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General Information: Manchester

Manchester is the original modern city. What Athens was to Ancient Greece and Florence was to the Italian Renaissance, Manchester was to the modern scientific and industrial age. It remains a powerhouse of science and the arts, sport and music, and is the UK’s third most-visited city after London and Edinburgh.

Manchester is home to the University of Manchester, the second-largest university in the UK and the largest single-site university, as well as Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Salford in nearby Salford. The University of Manchester has 25 Nobel laureates among its past and present students and staff, and four Nobel laureates on its current staff, more than any other British university. It owns and operates major cultural assets such as the Manchester Museum, Whitworth Art Gallery, John Rylands Library and Jodrell Bank Observatory and the Lovell Radio Telescope.

This is a city of science and discovery – from spinning jennies and beating looms to John Dalton and atomic theory, James Joule and modern physics, Alan Turing and computing through to the National Graphene Institute, opened in 2015, a major European centre for graphene research. And with that, an extraordinary public culture of ‘useful knowledge’ and self-improvement. Technology and commerce march hand in hand, clearly seen at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry.

Manchester is especially well-known for its music scene, which has produced Factory Records and the Hacienda and bands such as The Smiths, Joy Division/New Order, Buzzcocks and Oasis, among many others. Today, its numerous venues continue to be a central part of the UK music circuit, welcoming globally successful acts and nurturing new talent. Arts, culture and excellent nightlife are also present in abundance. The recently-transformed Whitworth Art Gallery, winner of Visit England’s Large Visitor Attraction of the Year prize for 2016, is close to the meeting venue.

In addition, the city has two Premier League football teams, Manchester United and Manchester City, and hosts Lancashire County Cricket Club. It is the home of UK cycling at the National Cycling Centre and Manchester Velodrome. The National Speedway Stadium is in the Belle Vue area of the city.

Tristram Hunt, author and historian, has written: “From the battle for democracy on the fields of Peterloo in 1819 onwards, Manchester’s urban energy fostered a wealth of new ideas. It was the birthplace of the ‘Manchester School’ – those liberal free-traders whose belief in open markets and a minimal state provided the groundwork for contemporary conservatism. But it was also the city that moulded Marx and Engels’ communism – to say nothing of Manchester’s role in the anti-slavery campaign, trade unionism, the Labour Party, Suffragettes and the vegetarian movement. So many of the ideas that continue to shape our world first found their voice in Manchester. Alongside the Satanic mills and booming factories, here was where traditions crumbled, urban life was pioneered and originality thrived. Here was where the modern was born.”

Updated 2 January 2018

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