Every city has something to be proud of, and Manchester has a lot.
It might be a city with “so much to answer for”, as the famous quote goes, but with a history that’s as rich, vibrant, and culturally diverse as Manchester’s, we’re happy to answer for it.
From iconic music and sporting achievements, to groundbreaking inventions, political movements, world firsts, and so much more, there’s no end to list of things that Manchester has gifted the world over the years, and we should have no shame in shouting about them from the rooftops with pride.
But are we forgetting something here? Is there something missing from that list?
Oh yeah, there’s also Vimto.
Vimto is a much-loved Manchester-born soft drink that contains the juice of grapes, raspberries and blackcurrants – each in a 3% concentration – which is then flavoured with a selection of delicately-balanced herbs and spices.
It was created in 1908 at 19 Granby Row in Manchester city centre – now part of The University of Manchester’s grounds – by John Noel Nichols, who was a wholesaler of herbs, spices and medicines that saw the market opening for soft drinks, due to the temperance movement and the passage of the 1908 Licensing Act.
It was originally sold under the name Vim Tonic, which Nichols shortened to Vimto in 1912.
It’s hard to believe it now, but Vimto was originally registered as a health tonic or medicine when it was first created, but was then re-registered as a cordial in 1913.
It enjoyed so much success during the initial years following its creation that in 1910, because the Granby Row premises had become too small, Vimto production moved to a warehouse at Chapel Street, Salford, then to Old Trafford (1927), and finally to a state-of-the-art plant in Wythenshawe in 1970.
As well as its continued popularity throughout the 20th and 21st centrury, Vimto has even taken on a life of its own as a flavour too in more recent years, meaning that as well as being able to pop to your local shop or supermarket to buy some Vimto cordial, a bottle of still Vimto, a can of the fizzy kind from the chippy on a Friday, or even a Vimto slushie, you can now also buy some Vimto bon bons, Vimto ice lollies, candy sprays, chewy bars, and a cheeky Vimto cocktail to go along with it – although the latter doesn’t actually contain Vimto, it has to be said.
There’s even a Vimto Remix range too, boasting some other unique flavour combinations like Mango, Strawberry & Pineapple, and Raspberry, Orange & Passion Fruit, so it’s really come a long way from its origins.
And yes, we know it’s not for everyone.
Someone once pointed out that its name is an acronym for vomit, which you can make of that what you will, and it’s also certainly got its fair share of competitors on the market too, but there’s no denying it’s a drink that’s loved round these parts.
To cut a long story short, Manchester is pretty proud of Vimto.
So proud in fact, that we decided to dedicate a monument especially to it, and stick it pride of place in the heart of the city centre, on the very spot that it was created.
Credit: Manchester History
The sculpture is aptly entitled A Monument to Vimto.
The giant wooden bottle and berries was first commissioned by J.N. Nichols plc, and carved by environmental artist Kerry Morrison out of an oak tree from a sustainable forest, before being successfully installed in Granby Row in 1992.
And we’re not kidding either, the monument now stands proudly at the site of the original factory where the first batch of Vimto was ever made.
After 19 years of the typical Manchester weather taking its toll, and plenty of attention from city revellers, the monument was ready for a refresh, and was thus “brought back to its former glory” in 2011 with a much-needed makeover.
The grapes and raspberries were restored – with the grapes changing from red to green to reflect the ingredients of Vimto – the blackcurrants were replaced entirely, a new wooden barrel was constructed to replace the bottom of the Vimto bottle, and new labels were carved and painted.
As bizarre as it may be, and despite the many heads it’s turned over the years, Manchester is as proud of the Vimto monument as we are the drink itself.
And we would’t have it any other way.
Featured Image – Flickr
Manchester band M60 are tagging Gary Neville every day until he listens to their music — let’s help make it happen
Nearly half a year ago, Manchester band M60 began a social media campaign to start tagging Manchester United legend turned pundit Gary Neville every single day until he listens to their music.
And, you know, since we’re all about supporting local artists, we thought we’d do our bit by pecking his head in too.
We’ve seen the Manc indie outfit live a couple of times now — including their headline set at Gorilla back in 2023 (at the time their biggest gig to date) — and they’ve never disappointed, be it the performance or their ever-growing cult following of loyal fans.
That being said, we feel we’re only doing Gary Neville and all of you lot a public service by joining them in their efforts to get their name out there. Plus, we’re enjoying all the different ways they’re managing to keep things interesting:
Yep, nearly half a year into these shenanigans and somehow M60 tagging Gary Neville is still funny to us.
If you’ve never come across them before either, the four-piece is made up of a bunch of mates from various towns around the region and is fronted by vocalist and lead guitarist Matthew Morton. Alliterative names always make us think of superheroes and their tunes often make us feel like that too.
Playing together since their high school days and named after the massive Greater Manchester motorway from 2015 onwards, they’re best known for tunes like ‘I Don’t Mind’, ‘Honey’, ‘Darling’; ‘Fade Away’, ‘Kool-Aid’ and plenty more.
They also recently released their latest debut EP, How Did You Get There? and trust us, it’s a belter. Morton once described their sound as ‘Sweet Mancunian indie rock‘ and we couldn’t sum it up any better ourselves. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Which is exactly why we want ‘r Gary to get on them too.
Also, we’ve found the whole journey very funny up until this point, so long may it continue — not too long though; we actually really want him to become M60’s newest and biggest fan through sheer persistence and pestering by the local band and yours truly. And by all means, feel free to join us in the good fight.
The local lads themselves have joked about becoming more well-known simply by embracing themselves as the “Gary Neville meme band” as the days pass, but the strategy is still kind of working nonetheless and with more new music on the way, why stop now?
We want to see Gary’s phone blowing up non-stop, right up to the point that he gets more annoyed than he did in that infamous clip of somebody passing his phone number and simply has to see what all the fuss is about it.
Featured Images — Press Image/Sky Sports (via screenshot)
BBC is looking for Mancs to take part in next series of Race Across the World
Are you a fan of travelling? Got yourself a bit of a competitive streak in your nature? This might just be your calling then.
The BBC is currently casting for the next series of Race Across the World.
The broadcaster has announced that the BAFTA-winning hit show is set to return to our TV screens for a third series later this year, and producers are now on the look-out for “intrepid duos” of all ages who reckon they’re ready to take a step into the unknown, and embark on an epic race across land and sea – and that includes Greater Manchester residents.
With applications for the next series of the massively-popular show now open, nomadic Mancs are being encouraged to take part.
On a limited budget and away from the luxuries of modern technology and conveniences, those lucky applicants selected to take part in the next series will get the chance to experience life in some of the world’s most beautiful and remote locations.
BBC is looking for Mancs to take part in next series of Race Across the World / Credit: BBC
Navigating their way across thousands of miles, they’ll travel through spectacular scenery and dynamic cities, visit ancient wonders, learn local customs, and take part in time-honoured traditions.
But, as producers are keen to point out, “the physical journey is only half of the story”.
That’s because, as the contestants take on the challenge of travelling across the world, the greatest thing they’ll discover along the way could actually be about themselves and one another.
Putting out a UK-wide casting call on the BBC website this week, producers Studio Lambert wrote: “We are now accepting applications for the next series of Race Across the World. This experience is open to all, whether you’re a seasoned traveller or total novice.
“We want to hear what undertaking a trip like this would mean to you, and with a cash prize at stake, what lengths you would go to to win.
Applications for the massively-popular show are now open / Credit: BBC
“Maybe you’re looking to change something in your life? Or are keen to share the journey with someone special like a family member, best friend, or someone you’ve lost touch with. You may even have a very personal reason for wanting to travel at this time in your life or explore a particular part of the world.”
Fancy it then?
Applications for the third series of Race Across the World are now open for anyone over 18 years of age, with a deadline date of Friday 19 April 2024, and you can find out more information and apply via the BBC website.