“What Manchester does today, the world will do tomorrow,”
Before your eyebrows hit the roof and your fod begins to furrow,
There is a lot of truth in that, see, this city led the way,
And in many revolutions our inventions came into play.
Some of them are whacky and some of them are weird,
A treasure chest of Manc heritage now around the world revered,
For example did you know, we had the world’s first vegetarian?
We built the first public library and the first sshh librarian?
But I guess the rain that made us was focal way back then,
And our obsession with this water would make us reign again.
Coz our ancestors built the first canal the UK had ever seen,
And they followed this up by building the first mechanical submarine!
Then the country’s first steam boat and first steam powered mill,
Would spur industrial revolution, when Mancs just couldn’t stand still,
The Flying Shuttle, the Spinning Jenny and the Spinning Mule,
Were invented here in Greater Manc under industrial rule.
It’s true to say at that time we had ideas above our station,
Like launching the world’s very first, passenger railway station,
Ninety eight per cent of the world’s linen came from our cotton boom
Which forced us to build back then, the world’s biggest trading room,
The shock city of that century, once those cotton wheels got spinning,
And that legacy lives down under where Manchester still means linen,
In Sweden and in Germany, corduroy’s known as Manchester velvet,
So if you still think we’re insignificant, it’s probably time to shelve it.
The first purpose industrial estate sprang up in Trafford Park,
We had the very first retail shop owned by Marks and Sparks.
We invented the commuter town in Alderley Edge and Sale,
Whilst the whole basis of atomic theory from this town would hail.
See, the atom was discovered here and later it was split,
The elements derived from the work Dalton would submit,
Colour blindness, obstetrics and the study of the weather,
Were developed here in Manchester, my goodness, well I never!
Thermodynamics, Henry’s law, the categorisation of the Joule,
A hotbed for new scientists, Manc was no-one’s fool,
Industrialism drove the way but new technology was nearing,
With our Jo Whitworth becoming the daddy of precision engineering.
It was here they first launched microfilm and the micro-photograph,
And the first lonely heart advert, which could make you cry or laugh,
Coz in the 1700s Miss Morrison placed AN ad in the paper,
She was looking for a husband, it seemed a harmless funny caper.
But the authorities would disagree they frowned and they were glum,
And they locked up our poor Helen in a lunatic a-sy-lum,
But then followed women’s movements, like the Suffragettes,
Who battled for the female vote and the equality they would get.
The first post modern political movement would fight for a free trade,
Lowering the cost of bread and the prices that folk paid,
Years later the first meeting of the TUC was held in town,
Having formed itself in Salford at the pub called The Three Crowns.
Manchester was also where Britain’s first aeroplane was designed,
And between this city and Southport was the first scheduled airline,
Pilots of the first transatlantic flight, went to school around here,
Whilst a Manchester built aircraft was the first to fly to Australia.
So many different industries where Manchester played a part,
We also scored some firsts in the celebration of fine art,
We had the first professional orchestra, our world renowned Halle,
We’d host the first international art expo… in our gallery.
Back to the rainy weather the effect of which was blatant,
See rainy Manc was where a Mackintosh filed for his patent,
We led the way with reservoirs and municipal parks,
The first Nuclear Free City, the first Urban Heritage Park.
It’s been a meeting place for many, a point we should rejoice,
Because Manchester was where Mister Rolls meet with Mister Royce,
The football league was set up here in eighteen eighty eight,
So many firsts and records broke; at least one team was great!
The first to play and win in Europe, United were a rebel,
The first to win two doubles and the first to win the treble,
Whilst City are the only team, and this should make them proud,
To attract more than eighty four…thousand fans into their ground.
The world’s very first computer was developed at our Uni,
Whilst Greater Manc gave birth to the world’s first test tube baby,
Recently our scientists got the Nobel Peace prize for graphene,
For inventing the thinnest material the world has ever seen.
Top Of The Pops was launched here, I bet that was a treat,
Whilst we’ve got the longest running soap in Coronation Street,
They changed the course of clubbing with the infamous Hacienda,
And rocked the charts with Madchester, a near decade long, global bender.
We’ve served up Vimto from the bottle and Boddingtons from the keg,
The Manchester Tart, Betty’s hotpot and now the Manchester Egg,
Whilst England’s football kit was made by a company down the road,
So Manchester made England’s skin until Umbro was sold.
We boast the only national daily to come from a provincial city,
And if you add all that little lot up, we sound quite revolutionary,
Because remember…we’re not a capital, no treaty here was signed,
But we’re known all around the world and on Mars I think you’ll find.
So sure ok, it rains alot and the sun ain’t our best friend,
But it’s harsh to say that nothings ever happened round your end,
So if you think it’s boring here you should open up your eyes,
Because the list of firsts for this city far outweighs its size.
Copyright©2011 by Phil Martin
All rights reserved.