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in the City of Manchester

Moss Side, as
the name suggests, was originally at the edge of a “moss”
or a peat bog moorland. In medieval times, turf or peat cut here would
have been used as fuel for heating and cooking. The entry in the Domesday
Book of 1086 actually defined the area as wasteland, and that a small
village, or hamlet, was to be found there.
Moss side
has, therefore, been occupied since the earliest of pre-Conquest times,
and has a consistent occupation right up to the present day. It was
incorporated into the City of Manchester in 1904. As a small village,
by the beginning of the 19th century the official census showed that
it had fewer than 200 residents and its main occupation was in farming
and agriculture.
The Industrial
Revolution was to change all that. By the 20th century its resident
population had risen to 27,000. It saw rapid expansion and an overwhelming
influx of people looking for work in the new mills that were being
built throughout the region. The new houses, built to house these
workers were laid out on streets that formed a grid pattern – the
most efficient use of space by which the greatest number of dwellings
could be squeezed into the available area. Houses were generally unregulated
back-to-back terraces with little or no sanitation of facilities.
Many still survive today, particularly around Main Road, Great Western
Street and Princess Road. Later developments around Denmark Road were
better built, thanks in part to hastily enforced building regulations,
and the middle class residents who occupied these larger houses.
In the better
off areas facilities were better – Alexander Park is an example of
improved amenities in the more prosperous areas of the district. The
Park, opened in 1876, had an ornamental and boating lake, pavilion,
a bandstand for Sunday afternoon concerts and an unbroken 2 mile walk.
It was frequented by elegant ladies and horse-drawn carriages accompanied
by light music from the bandstand. Later it had its own council offices,
fire station and a library. In 1909 a tram depot was opened on Princess
Road and eventually would garage 300 trams.
Moss Side
currently is also home to the Manchester
City Football Club
. Originally known as Ardwick Football Club,
MCFC have had their football ground at Maine Road in the heart of
Moss Side since 1923, but have relocated after the end of the 2002
football season to the prestigious City of Manchester Stadium at Sportcity,
which will become their permanent home. The
fate of the old Maine Road stadium, sadly, was to be demolished, and
at present a large swathe of bulldozed land lies amid the rows of
Moss Side terraced houses, awaiting some further development.

Site of the old MCFC Maine Road Stadium
Site of
the old Maine Road Stadium in Moss Side. Aerial Photo Courtesy of © 2005

In recent years
Moss Side has had a chequered and unfortunate history due largely
to the proliferation of gun and drug-related crimes in the district,
so that armed police now regularly patrol its streets.

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 14 Nov 11.