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Key to the City™, Manchester.

Famous People from Manchester

Alan Turing Memorial, Manchester
Alan Turing Memorial, Manchester

Manchester and Greater Manchester are the birth place of or home to some well known writers, sport stars, musicians, politicians and artists. We list a few of the most notable here. If you have the time, we urge you to read a little more about each one on the internet.

Emmeline Pankhurst (1858-1928) was a British political activist and leader of the British suffragette movement who helped women win the right to vote. She was born in Moss Side, Manchester and was introduced to the women’s suffrage movement by her politically active parents. She married Richard Pankhurst, a barrister who supported women’s rights in 1879; he died in 1898. She formed the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in 1903, an organisation open only to women and focused on direct action to win the vote. She died in 1928, the year that gave women the same voting rights as men. In 1987 one of her homes in Manchester was opened as the Pankhurst Centre.

Laurence Stephen Lowry RBA RA (1887-1976) was an English artist with a distinctive style of painting and is best known for his urban landscapes peopled with human figures often referred to as "matchstick men". Many of his drawings and paintings depict Pendlebury, Lancashire and also Salford and its surrounding areas. LS Lowry was born in 1887 in Stretford but most of his early years were spent in the leafy Manchester suburb of Victoria Park, Rusholme before moving to Pendlebury in 1909 where he lived and worked for more than 40 years. A large collection of Lowry's work is on permanent public display in The Lowry, a purpose-built art gallery on Salford Quays named in his honour.

Former Prime Minister David Lloyd George (1863-1945) was born in Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester, to Welsh parents, and was brought up as a Welsh-speaker. He served as Prime Minister from 1916 to 1922.

Alan Turing OBE (1912-1954) was born in London and was a computer scientist and mathematician best known for code-cracking the World War Two German Enigma machine. The Manchester University scientist was prosecuted in 1952 for homosexual acts and died in the city in tragic circumstances. He was granted a posthumous pardon in 2013.

John Anthony Burgess Wilson (1917-1993) – who published under the pen name Anthony Burgess – was a talented writer and composer. Born in Harpurhey, Manchester, he eventually became one of the best known English literary figures of the latter half of the twentieth century with his dystopian satire A Clockwork Orange his best known novel.

Sir Norman Foster was born in 1935 in Reddish, Stockport. This famous architect has designed the London Gherkin, the HSBC Building in Hong Kong, New York's Hearst Tower and restored Berlin's Reichstag, home to the German parliament.

For the arts, actor Sir Ben Kingsley (born 1943) - known for roles in Gandhi and Schindler's List, actor Robert Donat (1905-1958) - known for roles in Hitchcock's The 39 Steps and Goodbye, Mr Chips, actor Albert Finney (born 1936) - known for roles in Tom Jones and Murder on the Orient Express, actor John Thaw CBE (1942-2002) - known for roles in Inspector Morse and The Sweeney, actor Harry H Corbett OBE (1925-1982) - known for his role in Steptoe and Son, tv presenter and music impresario Tony Wilson (1950-2007), comedy actress Caroline Aherne (1963-2016), comedian Les Dawson (1931-1993), actor turned lead singer of The Monkees Davy Jones (1945-2012), actor and comedian Steve Coogan (born 1965), screenwriter Tony Warren (1936-2016) - creator of Granada/ITV soap opera Coronation Street, actress Pat Phoenix (1923-1986), film director Danny Boyle (born 1956), comedian Bernard Manning (1930-2007), historian and broadcaster Michael Wood (born 1948), radio DJ Nick Grimshaw (born 1984) and actor and singer Shayne Ward (born 1984).

Musicians from the area include (Steven Patrick) Morrissey (born 1959) and Johnny Marr (born 1963) of The Smiths, Noel Gallagher (born 1967) and Liam Gallagher (born 1972) of Oasis, Ian Curtis (1956-1980), Bernard Sumner (born 1956) and Peter Hook (born 1956) of Joy Division (and New Order from 1980), Ian Brown (born 1963) of the Stone Roses, Shaun Ryder (born 1962) of the Happy Mondays and Mick Hucknall (born 1960) of Simply Red.

For sports, England and Manchester United footballer Norbert Peter "Nobby" Stiles (born 1942), Manchester United manager Sir Matt Busby (1909-1994, born in North Lanarkshire), Manchester United's longest-serving manager Sir Alex Ferguson (born 1941 in Glasgow) and Wales and Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs (born 1973 in Cardiff).

Of notoriety, Myra Hindley (1942-2002) was born in Crumpsall and raised in Gorton, Manchester. The Moors murders were carried out with Ian Brady between July 1963 and October 1965, in and around what is now Greater Manchester. The victims were five children aged between 10 and 17 - Pauline Reade, John Kilbride, Keith Bennett, Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans.

Last Updated Tuesday 5 May 2020

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