The name of Didsbury
is derived from the Saxon "Dyddi's burg", probably
referring to a man known by the name Dyddi whose manor, stronghold
or township it then was. Didsbury has a long unbroken history since
those times, including the site of St James Church whose origin even
predates Saxon times. It was here in the 14th century that victims
of the Black Death were buried. Several rebuilds and five centuries
later and the church is still standing and in use today. Adjacent
to St James is the Old Parsonage, now known as Fletcher Moss after
a later resident, whose ghost is still claimed to walk its floors.
Moss in its time has been an Art Gallery, but is best known for its
Botanical Gardens, open to the public and well worth a visit. Fletcher
Moss is a small hidden-away house in a charming setting and well worth
the time and trouble to find. A high walled garden borders this Georgian
house, named after Fletcher Moss, a Manchester alderman who purchased
it in 1884. There is a small orchid house, many rare tree specimens,
a rose garden and a rich and extensive collection of herbaceous plants.
Next door to Didsbury Parish Church and Fletcher
Moss Botanical Gardens.
times, Didsbury was a pleasant wooded area close to the River Mersey
on the south side of the present day City of Manchester. By the 13th
century there are records of a water mill beside the Mersey in the
village, and this continued grinding corn right up to its closure
in 1890. It was demolished only as recently as 1952.
Road and Barlow Moor Road were the rally point of Oliver
Cromwell's Parliamentarian army for its attack on Manchester from
the mid-nineteenth century show a profusion of small strip farms in
the area growing crops as diverse as corn, flax, hemp and hay, as
well as sheep grazing for wool production. Didsbury itself was not
directly affected by the industrial Revolution though it saw its population
explode fifteen-fold between 1801 and 1901.
it does on a major route south out of Manchester (the A34 trunk Road
to Oxford), it was inevitable that the road should be turnpiked as
a toll road in the 18th century, and that over subsequent decades
it should see various transformations. First, the horse-drawn tramcar,
then the electric tram and finally, in 1939, motor omnibuses. By the
end of the 19th century the turnpike was terminated and Wilmslow Road
became an open free highway - all this at the time that the Midland
Railway line was built, connecting Didsbury directly with Manchester
Central Railway Station (now G-MEX).
Didsbury Station was closed in 1967, though the station at East Didsbury
is still operational and busy.
Wood Lane, the old Capitol Cinema saw a transformation into the ABC
Television Studios in the 1950s - it was here such popular TV shows
as "Opportunity Knocks" and the "Jimmy Clitheroe
Show" were made.
is also the home of the Shirley Institute in the Towers, established
in 1910 as a centre for the study of textiles and home of the British
Cotton Industry Research Association.
is a pleasant, prosperous and desirable dormitory area of the City,
and houses here are much sought after. It is also a popular area for
local university students to seek out accommodation, with a good number
of housing and apartment developments. The village itself has a wide
range of quality shops and is thereby virtually self-sufficient, though
there are recent developments at East Didsbury where major shopping,
entertainment and leisure complexes have been constructed.
The Lapwing Lane
and Burton Road area have also recently seen the establishment of
a thriving café and restaurant culture offering cuisine of
various ethnic types including Indian, Thai and Afro-Caribbean and
a formerly quiet back road has now become the centre of a new and
vigorous bustling nightlife.
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.