July 17: The Queen officially opens Metrolink by unveiling a plaque at St Peter’s Square during her visit to Manchester.

The first phase involved the conversion of two rail lines – the Bury-Victoria line in the north and the Altrincham-Piccadilly line in the south – and the construction of a connecting tramway through the city.

Metrolink now has 93 stops along 57 miles of track, making it the UK’s largest light rail system.

Seven lines lead from the city centre to termini in Altrincham, Ashton-under-Lyne, Bury, East Didsbury, Eccles, Manchester Airport and Rochdale.



July 21: Work on building the Metrolink system came to a halt when renowned opera singer Luciano Pavarotti came to Manchester on his world tour.

He was staying at the Midland hotel and needed some sleep before performing in front of 10,000 people at the G-Mex – so workmen downed tools a few hours early!

Pavarotti was proud to wear a Manchester United scarf, especially since the Red Devils had beaten Barcelona 2-1 to win the European Cup Winners’ Cup in May.

Later in July, the Italian tenor sang to a 100,000 crowd in London’s Hyde Park to commemorate 30 years in opera.

Luciano Pavarotti Opera singer in Manchester July 1991.



July 21: Brazilian football legend Pele waves goodbye to Manchester as his team leave the UK after being knocked out of the 1966 World Cup.

Brazil failed to get out of the group stages after losing 3-1 to both Hungary and Portugal.

They managed a consolation 2-1 victory over Bulgaria with Pele scoring in the 15th minute. It was his only goal of the tournament.

1966 World Cup Tournament in England.
Star of the Brazil team Edson Arantes do Nascimento, more commonly known as Pele, pictured at Piccadilly Station in Manchester, after his team were eliminated from the competition. 21st July 1966.