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Coordinates: 53°28′45″N 2°14′39″W / 53.479167°N 2.244167°W / 53.479167; -2.244167

City Centre
Manchester city centre, Central Manchester
Inner Manchester.jpg
Manchester city centre is in the centre of Greater Manchester
City Centre is located in Greater Manchester
City Centre

 City Centre shown within Greater Manchester
Area  2.2 sq mi (5.7 km2)
Population 11,689 (2001 Census)
    - Density  5,313 /sq mi (2,051 /km2)
OS grid reference SJ839980
    - London  163 mi (262 km) SE 
Metropolitan borough Manchester
Metropolitan county Greater Manchester
Region North West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district M1 - M4
Dialling code 0161
Police Greater Manchester
Fire Greater Manchester
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament Manchester Central
List of places: UK • England • Greater Manchester

Manchester city centre – known formally as City Centre[1] – is the central business district of both Manchester and Greater Manchester,[2] in North West England. The city centre, as defined by Manchester City Council, lies within the Manchester Inner Ring Road, straddling the River Irwell, and thereby encompassing part of neighbouring Salford.[3] The electoral ward of Manchester Central has an area of 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2) and a population of 11,689.[4]

The city centre is the historic core of Manchester, around which the modern city grew. It evolved from the civilian vicus associated with the Roman fort of Mamucium, which was established c. AD 79 on a sandstone bluff near the confluence of the River Medlock and River Irwell, in a position defensible from the Brigantes.[5] Once the Romans abandoned Britain, the focus of settlement in Manchester shifted to the confluence of the rivers Irwell and Irk.[6] During the Dark Ages which followed – and persisted until the Norman Conquest – the settlement at Manchester was in the territory of several different petty kingdoms.[7] In the Middle Ages, what is now the city centre was the township of Manchester.

Extensively redeveloped since the Manchester Blitz and 1996 Manchester bombing, the city centre remains the commercial and cultural centre of Manchester, the site of much of its retailing, office space and heritage centres. The majority of the tallest buildings and structures in Manchester are located in the city centre, including Manchester Town Hall in Albert Square which houses the city's administrative functions, and Beetham Tower, the tallest building in the United Kingdom outside London.



Boundary sign of the former township of Manchester.

Manchester Castle – a medieval fortification, probably taking the form of a ringwork – is located on a bluff where the rivers Irk and Irwell meet.[8] The castle was first mentioned in 1184 and was recorded in 1215 as belonging to the barons of Manchester, the Grelley family.[9] It has been described as "of no political or military importance".[10] The Grelleys replaced the castle with a fortified manor house, which in turn was replaced by a college of priests.[11] This became the site of Chetham's School of Music.


Central compared
2001 UK census Central[12] City of Manchester[13] England
Total population 11,689 392,819 49,138,831
White 82.0% 81.0% 91.0%
Asian 4.3% 9.1% 4.6%
Black 2.8% 4.5% 2.3%
Chinese or other 8.0% 2.7% 0.9%
Mixed 2.8% 3.2% 1.3%

As of the 2001 UK census, the political ward of "Central", which covers an area of 2.14 square miles (5.54 km2), had a population of 11,689 with a population density of 5,460 inhabitants per square mile (2,108 /km2). While this was lower than the population density for the whole city (8,798 inhabitants per square mile (3,397 /km2)), the proportion of land dedicated to domestic buildings was lower in the ward than in the whole city (6.7% compared to 8.0%).[14] There was a female-to-male ratio of 100 to 113, much higher than the 100 to 95 ratio for all England.[15] Of those over 16 years old, 65.7% were single (never married), 13.7% married, and 8.7% divorced; this was significantly different from the national figures of 30.2% single, 43.5% married, and 8.2% divorced.[16] The ward's 6,188 households included 61.1% one-person, 8.6% married couples living together, 9.0% were co-habiting couples, and 12.4% single parents with their children; compared to national figures, there was a high proportion of single person households, and a low proportion of married couples living together.[17] Of those aged 16–74, 30.5% had no academic qualifications, lower than the figure for the City of Manchester (34.0%) but slightly above that of the whole of England (28.9%).[15] The ward had a significantly higher percentage of adults with a diploma or degree than the city or England as a whole. Of the ward's residents aged 16–74, 26.3% had an educational qualification such as first degree, higher degree, qualified teacher status, qualified medical doctor, qualified dentist, qualified nurse, midwife, or health visitor, compared to 21.4% in Manchester and 19.9% nationwide.[15]


The city centre in 2007

Manchester city centre is home to Marks and Spencer, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols stores. Deansgate and Market Street are the centre's principal retail streets. There is also a large indoor shopping mall called the Manchester Arndale Centre and a group of high-class shops in King Street. There are many leisure facilities in the city centre including the Printworks, a large facility containing a cinema (including an IMAX screen), numerous bars, clubs and restaurants and also Manchester's first Hard Rock Cafe.

The Northern Quarter, centred around Oldham Street, is known for its Bohemian atmosphere and independent shops and cafes.

Piccadilly Gardens - A green space in the city

The landscaping of the city centre has provided several public spaces including the newly developed Piccadilly Gardens, which incorporates fountains, green spaces and a Metrolink station. Exchange Square is located near Urbis, which is an exhibition centre focusing on city life. Both Piccadilly and Exchange Square are used for screening public events. Two of the city centre's oldest buildings, The Old Wellington Inn and Sinclair's Oyster Bar, were dismantled, moved 300 yards and re-erected in 1999 to create the new Shambles Square adjacent to Manchester Cathedral.[18]

There are other museums in Manchester city centre including the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry which includes many hands-on exhibits and the People's History Museum.

There are a great variety of restaurants in the city centre including a number owned by prominent chef Paul Heathcote. There is also a good stock of hotels in the city centre which include the Midland, Jarvis Piccadilly and Ramada Renaissance.


Manchester city centre has many nightclubs, many of which follow in the footsteps of the Haçienda nightclub which has now closed; the site has been redeveloped as a housing complex. There is a gay village around the Canal Street area of the city centre, which plays host to an annual Gay Pride Festival, and a large Chinatown with numerous restaurants.

See also



  1. ^ Ordnance Survey. "Source data - 1:25,000 Scale Colour Raster; Grid reference at centre - SJ 837 981 GB Grid". Retrieved 2008-11-07.  
  2. ^ Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority. "The Greater Manchester Area and its Regional Context". Retrieved 2007-04-11.  
  3. ^ Manchester City Council. "City Centre Zoning Map" (GIF). Retrieved 2008-06-09.  
  4. ^ Central (Key Figures), URL accessed March 20, 2007.
  5. ^ Gregory (2007), pp. 1, 3.
  6. ^ Hylton (2003), pp. 3, 8.
  7. ^ Hylton (2003), p. 7.
  8. ^ Newman (2006), p. 141.
  9. ^ Nevell (2008), p. 41.
  10. ^ Kidd (1996), p. 13.
  11. ^ Nevell (2008), p. 42.
  12. ^ "Central (ward): Ethnic group". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 3 May 2009.  
  13. ^ "Manchester (local authority): Ethnic group". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 3 May 2009.  
  14. ^ "Central (ward): Key figures for physical environment". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 3 May 2009.  
  15. ^ a b c "Central (ward): Key statistics". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 3 May 2009.  
  16. ^ "Central (ward): Marital status". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 3 May 2009.  
  17. ^ "Central (ward): Household composition". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 3 May 2009.  
  18. ^ Greater manchester County Records Office: Wellington Inn


  • Gregory, Richard (ed) (2007). Roman Manchester: The University of Manchester's Excavations within the Vicus 2001–5. Oxford: Oxbow Books. ISBN 978-1-84217-271-1.  
  • Hylton, Stuart (2003). A History of Manchester. Chichester: Phillimore and co. Ltd.. ISBN 1-86077-240-4.  
  • Kidd, Alan ([1996] 1993). Manchester. Keele: Keele University Press. ISBN 1-85331-028-X.  
  • Nevell, Mike (2008), Manchester: The Hidden History, The History Press, ISBN 978-0-7524-4704-9  
  • Newman, Caron (2006). "Medieval Period Resource Assessment". Archaeology North West 8: 115–144. ISSN 0962-4201.  
  • Atkins, Philip (1976). Guide Across Manchester. Manchester: Civic Trust for the North West. ISBN 0-901347-29-9.  
  • Bradshaw, L. D. (1985). Origins of Street Names in the City of Manchester. Radcliffe: Neil Richardson. ISBN 0-907511-87-2.  

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