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19 Feb 2020 - 2 minutes

10 things you never knew about Manchester

Hidden hero

You might think you already know everything there is to know about Manchester. The Industrial Revolution, two Premier League football teams and the home of more music legends than we can count… but the city still has many secrets to discover.

Here is our list of 10 things you might not know about Manchester…

Europe’s smallest bar

The Circus Tavern on Portland Street is home to a bar which is less than one metre long, making it the smallest bar in Europe. The pub itself is not much bigger – covering just over 500 sqft of space.

25 Nobel Prize winners

The University of Manchester can boast 25 Nobel Prize winners in its history, from Joseph John Thompson and Ernest Rutherford, pioneers in the fields of experimental physics and chemistry respectively, through to Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, the modern inventors of graphene.

The home of vegetarianism

Manchester claims to be the home of vegetarianism, with the Reverend William Cowherd preaching the virtues of the vegetarian diet in a local chapel more than 200 years ago. This philosophy would lead to the foundation of the Vegetarian Society in the mid-19thcentury.

Top secret nuclear bunker

The Guardian Exchange tunnels were built under Manchester in the 1950s to protect against fallout from an atomic bomb. Today, the tunnels open out onto George Street and are used by BT to run internet and telephone cables under the city.

200 languages

Research from the University of Manchester shows that more than 200 languages are spoken in Manchester, making it the most ethnically diverse city in Europe, and arguably second only to New York in the world.

Women’s suffrage

Emmeline Pankhurst started the Women’s Social and Political Union in Manchester at the beginning of the 20thcentury to campaign for the right for women to vote in Britain – a movement which helped change the world. Today, you can visit Pankhurst’s statue in St. Peter’s Square.

The first public library

Manchester is home to the oldest public library in the English-speaking world. Founded in 1653, Chetham’s Library is a site of national and international importance which has an incredible collection of ephemera, manuscript diaries, letters and deeds, prints, paintings and glass lantern slides.

The first passenger railway station

The world’s first railway station – Liverpool Road – opened in Manchester in 1830. It sparked a revolution in trade and travel which spread rapidly around the world.

The last Costa Rican frogs…

Manchester Museum – which can be found on Oxford Road – has a hidden vivarium which is responsible for keeping and breeding some of the last remaining Costa Rican frogs in the world. These amphibians are critically endangered, but have found a new home in Manchester.

Mr Rolls and Mr Royce

The Midland, a stunning baroque hotel in Manchester city centre, has been welcoming distinguished guests to the city for more than 100 years – none more so than Charles Rolls and Henry Royce who first met in the hotel and would go on to form the world-famous car company.

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