Monday, 2 August 2010

No P in Vimto

I've always considered Vimto a very Mancunian drink unheard of outside of the North of England, but it's sold  all over the world and very popular. It has a unique smell and taste to me, and it's one of those products that brings back many childhood memories.

Pronounced 'Vimptoe' by generations of Manchester children, despite there being no P, it does however have 'secret ingredients' of '29 natural extracts of fruits, herbs, barley malt & spices' as well as grape, blackcurrant, and raspberry.

Traditionally a cordial, it now has a diet version, and comes in fizzy cans, packs, and along with many well-known traditional brands, an ice-lolly, and sweets.  There is also an upstart flavour this year, Cherry Vimto.

The original cordial is of course the best way to drink Vimto, and winter is no excuse to stick the bottle on a back shelf, as it's rather nice with hot water on a cold day, a sort of non-alcoholic gluhwein.

Vimto was first produced by  John Noel Nichols in 1908, at 49 Granby Row, and like many drinks at that time, was marketed as a tonic, giving Vim and Vigour, no doubt curing many ills but without the need to back it up with evidence of efficacy. Vim and Vigour tonic became Vim-Tonic, then Vimto.

Vimto production moved from Granby Row to Salford, then Levenshulme, then Wythenshawe, and as the century ended, moved out of Greater Manchester to Golborne, near Haydock and is now made in Yorkshire.

In celebration of early Vimto production, an oak sculpture of the Vimto bottle and fruits was carved by Kerry Morrison in 1992 at the Granby Row site, now part of the University Of Manchester,

The wood is starting to rot in some areas, and also suffers from the occasional graffiti.

Sorry if this all sounds like an ad for Vimto, but I really do like it :)

Walk a little further along Granby Row, and you'll reach another sculpture. This is the steel rope of the Technology Arch, by Axel Wolkenhauer from 1989.

Heading along the path to the railway bridge, under the arch is a naked man attempting to get out of a raised hole. It's Archimedes in his eureka moment, made by Thompson Dagnall  in 1990.

Archimedes lost his nose at some point. It was replaced and broken off again. Perhaps a Tycho Brahe statue night have been better here.

Location: Granby Row, near Sackville Street.

View Larger Map


  1. Hi Tania, we get out and baout Manchester quite a lot and I've never seen these statues on Granby Row before, we shall check them out, thanks:) Love Vimto too, especially hot!
    Lynda (echostains)

  2. Just a little further down Granby Row is a fresh bottle of Vimto sat on my kitchen counter :)

  3. The statues are on the uni campus, so you do have go past a barrier, but they don't seem to mind people wandering around.

  4. The barrier is only to stop non-delivery cars going down there by accident. The area is public.