The Vimto Monument: A Fizzy Fusion of History and Iconicity in Manchester
“A monument to Vimto.”
In the heart of Manchester, where the city’s industrial roots blend seamlessly with today’s eccentric vibrancy, stands a wooden monument that pays homage to a much loved Mancunian beverage — Vimto. The Vimto Monument, a fizzy fusion of history and iconicity, stands tall and proud on the site of its creation at 19 Granby Row – now part of the University of Manchester – commemorating its enduring legacy.
For those exploring Manchester, the Vimto Monument adds a touch of quirkiness to the city's attractions. Visitors can appreciate the monument's unique design, learn about Vimto's history through informative plaques, and perhaps indulge in a sip of this iconic beverage.
A Sweet Beginning
The story of Vimto dates back to 1908 when John Noel Nichols, a wholesaler of herbs, spices, and medicines, formulated a secret recipe that would become the foundation of this iconic drink. The blend of fruit juices – grape, raspberry, and blackcurrant – herbs, and spices resulted in a distinctive beverage first intended as a medicinal tonic for the sick. It was named ‘Vim Tonic’ as the old adverts claimed it filled the consumer with “energy, vim, and vigour”.
In 1913 the drink was re-registered as a cordial, no longer claiming to possess medicinal properties, and the name was shortened to ‘Vimto’. Today it takes many forms; a soda by the can, bottle, or draft, ice lollies, sweets, an energy drink, and so on! Becoming so beloved that adding a gigantic soda bottle, surrounded by fruits, to Manchester’s growing repertoire of unusual monuments, was kind of a no-brainer!
The Birthplace Monument
The Vimto Monument features a giant bottle of Vimto surrounded by oversized versions of some of the herbs and fruits that make up the product, at its base. It was carved from an oak tree by environmental artist Kerry Morrison in 1992. The oak tree came from a sustainable forest before being installed on the very spot where Nichols first introduced the world to Vimto, the John Noel Nichols Factory.
“It has taken a lot of work to restore the monument but it has been a wonderful challenge and it is wonderful to see it back where it belongs in Granby Row.”
Commissioned by Nichols for the 85th anniversary of its creation, ‘A Monument to Vimto’ serves as a nostalgic nod to the humble beginnings of the fruity drink that would go on to achieve cult status. In 2011, after 19 years weathering the storm of the typical Mancunian climate, the monument was taken away to be repainted and returned to its former glory.
The Vimto Monument and the Community
Beyond its artistic and historical significance, the Vimto Monument holds a special place in the hearts of Manchester's residents. Although the factory no longer exists, the Vimto Monument now lies on the college grounds of the University of Manchester. Therefore the wooden statue serves as a meeting point, a place of study, a landmark for directions, and a spot where locals and visitors alike gather to socialise and bask in the lively atmosphere of the city.
Nearby, the Vimto Gardens offer a respite from the urban hustle. The gardens provide an ideal setting for a quiet reflection on the monument's significance while enjoying the lush surroundings.
During special events, especially Vimto’s annual birthday celebrations in early October, the site of the Vimto Monument serves as a focal gathering point. Festivities include live music, family-friendly activities, and, of course, the chance to enjoy a refreshing glass of Vimto.
The Vimto Monument in Manchester is more than just a wooden statue; it's a sparkling embodiment of Manchester's spirit — quirky, unexpected, and unapologetically bold. As you stand before the giant bottle and oversized fruit rising from the bubbling base, you can almost taste the beverage’s unique blend that sparked a revolution over a century ago. The Vimto Monument is a celebration of creativity, community, and the enduring legacy of a drink that continues to fizz with flavour and history.
Interested in finding more places like this? Try one of our CityDays Manchester Treasure Hunts - untangle cryptic clues as a team, as you are taken on a journey to the most unique, unusual and bizarre corners of Manchester.