26 Feb 2020 - 3 minutes

How Manchester became a global city

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Just four years ago, a Manchester Evening News poll showed that 72% of Mancunians thought the city should leave the UK and make its own way in the world.

While we probably shouldn’t take this poll completely seriously, it does reflect the fact that Manchester is a global city, and the people that live here know it. An independent spirit and a determination to beat the odds has seen Manchester take its place on the world stage – but how did it get there?

A history of innovation

Manchester was the world’s first true industrial city. Starting with Richard Arkwright’s mechanised cotton mill and the Duke of Bridgewater’s canal into Castlefield, what had been a normal 18thcentury market town became something completely new – and its transformation would change history.

‘Cottonopolis’ was born, and the next century saw a boom unlike anything that had gone before. People from all over the world moved to the city, creating a unique cosmopolitan environment. The Bank of England opened a branch in the city, and the first telephone exchange in the UK was built on Faulkner Street, in what is now the centre of Manchester’s Chinatown.

Post-industrial economic miracle

Following World War Two, Manchester began its evolution from a manufacturing base into a post-industrial city. The City Council took Manchester’s history, location, and people, and turned them into a recipe for success. Standing out in the modern world is not easy, but Manchester has managed it.

Everything in the city is connected by the Metrolink tram network, and Manchester is connected to the world through the Airport. The universities produce innovative research and draw the best and brightest talents to Manchester. The Council’s ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’ mantra ensures these people stay for the long term, creating and sustaining an economic boom that is the envy of other cities around the UK.

The scale of Manchester’s change can be seen in its growing population. Only 300 people called the city centre home in 1987, a number that Manchester City Council expects to be 100,000 by 2025.

Decades of work have gone into the so-called ‘Manchester miracle’ – but the work is far from done.

A global destination

Over 100 million people visit the Manchester region every year, and tourism will only grow in the coming years with direct flights from Beijing, Shanghai, Mumbai and Dhaka beginning, as well as a new partnership with New York kicking off this year.

Of course, these connections will also bring new business to the city. Amazon, BT and Huawei are among the many multi-national names which have seen the potential of doing business in Manchester offers – and they won’t be the last.

The city of Manchester is an unstoppable force, bursting with possibilities. More development, more opportunities and closer links with the rest of the world are on the agenda as Manchester continues to look outwards.

Nothing can stop this city fulfilling its potential – making this an incredibly exciting time to live in Manchester and be part of what is coming. From its modern origins as the centre of the industrial world, this has always been a city built for the future.

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