Aerial photo of Cheetham Hill. Image provided courtesy of Webb Aviation
© 2008. www.webbaviation.co.uk - all rights reserved.
Cheetham is a
very old district, having been in existence since before the 14th
century. Its name is derived from the old English for "a village
near the wood". It was incorporated into the City of Manchester
a time when Cheetham and Cheetham Hill were separate entities, but
they are now regarded as one and the same. Cheetham is bounded by
Crumpsall and Broughton (the latter being in the City of Salford).
Bury Old Road/Cheetham Hill Road run directly through the centre of
known as Strangeways is also included in the Cheetham district, though
apart from HM Prison, Strangeways exists in little other than its
name. Once, however, Strangeways Hall and Park, ancestral home of
the Strangeways family, dominated the region, until it was demolished
in 1863 to make way for the ever-increasing housing requirement.
on a hillside between Manchester and Prestwich, Cheetham emerged as
a popular place for wealthy industrialists to build their homes, looking
down upon, but quite separate from the grimy Victorian city below
- thus it avoided encroaching industrialisation. In 1868, Strangeways
Prison, designed by Alfred Waterhouse, (who had designed the Town
Hall) was formally opened, as were the adjacent Assize Courts (now
gone). The prison was the site of the notorious prison riots of 1990
which resulted in millions of pounds worth of damage and a significant
level of rebuilding and additional high security perimeter walls which
now mask much of Waterhouses's original architecture.
Hill is now part of the so-called 'Cheetham and Broughton Partnership',
a scheme aimed at improving the housing, economy and environment of
this part of Manchester and neighbouring Salford. Cheetham village
itself has seen extensive remodellimng and improvement during 2002-2003,
with new pavements and road surfacing, improved lighting CCTV throughout
and the creation of new parking bays and a fast track bus lane through
the busiest part of the area.
By the 1860s
Cheetham had become a thriving and busy township with its own Town
Hall, Library, Swimming Baths, Assembly Rooms and the Northern Hospital
(closed in the mid-1990s). It was considered an elegant and desirable
place to live in Victorian times.
is also favoured by having the Manchester Jewish Museum within its
boundaries, (formerly a Portuguese Synagogue). The area has, in fact,
several large synagogues, witness to the large number of Jewish people
who live within the area.
Cheetham is only a pale shadow of its former self, and is somewhat
run down by modern standards. Its concrete shopping precinct, which
dominated the village for 2 decades, was never a particularly pleasant
place to shop, and was the nightime focus for local gangs to congregate,
and is a centre of crime and drug dealing. It has now been completely
demolished and a new supermarket is being built in its place. The
former elegant library now stands derelict, having been through several
transformations; the old town hall is currently an Indian Restaurant
after more than 30 years of dereliction and decay. Some of its finer
churches are abandoned and the cemeteries lie overgrown and neglected.
Cheetham boasted "the Cream of Manchester" in the original
Boddington's Brewery at Strangeways, but even that has been demolished
in 2007, having been bought out by Interbrew, a Swedish brewer and
summarily closed down.
part of Cheetham Hill Road is now occupied by innumerable small retail
and wholesale businesses, including clothing, jewellery and furnishing
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.