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 that surround it.
Droylsden is first mentioned by name in 1250 AD, although its origins may date back to the 7th century. It’s name is derived from the Dene or Valley of the Drygel, the latter an old English name meaning “companion of war or it could simply mean a dry valley or dry spring, ‘dryge’ being Old English for dry.
Up to the 1800’s it remained basically a small farming community, but with the coming of the Manchester and Ashton-under-Lyne canals and the railways in the 1840’s which brought the first industry increased the population five fold in the 19th century and more than doubled it again by the second world war.
The Canal was used to ferry coal into Droylsden from the Bradford and Snipe pits along the Ashton Canal to the Saxon and Lumb’s mills; built where two small streams, originating on Ashton Moss flowed down two cloughs, Pinch and Lumb then joining together in Bell Clough, and finally into the Medlock.
Five cotton mills were established by 1850 with another three by 1875. Lumb Mill, Saxon Mill, Fairfield Mill; home of the first cotton woven towel to be produced in the world on a specially adapted loom which later became known as the Terry towel, Albion Mill, Victoria Mill, Royal Mill, Edge Lane Mill and Angola Mill.
In 1890 James Robertson arrived in Droylsden and his jam works would continue producing until 2008.
Modern day Droylsden grew up around the cross roads that today marks the place where Market Street crosses the Ashton New Road. The new Church of England parish of Droylsden was created in 1844, the parish church consecrated four years later.
Fairfield High School for Boys opened in 1871, there had been a Moravian school which took pupils from outside its community since 1793, while there were seven Sunday Schools, a Mechanics Institute, an Educational Institute
The town formed its own Co-operative Society in December 1861, with 71 members and by the turn of the century it had opened up many branches and provided five reading rooms to members and their children, its libraries contained over 1,500 volumes.
Clayton which was part of Droylsden was ceded to the City of Manchester in 1890, Droylsden was given the opportunity to join them in 1904 but it never happened. Eventually it would amalgamate with the other towns of Ashton, Audenshaw, Denton, Dukinfield, Hyde, Longdendale, Mossley and Stalybridge to form the Metropolitan Borough of Tameside in 1974.
Today, the industry has gone but with the opening of the Metrolink Line, it is continuing to thrive as a dormitory town for Manchester now connected by Metrolink to the city centre