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The Council and democracy History of Manchester Town Hall

Town Hall stories

  • Around 50,000 people took part in a mile-long 'procession of the trades' to celebrate the opening of the Town Hall.  Streets throughout the city centre were decorated with banners and flags representing the many different professions of the city, with 69 trade unions taking part, from the bakers and tailors to the chimney sweeps and the tin-makers – who were accompanied by a mounted knight in full armour.  
  • During the 1966 World Cup, the Town Hall served as an 'international lounge', with a team of interpreters manning phone lines to answer queries in French, German, Spanish and Portuguese.
  • 25 film reels discovered in the Town Hall's basement by a workman in 1984 turned out to contain messages sent home by servicemen and women during World War II.  The films were accompanied by paperwork identifying the people who featured in them, plus the names and addresses of their loved ones in Manchester.  The films are now kept at the North West Film Archive, at Central Library, and recently featured in a Channel 4 documentary.  
  • The Town Hall is a much-loved wedding venue, but no happy couple have had a more illustrious surprise guest than John and Francis Canning.  The Cannings' nuptials on 24 March 2012 coincided with Queen Elizabeth II's visit to the building, as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations - and the monarch met the happy couple to offer her congratulations. 

These have been some of the Manchester 'moments' that we know of: why not share your memories of the Town Hall with us?

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