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Great Moments in Manchester’s History

The people of Manchester have every reason to be proud of their wonderful history. From a predominately industrial past, Manchester is now a hub for international business and creative arts, and possesses one of the most vibrant nightlifes in the country. It is little wonder it is referred to as England’s second city.

Stretching over 36 miles from Manchester to the Irish Sea, the Manchester Ship Canal is one of the most important transport links of the last two hundred years. Construction started in November 1887 and took seven years to complete, with Queen Victoria opening the canal in 1894. The Manchester Ship Canal gave the city direct access to the Irish Sea, which importantly meant direct access to America. It is for this reason that Manchester, and the North-West of England, became an industrial powerhouse, with imports like cotton and silk providing the raw materials for the mills and factories of Victorian Britain. At its peak in the mid 1950s, the Manchester Ship Canal boasted an annual haulage of almost 20,000,000 tonnes.

In more recent times, the 2002 Commonwealth Games was, until the 2012 Olympics, the biggest sporting event the country has ever seen. It was heralded as a complete success, providing an event to display how Manchester has changed following the bombing in 1996. The Games formed the catalyst for the unprecedented regeneration and large scale development of Manchester, and hugely improved its reputation as a European and Global City. The resulting economic growth and continued urban regeneration of the now post-industrial Manchester continued after the Games, which helped cement its place as one of, if not the, cultural cities in the United Kingdom. Rarely has the legacy from such a sporting event been so carefully managed and been so sustainable. The benefits from Commonwealth Games are still felt in the city today, testimony to the way in which the locals embraced the event.

There is little doubt that the thriving arts scene and entrepreneurial spirit are just some of the reasons the BBC decided to relocate huge chunks of its resources to the Mancunian Metropolitan Borough of Salford in 2011. It is also significant of the fact that Salford, Manchester, and the surrounding areas are no longer in the shadow of London in terms of culture, business, enterprise and national significance and there is a steady flow of talent pouring up to work in the city.

Love them or hate them, there is little doubt that Manchester United’s 1999 Champions League Final was a momentous occasion not just for the city of Manchester, but for the country as a whole. Featuring many of the players from the now famous ‘Class of 92’, the spirit shown that night at the Camp Nou gave all English teams the belief that Europe’s top footballing prize was achievable, given the right players and, perhaps more importantly, the right manager.

It is almost impossible to write any article on Manchester without mentioning its world famous music scene. From the Hollies, to the Happy Mondays, Smiths, Stone Roses, Oasis, Doves, Elbow, and countless others, Manchester and Music have had a long and beautiful relationship, which has made history over the years and continues to thrive to this day.

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