Interesting facts about Manchester

"It rises in the east, curtained by rain, swearing, walking like a monkey and wearing a beanie hat" 

                                                                                                                              - Stuart Maconie

Manchester first started using the worker bee as a symbol during the Industrial Revolution and it became part of the Manchester coat of arms in 1842.  The bee traditionally symbolised the hard work of Mancunians and factories were sometimes referred to as beehives or a 'hive of activity' in the 19th century.  Today the bee represents the Manchester spirit - unity, tolerance, defiance and inclusivity.

In 1903 Mancunian Emmeline Pankhurst along with her daughthers Sylvia and Christabel founded the Women’s Social and Political Union, later known as the Suffragettes. You can visit Emmeline's house in Manchester where she lived between 1898 and 1907 and see the parlour where the first meeting of the suffragettes took place.  The Pankhurst Centre is on 62 Nelson St, Manchester.

In 1904 Rolls met Royce at the Midland Hotel and two years later they formed Rolls-Royce Ltd. 

In 1948 Frederic C. Williams, Tom Kilburn and Geoff Tootill developed the first computer to have a stored programme and memory at Manchester University. The Manchester ‘Baby’ also known as the Small Scale Experimental Machine (SSEM) ran its first program on 21st June 1948. The Museum of Science and Industry has a replica on display.Manchester Airport, originally known as Ringway Airport is the third busiest and the largest regional airport in the UK.  

Manchester has one of the largest LGBT communities in the UK and the first Manchester Pride event 'The Carnival of Fun' was held in 1991. The Manchester LGBT Heritage trail is a guided walk around the city exploring important locations in gay history.  The trail is marked by rainbow flag paving stones, which were designed by local mosaic artist Mark Kennedy in 2005.

The modern western vegetarian movement was founded in 1847 at the Beefsteak Chapel in Salford.  It was the country's first vegetarian church.  The Vegetarian Society is now based in Altrincham.

The construction of the Manchester Ship canal started in 1887 and when it opened seven years later in 1894 it was the largest river navigation canal in the world. The canal runs for 36 miles from Eastham on the Mersey estuary to Salford.  The canal enabled goods to be transported quickly and cheaply between Manchester and Liverpool and it turned a landlocked city into a port. The canal helped the North West become an industrial powerhouse and became known as the 'Big Ditch' because of the enormous size of the building project.

Manchester is home to the world’s longest running TV soap opera – Coronation Street. The first episode was broadcast on December 9th 1960.  Ken Barlow now holds the title for the world's longest-serving television actor in a continuous role. A number of famous faces have graced the cobbles including Patrick Stewart, Joanna Lumley, Anna Friel, Mel B, Sir Ben Kingsley, Pete Postlethwaite, Peter Kay, Sir Ian McKellen, Rula Kenska, Maureen Lipman, Sir Cliff Richard, Status Quo, Noddy Holder, Sir Norman Wisdom, Stephanie Beacham, Honor Blackman, Vic Reeves and Maxine Peake.