“Creativity is forged in Manchester on the anvil of industry”.

From the industrial revolution to the street art lining the walls of the Northern Quarter, Manchester has seen an abundance of creative, industrial, scientific and political development throughout the years.

Its rich culture has helped Manchester to be considered the UK’s second city after London, despite it not actually being the second largest by population. The city is brimming with art galleries, museums, theatres, libraries, sports stadiums, pubs, clubs and bars alongside endless streets of beautiful and historical architecture. The city is home to the world-renowned Halle Orchestra and what remains of the Free Trade Hall, alongside multiple neighbourhoods and communities that each bring their own flavour to the city, from the colourful streets of Chinatown to the bustling Gay Village.

A series of people, too long to name, have paved the way to make Manchester the vibrant city it is right now. Manchester is a melting pot of different cultures and communities that has forged a city full of art, food, music, football and the great northern spirit that is recognised across the world.

This is reflected in the symbol of Manchester, the worker bee, which represents the hard-working life-force of Mancunians and the importance of this hard work for both individual success and the greater good of the community. Creativity is at the heart of this life-force and the below 10 Mancunians are the perfect example of people who have put Manchester on the map.

Tony Wilson

Music legend and founder of the infamous Hacienda nightclub, Wilson’s work is said to have generated the fun-loving Manchester culture of partying, great music and nightlife. One of the co-founders of Factory Records and the brains behind some of Manchester’s most notorious bands such as Joy Division, Happy Mondays and New Order, Wilson’s legacy fuelled the ‘Mad-chester’ scene of the 80s and 90s.

Danny Boyle

Known for his vast career spanning film and theatre directing, producing and screenwriting, Danny Boyle has won an Oscar, two BAFTAs and a Golden Globe alongside multiple other awards and nominations for his immense talent in this field. He is most known for his films Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours and Trainspotting alongside being the artistic director of the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, all of which thrust him into the global spotlight. Despite this, Boyle is a huge devotee to the Manchester creative industry and is a patron of the HOME arts space and is also helping to launch a £30million film and media school in the city.

Victoria Wood

I could be potentially biased on this one, after watching Victoria Wood’s production of That Day We Sang at The Royal Exchange Theatre and being completely mesmerised, but Wood’s work is certainly remembered by most. Actress, comedienne, producer, director and singer-songwriter; Wood’s extensive and highly successful career, along with her hilarious Northern charm, made her a much loved and missed part of the Manchester arts scene.

Anthony Burgess

Burgess is the author of the illustrious dystopian satire, ‘A Clockwork Orange’ and grew up in the Harpurhey area of Manchester in the early 1920s. He was also a playwright, composer, screenwriter, translator, linguist and musician and although known for his novels, he preferred to compose music and infamously said, ‘I wish people would think of me as a musician who writes novels, instead of a novelist who writes music on the side’.

L.S Lowry

Known for his matchstick men of the North West’s industrial scenes, L.S Lowry is a Stretford-born artist whose work is renowned internationally. A large collection of his work is on display at The Lowry in Salford, which is a gallery and theatre complex specifically named after him. His work has taken the streets of Salford and Pendlebury across the world, after being exhibited on a global scale including The Tate Gallery and the MOMA in New York. He is a leading figure in modern British Art and is said to have made over 9,000 paintings and drawings in his lifetime.

Maxine Peake

Actress Maxine Peake is known for her portrayal of outspoken character, Veronica Ball, on the Manchester-based TV series ‘Shameless’ and is also remembered for the portrayal of Myra Hindley in ‘See No Evil: The Moors Murders’. She has since appeared on Netflix series ‘Black Mirror’ alongside multiple other television leads and is also extremely accomplished on stage. She is well known for her performance of the male role of Hamlet and for her continued relationship with The Royal Exchange Theatre and the Manchester International Festival.

Sir Norman Foster

Foster is said to be one of the most prolific architects of his generation and is one of the few Brits to have won the Pritzker Architecture Prize, known as the Nobel Prize of Architecture. Born and raised in Stockport and Levenshulme, Foster went on to become one of the most celebrated architects of our time, with notable works such as the Millennium Bridge, The Gherkin and Wembley Stadium in London, the Reichstag in Berlin, the HSBC building in Hong Kong and more recently, Apple Park in California.

Gallagher Brothers

Oasis is just one small part of Manchester’s extensive music scene, but Liam and Noel dominated the Britpop genre of the 90s and have made the city famous by singing with a distinctive Manc drawl and for looking consistently pissed off for two decades. Having lived in Manchester for 24 years, I can say with confidence that ‘Wonderwall’ is intensely overplayed, and Leona Lewis’ rendition of ‘Stop Crying Your Heart Out’ still makes me want to rip my own ears off, but these guys are Mancunian legends, end of.

Ian Brown

I could spend days listing iconic musicians to have come out of Manchester, from the Bee Gees and The Smiths to Courteeners and Blossoms, but Ian Brown of the Stone Roses makes the list because he is arguably one of the most iconic frontmen of the Manchester music scene (plus he was in Harry Potter so that makes him cooler than Morrissey). His rockstar appearance has made the cover of NME on multiple occasions and is well-known for saying that ‘Manchester has everything except a beach’. Well, he is right?

Professor Brian Cox

You’re probably wondering why a professor of particle physics has made this list, but Brian Cox is one of the few people to make science, and physics in particular, remotely exciting to the wider population. He has appeared in and presented multiple science programmes for TV and radio and skilfully uses humour and celebrity guests to relate to the general public and give people the chance to understand the topic.

At Brazen we challenge ourselves to think creatively every day – our office is in the heart of Ancoats, one of the most upcoming areas of the city on the doorstep of the Northern Quarter, meaning that every day we are working in an environment full of artists, creative professionals and out-of-the-box thinkers. The streets I walk down on my journey to work are overflowing with street art, graffitied murals and endless art shops and vintage clothing outlets – not to mention the pubs 😉

Creativity definitely isn’t the only thing to have come out of Manchester – I haven’t touched on the scientific accomplishments of Alan Turing, the historical triumphs of Emeline Pankhurst or even the sporting achievements of Manchester United, but I’m very proud to live and work in a place where creativity will always be at the heart of its identity.

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About the Author

Charlotte Leigh