Part of the East Manchester industrial conurbation, Beswick housing was cleared after the second world war to be replaced by flats, but places like Fort Beswick and Bell Crescent quickly destroyed any sense of community and succumbed to vandalism. Today as part of East Manchester’s regeneration, building work is taking place including residential housing, a new school and library. With the redevelopment of the Etihad stadium which spans the border of Clayton, the council hopes to transform the area into…

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Remaining rural until the 1930’s, this North Manchester village, its name literally meaning  the clearing in the dark wood, was an area of deciduous woodland and formed part of the manor of the Lords of Manchester. Home to Boggart Hole Clough and parts of Heaton Park, its position on the River Irk attracted the bleaching and dyeing industries and its Hexagon Tower became the headquarters of ICI. The name of Blackley is said to derive  from ley, leag, Leah, meaning…

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Manchester’s first overspill town, built on land purchased across the Mersey in Cheshire by the City Corporation. The project, championed by the Simon’s began in the 1930’s to relocate Manchester’s residents from the slum areas of the inner city to the pleasant fields of wheat and flowers across the river. Blighted in its early days for lack of facilities, today it stands as a blue print for the problems of new towns, once the location of Europe’s largest council estate,…

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Journalist and publisher Joseph Aston was to describe Ardwick as “one of the best built and most pleasant suburbs in the Kingdom to which its elegant houses its expanded greens and its lake in the centre all contribute”. The cotton magnates would recognise this, building their fine houses on all sides of what was once countryside, the nearest building being Ancoats Hall, whilst the Corn Brook stream ran through open fields lined with trees. The village takes its name from…

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If one area sums up the diversity of Manchester it is Gorton.  Centre for heavy industry from the mid 19th century and the home of Beyer Peacock which manufactured) locomotives that would be sent around the world. It was also the location for the City’s playground Belle Vue and Pugin’s monastery for St Francis built in the 1870’s and now re-galvanised, as well as the place where Myra Hindley and Ian Brady worked as nondescript office workers. Today the heavy industry has…

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Chorlton on Medlock

From being part of the rural township on the edge of Manchester, the opening of Oxford Road in 1790 along with the sale of the Chorlton Hall estate to Samuel Marshland a cotton manufacturer saw the area undergo rapid industrialisation quickly gaining a reputation for industrial blight, Little Ireland in particular, situated along the Medlock. It was also the site of Joseph Whitworth’s bequest to the City and famous past residents have included Thomas De Quincey, Robert Owen, Emily Pankhurst and…

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First mentioned in the 13th century, its origins are obscure, but it remained a small hamlet until the building of the Ashton Canal at the start of the 19th century which saw a proliferation of cotton mills being built as well as becoming a centre for hat making. The area also saw the establishment of the Moravian settlement at Fairfield which still survives today.  Most of the industry has now gone and Droylsden faces the same challenges of those townships…

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Cheetham Hill


The first mention of the village of Cheetham, or as it has been mentioned in various spellings as Chetham or Chetam occurs in 1212, Roger de Middleton held a plough land of the king in chief in the “gnage by the annual service of a mark”, while there are references to  be held directly of the king as Duke of Lancaster by Sir Geoffrey de Chetham and his family from the time of Henry III. The family took its name from the village…

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This North Manchester village, first mentioned in 1291 and famous as the birthplace of Hugh Oldham, founder of Manchester Grammar School, became the centre of the dyeing industry, its secrets smuggled out of revolutionary France. In two parts, upper and lower, the latter once described as being “the under milk wood” of North Manchester, its population as a dormitory suburb quickly expanded in the early 20th century. Today it is mostly a residential area and the location of the North…

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Miles Platting

This report from 1931 The Rochdale Canal was bordered by either warehouses or factories. Industries included cotton,chemicals and various engineering works as well as the Bradford Road Gas Works The bulk of the ward was inhabited by less well paid members of the working class composed of small drab streets in monotonous rows, often in narrow streets and between 60-80 years old. Towards the south there were slums, old damp ill ventilated and verminous The authors were scathing of the facilities, a…

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