Ardwick is a district of the City of Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

, in North West
North West England
North West England, informally known as The North West, is one of the nine official regions of England.North West England had a 2006 estimated population of 6,853,201 the third most populated region after London and the South East...

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, about one mile east of Manchester City Centre
Manchester City Centre
Manchester city centre is the central business district of Manchester, England. It lies within the Manchester Inner Ring Road, next to the River Irwell...


By the mid-19th century Ardwick had grown from being a village into a pleasant and wealthy suburb of Manchester, but by the end of that century it had become heavily industrialised. When its industries later fell into decline then so did Ardwick itself, becoming one of the city's most deprived areas. Substantial development has taken place more recently in Ardwick and other areas of Manchester to reverse the decline, notably the construction of many facilities for the 2002 Commonwealth Games
2002 Commonwealth Games
The 2002 Commonwealth Games were held in Manchester, England from 25 July to 4 August 2002. The XVII Commonwealth Games was the largest multi-sport event ever to be held in the UK, eclipsing London's 1948 Summer Olympics in numbers of teams and athletes participating.After the 1996 Manchester...

 held nearby in Eastlands
Eastlands may refer to:* Eastlands, Manchester, an area of east Manchester, England** The City of Manchester Stadium, often shortened to Eastlands, Manchester* Eastlands, Tasmania, a shopping center in Hobart...


In the late 19th century Ardwick had many places of entertainment, but the only remnant of that history today is the Art Deco
Art Deco
Art deco , or deco, is an eclectic artistic and design style that began in Paris in the 1920s and flourished internationally throughout the 1930s, into the World War II era. The style influenced all areas of design, including architecture and interior design, industrial design, fashion and...

 Manchester Apollo
Manchester Apollo
O2 Apollo Manchester is a concert venue in Manchester, England. Locally known as The Apollo, it is a listed building, with a capacity of 3,500 ....

, a venue for pop and rock music concerts.


Prior to the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

, Ardwick was a small village situated just outside Manchester in open countryside. The principal residents were the Birch family, one of whom was a Major General when Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader who overthrew the English monarchy and temporarily turned England into a republican Commonwealth, and served as Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland....

 (briefly) instituted direct military rule.

One Samuel Birch was instrumental in providing a small chapel of ease
Chapel of ease
A chapel of ease is a church building other than the parish church, built within the bounds of a parish for the attendance of those who cannot reach the parish church conveniently....

, dedicated to St. Thomas, and consecrated in 1741. This soon expanded into a rather fine Georgian church, to which a fine brick campanile
Campanile is an Italian word meaning "bell tower" . The term applies to bell towers which are either part of a larger building or free-standing, although in American English, the latter meaning has become prevalent.The most famous campanile is probably the Leaning Tower of Pisa...

 tower was added in the 1830s. It contained a very rare Samuel Green
Samuel Green (organ builder)
Samuel Green , was an organ-builder.Green learnt his art under the elder Byfield, Bridge, and Jordan, and afterwards entered into several years' partnership with the younger Byfield. Green built a large number of organs for the cathedrals, and for churches in London and the country, instruments...

 organ, the first in which the sharp keys were distinguished in black. There was also a memorial chapel to the dead of the First World War, chiefly men of the local territorial unit. Sadly, these have been removed, and the church is now used as offices for voluntary organisations.

Grand terraces of regency houses
Regency architecture
The Regency style of architecture refers primarily to buildings built in Britain during the period in the early 19th century when George IV was Prince Regent, and also to later buildings following the same style...

 (some of which still survive) were built either side of the church, and these were fronted by Ardwick Green
Ardwick Green
Ardwick Green is a public space in Ardwick, Manchester, England. It began as a private park for the residents of houses surrounding it. Manchester acquired it in 1867 and turned it into a public park with an ornamental pond and a bandstand....

, a private park for the residents, containing a pond. Similar housing developments to those around the Green took place along Higher Ardwick and the area known as the Polygon.

Early inhabitants included members the family of Sir Robert Peel
Robert Peel
Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet was a British Conservative statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 10 December 1834 to 8 April 1835, and again from 30 August 1841 to 29 June 1846...

. Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature's most iconic...

 drew many of his characters from life, and was a frequent visitor to Manchester. It is said that Dickens based the character of the crippled Tiny Tim
Tiny Tim (A Christmas Carol)
Timothy Cratchit, called "Tiny Tim", is a fictional character from the 1843 novella A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. He is a minor character, the young son of Bob Cratchit, and is seen only briefly, but serves as an important symbol of the consequences of the protagonist's choices...

 in A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol is a novella by English author Charles Dickens first published by Chapman & Hall on 17 December 1843. The story tells of sour and stingy Ebenezer Scrooge's ideological, ethical, and emotional transformation after the supernatural visits of Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of...

 on the invalid son of a friend who owned a cotton mill in Ardwick.

Ardwick Cemetery was established in the 1830s as a prestigious place for fashionable burials. John Dalton
John Dalton
John Dalton FRS was an English chemist, meteorologist and physicist. He is best known for his pioneering work in the development of modern atomic theory, and his research into colour blindness .-Early life:John Dalton was born into a Quaker family at Eaglesfield, near Cockermouth, Cumberland,...

, the chemist and physicist best known for his advocacy of atomic theory, is amongst those buried there. The cemetery has since been converted into a school playing field.

Industrial Revolution

During the 19th century, Ardwick became heavily industrialised and it was characterised by factories, railways and rows of back-to-back
Back-to-back houses
Usually of low quality and high density, they were built for working class people and because three of the four walls of the house were shared with other buildings and therefore contained no doors or windows, back-to-back houses were notoriously ill-lit and poorly ventilated and sanitation was of...

 terraced houses being juxtaposed. Large numbers of Irish
Irish people
The Irish people are an ethnic group who originate in Ireland, an island in northwestern Europe. Ireland has been populated for around 9,000 years , with the Irish people's earliest ancestors recorded having legends of being descended from groups such as the Nemedians, Fomorians, Fir Bolg, Tuatha...

 immigrants settled here, as they did throughout Manchester. Ardwick Station
Ardwick railway station
Ardwick railway station serves Ardwick in Manchester, England. It is about one mile south of Manchester Piccadilly. It was opened by the Sheffield, Ashton-Under-Lyne and Manchester Railway in 1842.-History:...

 is situated at a junction where the Manchester and Birmingham Railway
Manchester and Birmingham Railway
The Manchester and Birmingham Railway was built between Manchester and Crewe and opened in stages from 1840. Between Crewe and Birmingham, trains were worked by the Grand Junction Railway...

, later the London and North Western Railway
London and North Western Railway
The London and North Western Railway was a British railway company between 1846 and 1922. It was created by the merger of three companies – the Grand Junction Railway, the London and Birmingham Railway and the Manchester and Birmingham Railway...

 diverged from the line to Sheffield that became the Great Central Railway
Great Central Railway
The Great Central Railway was a railway company in England which came into being when the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway changed its name in 1897 in anticipation of the opening in 1899 of its London Extension . On 1 January 1923, it was grouped into the London and North Eastern...

. Nicholls Hospital, a neo-gothic building that was later a school, was constructed on Hyde Road in the last quarter of the 19th century. More recently it has become the Nicholls Campus of The Manchester College
The Manchester College
The Manchester College is a further education college in Manchester, England. It opened on 1 August 2008 as the result of a merger between City College Manchester and Manchester College of Arts and Technology to form a 'supercollege'...


The railway bridge across Hyde Road was known by older residents as the 'Fenian Arch'. On 18 September 1867 it was the scene of an attack upon a prison van carrying two Fenian
The Fenians , both the Fenian Brotherhood and Irish Republican Brotherhood , were fraternal organisations dedicated to the establishment of an independent Irish Republic in the 19th and early 20th century. The name "Fenians" was first applied by John O'Mahony to the members of the Irish republican...

 prisoners to the former Belle Vue Jail, in which one police officer was killed. Three of the rescuers were captured and publicly hanged, the so-called Manchester Martyrs
Manchester Martyrs
The Manchester Martyrs – William Philip Allen, Michael Larkin, and Michael O'Brien – were members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, an organisation dedicated to ending British rule in Ireland. They were executed for the murder of a police officer in Manchester, England, in 1867, during...


Civic history

The village of Ardwick can be traced back to 1282, when it was known as Atherdwic and the road between Manchester and Stockport
Stockport is a town in Greater Manchester, England. It lies on elevated ground southeast of Manchester city centre, at the point where the rivers Goyt and Tame join and create the River Mersey. Stockport is the largest settlement in the metropolitan borough of the same name...

 runs through it. From mediaeval times Ardwick was an independent township
Township (England)
In England, a township is a local division or district of a large parish containing a village or small town usually having its own church...

 in the ancient parish of Manchester
Manchester (ancient parish)
Manchester was an ancient ecclesiastical parish of the hundred of Salford, in Lancashire, England. It encompassed several townships and chapelries, including the then township of Manchester...

 within the Salford hundred
Salford (hundred)
The hundred of Salford was an ancient division of the historic county of Lancashire, in Northern England. It was sometimes known as Salfordshire, the name alluding to its judicial centre being the township of Salford...

 of Lancashire
Lancashire is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in the North West of England. It takes its name from the city of Lancaster, and is sometimes known as the County of Lancaster. Although Lancaster is still considered to be the county town, Lancashire County Council is based in Preston...

. It became part of the Borough of Manchester on the borough's creation in 1838. The historic boundary between Ardwick and Manchester was the River Medlock
River Medlock
The River Medlock is a river of Greater Manchester in North West England. It rises near Oldham and flows, south and west, for ten miles to join the River Irwell in the extreme southwest of Manchester city centre.-Source:...


Political divisions

Ardwick ward is represented by three councillor
A councillor or councilor is a member of a local government council, such as a city council.Often in the United States, the title is councilman or councilwoman.-United Kingdom:...

s – Tom O'Callaghan, Bernard Priest, and Mavis Smitheman. All three are members of the Labour Party
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 Both Tom O'Callaghan (2004-5) and Mavis Smitheman (2008-9) have served as Lord Mayor of Manchester.

Present day

Ardwick Green park has recently been refurbished, and though the pond is no more, it still contains an interesting glacial erratic
Glacial erratic
A glacial erratic is a piece of rock that differs from the size and type of rock native to the area in which it rests. "Erratics" take their name from the Latin word errare, and are carried by glacial ice, often over distances of hundreds of kilometres...

 in the form of a boulder. There is also a cenotaph
A cenotaph is an "empty tomb" or a monument erected in honour of a person or group of people whose remains are elsewhere. It can also be the initial tomb for a person who has since been interred elsewhere. The word derives from the Greek κενοτάφιον = kenotaphion...

 commemorating the 'Eighth Ardwicks', once a Territorial Army unit of the Manchester Regiment, whose former drill hall is still nearby. It was the old Volunteer Barracks, a fine Victorian castellated structure bearing the old volunteer motto "Defence Not Defiance". It is still in military use today.

The Manchester Apollo
Manchester Apollo
O2 Apollo Manchester is a concert venue in Manchester, England. Locally known as The Apollo, it is a listed building, with a capacity of 3,500 ....

, a 1930s Art Deco
Art Deco
Art deco , or deco, is an eclectic artistic and design style that began in Paris in the 1920s and flourished internationally throughout the 1930s, into the World War II era. The style influenced all areas of design, including architecture and interior design, industrial design, fashion and...

 theatre, is one of Ardwick's most famous landmarks: it was in use as a cinema (the ABC Ardwick) for many years and now plays host to national and international performing artists.

Extensive demolition of dilapidated Victorian
Victorian architecture
The term Victorian architecture refers collectively to several architectural styles employed predominantly during the middle and late 19th century. The period that it indicates may slightly overlap the actual reign, 20 June 1837 – 22 January 1901, of Queen Victoria. This represents the British and...

 terraces took place around Ardwick during the 1960s. Some residents remained in the area in new council-owned houses and flats, while others were relocated to overspill estate
Overspill estate
An overspill estate is a housing estate planned and built for the rehousing of people from decaying inner city areas usually as part of the process of slum clearance....

s such as Hattersley
Hattersley is a residential area within the Metropolitan Borough of Tameside, in Greater Manchester, England. It is to the east of Hyde and 6 miles west of the Peak District National Park....



(According to 2001 census)
  • White British – 52.10%
  • White Irish – 5.19%
  • White Other – 4.70%
  • Black or Black British – 13.94%
  • Asian or Asian British – 10.29%
  • Chinese or Other – 8.08%
  • Mixed Race – 5.69%

Notable people

  • Stephen Bradbury (artist)
    Stephen Bradbury (artist)
    Stephen Bradbury is an illustrator and painter.- Biography :Stephen Bradbury was born in Ardwick, Manchester, England, in 1954. The eldest of three sons to William and Doreen Bradbury. The family moved from Ardwick to Marple, Cheshire in 1962...

    . Artist and illustrator. Born and raised as a boy in Ardwick. Heywood House, Bennet Street.
  • Edward Brotherton, 1st Baron Brotherton
    Edward Brotherton, 1st Baron Brotherton
    Edward Allen Brotherton, 1st Baron Brotherton , known as Sir Edward Brotherton, Bt, between 1918 and 1929, was an industrialist in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England and a benefactor to the University of Leeds and other causes...

    , businessman and philanthropist
  • Edward Evans, the last of the five Moors Murders
    Moors murders
    The Moors murders were carried out by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley between July 1963 and October 1965, in and around what is now Greater Manchester, England. The victims were five children aged between 10 and 17—Pauline Reade, John Kilbride, Keith Bennett, Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans—at least...

     victims, was from Ardwick. He was 17 years old when murdered in October 1965 by Ian Brady in Hattersley
    Hattersley is a residential area within the Metropolitan Borough of Tameside, in Greater Manchester, England. It is to the east of Hyde and 6 miles west of the Peak District National Park....

  • Leslie Lever, Baron Lever
    Leslie Lever, Baron Lever
    Leslie Maurice Lever, Baron Lever was a British Labour politician. He was Member of Parliament for Manchester Ardwick from 1950 to 1970, when he retired. Subsequently, he was given a life peerage as Baron Lever, of Ardwick in the City of Manchester in 1975.He was educated at Manchester Grammar...

    , lawyer and politician, MP for Ardwick
  • Johnny Marr
    Johnny Marr
    Johnny Marr is an English musician and songwriter. Marr rose to fame in the 1980s as the guitarist in The Smiths, with whom he formed a prolific songwriting partnership with Morrissey. Marr has been a member of Electronic, The The, and Modest Mouse...

    , guitarist, most notably of The Smiths
    The Smiths
    The Smiths were an English alternative rock band, formed in Manchester in 1982. Based on the song writing partnership of Morrissey and Johnny Marr , the band also included Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce...

  • John Howard Nodal
    John Howard Nodal
    -Life:He was son of Aaron Nodal , of the Society of Friends, a grocer and member of the Manchester town council. Born in Downing Street, Ardwick, Manchester, on 19 September 1831, he was educated at Ackworth School, Yorkshire . At seventeen he became a clerk of the Electric Telegraph Company, and...

    , journalist and philologist
  • John Rylands
    John Rylands
    John Rylands was an English entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He was the owner of the largest textile manufacturing concern in the United Kingdom, and Manchester's first multi-millionaire....

    , businessman and philanthropist
  • Mavis Smitheman, City Councillor
  • William Tarmey
    William Tarmey
    Bill Tarmey is an English actor, singer and author, best known for playing Jack Duckworth on the soap opera Coronation Street. First appearing in the role in 1979, he played it continuously from 1983 to 2010.-Life and career:Tarmey was born in Ardwick, Manchester...

     (born William Piddington), actor and singer best known for his portrayal as Jack Duckworth
    Jack Duckworth
    John Harold "Jack" Duckworth is a long-standing fictional character from the British ITV soap opera Coronation Street, a long-running serial drama about working class life in the fictional town of Weatherfield. He is played by actor William Tarmey. The character debuted onscreen during the episode...

     in Coronation Street
    Coronation Street
    Coronation Street is a British soap opera set in Weatherfield, a fictional town in Greater Manchester based on Salford. Created by Tony Warren, Coronation Street was first broadcast on 9 December 1960...

    , was born at Ardwick in 1941.
  • Ellen Wilkinson
    Ellen Wilkinson
    Ellen Cicely Wilkinson was the Labour Member of Parliament for Middlesbrough and later for Jarrow on Tyneside. She was one of the first women in Britain to be elected as a Member of Parliament .- History :...

    , MP, the Ellen Wilkinson High School
    Ellen Wilkinson High School
    Ellen Wilkinson High School was housed, until it closed in 2000, in a Grade II* listed building in the Ardwick district of Manchester, designed in 1879–80 by the prolific Manchester architect Thomas Worthington. Formerly known as Nicholls Hospital, the building was funded by Benjamin Nicholls as a...

    , was named after her

Further reading

  • Frangopulo, N. J. (1962) Rich Inheritance. Manchester: Education Committee; pp. 270–271 contain: "The history of a district, e.g. Ardwick", a list of documents held at Manchester Central Library
    Manchester Central Library
    Manchester Central Library is a circular library south of the extended Town Hall in Manchester, England. It acts as the headquarters of the Manchester Library & Information Service, which also consists of 22 other community libraries.Designed by E...

  • Makepeace, Chris (1995) Looking Back at Hulme, Moss Side, Chorlton on Medlock & Ardwick. Altrincham: Willow

External links

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