Districts & Suburbs of Manchester
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
main depot and garage for Manchester Corporation Trams was located
in Ardwick and still survives today as a bus station on Hyde Road.
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.
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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