Manchester was incorporated in 1838 under the Municipal Corporations Act 1835 as the Corporation of Manchester or Manchester Corporation. It achieved city status in 1853, only the second such grant since the Reformation. The area included in the city has been increased many times, in 1885 (Bradford, Harpurhey and Rusholme), 1890 (Blackley, Crumpsall, part of Droylsden, Kirkmanshulme, Moston, Newton Heath, Openshaw, and West Gorton), 1903 (Heaton), 1904 (Burnage, Chorlton cum Hardy, Didsbury, and Moss Side), 1909 (Gorton, and Levenshulme), 1931 (Wythenshawe: Baguley, Northenden, and Northen Etchells), and Ringway. A new Town Hall was opened in 1877 (by Alderman Abel Heywood) and the Mayor of Manchester was granted the title of Lord Mayor in 1893.
Elections are usually by thirds (a third of the seats elected, three years in every four), although the 2004 elections, due to substantial boundary changes (which involved the total number of councillors reduced), saw all seats contested. Labour has controlled a majority of seats in every election since the council was reconstituted.
Gules, three bendlets enhanced Or; a chief argent, thereon on waves of the sea a ship under sail proper. On a wreath of colours, a terrestrial globe semée of bees volant, all proper. On the dexter side a heraldic antelope argent, attired, and chain reflexed over the back Or, and on the sinister side a lion guardant Or, murally crowned Gules; each charged on the shoulder with a rose of the last. Motto: "Concilio et Labore"
A coat of arms was granted to the Borough of Manchester in 1842 and Manchester was granted the title of city in 1853.
The Shield: red (Gules) with three gold (Or) bands drawn diagonally across to the right hand side.
The Chief (the white (Argent) top segment): shows a ship at sea in full sail. This is a reference to the city's trading base.
The Crest: On a multicoloured wreath stands a terrestrial globe, signifying Manchester's world trade, and covered by a swarm of flying bees. The bee was adopted in the 19th century as a symbol of industrial Manchester being the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.
The Supporters: On the left, a heraldic antelope with a chain attached to a gold (Or) collar, representing engineering industries, and hanging at the shoulder, the red rose of Lancashire, in which county Manchester once was. On the right, a golden lion stands guardant (facing us), crowned with a red (Gules) castle (a reference to the Roman fort at Castlefield from which the city originated). The lion also wears the Red Rose of Lancashire.
Motto: Concilio et Labore, loosely translated "By wisdom and effort" (or "By counsel and hard work").
In 2013 Manchester City Council threatened to take legal action against The Manchester Gazette for it's use of the City's Crest on their website. The News Outlet claimed it already gained permission and continued to use the crest for a further 8 Months in spite of the warnings. Withington MP John Leech said the town hall’s latest move a ‘massive over-reaction and waste of money’, adding: “Have the council’s legal department got nothing better to do?” 
McKechnie, H. M. (ed.) (1915) Manchester in Nineteen Hundred and Fifteen. Manchester U. P.; "Undertakings of the City Council; Social Amelioration in Manchester; Elementary Education in Manchester; Secondary Schools in Manchester; The Evening School System of Manchester", by E. D. Simon, et al.
Manchester City Council. "Concilio et Labore" Series. No. 1-11. (Each pamphlet describes part of the council's work, e.g. no. 4: the City Treasurer.
Redford, Arthur (1939) The History of City Government in Manchester; Vol. 2 & 3: Borough and City; The Last Half Century.