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Five historical facts on Manchester

Ahead of the Manchester derby at the weekend, we pick out five historical facts about the city which might even be a joint source of pride for the two sets of rival fans...

On your Marx
Karl Marx and his willing sidekick Friedrich Engels would while away time in 1845 in Chetham’s, believed to be the oldest public library in England. Fans of the duo can go and sit in their windowseat. The library was founded in 1653 thanks to funding left by Humphrey Chetham, who made his money out of textiles but was a humble man and declined a knighthood... which earned him a fine for the snub.

Rock and Rolls
Manchester was the spark that brought the classic British car Rolls-Royce to fruition. The aristocrat and car dealer Charles Rolls and the engineer Henry Royce born in more modest circumstances met in a hotel in the city and combined to create the first Rolls-Royce, the 10hp, which rolled off the factory supply line in 1904. The factory was eventually to move elsewhere and Rolls was to become famous for a second, unwanted reason — in 1910 he became the first Briton to be killed in a plane crash.

Artists and crusading women
Among the famous non-footballing people to hail from Manchester are the artist LS Lowry and the celebrated suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst. Lowry whose works were subject of a chart-topping song in 1978 — has a gallery dedicated to his work in the city. One of his paintings cost over £5 million at auction in 2011. Unlike Chetham, Lowry was not punished for constantly declining honours. Pankhurst was so effective as an activist she helped women get the vote in Britain.

Guardian of the Left
The liberal establishment and left-wing Britain’s favourite newspaper The Guardian was founded in 1821 and for a long time was known as the Manchester Guardian. Initially though it was more favourable to the employer than the employee, being described as the "foul prostitute and dirty parasite of the worst portion of the mill-owners". However, under C.P. Scott — first as editor from 1872 and then owner in 1907 — it became far more radical and anti-establishment. Moved to London in 1964, right-wing politicians often resort to deriding their left-wing opponents by referring to them and their supporters as "the Guardian-reading chattering classes".

Mummy has students’ rapt attention
The British Museum in London might possess a much-admired collection of embalmed Egyptian Mummies but if you wish to become a curator of such artefacts then Manchester is the only place in the world you can obtain a degree in Mummy Studies. The University has laboratories dedicated to researching mummies and a Mummy Tissue Bank.


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