Manchester UK Districts


Newton Heath District of Manchester

Including the
Suburb of Kirkmanshulme

Newton Heath takes
its name, self-evidently, from old English meaning “the new
town on the heath” . The heath in question stretched originally
from Miles Platting to Failsworth, and is bordered by brooks and rivers
on all four sides – the River Medlock, Moston Brook, Newton Brook
and Shooters Brook. Locally the district is simply referred to as
Newton. There was also a “detached” area known as Kirkmanshulme
which formed part of the district – Belle Vue stands on that land,
which is now only remembered in Kirkmanshulme Lane which borders it.
The district was incorporated into the City of Manchester in 1890.
Hall, which stood alongside the River Medlock within Newton was owned
by the Byrons (of whom the poet Lord Byron was a family member). Other
great houses once lay within the district, including Clayton Hall
(owned by the Greaves family), Whitworth Hall and Hulme Hall.
French Huguenots
had settled in the area in the 16th century to avoid continental persecution,
and had brought cotton and linen weaving and bleaching skills with
them. The arrival of textile mills saw this cottage industry change
forever into a fully mechanised mass production system – in 1825 Newton
Silk Mill was built and the Monsall Silk Dye Works followed soon afterwards.
The Rochdale
Canal made movement of raw materials and finished products a practical
reality. Later came other industries, including a soap works, a match
manufacturing factory and rope works as well as engineering and glass
making works. A multitude of small back-to-back low cost houses had
to be constructed to house the new migrant work force. Thus was Newton
changed irrevocably from a farming community into an industrialised
The 18th
century saw Oldham Road turnpiked and a toll bar installed at Lambs
Lane – this road still forms the main artery through the district.
By the beginning of the 19th century, the Rochdale Canal had been
constructed and this brought industrialisation to the district, and
the former farming settlement was thus hastened into the Industrial
Revolution and creeping urbanisation. The 19th century saw the local
population increase nearly 20 fold.
The railways
arrived in the 1840s and the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway (the
LYR) laid two main lines across the district which made a significant
change to the look of the district. Engine repair sheds were opened
in 1877 at the Newton Heath Traction Maintenance Depot, which grew
to become a major local employer which, by the 1860s, had been expanded
to a 40 acre site with over 2000 workers.
An unexpected
product of Newton Heath is Manchester
United Football Club
. They began life in 1879 as a football team
formed from employees of the LYR who played on a local pitch in Monsall
Road, known by the name of Newton Heath Football Club. By 1892 they
had been admitted to the Football League and in 1902 they moved to
new premises in Bank Street and changed the club name to Manchester
United Football Club.
Apart from
the railways, Newton Heath grew into a major supplier of engineering,
with companies like Mather & Platt, Avro and Heenan & Froude.
Blackpool Tower was actually
manufactured in Newton.

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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This page last updated 14 Nov 11.