Updated: Monday, 20th January 2020 @ 2:08pm

Origins of 'rainy Manchester' myth revealed: 1920's map may have sparked false wet weather worries

Origins of 'rainy Manchester' myth revealed: 1920's map may have sparked false wet weather worries

By Tim Hyde

The ‘myth’ that Manchester has some of the wettest weather in the UK might have started by a council planning report map from 1926, according to a recent study.

The perception of ‘rainy Manchester’ goes against weather statistics, which show Manchester having below the UK average rainfall.

And now it is thought a 1926 map depicting a soaked Greater Manchester including Bolton, Bury, Rochdale and Oldham, started the misconception.

Geographer Dr Martin Dodge from the University of Manchester said: “We take for granted that the British have always seen Manchester as its rainiest city, but in the 1920s this wasn’t necessarily the case.

“In fact, this is clearly a myth: just this January, the Met Office showed that far from being the UK’s rainiest city, our city is one of the driest.

“So the perception must have come from somewhere and this compelling map might at least partly explain it, though its intention was merely to describe the physical landscape of the region as part of a survey.”

The map was produced by H.W. Ogden,for the Committee of influential planners and officials.

Councillor Rosa Battle, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, said: “We're always mystified when people make the strange claim that it always rains here. 

“Of course the truth is that our annual rainfall is below the UK average - and always has been.”

Even when technology has allowed us to prove that Manchester has a below average rainfall in the UK, people refuse to believe the statistics.

Sally Hope,25, a bank manager from Hulme, said: “I have lived in Manchester all my life and its always raining, but the weather isn’t exactly great in other places in Britain.

“I think Manchester is probably the rainiest place in England but I would have thought places in Scotland are much worse.”

James Sant, 34, a retail manager, from central Manchester, said: “It is always raining in Manchester, but you just have to get on with it.

“We probably do have the worst weather in Britain to be honest.”

Molly Lucas,20, a student from Leeds, said: “The weather in Manchester is much worse than it is in Leeds.

“It is probably is the most rainy in Britain.”

Analysis from the Met office shows that Manchester has 807mm of rainfall a year compared to the UK average of 1126mm.

Image courtesy of StefaniaVS via Flickr, with thanks.

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