"what Manchester does today, the world does tomorrow",
is a statement of fact. The city and its twin sister, Salford
have produced a rich treasure chest of beginnings without which
the world would be much reduced. Below is a list, with a brief
description, of the most prominent "firsts", some global, some
national, some frankly bizarre.
|World's First Modern Industrial
in the last years of eighteenth century and the first years
of nineteenth century, provided for the world a model of the
emerging industrial society. The new opportunities, together
with the tremendous problems to be overcome, were highlighted
in this one place.
In Asa Briggs' memorable words, Manchester was "the shock
city of the age": where ideas of society, economy, of the
way people lived and worked, were turned on their heads. There
has been no treaty signed at Manchester, no famous battle won
or art movement defined. What Manchester has is a period of
years when it led the world, for better or worse, into the modern
age. This is history with a capital H.
|POLITICS, RELIGION AND SOCIETY
SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY
RELIGION AND SOCIETY
|THE ANTI-CORN LAW LEAGUE
This was the first modern political movement. It employed full
time administrators, teams of public speakers, mail shots, lobbying
and the latest technology - the new telegraph. Its methods were
the model for the most later political lobbying groups. The
League was a combination of the middle and working classes brought
together with the twin aims of freeing trade from tariffs and
lowering the price of bread. The victory of the movement in
1846 marked the symbolic end of aristocratic rule in Parliament.
The movement began in 1815 in the Salford Bible Christian Church,
inspired by the sermons of the local preacher, named, of all
things, the Rev. William Cowherd. A vegetarian cookbook was
published here by Martha Brotherton in 1821 and her husband
Joseph was the first vegetarian MP.
VOTES FOR WOMEN
Emmeline Pankhurst founded the Women's Socal
and Political Union in 1903 in her home, which still stands,
on Nelson Street. Three years later, with the slogan "Deeds
not Words", the movement became militant and gained the
title suffragette in the battle for the vote. Earlier, in 1867,
the National Society for Women's Suffrage had been founded in
Manchester by Lydia Becker.
Originally founded in The Three Crowns pub in
Salford, the first general meeting of the Trades Union Congress
was in 1868 in the Mechanics's Institute, Princess Street.
INDEPENDENT LABOUR PARTY
A forerunner of New Labour, the ILP was born in Manchester in
1892. Its first MP was Keir Hardie.
The world's first true commuter or dormitory towns
- suburbs too distant from the city to be rached easily by horse
carriage or on foot - developed along the railway routes of
southern Manchester from 1842 at places such as Alderley Edge
Ann Lee, founder of Shaker Religion, was born in Manchester
in 1736. She emigrated to America in 1786 taking her visions
and follower with her.
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|TRANSIT OF VENUS
Salfordian William Crabtree greatly improved
knowledge concerning the movement of planets. His friendship
with Liverpudlian Jeremiah Horrox led to them jointly becoming
the first to witness, in 1639, the transit of the planet Venus
across the sun.
STEAM POWERED MILL
In 1783 Richard Arkwright set up the firs mil
to use steam power on Miller Street in the city centre. This
marked the move away from natural power sources such as water
and paved the way for mass production techniques.
John Dalton was the scientific colossus of early industrial
Manchester. His atomic theory (1803) with its pioneering work
on the constitution of elements was the precursor of all modern
chemistry whilst his lectures on meteorology turned the study
of the weather into a science. He was also the first to describe
Adopted Mancunian William Sturgeon (1783-1850) discovered the
electro-magnet which would later assist in the development of
such items as the electric telegraph and electric motor.
This law concerning the solubility of gases was formulated by
Manchester doctor, William Henry (1774-1836)
In 1853 John Benjamin Dancer working from 43 Cross Street invented
microphotography and microfilms. He also developed a spring
contact breaker for electric bells and stetoscopic camera.
FIRST LAW IN THERMODYNAMICS
This law of physics concerning the mecanical equivalence of
heat was discovered by James Prescott Joule (1819-89) whose
work is commemorated by the international name for the unit
of energy, the "joule".
Sir Joseph Whitworth (1803-87) was the father of precision engineering.
His work finding true planes allowed him to gain accuracies
in tool making up to 0.000001 inch. He was also the first to
develop a standard screw thread and the first to design a mechanical
CAST IRON BEAM
The introduction of cast iron beams strong enough to span large
distances was the work of Eaton Hodgkinson and sir William Fairbairn
for bridge building, in particular the Britannia Tubular Bridge
across the Menai Straits. They also began the large scale use
of plated wrought iron. Fairbairn, (1789-1874), an engineering
giant, was responsible for a leap forward in boiler making and
the invention of riveting machine.
Invented 1840 by James Nasmyth at his Patricroft works: the
hammer enabled huge iron components to be shaped.
The first purpose built industrial estate was Trafford Park.
It was created in 1896.
SPLITTING THE ATOM
Ernest Rutherford working at Manchester University discovered
how to split the atom in 1919.
The first computer with a stored programme and memory, nicknamed
"Baby", was developed at Manchester University in
1948 by professors Tom Kilburn and Fred Williams. Before this
computers had been simple calculating machines, afterwards the
modern computer was possible.
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THE MODERN CANAL
In Britain, this was the Bridgewater Canal - a totally artificial
waterway independent of natural rivers. Opened in 1761, it
was an instant commercial success and provoked 'canal mania'.
The first steamboats operated on the Bridgewater Canal in
RAILWAY AND RAILWAY STATION
The worlds first true railway started operating from a purpose
built station on Liverpool Road in 1830. Other places had
used steam engines but the Liverpool and Manchester Railway
had the lot, including steam locomotives throughout (no horse
drawn carriages), two tracks, timetables and proper stations.
It also got the attention of the world's press and started
the global stampede for railways.
The first mechanically powered submarine was launched in 1880
to the designs of eccentric Hulme curate, the Rev. George
Garrett. He also invented an armour plated mortar-board for
academies under attack.
The first and only swing aqueduct in the world is at Barton,
west of the city. Built in 1893, it carries the Bridgewater
Canal over the Ship Canal and carries 800 tons of water.
BRITISH AEROPLANE AND AVIATOR
Local man A.V.Roe designed and flew the firs totally British
plane in 1908. The plane was described as a "damaged
toast rack, imitating a motor-car". He had already claimed,
unofficially, to be the first Briton to fly earlier that year.
Roe pioneered the enclosed cock-pit and single joystick. In
1928 one of his Avro Avians, made in Manchester, became the
first plane to complete a solo flight to Australia.
Propably the world's first scheduled airline service was set
up in 1919 between Manchester and Southport.
Former Manchester Central High School students , J.W. Alcock
and A.W. Brown, were the first to fly the Atlantic Ocean,
non-stop, in 1919.
Trams were reintroduced on to British Streets by Manchester's
Metrolink service in 1991.
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|PROFESSIONAL, PERMANENT ORCHESTRA
This was the Halle Orchestra, set up in 1858 by German conductor
Charles Halle who was later knighted for his work.
Ann Horniman began British repertory theatre in 1908 at the
Gaiety Theatre Peter Street.
ART TREASURES EXHIBITION
Following the success with science and industry of the Great
Exhibition in London, Manchester in 1857 began a trend for international
Pit-owner John Fletcher finding fire-clay next to a coal seam
at Bolton decided to advertise the use of terracotta (a product
of fire-clay) by building churches completely of this material
in the 1840s at Holy Trinity, Platt Fields, Manchester, and
at St Stephens, Little Lever, Bolton.
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The world's first professional football league was set up in
1888 in the Royal Hotel, Piccadilly. Curiously of the twelve
original memebers none were from Manchester.
EUROPEAN CUP, DOUBLE DOUBLE, TREBLE
Manchester United were the first English football team to win
the European Cup in 1968 and first English club to twice achieve
the FA Cup and the Championship in the same year in 1993-94
and in 1995-96. They then topped both of those achievements in 1998/99, winning the Champions League, FA Cup and Championship all in the same year.
The first and only time that the crowd at a English club match
has exceeded 84,000 was at Maine Road in 1934, when Manchester
City played Stoke City in the FA Cup 6th round. The actual attendance
was 84569 and City won.
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|GAS STREET LIGHTING
Part of Chapel Street in Salford was illuminated in 1805 along
with the Philips and Lee factory.
Philips Park, Queens Park and Peel Park opened in 1846 to become
the firt municipal parks.
Manchester led the way in providing the citizens of the new
big cities with a supply of pure, fresh water when it opened
its Longdendale Reservoirs in the 1850s.
Salford Borough Library opened in 1850, followed in 1852 by
Manchester's which operated the first Children's Library from
FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY
Perhaps, the nation's first free, public library opened as Chetham's
Library, off Long Millgate, in 1653, for "the use of scholars
and others well-affected. "It was a bequest from wealthy
mercant, Humphrey Chetham and is still open, public and free.
FIRST BUS ROUTE
This ran from Market Street, Manchester, to Salford and began
Manchester and Salford led in the development of smokeless zones
in the 1950s.
URBAN HERITAGE PARK
The castlefield area of the city became Britain's first Urban
Heritage Park in 1982.
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|FIRST CASUALTY OF ENGLISH CIVIL
This dubious honour lies with Richard Percival, linen weaver,
shot on Market Street in 1642.
Doctor Charle White pioneered many new practices in obstetrics
including the use of fresh water and fresh air for women after
giving birth. His book, "The Management of Pregnant and
Lying- in Women" of 1773, marked a great leap forward in
Frank Evans from Salford is Britain's first and only matador
and has fought many times in Spain. He took inspiration from
the pictures he saw in the home of a Spanish family who lived
in his street.
Helen Morrison was perhaps the first Briton to advertise for
a husband in 1727 in the Manchester Weekly Advertiser. She was
later sent to a lunatic asylum.
MARKS AND SPENCER STORE
Despite having a market stall in Leeds, the first Marks and
Spencer store opened in Stretford Road, Hulme, Manchester, in
In 1904 Frederick Royce produced the first car from his factory
in Cooke Street, Hulme. He soon attracted the attention of Charles
Rolls and following a meeting in the Midland Hotel (now the
Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Midland Hotel) they set up the famous
company which bears their names.
Glasgow born, Manchester mill owner, Charles Mackintosh, took
out a patent in 1825 for practical waterproof fabric. He gave
his name to the raincoat. Crease proof fabric was the work of
Manchester company Tootal Broadhurst Lee in 1932.
UFO LANDING PAD
In the new Hulme Park there is to be a UFO airport located on
so-called ley lines. The potential of the site was pointed out
by local Geomantics. Manchester likes to think ahead: who knows
where the business links of tomorrow will be?
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