Manchester's Ten  Metropolitan Boroughs




Town & Borough of Bury

St Mary's Church, BuryBury Town HallBury War memorial GardensMillgate Shopping Centre, Bury

Bury is known regionally
as a town whose thrice-weekly market, held on Wednesdays, Fridays and
Saturdays, draws crowds of shoppers from far and wide. Its popularity
has also been recently enhanced by the Metrolink tram/train service
which terminates at Bury,
and the reopening of the East Lancashire Light
which runs daily from Bury (Bolton Street) to Rawtenstall.
The town is famous also for paper-making, which has declined somewhat
since its heyday, and the notorious Bury Black Pudding, a local delicacy,
served boiling hot and eaten as a takeaway snack (available at the town’s
market on market days)

Old Drinking Fountain, Manchester Road, BuryBury, The Peel Tower, Holcombe Hill, near BuryBury Memorial Clock Tower

Outside the parish
church, at the end of The Rock, stands a monument to one of Bury’s most
celebrated men, Sir Robert Peel, Prime Minister, and founder of the
Metropolitan Police Force
Bury Town Hall is a striking modern (if rather bland) building, set
around with pleasant gardens – it was opened by Her Majesty The Queen
in 1954. In the past decade, much of the town centre has been developed
as a large covered shopping mall – The Millgate Precinct. Some 5 miles
distant on Holcombe Hill overlooking the borough, stands the monument
to Sir Robert Peel – the austere
Peel Tower.

Aerial Photograph of Bury Market
Bury Market: Aerial Photograph Image Courtesy of © 2005

Origins &
History of Bury

The name Bury, (also
earlier known as “Buri” and “Byri”) comes from a
Saxon word, probably meaning “a stronghold”. In ancient times the whole
area was almost certainly covered in woodland, marsh and moorland and
was probably inhabited by nomadic herdsmen. A Bronze Age funeral barrow
has been located at Whitelow Hill in nearby Ramsbottom. Several ceramic
urns were unearthed here and are now on display in the Bury Museum.

The Romans are believed to have arrived in Bury around 78 AD and Agricola,
the Governor of Britain built roads out from his new fortress as Mamuciam
(the origin of Manchester), one of which, Watling Street, crossed the
Borough through Prestwich across the River Irwell at Radcliffe and continuing
on through Affetside towards to Ribchester.
Parts of the road are still visible today particularly around Affetside.
It has been suggested that the village of Ainsworth may be near to or
the site of Roman Coccium as the place has always been known by the
nickname “Cockey Moor”.
During medieval times most of Bury was held by the the De Montbegons,
Lords of the Manor of Tottington. This barony had been granted to Roger
De Poitou at the end of the 11th century. By the 14th century, the manor
had passed into the possession of the Pilkington family until 1485 when
the lands of Sir Thomas Pilkington were forfeited because of his allegiance
to Richard III.
Later, under a new king, Henry, the lands were granted to one of his
staunchest supporters, Thomas, Lord Stanley, who for his services was
created Earl of Derby. The Stanley family have been Lords of the Manor
ever since. In the south of the area most of the land was acquired by
purchase of Lord Grey de Winton and his successor, the Earl of Wilton,
is still the present owner.
In the Middle Ages the “Black Death” led to a shortage of labour. Land
previously ploughed fell into decay. Large areas were turned into pastures
and sheep were reared. It was at this time that Bury appears to have
become a centre for wool and woollen cloth.
Little had changed in Bury until the beginning of the 18th century,
when a revolution took place in the textile world. John Kay, born at
Walmersley in Bury, developed the so-called “Flying Shuttle” and revolutionised
cotton weaving, hastening the progress of weaving as a fully mechanised
industrial process.
During the Industrial Revolution the town of Bury grew at an astonishing
rate. In 1791 called the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal Company was
formed, and thereafter coal was brought to the town by narrowboat directly
from Worsley through the Bridgewater Canal and Castlefield Basin in
Manchester. Little of the original canal is still in existence, but
happily, the Manchester Bolton and Bury Canal Society are systematically
restoring the navigation around Radcliffe. Canal trips are now possible
once more.
The area has always had a military connection with the Lancashire
Fusiliers Regiment
(later “The Fusiliers”) based at their headquarters
on Bolton Road. Since their founding 300 years ago they have many battle
honours including Gallipoli in the Great War, winning six VCs.
Paper manufacturing has been a major industry in the area since the
last century and until relatively recent times had brought much wealth
and prosperity to the town. Today there remain no more than a handful
of the mills which once placed Bury among the most important paper making
centres in Europe.Large paper
manufacturing companies like Bibby and Baron, Ramsbottom’s Trinity Paper
Mills, and the East Lancashire Paper Mills, produced much of the nation’s
paper requirement until quite recent times. Sadly, East Lancs paper
Mill, the last remaining in Radcliffe, closed down in 2001. Much of
the world’s paper-making machinery was also manufactured in Bury. Courses
on paper-making are still run at Bury College. Today, many of its surviving
mills concentrate on processing recycled fibres, and the town is regaining
some of its past pre-eminence in paper manufacture, with the Fort Sterling
factory at Ramsbottom having recently invested �70 million in paper-making


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This page last updated 16 Nov 12.