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Britain's Second City?

Been following a discussion about this and thought I'd get the opinion of the good folk of Charlton Life. What do you regard as Britain/the UK 's second city and why? Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh or any other? Be interested to see the views and what the majority opinion is.


  • Definitely Birmingham for population but there seems to be an argument for others for commercial and cultural impact.
  • Never thought it was even up for discussion. Always been told as a lad by the media it is Birmingham. 
    Me too, always been Brum
  • Only Greater London, and Greater Manchester, Brum is only an urban sprawl linked  by dual carriage ways and submerged under a motorway interchange
  • Birmingham if you’re talking population. Edinburgh if you’re talking history, Manchester if you’re talking culture and Glasgow if you’re talking football. 

    Of course across all of those metrics they pale in comparison to London! 
  • edited September 2022
    Glasgow - second city of empire!

    England - for me it is now Manchester, irrespective of population figures (which are now pretty close with Birmingham).
  • Manchester these days. Very much capital of the North, far enough away from London to have its own importance.

    Before independence, Dublin might have been considered the second city of the UK
  • Always thought is was Brum. Was very surprised to find that it's not official. 
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  • No prizes for coming second 
  • Manchester for me.
  • Never Liverpool. It’s smaller than Bristol 
  • Never Liverpool. It’s smaller than Bristol 

    Yes it is too small - but very good in parts.

    Manchester is a truly great city full of so many different faces. It's only 30 minutes from me as well!

    London is still the king and always will be.
  • Never Liverpool. It’s smaller than Bristol 
    Not even part of England according to scousers.
  • 2nd =1st loser 
  • No prizes for coming second 
    And no one remembers them. Clearly.
  • I know it's meant to be Birmingham, but Manchester is definitely England's second city these days. 

    If it's the UK's second city... Edinburgh might run it close. 
  • Definitely Manchester. I reckon they say Brum  given it’s proximity to the greatest city in the world. But Manchester is the second city. 
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  • London, Glasgow, Manchester. 
  • edited September 2022
    Never Liverpool. It’s smaller than Bristol 
    Not even part of England according to scousers.
    It would have been the second city, but the locals keep nicking bits of it.
  • B’ham was the second city due to the amount of industry in the past, it was the metal bashing centre of the country. Things have changed and Manchester is probably now the second city.
  • edited September 2022
    bobmunro said:
    Glasgow - second city of empire!

    Glasgow has it as a hand me down, as Dublin (thankfully) had grown out of it and no longer needed it.
  • Always thought it was Birmingham
  • Manchester. It has the cultural weight. I bet more of us can name the Mayor of Manchester over the Mayor of the West Midlands. And more players for United or City than Villa or Brum. And more Manc bands than Brum. 

    I know Birmingham is officially bigger than Manchester but add in Greater Manchester and I'm pretty sure it's on a par with the West Midlands.

    Just checking the populations and found this
    which argues that in terms of urban area - continuous urban development with no countryside in between, Manchester is 2nd to London (2.7M people to London's 11.12 which would include places like Watford and Dartford). It then uses other definitions to put Brum back into 2nd. 
  • Used to be Brum, now Manchester in my eyes. 
  • Manchester is a great place
  • Edinburgh - classy, beautiful Auld Reekie high on the banks of the Forth Estuary. Birmingham and Manchester are shabby sprawling urban messes. Glasgow too tired around the egdes.
  • I’d say Manchester 
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