Often referred to as Manchester’s ideal suburb, birthplace of the idea of the Ship Canal and residence of philanthropist Fletcher Moss, today it is a thriving residential area and centre of cafe society. Geographically the old village owes its existence to moorland rising out of a swamp formed from centuries of silt from the River Mersey which turned the swamp into drier land. There is no mention of Didsbury in the Domesday book but being close to a fording point…

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Once the centre of industrial East Manchester, Bradford has, like its neighbour Beswick, undergone a vast transformation in recent years, most notably with the construction of what is now the Etihad Stadium for the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Bradford can trace its heritage back to the 1300’s with the origins of Bradford Hall, probably built around 1350 when the manor of Bradford was held by John De Salford from Worsley The Hall was granted  to Thomas De Booth of Barton in…

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Ancoats-The First Industrial suburb

As one Manchester writer said of the world’s first industrial suburb “It holds a place in his history for being the first residential district of the modern world which was intended for the occupation solely of one class, what was to become the new urban working class.” The origins of its name go back to the 13th century as “Elnecoy” meaning lonely cottages could well be the derivation of the name that we know today as Ancoats, Cotes being a…

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Chorlton cum Hardy


The name is said to be derived from the Saxon Cheorl meaning a countryman and tun or town and has over history been referred to as Charlton, Charleron, Cherlton and many others. Its twin, Hardy is derived from Hamlet, originally twenty or thirty cottages to the south of Chorlton Brook. The history of the village dates back to the seventh century, said to be in the occupation of the Saxons but the first recorded mention dates from 1148 when Gospatric…

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The foundations of the community began around 1300 when John de Longford and William de Norrys had villains and workers who lived in “Bronage”. Its earliest foundation probably came about as a settlement on the salt road which linked Cheshire to Stockport and Manchester. As for the origins of the name, there is some controversy Burn-edge as a district hemmed in by a brook but it has also been known as Bronage and Brondage.  Three parts made up the village,…

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Made up of the hamlets of Woodhouses, Waterhouses, Littlemoss, Audenshaw, Medlock Vale and Hooley Hill. The heart of the old village of Audenshaw, which lay at the T-junction between the road from Denton to Ashton and the turnpike from Manchester to Ashton now lies underneath the three reservoirs which dominate the area and were built between 1877 and 1882 to supply Manchester with water. The old village by all accounts was pretty, Butterworth would describe it “as a very populous village with a population of…

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The red sandstone that built early Manchester floated down the River Irk from the quarries of Collyhurst.  Named from the Old English, ‘col’ a hillock and ‘hyrst’ a wooded place and once the site of rolling hills and beautiful wooded valleys where pigs roamed on the common. The Industrial Revolution was not kind to the area, travellers along the railway viaduct saw street after street of houses with black smoke hanging over them. Today the valley of the Irk has…

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First mentioned in an Assize Court record of 1240 the village of Lewynshulme, Leofwine’s Island, with the personal name, followed by the old Norse (holmr) meaning island raised on ground in a marshland. It remained a rough mossy moorland, in 1655 there were only 25 persons paying rates, until the Turnpike Act of 1724 created a cotton trade route which would run from Manchester to Stockport and the South, although a bleach works had been established around 1690. Cloth was…

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Ivan Levinstein


One hundred years ago this month, the death was announced of Sir Ivan Levinstein at his home in Hale at the age of seventy one.Born in Charlottenburg, a suburb of Berlin, he had been in Manchester for over fifty years and would leave behind a legacy in the North East of Manchester, establishing the village of Blackley as the centre of the UK aniline dyeing industry. About Manchester takes a look at his career and life. The young Ivan had…

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St Ann’s Square


Acres Field on which St Ann’s Square stands had been the site of Manchester’s annual fair since its begins in the thirteenth century. A report of an old man written in 1781 remembered the square as being a cornfield. The corn was cut in the autumn in this rural environment between a row of rural houses that marked Deansgate and a few taverns at the Market Place at the end of Market Street. The harvest marked the beginning of St…

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