Greater Manchester

Greater Manchester

Infobox England county
name = Greater Manchester
motto =

status = Metropolitan county &
Ceremonial county
origin = 1 April 1974cite web|url=|title=Local Government Finance Statistics England No.16|author=Office of the Deputy Prime Minister||date= Retrieved on 21 February 2008.]
(Local Government Act 1972)
region = North West England
arearank = Ranked 39th
area_km2 = 1276
ons = 2A
nutscode = 2
nuts3 = UKD3
poprank = Ranked 3rd
popestdate = 2007
pop = 2,562,200
density_km2 = 1997
adminpoprank =
adminpop =
ethnicity = 88.9% White
6.5% S.Asian
1.7% Black
1.6% Mixed Race
1.3% E. Asian and Other
council = "No county council since 1986."
mps = List of Greater Manchester MPs
23 Labour Party MPs
4 Liberal Democrat MPs
1 Conservative Party MP
subdivname = Metropolitan Boroughs
Greater Manchester imagemap
subdivs =
#City of Manchester
#City of Salford
#Trafford 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 convert|496|sqmi|km2|0, [cite web|url=|title=Greater Manchester Fire Service||author=Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council Retrieved on 6 March 2008.] continues to exist in law and as a geographic frame of reference.cite web|url=|author=Office for National Statistics|title=Gazetteer of the old and new geographies of the United Kingdom|page48|format=PDF| Retrieved on 6 March 2008.
Cite web|url= |title=Beginners' Guide to UK Geography: Metropolitan Counties and Districts|author=Office for National Statistics||date=17 September 2004 Retrieved on 6 March 2008.
cite web|url=|title=North West – Electoral Commission|publisher=The Electoral Commission Retrieved on 7 July 2008.] 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.cite web |url= |title=A select gazetteer of local government areas, Greater Manchester County|publisher=Greater Manchester County Record Office|date=31 July 2003 Retrieved on 17 June 2008.]



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,Nevell and Redhead (2005), p. 20.] and Celtic activity in a settlement named Chochion, believed to have been an area of Wigan settled by the Brigantes. [cite web |title=Roman Wigan |url= |author=Adrian Morris |publisher=Wigan Archaeological Society Retrieved on 10 July 2008.] 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. [Bayliss (1996), p. 6.] The remains of 1st-century forts at Castlefield in Manchester, [cite web |title=Mamucium Roman fort |url= | Retrieved on 29 December 2007.] and Castleshaw Roman fort in Saddleworth, [cite web |title=Castle Shaw |url= | Retrieved on 29 December 2007.] 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. [Redhead, Norman, in: Hartwell, Hyde and Pevsner (2004), p. 18.] 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.Frangopulo (1977), p. ix.] [Frangopulo (1977), pp. 24–25.] McNeil and Nevell (2000), pp. 1–3.] 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.Aspin (1981), p. 3.] 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. [Cowhig (1976), pp. 7–9.] 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.Frangopulo (1977), p. 226.]

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. [Frangopulo (1977), p. 268.] 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". [Swarbrick, J., (February 1914), "Greater Manchester: The Future Municipal Government of Large Cities", pp. 12–15.] 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". [Frangopulo (1977), p. 229.]
Conurbations in England tend to build-up at the historic county boundaries [cite book | title= The reorganisation of British local government: old orthodoxies and a political perspective | author= Dearlove, John | year= 1979 | publisher= Cambridge University Press | location= Cambridge | isbn= 0-521-29456-8 ] 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". [Harvnb|Clark|1973|p=1.]

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".Frangopulo (1977), p. 227.] 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.Frangopulo (1977), p. 228.] 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.

Redcliffe-Maud Report

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. [Frangopulo (1977), p. 231.]

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. [Frangopulo (1977), p. 234.] 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". [Frangopulo (1977), p. 233.] 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". [Frangopulo (1977), p. 264.] 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.Redcliffe-Maud "et al" (June 1969), pp. 219–235.] 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). [cite web|url=||author=The SELNEC Preservation Society|title=The Formation of the SELNEC PTE Retrieved on 6 July 2008.]

Redcliffe-Maud's recommendations were accepted by the Labour-controlled Government in February 1970. Redcliffe-Maud and Wood (1975), pp. 46–7, 56, 157.] 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) [cite hansard|house=House of Commons|date=6 July 1972|column_start=763|column_end=834] [cite news|title=Lancashire saved from 'Botchdale'|work=The Times|date=7 July 1972] but were divided into separate boroughs. To re-balance the districts, the borough of Rochdale took Middleton from Oldham. [cite news|title=Philosophy on councils has yet to emerge|work=The Times|date=8 July 1972] During the passage of the bill, the towns of Whitworth, Wilmslow and Poynton successfully objected to their incorporation in the new county.

Greater Manchester's housing stock comprises a variety of types. Manchester City Centre is noted for its high-rise apartments,cite web|url=|title=Manchester – Features – A cut above: high rise living is back||date=24 November 2004|author=Yakub Qureshi Retrieved on 25 February 2008.] while Salford has some of the tallest and most densely populated tower block estates in Europe. [cite news|url=|title=Tower blocks to make a comeback|date=28 February 2001|author=Cunningham, John|publisher=Guardian News and Media Limited|work=The Guardian Retrieved on 26 February 2008.] 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". [Frangopulo (1977), p. 224.]


Greater Manchester has four universities: the University of Bolton, the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, and the University of Salford. 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), [cite web|url=|title=Table 0a – All students by institution, mode of study, level of study, gender and domicile 2006/07|year=2008|format=XLS|work=Students and Qualifiers Data Tables|publisher=Higher Education Statistics Agency Retrieved on 21 March 2008.] and the thirteenth highest in England per head of population. [cite journal |last=Tight|first=Malcolm|year=2007|month=July|title=The (Re)Location of Higher Education in England (Revisited)|journal=Higher Education Quarterly|volume=61|issue=3|pages=250–265|doi=10.1111/j.1468-2273.2007.00354.x] The majority of students are concentrated on Oxford Road in Manchester, Europe's largest urban higher education precinct.Hartwell (2001), p. 105.]

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 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, [cite web|url=|title=Oldham's Economic Profile – Innovation and Technology|work=Oldham MBC web pages|publisher= Oldham Council|date= Retrieved on 27 October 2006.] [cite web|url=|title=NW Cotton Towns Learning Journey|work=Spinning the web|publisher=Manchester City Council Retrieved on 27 October 2006.] 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.cite web|format=PDF|title=Shrinking Cities: Manchester/Liverpool II|url=|month=March | year=2004|page=36||author= Retrieved on 4 March 2008.] Considerable industrial restructuring has helped the region to recover.cite web|url=|title=Regional Portrait of Greater Manchester - 6 Economic Factors|format=PDF|publisher=BISER Europe Regions Domain Reporting|year=2003 Retrieved on 17 February 2007.] 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.Cite web|url=|title=Salford bid wins BBC move north|work=Manchester Evening News|year=2006|author=Ian Wylie Retrieved on 5 March 2008.]

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. [cite web|url=|title=Manchester city region – Economic Overview||date= Retrieved on 30 May 2008.] Greater Manchester represents more than £42 billion of the UK regional GVA, more than Wales, Northern Ireland or North East England.cite web|url=|title=Greater Manchester Economic Data|publisher=Midas Manchester|year=2003 Archived from [ the original] on 13 August 2007. Retrieved on 10 July 2008.] 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. [cite web|url=||title=The Greater Manchester Strategy: Foreword|year=2004 Retrieved on 9 July 2008.] 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.cite web|url=|title=Britain's Best Cities 2005–2006 Executive Summary|publisher=OMIS Research|year=2006|format=PDF Archived from [ the original] on 17 May 2006. Retrieved on 17 July 2008.] A report commissioned by Manchester Partnership, published in 2007, showed Manchester to be the "fastest-growing city" economically. Retrieved on 30 May 2008.cite web|url=|title=Manchester – The State of the City|publisher=Manchester City Council|year=2007 Retrieved on 11 September 2007.] It is the third most visited city in the United Kingdom by foreign visitors [cite press release | title=International Visitors To Friendly Manchester Up 10% | publisher=Marketing Manchester |date=17 September 2007 |url= Retrieved on 17 July 2008.] and is now often considered to be the second city of the UK.Cite web|url=|title=Manchester 'England's second city'|publisher=BBC|year=2002 Retrieved on 2 May 2007.
cite web|url=|title=Manchester 'England's Second City'|publisher=Ipsos MORI|year=2002 Retrieved on 30 May 2008.
cite web|url=|title=Can Birmingham halt its decline?|work=The Times|year=2005|author=Riley, Catherine Retrieved on 1 August 2007.
cite web|url=|title=Manchester 'close to second city'|publisher=BBC|year=2005 Retrieved on 2 May 2006.
cite web|url=|title=Manchester tops second city poll|publisher=BBC|year=2007 Retrieved on 18 June 2007.
cite web|url=|title=Birmingham loses out to Manchester in second city face off|publisher=BBC|year=2007 Retrieved on 18 June 2007.] 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%. [cite web | title =Greater Manchester (health authority) economic activity | publisher = | url = Retrieved on 3 February 2008.] 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%. [cite web |title=Promoting a Dynamic Economy |publisher=Greater Manchester e-Government Partnership |url=;jsessionid=64C7688F205BEE012F17A5E3001818D5 Retrieved on 12 December 2007.] 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. [cite web |title=Greater Manchester (health authority) industry of employment | |url= Retrieved on 3 February 2008.]

:note label|Rounding|A|AComponents may not sum to totals due to rounding:note label|Agriculture|B|BIncludes hunting and forestry:note label|Industry|C|CIncludes energy and construction:note label|Services|D|DIncludes financial intermediation services indirectly measured


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.Frangopulo (1977), p. 187.]

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,Hyde, O'Rourke, and Portland (2004) p. 141.] 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, [cite web|url=|quote=The Metropolitan County of Greater Manchester has the most extensive motorway network in the United Kingdom|title=Local information: About Oldham||author=The Oldham College|date= Retrieved on 6 March 2008.] 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). [cite web|url= |title=British Roads Database| Retrieved on 6 March 2008.
cite news |title=The number's up for Britain's roads|url= | |publisher=Telegraph Media Group Limited |date=October 2002 |language= |quote=The west side of Manchester is notoriously busy and holds the record for the widest section of motorway – an impressive 17 lanes where the M61 and M60 meet. Retrieved on 7 July 2007.
cite book |author=Matthews, Peter (ed) |title=The Guinness Book of Records 1993|publisher=Guinness World Records Limited |location=Enfield |year=1992 |isbn=0-85112-978-1 |pages=p. 121
] Greater Manchester's convert|85|mi|km|0 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.cite web |url= |title=Early Highways Liverpool-East Lancashire Road A580 |work=Historic Highways ||author=Lancashire County Council Retrieved on 19 January 2008.] There are proposals for congestion charging in Greater Manchester. [cite news |url= |title=C-charge details revealed |first=Alan |last=Salter |work=Manchester Evening News |publisher=M.E.N. Media Ltd |date=5 May 2007 Retrieved on 25 November 2007.] [cite news |url= |title=Manchester makes move towards congestion charge |work=The Guardian |publisher=Guardian News and Media Limited |date=27 July 2007 Retrieved on 25 November 2007.] Unlike the current version of the London scheme, two cordons will be used, one covering the main urban core of the Greater Manchester Urban Area and another covering the Manchester City Centre. [cite web |url= |title=Traffic Congestion charging: FAQs |publisher=BBC Manchester Retrieved on 26 November 2007.]

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. [cite web|url=|title=GMPTE – Trains|author=GMPTE||date=N.D. Retrieved on 13 September 2007.] 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 largest in the United Kingdom, serves the county with flights to more destinations than any other airport in the UK: since June 2007 it has served 225 routes. [cite web|url= |title=Manchester Airport offers more destinations than Heathrow and Gatwick||date=3 June 2006|work=UK Airport News|publisher=TMC Ltd Retrieved on 10 July 2008.]

The three modes of public 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.cite web|url=|title=State of the City Report 2006/2007|format=PDF||month=September | year=2007 Retrieved on 26 February 2008.]


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.cite journal|last=Gratton|first=Chris|coauthors=Simon Shibli; Richard Coleman|year=2005|title=Sport and Economic Regeneration in Cities|journal=Urban Studies|volume=42|issue=5–6|pages=985–999|publisher=Urban Studies Journal Limited|doi=10.1080/00420980500107045] 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. [Parkinson-Bailey (2000), pp. 249–250.] 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. [cite web|url=|author=|title=City enjoys £600m windfall|publisher=BBC.Online|date=16 June 2006 Retrieved on14 September 2007.
cite web|url=|title=Sporting Legacy|year=2003|work=Commonwealth Games Legacy Manchester 2002|publisher=Commonwealth Games Legacy Retrieved on 23 September 2007.
] 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. [cite news|title=Soccer Team Valuations #1 Manchester United|url=|| LLC|date=30 April 2008 Retrieved on 2 May 2008.] 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. [cite web | url= | title= Glory, Glory, Man United |work=The website of dreams Retrieved on 2 June 2008.] 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. [cite web|url={B7CC47CB-001B-4A66-B8D1-42F9530F1FF7}|title=roll of honour|work=Manchester City Football Club official website|publisher=Manchester City FC Retrieved on 2 May 2008.] Bolton Wanderers F.C. have won the FA cup four times.cite web|url=
title=Cup Final Statistics|year=2001–2008||publisher=The Football Association
Retrieved on 2 May 2008.] Wigan Athletic F.C. are one of the league's younger sides, and have yet to win a major title. [cite web|url=,,10429,00.html|title=Brief history of Wigan Athletic|date=11 June 2007|work=Wigan Athletic the official website|publisher=Wigan Athletic Football Club Retrieved on 2 May 2008.] 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 union, Stockport's Sale Sharks compete in the Guinness Premiership, and won the league in 2006.cite news|url=|publisher=BBC|title=BBC Rugby Union – English – Sale 45-20 Leicester|date=27 May 2006 Retrieved on 28 February 2008.] 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. In rugby league, Wigan Warriors compete in the Super League; they have won the Super League/Championship seventeen times, the Challenge Cup seventeen times, and the World Club Challenge three times. [cite web|url=|title=Honours||year=2008|publisher=Wigan Warriors Retrieved on 3 May 2008.] Leigh Centurions, Rochdale Hornets, and Salford City Reds take part in National League One, with Oldham Roughyeds local rivals of Swinton Lions in National League Two.

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. [cite web|title=Lancashire County Cricket Club – Origins|url=| Retrieved on 5 March 2008.
cite web|title=The County Championship|url=|publisher=Cricinfo Retrieved on 5 March 2008.
cite web|url=|author=|title=Lancs bid falls agonisingly short|publisher=BBC Online|date=22 September 2007 Retrieved on 13 December 2007.
cite web|url=|author=|title=Lancashire honours|publisher=Cricinfo Retrieved on 13 December 2007.
] 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. [cite web|url=|title=Jim Laker|work=|publisher=Cricinfo Retrieved on 2 May 2008.] Cheshire County Cricket Club are a minor counties club who sometimes play in the south of the county. [cite web |url=|title=Minor County Grounds |publisher=Cricinfo |work=Minor Counties Cricket Association Retrieved on 2 May 2008.]

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. [cite web |title=D-day for Storm |url= |author=Stuart Hughes |publisher=BBC Online |date=5 November 2002 Retrieved on 9 July 2008.] [cite web |title=Storm sink as cash bid fails |url= |author=Stuart Hughes |publisher=BBC Online |date=12 November 2002 Retrieved on 9 July 2008.]

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. [cite book | title= Farewell Manchester: history of Manchester Racecourse | author= Ramsden, Caroline | year= 1966 | publisher= J A Allen & Co | location= London cite web|title=Transcript of Kersal Dale Video|url=|author=Salford Metropolitan Borough Council| Retrieved on 5 March 2008. •cite book|author=Farrer, William |coauthors=Brownbill, John|title=The Victoria history of the county of Lancaster. - Lancashire.|origyear=1911 |url=|accessyear=|accessmonth=|edition=|series=|volume=4 |year=2003–2006|publisher=University of London & History of Parliament Trust|pages=pp. 217–222|chapter=Townships: Broughton|chapterurl= Retrieved on 25 February 2008.]

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. [cite web|url=|title=leighsportsvillage |work=Leigh Sports Village web pages|publisher=Leigh Sports Village Retrieved on 2 May 2008.]


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.cite journal |last=Conway |first=Tony |coauthors=Whitelock, Jeryl |year=2007 |title=Relationship marketing in the subsidised arts: the key to a strategic marketing focus | journal=European Journal of Marketing | volume = 41 | issue = 1/2 | pages = 199–222 | publisher = Emerald Group Publishing Limited | issn = 0309-0566 | doi = 10.1108/03090560710718184 ] The Royal Exchange Theatre formed in the 1970s out of a peripatetic group staging plays at venues such as at the University [of Manchester] 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.cite book |title=The worst it can be is a disaster |last=Murray |first=Braham |year=2007 |publisher=Methuen Drama, A & C Black Publishers |location= London |isbn=978-0-7136-8490-2] The Lowry houses two theatres, used by travelling groups in all the performing arts.cite journal |last=Robson |first=Brian |year=2004 |title=Culture and the City: A View from the 'Athens of the North' |journal=Built Environment |volume=30 |issue=3 |pages=246–255 |doi=10.2148/benv. ] [cite web |url= |title=About The Lowry |work=The Lowry web pages |publisher= Retrieved on 2 May 2008.] The Opera House is a 1,900-seat venue hosting travelling productions, often musicals just out of the West End.cite book |title=Manchester: the complete guide 2007 |author= Schofield, Jonathan (ed)|year=2007 |publisher=City Life |location=Manchester |isbn= ] 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; [cite web|title=Past Exhibits at Gallery Oldham|url=| Retrieved on 9 January 2008.] 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; [cite web|title=City Art Gallery|url=|publisher=Images of England Retrieved on 14 December 2007.
cite web|title=Manchester Art Gallery: About Us|url=| Retrieved on 9 January 2008.
] Salford Museum and Art Gallery, a local museum with a recreated Victorian street; [cite web |url= |title=Lark Hill Place Shops |work=Salford City Council web pages|publisher=Salford City Council Retrieved on 2 May 2008.] 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), [Parkinson-Bailey (2000), p. 77.] supports a choir and a youth orchestra, and releases its recordings on its own record label.cite web |url= |title=The Hallé – HISTORY |work=Hallé web pages |publisher=The Hallé Concerts Society 2002 Retrieved on 2 May 2008.] 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. [cite press release |title=BBC Orchestras |publisher=BBC |date=February 2006 |url= Retrieved on 10 July 2008.] As of 2008 it is based at the BBC's Oxford Road studios, [cite web |url= |title=History of the BBC Philharmonic ||publisher=BBC Retrieved on 2 May 2008.] but is expected to move to in Salford. [cite press release |title=Launch of the BBC Connect And Create Partnership – speech given at Huddersfield University |publisher=BBC |date=11 January 2008 |url= Retrieved on 10 July 2008.] The Manchester Camerata and the Northern Chamber Orchestra are smaller, though still professional, organizations. [cite web |url= |title=Manchester Camerata |work=Manchester Camerata web pages|publisher=Manchester Camerata Retrieved on 2 May2008.
cite web |url= |title=About the NCO |work=Northern Chamber Orchestra web pages Retrieved on 2 May 2008.
] The main classical venue is the 2,341-seat Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, opened in 1996 at a cost of £42M. [cite web |title=Bridgewater Hall facts and figures | |url= Retrieved on 17 January 2008.
cite news | title = Good Venue Guide; 28 – Bridgewater Hall, Manchester. | work = Independent on Sunday | publisher= |date=12 April 1998
] Manchester is also a centre for musical education, via the Royal Northern College of Music and Chetham’s School of Music. [Redhead (1993), pp. 60–61.]

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.cite web|url=|title=Pollstar Concert Industry Awards Winners Archives|publisher=Pollstar Online|year=2001 Retrieved on 24 June 2007.
cite news|first=Rachel|last=Brown|title=M.E.N Arena's world's top venue|url=|work=Manchester Evening News|publisher=M.E.N Media|quote=The M.E.N. Arena is the top-selling venue in the world. Retrieved on 12 August 2007.
cite web |url= |author= |title=Manchester Evening News arena | Retrieved on 28 March 2008.] The sports grounds in the county also host some of the larger pop concerts. [cite web|title=Manchester City stadium history|url={20E7C2B7-4832-46D1-B772-AB8CCA2FD0D5}| Retrieved on 11 January 2008.
cite web|title=Vote for Old Trafford Cricket Ground|url=||date=17 October 2007 Retrieved on 11 January 2008.
cite news| url=| publisher=NME| title=Arctic Monkeys confirm festival plans| date=26 January 2007 Retrieved on 5 February 2007.

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. [cite web|title=About Stockport Hat Works|url=| Retrieved on 10 January 2008.] 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". [cite web|title=Museum of Science & Industry|url=||work=The National Virtual Museum Retrieved on 10 January 2008.] 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. [cite web|title=Urbis visitors increase by 550%|url=|publisher=BBC Online|date=12 April 2004 Retrieved on 10 January 2008.
cite web|title=Visitors flock to Urbis as revamp pays off|url=|work=Manchester Evening News|date=6 December 2006 Retrieved on 10 January 2008.
] 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. [cite web|title=About Stockport air raid shelters|url=| Retrieved on 10 January 2008.] 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. [cite web|title=Imperial War Museum North|url=| Retrieved on 10 January 2008.] The Museum of Transport in Manchester, which opened in 1979, has one of the largest collections of vehicles in the country. [cite web|title=Introduction to the Museum of Transport|url=| Retrieved on 10 January 2008.] 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. [cite web|title=Introduction to the People’s History Museum|url=| Retrieved on 10 January 2008.] The Pankhurst Museum is based in the early feminist Emmeline Pankhurst's former home and includes a parlour laid out in contemporary style. [cite web|url=|title=The Pankhurst Centre|publisher=24 Hour Museum|work=The National Virtual Museum|date= Retrieved on 8 July 2008.] 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", [cite web |title=On the road again |author=Vallely, Paul |work=The Independent |url= |date=30 April 2004 Retrieved on 17 January 2008.] 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. [cite web|url=|title= Wigan Pier Closing Down Message|publisher=Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust|work= Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust web pages |date= Retrieved on 8 July 2008.]

ee also

*Grade I listed buildings in Greater Manchester
*Grade II* listed buildings in Greater Manchester
*Greater Manchester Employer Coalition
*List of companies based in Greater Manchester




*cite book|title=The Cotton Industry|last=Aspin|first=Chris|publisher=Shire Publications|location= Aylesbury|year=1981|isbn=0-85263-545-1
*cite book |first=Don |last=Bayliss |year=1996 |title=Historical Atlas of Trafford |publisher=Don Bayliss|location=Hale|isbn=0-9529300-0-5
*cite book |first=Glynis |last=Cooper |title=Salford: An Illustrated History |publisher=The Breedon Books Publishing Company |location= Derby |year=2005 |isbn=1-85983-455-8
*citation|title=Greater Manchester Votes: A Guide to the New Metropolitan Authorities|first=David M.|last=Clark|date=1973|publisher=Redrose|isbn=
*cite book|title=It Happened Round Greater Manchester; Railways|last=Clarke|first=John|publisher=Greater Manchester Council|year=1976
*cite book|title=It Happened Round Greater Manchester; Textiles|last=Cowhig|first=W.T.|publisher=Greater Manchester Council|year=1976
*cite book | title= Relative hills of Britain | author= Dawson, Alan | year= 1992 | publisher= Cicerone Press | location= Milnthorpe | isbn= 1-85284-068-4
*cite book | title= The reorganisation of British local government: old orthodoxies and a political perspective | author= Dearlove, John | year= 1979 | publisher= Cambridge University Press | location= Cambridge | isbn= 0-521-29456-8
*cite book | title= Tradition in action: the historical evolution of the Greater Manchester County | author= Frangopulo, Nicholas Joseph | year= 1977 | publisher= EP Publishing | location= Wakefield | isbn= 0-7158-1203-3
*cite book|title=Greater Manchester: A panorama of people and places in Manchester and its surrounding towns|last=Gibb|first=Robert|publisher=Myriad|year=2005|isbn=1-904736-86-6
*cite book|title=Francis Frith's Greater Manchester|isbn=978-1859372661|last=Hardy|first=Clive|year=2005|publisher=Frith Book Company
*cite book|title=Pevsner Architectural Guides: Manchester|last=Hartwell|first=Clare|year=2001|publisher=Penguin Books|location=London|isbn=0-14071-131-7
*cite book | title= Lancashire : Manchester and the South-East | series= The buildings of England | author= Hartwell, Clare|coauthors=Matthew Hyde and Nikolaus Pevsner | year= 2004 | publisher= Yale University Press | location= New Haven, Conn.; London | isbn= 0-300-10583-5
*cite book|title=Around the M60: Manchester's Orbital Motorway|author=Hyde, M.|coauthors= A. O'Rourke and P. Portland|year=2004|isbn=1-897762-30-5|publisher=AMCD|location=Altrincham
*cite book |author=Matthews, Peter (ed) |title=The Guinness Book of Records 1993|publisher=Guinness World Records Limited |location=Enfield |year=1992 |isbn=0-85112-978-1
*cite book|title=A Guide to the Industrial Archaeology of Greater Manchester|author=McNeil, Robina |coauthors= Michael Nevell|publisher=Association for Industrial Archaeology|year=2000|isbn=0-9528930-3-7
*cite book |title=The worst it can be is a disaster |last=Murray |first=Braham |year=2007 |publisher=Methuen Drama, A & C Black Publishers |location= London |isbn=978-0-7136-8490-2
*cite book |author=Nevell, Mike and Redhead, Norman (eds) |year=2005 |title=Mellor: Living on the Edge. A Regional Study of an Iron Age and Romano-British Upland Settlement |publisher=University of Manchester Archaeological Unit, Greater Manchester Archaeological Unit, and the Mellor Archaeological Trust |isbn=0-9527813-6-0
*cite book|last=Parkinson-Bailey|first=John J|authorlink=|title=Manchester: an Architectural History|year=2000|publisher=Manchester University Press|location=Manchester|isbn=0-7190-5606-3
*cite book | title= Farewell Manchester: history of Manchester Racecourse | author= Ramsden, Caroline | year= 1966 | publisher= J A Allen & Co | location= London
*cite book | title= English local government reformed | author= Redcliffe-Maud, John Primatt | coauthors= Bruce Wood | |authorlink= John Redcliffe-Maud, Baron Redcliffe-Maud | year= 1975 | publisher= OUP | location= London | isbn= 0-19-885091-3
*cite book | author= Redcliffe-Maud "et al"| authorlink= John Redcliffe-Maud, Baron Redcliffe-Maud|title= Royal Commission on Local Government in England 1966-1969, Volume I: Report (Cmnd. 4040) | year= 1969 | month= June | publisher= HMSO | location= London
*cite book | last = Redhead | first = Brian | title = Manchester: a Celebration | authorlink = Brian Redhead | publisher = Andre Deutsch Ltd | location = London | year = 1993 | isbn = 0-233-98816-5
*cite book |author=Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council |date=N.D. |title=Metropolitan Rochdale Official Guide|publisher=Ed. J. Burrow & Co. Limited|location=London |isbn=
*cite book |title=Manchester: the complete guide 2007 |author= Schofield, Jonathan (ed)|year=2007 |publisher= City Life |location=Manchester |isbn=

External links

* [] , the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities.
* [] , the Greater Manchester County Record Office, for historical records relating to Greater Manchester.
* [] , the website of the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive, for information on buses, trains and tram services.
* [] , the Greater Manchester Transport Society.
* [] , the official tourism website for Greater Manchester.

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