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21st October 2014

University of Manchester Rumours

The University of Manchester has held a lot of rumours, some that needed to be repeatedly busted or proved due to first years entering ever year. We took a look at three of the biggest

Rumours are inevitable in a university as big as Manchester—quite a few have floated around, and with freshers entering the university every year, they never seem to die out.

One that is most likely to believed is based in the heart of student living, Fallowfield. Walking into the massive supermarket for the first time, my flatmates said “Did you know that this Sainsbury’s is the most expensive in the country?'”

Having limited knowledge about Manchester, it made sense and is still believed by students. The supermarket has a large student customer base and is located in a very convenient location for students who do live in Fallowfield, is huge, and sells everything and anything a student could ever need. There are many discount stores like Lidl and Aldi dotted around the place that can save you quite a bit of money, but effort is something a lot of people think about first, so even if Fallowfield’s Sainsbury’s is the most expensive in the country, it’s not going to scare off customers, especially students. The idea of paying £1 for an ice cream doesn’t seem that horrible when you compare it to taking a ten minute bus journey to Lidl.

Fortunately for Fallowfield residents, this is false. Legality is probably to thank due to national pricing policies, where the same price has to be enforced nationwide. So, having the same price everywhere else bar one store located in a student area is more than a little bit dodgy. In 2011, Tesco also faced controversy when they were accused of selling some products for less in Scotland than everywhere else. In 2012, The Mancunion found that, on the contrary, Fallowfield’s Sainsbury’s wasn’t even the most expensive supermarket in the area, with Tesco reaching a slightly higher overall price total. Furthermore, The Mancunion bought Sainsbury’s goods online and compared them to the Fallowfield store, finding that the price was in fact the same. Rumour busted.

There’s also the rumour that Oxford/Wilmslow Road corridor is the busiest bus route in Europe. This can easily be believed, as the wait for a bus isn’t usually that long, and when a bus does turn up, it’s leading a line of four more buses, resulting in a road that’s rarely empty.

On occasion, bus drivers with just-about-empty buses don’t even bother stopping for a muddled line of students as they probably realise that another bus will turn up in 15 seconds. Despite all this making the rumour believable, it is something that, most likely, can’t be proved.

The initial issue is that there isn’t really any way of comparing the bus frequency on different routes throughout Europe. The number of buses going down a road change depending on the time of day and while the wait for a bus is often not that long, with one usually turning up every minute, on some occasions it can frustratingly long. Also, buses at night time are far less frequent than those during the day.

However, the fact the Manchester runs night buses may give it an edge. The Parliamentary Select Committee on Transport in 2006 described Wilmslow Road corridor as “chaos” and “overcrowded to the point of congestion” due to the competitiveness of the two main bus companies, Stagecoach and First. While it’s not the most farfetched rumour, there’s no way of really confirming it.

The medical building, Stopford, has also been in the spotlight of university gossip. It’s a slightly more doubtful rumour but still exists. The fourth floor of Stopford harbours a lot of mystery. Restricted to staff, a big sign displaying such a warning rests on the walls of the stairs leading up to the forbidden corridor.

After asking some medical students, a Starbucks is apparently located on the fourth floor, but no-one is ever able to get up there—not the best business strategy. But that’s not too exciting, hardly a rumour that’s going to spread around campus like wildfire.

The real gossip comes from word that animals occupy the fourth floor and have made quite a comfortable home up there. Not solely lab-type animals like rats and frogs but even monkeys. After asking staff at the front desk, we were told that as fun as this would be, the fourth floor does not have an array of animals that would put the African plains to shame; although apparently an ostrich did overstay his welcome there once.

There has also been the rumour that the buildings on the northern campus of he university are haunted. After asking some people, while this is believed to be true by some, this is not a common rumour. On whether this is true, the issue of ghosts is still a mystery so this one remains unsolved.

The McDonalds in Fallowfield is also always talked about as being the first drive-thru restaurant in the UK. But did one of the biggest corporations in the world really open their first drive-thru in the heart of South Manchester? A quick search online is filled with the same stories, but nothing official confirming it. However, we reached out to McDonalds and they did confirm to us that the Fallowfield restaurant on Wilmslow Road opened on 15th September 1986 and was their first drive-thru restaurant in the UK. History right in the heart of Fallowfield.

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