Ten Amazing Ways Manchester has Changed the World

How manchester changed the world

It’s hard to deny that Manchester is up there with the most influential cities in the world. From splitting the atom to creating a graphene sieve that can turn seawater into drinking water, discoveries and inventions made in Manchester have shaped the world we live in today.

1. Dalton’s Atomic Theory

Between 1803-1807, John Dalton proposed a new theory of the nature of atoms, which became known as ‘Dalton’s Atomic Theory’.  The theory proposed that all matter was composed of atoms, indivisible and indestructible building blocks – and remains on of the most important theories in science today.

2. Modern computer science

Computer pioneer, codebreaker and mathematical genius, Alan Turing, is famous for cracking Nazi Germany’s Enigma code, resulting in the shortening of WWII (and no doubt saving countless lives). Widely regarded as the father of the modern computer, much of his ground-breaking work was done at the University of Manchester.

3. The birth of the modern computer

The first ever computer that had memory and storage was developed in Manchester University in 1948. Professor Tom Kilburn and Fred Williams nicknamed it, ‘The Baby.’ Where would we be without this innovation!  A working replica of the Baby is now on display at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.

4. Votes for women

In the nineteenth century women had no place in national politics – as an MP or even to vote. Emmaline Pankhurst, born in Moss Side, led the British Suffragette movement in the early 1900’s, helping women get the right to vote. She and the suffragette movement finally succeeded through two laws in 1918 and 1928 – allowing women to finally vote.

Suffragettes movement

5. Britain’s first canal

Manchester’s Bridgewater Canal and was Britain’s first totally artificial waterway independent of rivers. It revolutionised transport when it opened in 1761 and 12 years later, it was home to the first ever steamboats.

6. Graphene

Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov received a Nobel Prize in 2010 for their experiments with Graphene. Turns out Graphene is the thinnest known material in the universe making the possibilities endless – from conducting electricity better than any copper wire to creating a wonder sieve capable of making seawater drinkable.

7. Rolls Royce

Some of the most luxurious car models ever created. Where did they originate? You guessed it! Manchester. They sell cars that you look at and think, ‘Wow’ and that is a special thing. Charles Stewart Rolls and Frederick Henry Royce founded the company in 1904, and despite financial collapse and sale of the company in 1971, it remains one of Britain’s most recognised and sought after car brands.

8. Vegetarianism

Believe it or not, being a ‘Veggy’ originated in Manchester. Martha Brotherton published a vegetarian cookbook in 1812, inspired by her local preacher, William Cowherd. Who would’ve thought that being a vegetarian would expand worldwide.

9. Football

Manchester City and Manchester United are two of the world’s biggest football clubs who attract attention from across the globe. Some would argue that the Manchester Derby is the biggest on the planet, but did you know the first ever national football league was founded in Manchester? The Football League was formed in the Royal Hotel in Piccadilly in 1888.


10. ‘Madchester’

Is there any city better than Manchester for showing how music should be played? Starting from the 80s and leading into the present day, Manchester bands have been at the forefront of rock/indie music. The Stone Roses, Joy Division, The Smiths, New Order, Oasis and even into the present day with The Courteeners and Blossoms. No city has influenced the music industry quite like Manchester.

There you have it, ten amazing ways Manchester changed the world!