in Greater Manchester. Manchester's Palace Hotel hosted the 2007 Lloyds TSB's Northern Jewel Awards, where leaders of the Asian community in the north of the UK were recognised.

The percentage of the population in Manchester who reported themselves as living in the same household in a same-sex relationship was 0.44%, compared to the English national average of 0.20%.

In terms of districts by ethnic diversity, the City of Manchester is ranked highest in Greater Manchester and 34th in England. 2005 estimates state 77.6% people as 'White' (71.0% of residents as White British, 3.0% White Irish, 3.6% as Other White – although those of mixed white European and British ancestry is unknown, there are over 25,000 Mancunians of Italian descent alone which represents 5.5% of the city's population). 3.2% as Mixed race (1.3% Mixed White and Black Caribbean, 0.6% Mixed White and Black African, 0.7% Mixed White and Asian, 0.7% Other Mixed). 10.3% of the city's population are South Asian (2.3% Indian, 5.8% Pakistani, 1.0% Bangladeshi, 1.2% Other South Asian). 5.2% are Black (2.0% Black Caribbean, 2.7% Black African and 0.5% Other Black). 2.3% of the city's population are Chinese, and 1.4% are another ethnic group. Kidd identifies Moss Side, Longsight, Cheetham Hill, Rusholme, as centres of population for ethnic minorities. Manchester's Irish Festival, including a St Patrick's Day parade, is one of Europe's largest. There is also a well-established Chinatown in the city with a substantial number of oriental restaurants and Chinese supermarkets. The area also attracts large numbers of Chinese students to the city, attending the two universities.

Based on the population estimates for 2005, crime levels in the city are considerably higher than the national average. Some parts of Manchester have been adversely affected by its recent rapid urbanisation, resulting in high levels of crime in areas such as Moss Side and Wythenshawe. The number of theft from a vehicle offences and theft of a vehicle per 1,000 of the population was 25.5 and 8.9 compared to the English national average of 7.6 and 2.9 respectively. The number of sexual offences was 1.9 compared to the average of 0.9. The national average of violence against another person was 16.7 compared to the Manchester average of 32.7. The figures for crime statistics were all recorded during the 2006/7 financial year.

The Manchester Larger Urban Zone, a Eurostat measure of the functional city-region approximated to local government districts, has a population of 2,539,100 in 2004. In addition to Manchester itself, the LUZ includes the remainder of the county of Greater Manchester. The Manchester LUZ is the second largest within the United Kingdom, behind that of London.

Manchester was at the forefront of the 19th-century Industrial Revolution, and was a leading centre for manufacturing. The city's economy is now largely service-based and, as of 2007, is the fastest growing in the UK, with inward investment second only to the capital. Manchester’s State of the City Report identifies financial and professional services, life science industries, creative, cultural and media, manufacturing and communications as major activities. The city was ranked in 2007 and 2008 as the second-best place to do business in the UK, and in 2008 as the fourteenth best city in Europe.

Manchester has the largest UK office market outside London. Greater Manchester represents over £42 billion of the UK GVA, the third largest of any English county and more than Wales or North East England.

Manchester is a focus for businesses which serve local, regional and international markets. It is one of the largest financial centres in Europe with more than 15,000 people employed in banking and finance and more than 60 banking institutions. The Co-operative Group, the world's largest consumer-owned business, is based in Manchester and is one of the city's biggest employers. Legal, accounting, management consultancy and other professional and technical services exist in Manchester.

Manchester's Central Business District is in the centre of the city, adjacent to Piccadilly, focused on Mosley Street, Deansgate, King Street and Piccadilly. Spinningfields is a £1.5 billion mixed-use development that is expanding the district west of Deansgate. The area is designed to hold office space, retail and catering facilities, and courts. Several high-profile tenants have moved in, and a Civil Justice Centre opened in October 2007.

Manchester is the commercial, educational and cultural focus for North West England, and is ranked as the fourth biggest retail area in the UK by sales. The city centre retail area contains shops from chain stores up to high-end boutiques such as Vivienne Westwood, Emporio Armani, DKNY, Harvey Nichols, Chanel and Hermès. The city has several shopping malls including the Manchester Arndale, the UK's largest inner city shopping mall.

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. It has been used in film as a replacement location for the Palace of Westminster, in which filming is not permitted. Manchester also has a number of skyscrapers built during the 1960s and 1970s, the tallest of which is the CIS Tower located near Manchester Victoria station. The Beetham Tower, completed in 2006, is an example of the new surge in high-rise building and includes a Hilton hotel, a restaurant, and apartments. On its completion, it was the tallest building in the UK outside London, although an even taller building, the Piccadilly Tower, began construction behind Manchester Piccadilly station in early 2008. The Green Building, opposite Oxford Road station, is a pioneering eco-friendly housing project, almost unique in the UK.

Manchester and North West England are served by Manchester Airport. The airport is the busiest in terms of passenger traffic in the UK outside London, serving 21.06 million passengers in 2008. Airline service exists to many destinations in Europe, North America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East and Asia (with more destinations from Manchester than from London Heathrow). A second runway was opened in 2001 and there have been continued terminal improvements. Passenger figures have been virtually static since 2005.

Manchester is well served by train. In terms of passengers, Manchester Piccadilly was the busiest English train station outside London in 2005 and 2006. Local operator Northern Rail operates all over the north of England, and other national operators include Virgin Trains. The Liverpool and Manchester Railway was the first passenger railway in the world. Greater Manchester has an extensive countywide railway network, and two mainline stations. Manchester city centre is also serviced by over a dozen rail-based park and ride sites. In October 2007, the government announced that a feasibility study had been ordered into increasing the capacity at Piccadilly station and turning Manchester into the rail hub of the north.

Manchester became the first city in the UK to acquire a modern light rail system when the Manchester Metrolink opened in 1992. The present system mostly runs on former commuter rail lines converted for light rail use, and crosses the city centre via on-street tram lines. The 23 mi (37 km)-network consists of three lines with 37 stations (including five on-street tram stops in the centre). An expansion programme is underway.

The city has one of the most extensive bus networks outside London with over 50 bus companies operating in the Greater Manchester region radiating from the city. Prior to the deregulation of 1986, SELNEC and later GMPTE operated all buses in Manchester. The bus system were then taken over by GM Buses which after privatisation was split into GM Buses North and GM Buses South and taken over by First Manchester and Stagecoach Manchester respectively. First Manchester also operates a three route zero-fare bus service called Metroshuttle which carries commuters around Manchester's business districts.

An extensive canal network remains from the Industrial Revolution, nowadays mainly used for leisure. The Manchester Ship Canal is open, but traffic to the upper reaches is light.

Manchester has two symphony orchestras, the Hallé Orchestra and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. There is also a chamber orchestra, the Manchester Camerata. In the 1950s, the city was home to the so-called 'Manchester School' of classical composers, which comprised Harrison Birtwistle, Peter Maxwell Davies, David Ellis and Alexander Goehr. Manchester is a centre for musical education, with the Royal Northern College of Music and Chetham’s School of Music. The main classical venue was the Free Trade Hall on Peter Street, until the opening in 1996 of the 2,500 seat Bridgewater Hall.

Manchester’s main pop music venue is the Manchester Evening News Arena, situated next to Victoria station. It seats over 21,000, is the largest arena of its type in Europe, and has been voted International Venue of the Year. In terms of concert goers, it is the busiest indoor arena in the world ahead of Madison Square Garden in New York and the O2 Arena in London, the second and third busiest respectively. Other major venues include the Manchester Apollo and the Manchester Academy. Smaller venues are the Bierkeller, the Roadhouse, the Night and Day Cafe and the Ruby Lounge.

Bands that have emerged from the Manchester music scene include The Smiths, the Buzzcocks, The Fall, Joy Division and its successor group New Order, Oasis and Doves. Manchester was credited as the main regional driving force behind indie bands of the 1980s including Happy Mondays, The Charlatans, Inspiral Carpets, James, and The Stone Roses. These groups came from what became known as the "Madchester" scene that also centred around the Fac 51 Haçienda (also known as simply The Haçienda) developed by founder of factory records Tony Wilson. Although from southern England, The Chemical Brothers subsequently formed in Manchester. Ex-Stone Roses' frontman Ian Brown and ex-Smiths Morrissey continue successful solo careers. Other notable Manchester acts include Take That and Simply Red. Greater Manchester natives include A Guy Called Gerald, Richard Ashcroft of The Verve and Jay Kay of Jamiroquai. Older Manchester artists include the 1960s band's The Hollies, Herman's Hermits and the Bee Gees who, while commonly associated with Australia, grew up in Chorlton.

Larger venues include the Manchester Opera House, featuring large-scale touring shows and West End shows; the Palace Theatre; the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester’s former cotton exchange; and the Lowry Centre, a touring venue in Salford. Smaller sites include the Library Theatre, a producing theatre in the basement of the central library; the Green Room; the Contact Theatre; and Studio Salford. The Dancehouse is dedicated to dance productions.

In the 19th century, Manchester featured in works highlighting the changes that industrialisation had brought to Britain. These included Elizabeth Gaskell's novel Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester Life (1848), and The Condition of the English Working Class in 1844, written by Friedrich Engels while living and working in Manchester. Charles Dickens is reputed to have set his novel Hard Times in the city, and while it is partly modelled on Preston, it shows the influence of his friend Elizabeth Gaskell.

The night-time economy of Manchester has expanded significantly since about 1993, with investment from breweries in bars, public houses and clubs, along with active support from the local authorities. The more than 500 licensed premises in the city centre have a capacity to deal with over 250,000 visitors, with 110–130,000 people visiting on a typical weekend night. The night-time economy has a value of about £100 million pa and supports 12,000 jobs.

The Madchester scene of the 1980s, from which groups including The Stone Roses, the Happy Mondays, Inspiral Carpets, 808 State, James and The Charlatans emerged, was based around clubs such as The Haçienda. The period was the subject of the movie 24 Hour Party People. Many of the big clubs suffered problems with organised crime at that time; Haslam describes one where staff were so completely intimidated that free admission and drinks were demanded (and given) and drugs were openly dealt. Following a series of drug-related violent incidents, The Hacienda closed in 1997. Public houses in the Canal Street area have had a gay clientele since at least 1940 and now form the centre of Manchester's gay community. Following the council's investment in infrastructure, the UK's first gay supermarket was opened; since the opening of new bars and clubs the area attracts 20,000 visitors each weekend and has hosted a popular festival each August since 1991. The TV series Queer as Folk is set in the area.

There are two universities in 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 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 two schools nearby: Withington Girls' School and Manchester High School for Girls.

Manchester is well-known for being a city of sport. Two Premiership football clubs bear the city's name, Manchester City and Manchester United. Manchester City's ground is at the City of Manchester Stadium (48,000 capacity); Manchester United's Old Trafford ground, the largest club football ground in the United Kingdom, with a capacity of 76,000, and England's only UEFA-rated five-star stadium, is just outside the city, in the borough of Trafford. Lancashire County Cricket Club's ground is also in Trafford. Premier League champions Manchester United have the widest football club fanbase in the world, while Manchester City is the richest football club in the world, thanks to its wealthy owners.

The City of Manchester Stadium was built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games. After the games, one of the stands was replaced in preparation for Manchester City's arrival in 2003. The stadium holds 48,000 fans all-seated, and is one of the largest football stadiums in England. It has hosted the 2008 UEFA Cup Final. Old Trafford is the only club football ground in England to have hosted the UEFA Champions League Final, in 2003. It is also the venue of the Super League Grand Final in Rugby League.

First class sporting facilities were built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games, including the City of Manchester Stadium, the National Squash Centre and the Manchester Aquatics Centre. Manchester has competed twice to host the Olympic Games, beaten by Atlanta for 1996 and Sydney for 2000. The Manchester Velodrome was built as a part of the bid for the 2000 games. It hosted the UCI Track Cycling World Championships for the third time in 2008. Various sporting arenas around the city will be used as training facilities by athletes preparing for the 2012 Olympics in London. The MEN Arena hosted the FINA World Swimming Championships in 2008. Manchester also hosted the World Squash Championships in 2008.

ITV franchisee Granada Television has its headquarters in Quay Street, in the Castlefield area of the city. Granada produces the world's oldest and most watched television soap opera, Coronation Street, which is screened five times a week on ITV1. Local news and programmes for the north-west region are produced in Manchester.

Manchester is one of the three main BBC bases in England, alongside London and Bristol. Programmes including A Question of Sport, Mastermind, and Real Story, are made at New Broadcasting House on Oxford Road, just south of the city centre. The hit series Cutting It was set in the city's Northern Quarter and ran on BBC1 for five series. Life on Mars was set in 1973 Manchester. Also, The Street, winner of a BAFTA and International Emmy Award in 2007 is set in Manchester. The first edition of Top of the Pops was broadcast from a converted church in Longsight on New Year's Day 1964. Manchester is also the regional base for the BBC One North West Region so programmes like North West Tonight are produced here. The BBC intends to relocate large numbers of staff and facilities from London to Media City at Salford Quays. The Children's (CBBC), Comedy, Sport (BBC Sport) and New Media departments are all scheduled to move before 2010. Manchester has its own television channel, Channel M, owned by the Guardian Media Group and operated since 2000. The station produces almost all content including local news locally and is available nationally on the BSkyB television platform. Television characters from Manchester include Daphne Moon (played by Jane Leeves), of Frasier, Charlie Pace (played by Dominic Monaghan) of Lost, Naomi Dorrit (Lost) and Nessa Holt (Las Vegas), both played by local actress Marsha Thomason.

The city has the highest number of local radio stations outside London including BBC Radio Manchester, Key 103, Galaxy, Piccadilly Magic 1152, 105.4 Century FM, 100.4 Smooth FM, Capital Gold 1458, 96.2 The Revolution and Xfm. Radio Manchester returned to its former title in 2006 after becoming BBC GMR in 1988. Student radio stations include Fuse FM at the University of Manchester and MMU Radio at the Manchester Metropolitan University. A community radio network is coordinated by Radio Regen, with stations covering the South Manchester communities of Ardwick, Longsight and Levenshulme (All FM 96.9) and Wythenshawe (Wythenshawe FM 97.2). Defunct radio stations include Sunset (which became) Kiss 102 (now Galaxy Manchester), and KFM which became Signal Cheshire (now Imagine FM). These stations, as well as pirate radio, played a significant role in the city's House music culture, also known as the Madchester scene, which was based around clubs like The Haçienda which had its own show on Kiss 102. Radio producer and author Karl Pilkington, of The Ricky Gervais Show fame, is from Manchester.

Manchester is also featured in several Hollywood films such as My Son, My Son! (1940), directed by Charles Vidor and starring Brian Aherne and Louis Hayward. Also Grand Hotel (1932), in which Wallace Beery often shouts "Manchester!". Others include Velvet Goldmine starring Ewan McGregor, and Sir Alec Guinness's The Man in the White Suit. More recently, the entire city of Manchester is engulfed in runaway fires in the 2002 film 28 Days Later. The 2004 Japanese animated film, Steamboy was partly set in Manchester, during the times of the industrial revolution. The city is also home to the Manchester International Film Festival and has held the Commonwealth film festival.

The Guardian newspaper was founded in Manchester in 1821 as The Manchester Guardian. Its head office is still in Manchester, though many of its management functions were moved to London in 1964. Its sister publication, the Manchester Evening News, has the largest circulation of a UK regional evening newspaper. It is free in the city centre, but paid for in the suburbs. Despite its title, it is available all day. The Metro North West is available free at Metrolink stops, rail stations and other busy locations. The MEN group distributes several local weekly free papers. For many years most of the national newspapers had offices in Manchester: The Daily Telegraph, Daily Express, Daily Mail, The Daily Mirror, The Sun. Only The Daily Sport remains based in Manchester. At its height, 1,500 journalists were employed, though in the 1980s office closures began and today the "second Fleet Street" is no more. An attempt to launch a Northern daily newspaper, the North West Times, employing journalists made redundant by other titles, closed in 1988. Another attempt was made with the North West Enquirer, which hoped to provide a true "regional" newspaper for the North West, much in the same vein as the Yorkshire Post does for Yorkshire or The Northern Echo does for the North East; it folded in October 2006. There are several local lifestyle magazines, including YQ Magazine and Moving Manchester.

Manchester has formal twinning arrangements (or "friendship agreements") with several places. In addition, the British Council maintains a metropolitan centre in Manchester. Although not an official twin city, Tampere, Finland is known as "the Manchester of Finland" – or "Manse" for short. Similarly, Ahmedabad, India established itself as the centre of a booming textile industry, which earned it the nickname "the Manchester of the East".

Manchester is home to the largest group of consuls in the UK outside London. The expansion of international trade links during the industrial revolution led to the introduction of the first consuls in the 1820s and since then over 800, from all parts of the world, have been based in Manchester. Manchester has remained (in consular terms at least) the second city of the UK for two centuries, and hosts consular services for most of the north of England. The reduction in the amount of local paperwork required for modern international trade is partly offset by the increased number of international travellers. Many pass through Manchester Airport, easily the UK’s biggest and busiest airport outside the London area.

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Manchester Monarchs

Manchester monarchs 200x200.png

The Manchester Monarchs are an ice hockey team in the American Hockey League. They play in Manchester, New Hampshire at the Verizon Wireless Arena. They have been the AHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings since 2001.

The team has been competitive within the division every year of its existence. They won their first Atlantic Division title in 2004–05, but lost in the first round to Providence. This continued the streak of first round playoff exits, which the team had experienced in every year of existence, and would come to include the 2005–06 season.

2006–07 was the team's best season to date. With rookie head coach Mark Morris, leading scorers Matt Moulson and Noah Clarke, and former league MVP Jason LaBarbera in goal, the team had their best finish ever, winning the Atlantic Division title with the second-best points total in the league.

Heading into the playoffs, there was doubts within the team, as star goaltender LaBarbera had ended the season injured. The team faced the Worcester Sharks in the first round. With LaBarbera coming back by game 2, the Monarchs defeated the Sharks in six games, including double-overtime thrillers in games 2 and 6. The second round brought the Providence Bruins, who put up as much - if not more - of a fight. The Monarchs found a way, however, and defeated the Bruins in six games. This brought the Monarchs to their first ever Eastern Conference finals, but they were swept by the defending champion Hershey Bears in four games.

As of March 20, 2009.

Note: SPC means Standard AHL Player's Contract. PTO means Professional Try-Out Agreement. ATO means Amateur Try-Out Agreement and is used when a player is signed on a try-out basis from Junior or College levels.

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Greater Manchester

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.

Greater Manchester is a metropolitan county in North West England, with a population of 2.56 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 Salford and Manchester. Greater Manchester was created on 1 April 1974 as a result of the Local Government Act 1972.

Greater Manchester is landlocked and borders Cheshire (to the south-west and south), Derbyshire (to the south-east), West Yorkshire (to the north-east), Lancashire (to the north) and Merseyside (to the west). The Greater Manchester Urban Area is the third most populous conurbation in the UK, and spans across most of the county's territory. As a ceremonial county, Greater Manchester has a Lord Lieutenant and a High Sheriff.

Greater Manchester County Council was abolished in 1986, and so its districts (the metropolitan boroughs) are now effectively unitary authority areas; however, the metropolitan county, which is some 496 square miles (1,285 km2), continues to exist in law and as a geographic frame of reference. Several county-wide services are co-ordinated through the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities.

Before the creation of the metropolitan county, the name SELNEC was used for the area, taken from the initials of "South East Lancashire North East Cheshire". Greater Manchester is an amalgamation of 70 former local government districts from the former administrative counties of Lancashire, Cheshire and Yorkshire, West Riding and eight independent county boroughs.

Although the modern county of Greater Manchester was not created until 1974, the history of its constituent settlements and parts goes back centuries. There is evidence of Iron Age inhabitation, 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 at Castlefield in Manchester, and 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 population.

During the Middle Ages, much of what became Greater Manchester lay 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 Greater Manchester is attributed to a shared tradition of domestic flannel and fustian cloth production, which encouraged a system of cross-regional trade. The Industrial Revolution transformed the local domestic system, and much of Greater Manchester's heritage is related to textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution and the infrastructure that grew up to support this sector. 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 textile processing. Places such as Bury, Oldham and Bolton played a central economic role in the nation, and by the end of the 19th century had become some of the most important and productive mill towns in the world. Due to its commercial and socioeconomic success, the need for local government and geo-administrative change in what is now Greater Manchester was proposed as early as the 1910s.

By the 18th century, traders from Germany had coined the name Manchesterthum, meaning "Greater Manchester", and were using that as a name for the region in and around Manchester. However, the English term "Greater Manchester" did not appear until the start of 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 of the 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 of South-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, innovative urban planner Sir Patrick Geddes wrote "far more than Lancashire realises, is growing up another Greater London".

Conurbations in England tend to build-up at the historic county boundaries and Greater Manchester is no exception. Most of Greater Manchester lay within the ancient county boundaries of Lancashire; those areas south of the Mersey and Tame were in Cheshire. The Saddleworth area and a small part of Mossley are historically part of 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, Lancashire, the 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 government responsibilities".

The 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 conurbation.

The Local Government Act 1958 designated the south east Lancashire area (which, despite its name, included part of north east Cheshire), a 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 final report.

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 territory from Cheshire (including Macclesfield, Warrington, Alderley Edge, Northwich, Middlewich, Wilmslow and Lymm), and Derbyshire (the towns of New Mills, Whaley Bridge, Glossop and Chapel-en-le-Frith – 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 Cheshire. 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 Glossop and 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 Warrington, Winsford, Northwich, Knutsford, Macclesfield and 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 Bury/Rochdale authority (retained from the Redcliffe-Maud report) into the Metropolitan Borough of Bury and the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale. Bury and 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 borough of Rochdale took Middleton from Oldham. During the passage of the bill, the towns of Whitworth, Wilmslow and Poynton successfully objected to their incorporation in the new county.

The Local Government Act 1972 reformed local government in England by creating a system of two-tier metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties and districts throughout the country. The act formally established Greater 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 Manchester was decided by Her Majesty's Government, having been favoured over Selnec by the local population.

By January 1974, a joint working party representing Greater Manchester had drawn up its county Structure Plan, ready for implementation by the Greater Manchester County Council. The plan set out strategic and long-term objectives for the forthcoming metropolitan county. The highest priority was to increase the quality of life for its inhabitants by way of 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 industrial growth, and was unsuited to modern communication systems and life-styles. Other objectives were to reverse the trend of depopulation in central-Greater Manchester, to invest in the county's country parks to improve the region's poor reputation on leisure and recreational facilities, and to improve the county's transport infrastructure and journey to work patterns.

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 Manchester Exhibition 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.

Unlike most other modern counties (including Merseyside and Tyne and Wear), Greater Manchester was 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. And so the component areas of Greater Manchester held on to their pre-1974 postal counties until 1996, when they were abolished.

A decade after they were established, the mostly Labour-controlled metropolitan county councils and the 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 election. Greater 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 Greater Manchester metropolitan district councils, though some 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.

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 Research's Centre for Cities has proposed the creation of two large 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 the whole city region. 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 because we don't have an indirectly or directly elected body for Greater 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 "Whitehall". 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.

Greater Manchester is a landlocked county spanning 492.7 square miles (1,276 km²). The Pennines rise along the eastern side of the county, through parts of Oldham, Rochdale and Tameside. The West Pennine Moors, as well as a number of coalfields (mainly sandstones and shales) lie in the west of the county. The rivers Mersey and Tame run through the county boundaries, both of which rise in the Pennines. Other rivers run through the county, including the Beal, the Douglas and the Irk. Black Chew Head is the highest point of Greater Manchester, rising 1,778 feet (542 m) above sea-level, within the parish of Saddleworth. Chat Moss 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.

There is a mix of high density urban areas, suburbs, semi-rural and rural locations in Greater Manchester, but overwhelmingly the land use in the county is urban. It has a strong regional central business district, formed by Manchester city centre and the adjoining parts of Salford and Trafford. 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. Greater Manchester is arguably the most complex urban area in the UK outside London, and this is reflected in the density of its transport network and the scale of its needs for investment to meet the growing and diverse movement demands generated by its development pattern.

The table below outlines many of the county's settlements, and is formatted according to their metropolitan borough.

The Greater Manchester Urban Area is an area of land defined by the Office for National Statistics consisting of the large conurbation surrounding and including the City of Manchester. Its territory spans much, but not all of the metropolitan county of Greater Manchester. It excludes settlements such as Wigan and Marple from within the Greater Manchester county boundaries (Wigan itself forming the Wigan Urban Area), but includes some settlements which are outside of the county boundaries, such as Wilmslow and Alderley Edge in Cheshire, and Whitworth in Lancashire. Although neither the Greater Manchester county, nor the Greater Manchester Urban Area have been granted city status in the United Kingdom, European Union literature suggests that the conurbation surrounding Manchester constitutes a homogonous urban city region.

Greater 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 also has a relatively high humidity level, which lent itself to the optimised and breakage-free textile manufacturing which took place around the county. Snowfall is not a common sight in the built up areas, due to the urban warming effect. However, the Pennine and Rossendale Forest hills around the eastern and northern edges of the county receive more snow, and roads leading out of the county can be closed due to heavy snowfall, notably the A62 road via Standedge, the A57 (Snake Pass) towards Sheffield, and the M62 over Saddleworth Moor.

Greater 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, with only four constituencies (since the 2005 General Election) belonging to the Liberal Democrats, and one constituency to the Conservative party. Local governance in Greater Manchester is currently provided by the councils of ten districts, known as metropolitan boroughs, these are: Bolton, Bury, the City of Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, the City of Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan.

Eight of the ten metropolitan boroughs of Greater Manchester are 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.

For the first 12 years after the county was created in 1974, the county 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 running regional services such as transport, strategic planning, emergency services and waste disposal, comprised 106 members drawn from the ten metropolitan boroughs of Greater Manchester. However 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. Various civil parishes exist in certain parts of Greater Manchester.

Although the county council, which was based in what is now Westminster House off Piccadilly Gardens, has been abolished, a number of local government functions take place at the county level. That eight of the ten borough councils have (for the most part) been Labour-controlled since 1986, has helped maintain informal co-operation between the districts at a county-level. However, the ten authorities of Greater Manchester co-operate formally through the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA), which meets to create a co-ordinated county-wide approach to many issues. The AGMA funds some county-wide bodies such as the Greater Manchester County Record Office. Through the AGMA, the ten authorities of Greater Manchester co-operate on many policy issues, including county-wide Local Transport Plans. Some local services are provided county-wide, administered by statutory joint boards. These are Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive, (GMPTE) which is responsible for planning and co-ordinating public transport across the county; the Greater Manchester Police, who are overseen by a joint Police authority; 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 Wigan). The ten boroughs jointly own the Manchester Airport Group which controls Manchester Airport and three other UK airports. Other services are directly funded and managed by the local councils.

Greater 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 was Sir William Downward who held the title from 1974 to 1988. The current Lord Lieutenant is Warren James Smith. As a geographic county, Greater 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 material.

Greater Manchester has a population of 2,553,800 (as of 2006), making it the third most populous county in the United Kingdom (after Greater London and the West Midlands). It is the seventh most densely populated county of England. The demonym of Greater Manchester is "Greater Mancunian".

Greater Manchester is home to a diverse population and is a multicultural agglomeration with significant ethnic minority population comprising 8.49% of the total population. There are currently over 66 refugee nationalities in the county. As of 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. Greater 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 Liverpool.

Following the deindustrialisation of Greater Manchester in the mid-20th century, there was a significant economic and population decline in the region, particularly in Manchester and 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 unemployment. Slum clearance and the increased building of social housing overspill estates by Salford and Manchester City Councils lead to a decrease in population in central Greater Manchester. During the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, the population of Greater Manchester declined by over 8,000 inhabitants a year. While the population of the City of Manchester shrank by about 40% during this time (from 766,311 in 1931 to 452,000 in 2006), the total population of Greater Manchester only decreased by 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. Throughout Greater Manchester, rows of terraced houses are common, most of them built during the Victorian and Edwardian periods. The Housing Market Renewal Initiative has identified Manchester, Salford, Rochdale and Oldham as areas with terraced housing unsuited to modern needs. Although Greater Manchester has a reputation as an urban sprawl, the county does have areas of green belt. Altrincham, with its neighbours Bowdon and Hale, is said to constitute a "stockbroker belt, with well-appointed dwellings in an area of sylvan opulence".

Greater Manchester has four universities: the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Salford and the University of Bolton, Together with the Royal Northern College of Music they had a combined population of students in higher education of 101,165 in 2007 – the third highest number in England behind 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.

Primary, secondary and further education within Greater Manchester are the responsibility of the constituent boroughs which form local education authorities and administer schools and colleges of further education. The county is also home to a number of independent schools such as St Bede's College, Manchester Grammar School, Bolton School and Bury Grammar School.

Much of Greater Manchester's wealth was generated during the Industrial Revolution. 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 Manchester as "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, represented by the former textile mills found throughout the county.

The territory that makes up Greater Manchester experienced a rapid decline of these traditional sectors, partly during the Lancashire Cotton famine brought on by the American Civil War, but mainly as part of the post-war economic depression and deindustrialisation of Britain that occurred during the 20th century. Considerable industrial restructuring has helped the region to recover. 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 North and The Lowry theatre and exhibition centre. A major BBC centre is also scheduled to open there in 2010.

Today, Greater Manchester is the economic centre of the North West region of 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 Manchester Partnership, 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.

As of 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 the Metropolitan Borough of Stockport having the lowest at 2.0% and the City of 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 Manchester.

Public transport services in Greater Manchester are co-ordinated by the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive (GMPTE), a public body (Passenger Transport Executive) established as SELNEC PTE in 1969 in accordance with the Transport Act 1968. The original SELNEC Passenger Transport Authority was taken over by the Greater Manchester County Council on 1 April 1974 in order to co-ordinate bus and rail services within the new county. The council had overall responsibility for strategic planning and all policy decisions covering public transport and highways. GMPTE's purpose was to secure the provision of a completely integrated and efficient system of passenger transport to meet the needs of its area. In 1977, it was noted as the largest authority for public transport in the United Kingdom after London Transport.

Greater Manchester lies at the heart of the North West transport network. Much of the infrastructure is centred on the City of Manchester 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 Linnyshaw in 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 opened by King 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 another covering Manchester city centre.

There is an extensive bus network which radiates from Manchester city centre. The largest providers are First Manchester for the northern parts of the county and Stagecoach Manchester for the southern parts. In addition to the network of bus routes, a light rail system began operating in 1992 called Manchester Metrolink. The tram system serves the City of Manchester, City of Salford, Bury and Trafford. An expansion of the system is due to begin in 2008 which will see the system run to all boroughs except Bolton and Wigan. Greater Manchester has a 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. An extensive canal network also remains from the Industrial Revolution.

Manchester Airport, which is the fourth busiest in the United Kingdom, serves the county 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 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 passengers.

Manchester hosted the 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 bid to hold the 2000 Olympic Games. After the Commonwealth Games the City of Manchester Stadium was converted for football use, and the adjacent warm-up track upgraded to become the Regional Athletics Arena. Other facilities continue to be used by elite athletes. The net amount of regeneration to the area is not easy to quantify. 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.

In football, four Greater Manchester teams will play in the 2008–09 Premier League. Manchester United F.C. are one of the world's best-known football teams, and in April 2008 Forbes estimated that they were also the world's richest club. They are the current Premier League and UEFA Champions League champions, have won the league championship seventeen times, the FA Cup a record eleven times and have been European champions three times. Their Old Trafford ground has hosted the FA Cup Final and international matches. 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 twice and the FA Cup four times. Bolton Wanderers F.C. have won the FA cup four times. Wigan Athletic F.C. are one of the league's younger sides, and have yet to win a major title. In addition, Oldham Athletic A.F.C. and Stockport County F.C., will play in League One; Bury F.C. (two FA Cup wins) and Rochdale A.F.C. will play in League Two.

In rugby league, the Wigan Warriors and the Salford City Reds compete in the Super League; Wigan have won the Super League/Championship eighteen times, the Challenge Cup seventeen times, and the World Club Challenge three times. Leigh Centurions and the Rochdale Hornets take part in National League One, with Oldham Roughyeds and local rivals Swinton Lions in National League Two.

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 RUFC in National Division Two and Wigan side Orrell RUFC in National Division Three North.

Lancashire County Cricket Club began as Manchester Cricket Club and represents the (historic) county of Lancashire. Lancashire contested the original 1890 County Championship. The team has won the County Championship eight times, and in 2007 finished third, narrowly missing their first title since 1950. 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 Australia. 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 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 Altrincham Ice Dome, to host the Manchester Phoenix. Their predecessor, Manchester Storm, went out of business in 2002 due to financial problems which led to them being unable to pay players' wages or the rent for the Manchester Evening News 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 Lancashire Oaks (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.

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.

Art, tourism, culture and sport provide 16% of employment in Greater Manchester. The proportion is highest in Manchester.

Greater 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 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 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. The 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.

Art galleries in the county include: Gallery Oldham, which has in the past featured work by Pablo Picasso; The Lowry at Salford Quays, which has a changing display of L. S. Lowry's work alongside travelling exhibitions; Manchester Art Gallery, a major provincial art gallery noted for its collection of Pre-Raphaelite art and housed in a Grade I listed building by Charles Barry; Salford Museum and Art Gallery, a local museum with a recreated Victorian street; and Whitworth Art Gallery, a broad-based gallery now run by the University of Manchester.

Greater Manchester has four professional orchestras, all based in Manchester. The Hallé Orchestra is the UK's oldest extant 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 tour. The BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, one of five BBC orchestras, 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 mediacity:uk in Salford. The Manchester Camerata and the Northern Chamber Orchestra are smaller, though still professional, organizations. 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 and Chetham’s School of Music.

The main popular music venue is the Manchester Evening News Arena, next to Victoria station. It seats over 21,000, is the largest indoor arena in Europe, 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 some of the larger pop concerts.

Some of 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 part Manchester played in its development; the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council described the displays as "pre-eminent collections of national and international importance". Urbis is a museum of the modern city that attempts to explain the effects and experiences of life in the city; it has had mixed success since its opening in 2002, but had its most successful year in 2006. 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 North in 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 museum is closed for redevelopment and will reopen in 2009. The Pankhurst Museum is based in the early feminist Emmeline Pankhurst's former home and includes a parlour laid out in contemporary style. Manchester United, Manchester City, and Lancashire CCC all have dedicated museums illustrating their histories. Wigan Pier, best known from George Orwell’s book The Road to 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.

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Manchester City Council

Manchester town hall.jpg

Manchester City Council is the local authority for Manchester, a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. It is made up of 96 councillors, three for each of the 32 wards. Currently the council is controlled by the Labour Party and is led by Sir Richard Leese.

Much, but by no means all of the council and local civil service is housed at Manchester Town Hall, in the city's commercial centre.

Manchester was incorporated in 1838 under the Municipal Corporations Act 1835 as the Corporation of Manchester or Manchester Corporation. It achieved city status in 1853, only the second such grant since the Reformation. Under the Local Government Act 1972 the council was reconstituted as a metropolitan borough council.

Elections are usually by thirds (a third of the seats elected, three years in every four), although the 2004 elections, due to substantial boundary changes (which involved the total number of councillors reduced), saw all seats contested.

The council has been controlled by the Labour Party since its reconstitution in 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972.

The Shield : red (Gules) with three gold (Or) bands drawn diagonally across to the right hand side. The white (Argent) top segment (the Chief), shows a ship at sea in full sail. This is a reference to the city's trading base and to the Manchester Ship Canal. Crest : On a multicoloured wreath stands a terrestrial globe, signifying Manchester's world trade, and covered by a swarm of flying bees. The bee was adopted in the 19th century as a symbol of industry - Manchester being the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. Supporters : On the left a heraldic antelope with a chain attached to a gold (Or) collar, representing engineering industries, and hanging at the shoulder, the red rose of Lancashire, in which county Manchester once was. On the right a golden lion stands guardant (facing us), crowned with a red (Gules) castle (a reference to the Roman fort at Castlefield from which the city originated). The lion also wears the Lancashire Rose. Motto : "Concilio et Labore" - loosely translated "By wisdom and effort" (or 'By counsel and hard work').

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Source : Wikipedia