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Ardwick. Aerial photo Image provided courtesy of Webb Aviation © 2008. - all rights reserved.

The name of Ardwick is thought to have been derived from 2 words - "Ard" and "Wic". Ard was the abbreviated form of King Aethelred and Wic was a word for a farm or small hamlet. Therefore, Ardwick was, in old Saxon at least, the farm or hamlet of Aethelred. Certainly, by the fourteenth century there were extensive fisheries and cornfields in the district.
Ardwick is bounded by the River Medlock to the north, and Cornbrook in the South. By the early 19th century, Ardwick was a pleasant and elegant suburb of Manchester and Ardwick Green was a popular and sought-after neighbourhood in which to live. It was here that one James Potter, great-grandfather of the Lakeland writer Beatrix Potter lived. Nowadays, Arwick Green is a busy traffic intersection where Hyde Road and Stockport Road converge to meet the City of Manchester. In Victorian times it had been pleasant gardens with an ornamental pond.
By the late 19th century, Ardwick was heavily industrialised, with mills in Union Street, Limeworks alongside the Medlock, Ironworks, Boilerworks, a Sawmill, Chemical works, Brickworks and Spindleworks. Effluents from the Brickworks and Chemical works emptied freely into the River Cornbook and it was so heavily and dangerously polluted that the locals referred to it as the "Black Brook". Jerry-built back-to-back houses crammed in amongst the factories and mills.
In the 1840s the Manchester & Birmingham Railway arrived in the district, effectively cutting it into two sections, Higher Ardwick on one side, and what came to be known as Lower Arwick on the other. Later, two other railways were added, and these, with their distinctive railway viaducts have defined much of the present day look and feel of the area.
Ardwick produced its fair share of local celebrities, including Benjamin Nicholls, who was twice Mayor of Manchester and Ellen Wilkinson, the MP, Minister of Education and radical politician who took part in the Jarrow hunger march of 1936. Earlier, the Mosleys and the Birches, two of Manchester's most influential families for several centuries, had lived at Arwick Hall, which stood on the site now occupied by the Great Universal Stores offices and warehouse. The philanthropist John Rylands, also lived in Ardwick Green.
The southern end of the district abounded with entertainments by the end of the 19th century. Here stood the Ardwick Empire Theatre, the Coliseum and the Ardwick Picture Theatre. Billiards and Wrestling were to be found here as part of the frequent travelling fairs that often set up at the corner of Brunswick Street. By the 1930s, The Lido Dance Hall and the Queens Picture House has joined the entertainments. Today, only the Apollo Theatre survives, and is a popular venue for pop and rock music shows and concerts.
The main depot and garage for Manchester Corporation Trams was located in Ardwick and still survives today as a bus station on Hyde Road.
In recent times, the creation of Sport City for the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games have brought regeneration to the district as well as providing significant new job opportunities.

See also:

We have made reference to several sources in compiling this web page, but must make special mention of the Breedon Books' "Illustrated History of Manchester's Suburbs" by Glynis Cooper, of which we made particular use. Information about this book can be found on our Books About Manchester webpage.

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Copyright © John Moss, Papillon Graphics AD 2013 Manchester, United Kingdom - all rights reserved.
This page last updated 14 Nov 12.