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Northenden is located at the southernmost edge of Manchester, south of the River Mersey, and was incorporated into the City in 1931 along with Bagueley and Northenden Etchells, all of which had previously been in the County of Cheshire. Its name means "northern dale or valley", no doubt because of its immediate proximity to the Mersey. This river once marked the boundary between Lancashire and Cheshire.
Northenden has a long history, having been mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, and was at that time a small farming community with a manor house and woodland. A weir existed on the river in the 14th century (now unsurprisingly at Mill Lane) and a mill was set up for the grinding of corn. The mill belonged to the Tatton family of Wythenshawe Hall, and it was not actually demolished until the 1960s.
Lying as it does on a major (and very old) crossing of the Mersey on the Salt Road from Cheshire to Manchester, it prospered in medieval times. The ford was an important passageway north out of and into Manchester, (now remembered in Ford Lane) and Bonnie Prince Charlie marched his army over it in 1745 in his abortive attempt to seize the crown of England. There was also a ferry across the river here, known as Jackson's Boat (near the present day Boat Lane), and it survived until the building of the footbridge in the 1870s.
Its distance from Manchester enabled Northenden to avoid the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, and it remained relatively rural, as it still does (apart from having the M56 and M60 motorways now running across either end of the village). The nearest it came to industrialisation was in the establishment of a cottage industry in the spinning of flax.
Northenden was still largely rural until the early 20th century, until the building of the enormous Wythenshawe housing estate alongside. Northenden responded by rapidly developing a shopping centre along Palatine Road to service the new neighbourhood with all the necessities of life - shops, schools, churches, a cinema and small businesses and service industries. Eventually, Wythenshawe acquired its own shops and commercial centre, and the motorways bypassed the village so that it was able to return to the (more-or-less) sleepy village it had always been.
In the 1980s the area became part of the Mersey Valley Park, and the banks of the river form part of the Mersey Valley Trail.

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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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This page last updated 14 Nov 11.