Discovering Manchester

Manchester is packed with lots of entertaining, educative and informative facts and that’s aside from exciting activities that the city has to offer. Before we delve into Manchester’s fun activities, let's discover the city together. Where is Manchester? What can we learn from its history? How big is it and are you familiar with the Mancunian dialect?
Sophie

Manchester is packed with lots of entertaining, educative and informative facts and that’s aside from exciting activities that the city has to offer. Before we delve into Manchester’s fun activities, let's discover the city together. Where is Manchester? What can we learn from its history? How big is it and are you familiar with the Mancunian dialect?

Location: Where is Manchester?

Manchester is a major city in the northwest of England with a rich industrial heritage. Manchester is situated in a bowl-shaped land area bordered to the north and east by Pennines, and to the south by Cheshire Plain. It’s 160 miles northwest of London, 35 miles northeast of Liverpool and 35 miles northwest of Sheffield.


History

The history of Manchester began with the civilian settlement associated with the Roman fort of Mamucium or Mancunium, established in about AD 79. Throughout the Middle Ages, Manchester remained a manorial township, but it began to expand at a rapid rate around the turn of the 19th century.


Manchester's urbanisation was accelerated by a boom in textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution, resulting in it becoming the world’s first industrialised city. Manchester achieved city status in 1853. Its fortune declined after World War II, owing to deindustrialisation, and the IRA bombing in 1996 led to extensive investment and regeneration. Following significant redevelopment, Manchester was the host city for the 2002 Commonwealth Games.


The name Manchester originates from the Latin name Mamucium or its variant Mancunio, leading to its citizens being called Mancunians to date. The generally accepted etymology of this name is that it comes from Brittonic mamm, meaning breast in reference to a breast-like hill which alludes to the shape of the city.

Population

According to the World Urban Areas Report (updated for 2023), the third most populous urban area in the UK is Manchester (2.4 million), right behind Birmingham (2.5 million) and London (10 million) respectively. In other statistics, London is ranked the largest urban agglomeration in the UK, with an estimated population that is more than three times as large as Manchester, the UK’s second-largest urban agglomeration.


Mancunian Dialect

The Manchester dialect is relatively localised and is usually found in Greater Manchester including the cities of Salford and Manchester and also in the immediate adjacent parts of the boroughs of Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside and Trafford.


The famous Manc twang is heard in areas of Central Manchester and neighbouring Salford, while northern areas of Greater Manchester associate more with traditional Lancashire. The dialect itself is more distinctive than many people realise. It is quite notably different from the accent spoken in adjacent towns such as Bolton, Oldham, Rochdale and Wigan despite them being within Greater Manchester.


Here are some of the most notable dialectal words, phrases and sayings in Mancunian:

  • Buzzing- extremely happy
  • (H)angin(g)- nasty, disgusting (e.g. John is ‘angin’)
  • Cock- generic term of friendship, like a mate or pal
  • Dead- an emphasis marker (e.g. dead busy)
  • The dibble- refers to the police
  • Gaff- a residence, house or flat
  • Madferit (mad for it)- full of enthusiasm
  • Mither- to moan or whinge
  • Muppet- ignorant or foolish
  • Safe- to be on good terms, also used to mean ‘okay’ 
  • Sayin(g)- contraction of ‘what are you saying?’, used as a greeting to imply ‘what are you up to?’
  • Sappin(g)- contraction of ‘what’s happing?’, used as a greeting to imply ‘what are you up to?’
  • Snide- mean, tight
  • Sorted- okay/dealt with (sorted out)
  • Sound- okay, trustworthy


There is so much more to discover about Manchester. The city is a dynamic blend of history, culture and innovation. Today, it stands as a modern metropolis, celebrated for its diverse music scene, world-class football teams, thriving arts and culinary scenes. Manchester offers a rich tapestry of experiences for residents and visitors alike. Find out more! What is Manchester famous for?