Main articles: Politics in Manchester and Manchester City Council
See also: Manchester local elections and List of Lord Mayors of Manchester
Manchester Town Hall in Albert Square, seat of local governance, is an example of Victorian era Gothic revival architecture.
The City of Manchester is governed by the Manchester City Council. The earlier Greater Manchester County Council was abolished in 1986 so it is effectively a unitary authority. Manchester has been a member of the English Core Cities Group since its inception in 1995.
The town of Manchester was granted a charter by Thomas Grelley in 1301, but lost its borough status in a court case of 1359. Until the 19th century, local government was largely provided by manorial courts, the last of which ended in 1846.
From a very early time, the township of Manchester lay within the historic or ceremonial county boundaries of Lancashire. Pevsner wrote "That [neighbouring] Stretford and Salford are not administratively one with Manchester is one of the most curious anomalies of England". A stroke of a Norman baron's pen is said to have divorced Manchester and Salford, though it was not Salford that became separated from Manchester, it was Manchester, with its humbler line of lords, that was separated from Salford. It was this separation that resulted in Salford becoming the judicial seat of Salfordshire, which included the ancient parish of Manchester. Manchester later formed its own Poor Law Union using the name "Manchester". In 1792, Commissioners—usually known as "Police Commissioners"—were established for the social improvement of Manchester. Manchester regained its borough status in 1838, and comprised the townships of Beswick, Cheetham Hill, Chorlton upon Medlock and Hulme. By 1846, with increasing population and greater industrialization, the Borough Council had taken over the powers of the "Police Commissioners". In 1853, Manchester was granted "city status" in the United Kingdom.