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Ah, Manchester. This jewel of the north not only has an incredible industrious past but with a wonderful modern legacy for music, football, business and culture, it has also been the home more than its fair share of famous faces over the years!

Actors, writers, industrialists, sports personalities: whether you are a modern celebrity spotter or a history aficionado looking to learn more about the beautiful city, you will be shocked out just how many of your favourite stars were either born in Manchester or simply left their mark on the city.

Here are just a few of our favourites!


There is no shortage of musical stars who were either born in Manchester or called it their home at some point or another, but this list would hardly be complete if we didn’t mention Nico of the Velvet Underground.

The iconic singer worked with Martin Hannett, the producer for Joy Division, to record a new version of ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties’ in Manchester. Between 1980 and 1988, Nico lived in such areas as Prestwich, Hulme and Salford. Sadly, she would die a few months later, but both her musical and local legacy still remains to this day and have been the focus of a stage production.

Tony Warren (Anthony McVay Simpson)

Ah, Coronation Street. Whether you love or hate soap operas, the long-running program has no doubt served as a staple of British entertainment for more than half a century. There are dozens of associated actors who could have made this list, but instead, we thought it best to mention Anthony McVay Simpson – the Swinton lad who started it all!

After just six months on the air, Coronation Street had become the most-watched programme in Britain. For many viewers, it was a window into their daily lives: men and women living from day to day, visiting the local pub, getting to know each other (and indulging in the odd murder mystery, though we aren’t sure whether Mr Simpson himself would have approved).

Nowadays the still-locally-filmed soap opera is still going strong, with audiences around the world regularly tuning in to check up on the crowd at the Rovers Return Inn.

Adrian Edmondson and Rik Mayall

With so many British comedy stars having made their bones at Oxford and Cambridge, it’s nice to know that Manchester University also had its fair share of genre-defining comedians. Infamous due Adrian and Rik were two such treasures, with Mr Mayall even taking inspiration for The Young Ones from his old flat in East Didsbury!

Are you a fan of the show? You could always celebrate by heading to Didsbury to deliver a rendition of your favourite Cliff Richard classic, though we certainly wouldn’t condone you doing so!

Noel and Liam Gallagher

You all knew this was coming! What list of Manchester celebrities would be complete without the genre-defining Gallagher brothers, Noel and Liam? Raised in Burnage, the two would go on to dish out hit after hit as the frontmen of Oasis, one of the most crucial bands in the Britpop movement.

When it comes to the city of Manchester, Noel and Liam are as much a staple of the city as Manchester United. Their style did away with over-Americanised music in favour of Manc accents and classic British rock, inspiring dozens if not hundreds of acts even to this day.

Granted, Manchester has a shortage of musical talent, but these two have definitely (maybe) been among the most well known for going on three decades now!

Emmeline Pankhurst

As much as Manchester has to offer in terms of modern culture, visitors should also make time to learn about the city’s social history. A visit to the People’s History Museum will quickly reveal a myriad of world-famous disruptors who once called the city home, one of the most well-known of whom was undoubtedly Emmeline Pankhurst.

Born in Moss Side back in 1858, Emmeline would go on to become a leading figure in the women’s suffrage movement. She formed the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in 1903, regularly making headlines for the organisation’s daring protests. Women wanted the vote, and with a slogan of “Deeds, not words”, Mrs Pankhurst was fundamental in helping them achieve it. Sadly, she would die the very same year that the Equal Franchise Act was passed, but Emmeline would live forever as a figurehead for fairness in a formerly male-dominated society.

Sir Alex Ferguson

The city of Manchester has long been associated with the beautiful game of football – so much so that we struggled to choose which famous face to add to this list! However, with his mostly-local squad, five FA cups, 13 league titles and 38 trophies, few have done as much to earn their spot as national treasure Sir Alex Ferguson.

While Manchester’s local football teams continue to boast some of the world’s finest players, many of whom have also served on the English national team, it’s highly doubtful that anyone will ever come close to breaking this manager’s record.

Benedict Cumberbatch

Very few stars can claim to have been played a dragon, a gentleman detective and a great mathematician, but then Benedict Cumberbatch is hardly an ordinary star. Some would even claim that he has become the quintessential posh British actor of his generation – which makes it all the more surprising that he used to call Manchester his home!

Indeed, Benedict actually studied drama at the University of Manchester. Friends from his student days told the Guardian in 2015 that he was “very posh and seemed even posher in Manchester”, effectively making him stand out like a curly haired thumb.

Alan Turing

It seems almost ironic that Benedict Cumberbatch should feature on this list when one of his most famous portrayals was of none other than Mr Alan Turing, the genius codebreaker who helped us achieve victory in World War II. Without his work in cracking the Enigma Code, things may well have gone quite differently!

In 1948, the genius mathematician moved to the northern city in order to head Manchester University’s new computing department. Sadly, he would be prosecuted for his homosexuality just four years later, eventually culminating in his death in 1954. While he may have lacked the reverence he deserved during his lifetime, Mr Turing was thankfully given a posthumous pardon in 2013.

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