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Greater Manchester (England)

Last modified: 2023-08-26 by rob raeside
Keywords: manchester | greater manchester authority |
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The Greater Manchester Metropolitan County was created on 1 April 1974. On 31 March 1986 the county was disbanded, although some functions remain to be fulfilled by different joint bodies. From 01 July 1997 the Greater Manchester Metropolitan County has the status of a ceremonial county. On 01 April 2011 the Greater Manchester Combined Authority became effective, when the former GMMC came under one joint administration again.

Greater Manchester Metropolitan County is former County Council (until 1986) and current Ceremonial County. It has coat of arms and two flags - red/yellow banner of arms and desk/car blue flag with full coat of arms on it.

Manchester Metropolitan Borough (now known as Manchester City Council) is a completely different entity. It has a coat of arms and logo, but has no flag.
Valentin Poposki, 20 June 2020, 20 July 2020

Greater Manchester de facto flag

[Flag of Greater Manchester] image located by Esteban Rivera, 8 November 2014

The City of Manchester, even though it does not have an official flag approved by The Flag Institute (yet), does have a de facto flag that represents the Greater Manchester County area.

The flag's description is as follows: "The flag is composed of ten golden castles (arranged in rows of 3𣇽2) on a red background, fringed by a golden border in the style of a castle battlement. The blazon is: "Gules, ten Towers three two three two, all within a Bordure embattled Or".

The ten golden castles represent both the urban landscape of Greater Manchester, and its division in to its ten metropolitan districts: Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Tameside, Trafford, Salford, Stockport, and Wigan. The red ground represents manpower and the region's red-brick architectural heritage, both legacies of Greater Manchester's industrial past. The embattled border represents the unity and shared future of the region, and its bold, vigilant and forward-looking character. The flag currently flies in front of the National Rail offices at Manchester Piccadilly railway station."

The flag is seen here:
(picture caption reads: "County flag flying at Manchester Piccadilly railway station")

For additional information go to:
Greater Manchester (official website) as the AGMA (Association of Greater Manchester Authorities) and the GMCA (Greater Manchester Combined Authority):
Manchester (official website): 
Esteban Rivera, 8 November 2014

Another picture of the same flag is seen here (picture uploaded on November 10, 2010):, source:

Here's another picture, in more recent times (picture uploaded on March 11, 2017, around Rochdale Town Hall, in Rochdale, which is part of Greater Manchester):, source:

In recent times (2000-2018 at least), the Great Manchester flag has been displayed plenty around the city as this picture gallery shows:
Esteban Rivera, 23 July 2020

Variant flag

[Flag of Greater Manchester] image by Pete Loeser, 20 July 2020

This variant shows the ten towers straight-sided and with black-line details.

Greater Manchester Metropolitan County (1974-1986)

County Arms

[Greater Manchester County Arms] image located by Valentin Poposki, 20 June 2020

Manchester City Council has informed me, "Manchester doesn't have an official flag, we do have a coat of arms though!"
Note: Manchester Metropolitan Borough is the same entity as Manchester City Council.
Valentin Poposki, 16 July 2020

The County Arms feature a flag, which is the one that is used de facto. In that flag, the ten Boroughs are properly represented, each one by a tower.
Esteban Rivera, 16 July 2020

Flag with arms

[Flag of Greater Manchester Police] located by Valentin Poposki, 16 July 2020

I found an image of the blue flag with full Greater Manchester Metropolitan County coat of arms, with note that it was in use until 1986, as desk and car flag. No other notes.
Valentin Poposki, 16 July 2020

This flag can be located here:, source:, first uploaded on June 9, 2010 by its author (
Esteban Rivera, 16 July 2020

Greater Manchester Combined Authority

[Greater Manchester County Arms] image located by Valentin Poposki, 20 June 2020

The current form of government is the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. The authority derives most of its powers from the Local Government Act 2000 and Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009, and replaced a range of single-purpose joint boards and quangos to provide a formal administrative authority for Greater Manchester, the type of government - Combined Authority - enacted by the latter.

Esteban Rivera, 23 July 2020

Manchester City Council

Manchester City Council is the entity that governs over the Manchester Metropolitan Borough. The Manchester City Council has its own Coat of Arms: "A coat of arms was granted to the Manchester Corporation in 1842, passing on to Manchester City Council when the borough of Manchester was granted the title of city in 1853"
(source: Frangopulo, Nicholas J. (1969). Rich inheritance: a guide to the history of Manchester. Wakefield: S.R. Publishers. p. 59. ISBN 9780854095506. p. II (note by W. H. Shercliff) Reprinted by Manchester Education Committee (1962)", quoted from this article:

Images: (source) (source)
Further details: Manchester City arms
Esteban Rivera
, 16 July 2020


[Flag of Greater Manchester Police] located by Valentin Poposki, 16 July 2020

There were "rumors" on the Internet that the blue logo was used as a flag on some events. I attach here the logo for information.
Valentin Poposki, 16 July 2020

The flag you send, uses the Manchester City Council logo, which is originally in black outline and lettering. The font type used is Roboto (source:

The logo can be seen in black-line in the following images:
- and
-, source:

Source of the blue flag above:
Esteban Rivera, 16 July 2020

Traditional Symbols

[Flag of Greater Manchester Police] image located by Esteban Rivera, 23 July 2020
Source: screenshot taken Kaiser Chief's official YouTube account at 0:17 from Youtube video

The city's has other traditional symbols, which are also displayed on flags. "Most of these symbols are derived from heraldic emblems contained within the city's official heraldic achievement, which was officially adopted when the Borough of Manchester was granted city status in 1842" (source: The city's traditional symbols (only the ones that are displayed on flags) are (in no particular order):
- The heraldic achievement of Manchester (colloquially but inaccurately referred to as a coat of arms)
- Worker bee
- Lancashire rose (or the Red Rose of Lancaster)

The worker bee (or Manchester bee) is a horizontal white background with a bee logo ( in the middle

"Manchester is part of the historic county of Lancashire, within the Salford Hundred. This is reflected in the use of the Red Rose of Lancaster in Manchester's heraldic arms. After the reform of local government in 1974, Manchester was removed from Lancashire for ceremonial and administrative purposes and brought into the new metropolitan county of Greater Manchester. After the change, both the City of Manchester and the new county retained the Lancastrian Rose in many emblems." (source:

In the image above, notice the bee flag on top and the rose flag on the bottom. A variant flag for the bee (in black background, with the name on top in yellow capitals and the bee in white outline) is seen here: On the website that sells the bee flag (variant) there's an important clue to its widespread use: "Following the shocking events at the Manchester Arena, the Bee has become the symbol of the cities solidarity and defiance. United Flags, a Manchester based company, ask you to fly the Manchester Bee Flag with pride."

AAn important showcase for the public display of these symbols in flags (which almost makes them at least common in use, if not semi official) is the set of flags seen on London Road, above the bridge of the Manchester Piccadilly Station:

[Flags at Manchester Piccadilly Station] image located by Esteban Rivera, 23 July 2020
(cropped image from Googlemaps, taken on July 2019)

The flags displayed are (from left to right):
- Network Rail
- "Worker bee" or "Manchester bee" flag
- Manchester de facto flag (or more properly the banner of the arms of Greater Manchester County Council)
- England
- UK

So in turn, there even seems to be an order of precedence for such arrangement, the reverse of the list above.
Esteban Rivera, 23 July 2020

Another bee flag, with a black and yellow bee on yellow field, was also photographed at the Glastonbury Festival 2017:
Tomislav Todorovic, 23 July 2020

Greater Manchester Police

[Flag of Greater Manchester Police] image by Herman Felani, 24 January 2009

Greater Manchester Police, a plain blue field with the police badge at the centre. The police badge featuring the widely used emergency services star, the royal cypher, the St Edward's crown, as well as the name of the service. The flag is flown at Chester House, the Greater Manchester Police headquarters.
Herman Felani, 24 January 2009

This flag is not only flown at Chester House, but is also carried by the Mounted Troop on ceremonial occasions. Furthermore, it is also displayed inside at least one police station in the Greater Manchester area, at Salford. Kath and I saw this in Salford Quays about ten years ago.
Ron Lahav, 25 January 2009

Greater Manchester Police was directly created from two recently amalgamated city police forces, Manchester and Salford Police and parts of what were Lancashire Constabulary, Cheshire Constabulary and West Yorkshire Constabulary on April 1, 1974. The city forces were Manchester Borough Police, which formed in the late 1830s and Salford Borough Police, which began in 1844. Upon Manchester gaining city status in 1853, its police force changed its name to Manchester City Police to reflect its status. In 1926, Salford also became a city, resulting in Salford Borough Police becoming Salford City Police. These two city forces operated until 1968 when, as a result of compulsory amalgamation, as per the Police Act 1964, Salford City Police merged with Manchester City Police, resulting in the new force of Manchester and Salford Police. This new force lasted only six years, when in 1974 the Local Government Act 1972 created the Metropolitan County of Greater Manchester and with it, Greater Manchester Police.

Indirectly, GMP can also trace its heritage to a number of other borough forces, each with their own significant history, which had been abolished in the late 1960s (under the Police Act 1964) and which had been amalgamated into the county forces of Lancashire and Cheshire. These two county forces only policed these boroughs for around six years before Greater Manchester was created and GMP took over responsibility for providing police services. In the historic Lancashire county area these borough police forces were Bolton Borough Police (1839-1969), Oldham Borough Police (1849-1969), Rochdale Borough Police (1857-1969) and Wigan Borough Police (1836-1969). In the historic Cheshire county area this included Stockport Borough Police (at least 1835-1967).

It is the territorial police force responsible for law enforcement within the metropolitan county of Greater Manchester in Northwest England. It is split into 10 districts - Bolton, Bury, City of Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan. There is also a specialist division based at Manchester International Airport.

For additional information go to GMP (official website):
Esteban Rivera, 6 July 2023

[Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service]  [Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service] image located by Esteban Rivera, 6 July 2023

It seems as though at least temporarily in show of support for bids, the Manchester bid for the 1996 Summer Olympics as well as the Manchester bid for the 2000 Summer Olympics, the GMP(A) changed its logo, having the same pattern as the games' bid (a hanging medal in the shape of the letter "M" and inside the medal, the GMP's logo, for the 1996 bid, and the initials GM and below PA, which stand for Greater Manchester Police Authority, for the 2000 bid).
Esteban Rivera, 6 July 2023

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service

[Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service] image located by Valentin Poposki, 20 June 2020

Manchester Airports Group

[Flag of Manchester Airports Group] image by Ant髇io Martins-Tuv醠kin, 13 October 2007

The Manchester Airports Group is a white flag with a large image of blue-coloured logo as shown at Above the entity抯 name are placed, at left, a globe with nine arrow-like figures encircling it and almost coming together at the North Pole; at right, large initials 慚AG, a growing wedge of white sweeping away part of them.

Quote from relevant website:
揟he Manchester Airports Group plc (MAG) is the largest UK-owned airport group and is made up of four airports - Manchester, East Midlands, Humberside and Bournemouth and currently handles more than 28 million passengers every year. The group also runs businesses in property development and management, baggage handling, car parking, airport security, fire-fighting, engineering, advertising and motor transport services. Manchester Airports Group plays a vital role in the success of UK aviation generating around 3.2 billion for the UK economy and supporting more than 130,000 jobs across the four airports. () Manchester Airports Group is wholly owned by the 10 local authorities of Greater Manchester and is proud to be publicly owned and privately managed.

Jan Mertens, 11 October 2007