Manchester culture thrives from being a diverse city with a rich heritage. It also has a history of welcoming immigrants, especially European post-war refugees and the families who were fleeing the destruction left by WW2.
In 1990, the inmates of Strangeways prison began the longest riot in British penal history. Once revered as a “last bastion of discipline,” the prison stood as the largest penitentiary in England, holding around 900 men at full capacity. By 1990, a peak of over 1,600 prisoners had been confined within its walls, becoming a ‘human warehouse’ with a dangerous guard-to-prisoner ratio. It was the perfect environment for revolt to fester, with cries for justice from disenfranchised men being inevitably ignored. Inmates began to talk of revolt, one specifically, Paul Taylor, who became the ring-leader of such discussions. Taylor was confined in an attempt to silence his protest but paradoxically, it was there he met Alan Lord, the second ring-leader of the riot, and the two began to plan their systemic overthrow.
The Sex Pistols’ gig at Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall in June 1976 was recently voted one of the most influential gigs of all time. Seen as a critical moment in the emergence of the British punk movement and the proceeding post-punk scene. Despite hundreds of people claiming to have been there, in fact, there were only around 40 people in the audience, with tickets having been advertised in the small print of the Manchester Evening News for 50p each.
Factory Records was a fiercely independent and experimental Mancunian record label started by local news presenter and post-punk enthusiast, Tony Wilson. Though it closed down in 1992 its influence on Manchester and the UK music scene is undeniable and continues today. The history of its creation and philosophy reveals why Factory Records remains legendary in the collective conscience of Manchester.