British Cities: Manchester

Read and find out some facts about the city of Manchester

Level B1

The city Manchester is one of the most dynamic and one of Britain’s largest metropolitan conurbations.

A conurbation is an extended urban area, typically consisting of several towns merging with the suburbs of one or more cities.

This city is the Northwest’s regional center for finance, commerce, retail, culture and leisure, home to a major international airport and one of the largest student populations in Europe.

Manchester is located on the River Irwell, a tributary of the big Mersey River, and is linked with it by the Manchester Ship Canal. Its position makes it one of the major ports in England.

Manchester has been inhabited for more than 2,000 years, since Roman General built a fort just north of the site of present day Manchester. The Saxons called any Roman town or fort a caester. They called the old fort as Mamm caester. The village nearby took its name from the fort. By 1086 the settlement was called Mamecester. In time the name changed to Manchester. In 919 the king repaired the old Roman fort as a defence against the Danes.

In the 18th century a little town sprang into the forefront of world attention by being the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. Manchester was formely known for its wool and cotton industries. When Britain was an Empire, Manchester was known as “Cottonolis” because there were mant large cotton mills in the city and in the small towns around it. The northwest is still an important industrial area and still makes cotton textiles, but it is changing fast. Nowadays it is transforming itself from an industrial city dependent on manufacturing to a thriving, modern, dynamic, international city. While manufacturing remains important, Manchester has attracted growth in the knowledge-based economy and is rated among the top ten European cities for business location. The Manchester Business school is the best in Britain.

The music and theatre scene in Manchester is a rival to London’s West End. Bridgewater Hall, home to the Halle Orchestra, attracts first-rate international musicians. Visitors will find a large choice of theatres and productions. Pop fans from all over Britain and abroad see Manchester as the focus of the current music scene. The whole range of music styles can be presented: including classical, chamber, opera, jazz and blues, folk, and pop. The treasures of Manchester can be viewed in its many galleries and art centers, including works of the great masters and modern contemporary art.

The city of Manchester has established itself as a leading center of youth culture. Its large student population results in an exciting variety of entertainment. The club and dance scene in the city is legendary. Everybody knows Manchester’s two football teams – Manchester United and Manchester City. And sports fans could time their visit to enjoy a home match of Manchester United FC.

It is a city with a marvelous ethnic mix: Asian markets, Britain’s largest Chinatown. Manchester has a proud brewing tradition, with several traditional family-run breweries.

Manchester is a beautiful city but unfortunately many of its old buildings in the city centre were destroyed by IRA bomb in 1996. The phoenix rose from the ashes.

IRA – the Irish Republican Army, an illegal military organization which wants Northern Ireland to leave the UK and become part of the Irish Republic. It was originally established in 1919 to fight for Ireland’s independence from Britain. From 1969 it was active both in Northern Ireland and in England, and was known for using violence and terroist methoda in order to achieve its aims.

The citizens of the city of Manchester are called Mancunians.

Answer the questions to speak about the city of Manchester

  1. Where is Manchester located?
  2. When was the city founded?
  3. When did Manchester become world famous as a manufacturing centre?
  4. What is the city of Manchester famous for nowadays?
  5. Why do we call the city “the phoenix”?
  6. How are the citizens of Manchester called?