Manchester UK Districts

on Medlock

of Manchester

Aerial photo of Chorlton on Medlock
Aerial photo of Chorlton on Medlock. Image provided courtesy of Webb
Aviation © 2008. – all rights reserved.

Chorlton on Medlock,
(not to be confused with Cholton-cum-Hardy
also a district of Manchester), was formerly known as Chorlton Row,
and was originally incorporated into the City of Manchester in 1838.
Chorlton signifies the old Viking word for freemen (spelled variously
as “coerls”, “chorls” or “churls”)and
hence the placename means “the settlement (or town) of freemen
by/on the River Medlock”.
It is bounded
by Rusholme, Moss Side, Ardwick and Hulme. Its area includes the University
of Manchester and the Manchester
, and flowing though it, hidden for the most part, is the
River Medlock, which gives the district its name. Chorlton
on Medlock starts at the Mancunian Way flyover just south of the city
centre. It lies between Upper Brook Street, Plymouth Grove and Ardwick
Green. Stockport Road goes through the area, giving good access to
south Manchester.
Until the
19th century it had been a small country village, but the Industrial
Revolution and the building of Chorlton Mills catapulted it into the
urban landscape which it now is. By 1900 its population had multiplied
a hundred fold as people flocked in to live in filthy slum houses
and work in the new textile factories that abounded within its borders.
Its back-to-back jerry-built houses were the most distinctive feature
of the Mancunian industrial landscape and typified the worst excesses
of profiteering and human exploitation by unscrupulous mill owners
and landlords. The Chorlton mills occupied land alongside the Medlock
between Oxford Street, Cambridge Street and Chester Street. The area
around Rosamund Street, Charles Street and Jenkinson Street became
known as “Little Ireland” due to the large numbers of Irish
immigrant workers living there. This place came to be synonymous with
all the evils and squalor of unregulated industrialisation for Manchester
became notorious.
on Medlock also saw the arrival of Charles Mackintosh’s works on Cambridge
Street. Here Mackintosh was to develop his fabric waterproofing techniques
that were to make his name celebrated the whole world over. Other
notable residents of the district were one-time Prime Minister David
Lloyd George
, the Pankhursts,
pioneers of womens’ suffrage, and the novelist Mrs Elizabeth
One side
of the square gardens at All Saints is occupied by the Doric columns
of the old Chorlton Town Hall, later to form the refectory at the
Manchester School of Art (where the author of this page spent many
happy hours as an art student in the mid-1960s), now part of the Manchester
Metropolitan University which occupies the whole of the other side
of the square.
Also within
the district is St Mary’s Hospital, the Whitworth
Art Gallery
, John Rylands University Library, the BBC
studios and the great Roman Catholic Church of the
Holy Name on Oxford Road. The slums of Little Ireland are now long
gone and Chorlton on Medlock is largely occupied by the campuses of
the universities of Manchester.

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 © Gloria Moss, Papillon Graphics AD 2013 Manchester, United Kingdom – all
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This page last updated 16 Nov 12.