Ten local towns and districts were joined to make the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford. They are : Altrincham, Bowden, Carrington, Dunham Massey, Hale, Partington, Sale, Stretford, Urmston and Warburton. While all 10 districts have a common bond in the borough, each has its own individual and often ancient character.
(Pronounced: Alt-ring-ham and not Alt-rinch-ham). With a population of over 40,000, Altrincham is Trafford’s charter town, and still retains its distinctive sense of being predominantly a market town, which still operates and thrives today on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The original Old Market Place was the home of the stocks and whipping post and is still surrounded by some of Altrincham’s oldest and most prized buildings. The town originally included Dunham Massey and Carrington, and was granted full Municipal Borough status by King George VI in July 1937. The Industrial Revolution came to the town in the 18th century and during this time the town’s principal industry was cotton and worsted manufacturing, which survived until the 1840s. It’s memory is retained in local placenames such as Mill Street (off Grosvenor Road), and the Old Mill pub near the former Altrincham railway crossing was.
The Station Clock, Altrincham
Cotton was delivered in bales by canal for the Altrincham and Styal mills after 1766 when the canal came. The Old Mill had been powered by a spring from Old Market Place, was rebuilt in 1780 with steam added in 1785 but in the 1840s it was converted to a hotel. The town is now a terminus for the Metrolink Tram System which connects it directly with Manchester City centre. Altrincham has now returned to its former status as the principal market town on the edge of the Borough of Trafford.
Population: 5,190. An attractive and almost entirely residential small country town set in the midst of open countryside. Much sought after properties. A 19th century scribe described Bowden as “a beautiful rural village, exceptionally pleasant, even for England”. The name is derived from 2 Saxon words “bode” (a dwelling), and “don” or “dun” indicating a plain on a rise or down, on account of the sandstone edge on which it stands. The parish church of St Mary’s dates back before Norman times.
With a recorded population of just under 400 and an area of 2,00 acres, Carrington is the smallest district within the borough. The lands were the property of the Earls of Stamford until relatively modern times, when huge tracts were purchased by Manchester Corporation and others by the Shell UK Corporation, who have constructed a large refinery here, as well as the Carrington Business Park. As a result, the resident population is small, though the area provides employment for many thousands of workers who travel into it every day. The Business Park is a welcome home to many new businesses, and many small units, offices, studios and services have been provided to encourage new business to move into the park.
Population: 460. This is Trafford’s main Stately Home, and most of its area is open deer park and parkland. The 18th century house is set in 230 acres of park. For over 300 years it was the seat of the Earls of Stamford and Warrington. See main entry : Dunham Massey .
Hale is a relatively small district, like Bowdon, and similarly is a much sought-after residential district, with spacious tree-lined roads, pleasant shopping facilities, parks, open spaces and other amenities. Its population is just over 16,000 and it covers 2,264 acres. From entries in the Domesday Book it seems to have once been primarily forested land with a small settlement in a clearing. It still retains much of its rural character and natural beauty.
The former Parish of Partington on the east bank of the Manchester Ship Canal, has old historical ties, since in the 10th century the Danish leader Cythric Silkybeard led an army into battle along the River Mersey in the area. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, his men slew 20 Partington men. For many years a farming community, its modern development dates from 1871 when the watermill became the centre of a local paper-making industry. In the 20th century, this little village was transformed into a major township with increasing population and housing development. Today it has a twice-weekly market, good shopping facilities, a health centre, library, leisure centre, swimming pool and community centre.
Prior to municipal reorganisation in the early 1970s, Sale included Ashton-on-Mersey and Sale Moor, and was the second largest Municipal Borough in Cheshire. In earlier days it was an Anglo-Saxon farming area. Its modern development came with the building of the railway line from Manchester to Altrincham in 1849, and it still benefits from this connection. It is now a sought after residential area.
Its Roman origins are borne out by the name, derived from “streta” , meaning a paved road, and “Ford”, a river crossing place. It was here that the Roman road crossed the River Mersey. It is now the administrative headquarters of Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council, located in Trafford Town Hall in Talbot Road. By the 14th century, Stretford had become a major wool producing and manufacturing area. Its modern development can be attributed to the building of the Bridgewater Canal through the borough in 1761 and later, the Manchester Ship Canal which connected it to the Trafford Park area. Now a thriving modern borough, its large shopping complex, the Arndale Centre with over 200 retail outlets, makes it a popular shopping area with residents.
A former Lancashire Urban District, Urmston included Flixton and Davyhulme, and is the largest township in the Borough of Trafford. Its name derives from an early owner – Orme Fitz-Seward, and the Saxon “ton” meaning town or dwelling – hence “Orme’s ton” . Later the land passed to Richard de Trafford. One of its major modern landmarks is the Barton High Level Bridge which carries the M60 Orbital Motorway over the Ship Canal. Urmston is a busy shopping centre, with excellent local shops and an outdoor market held three days a week. Other amenities include a new leisure centre and swimming pool.
The small parish of Warburton dates from Saxon times as “Wareburghtune” , named after the ancient St Werburgh’s Church, rebuilt in the 12th century with later Tudor and Jacobean additions (top right). Around 1190, Norbertine White Canons from Normandy were given land in Warburton where they founded an abbey (the area now known as Abbey Croft). It was at Warburton that a Toll Bridge was built over the Ship Canal, to accompany the original one that crossed the River Mersey at this point. Warburton retains much of this historic atmosphere, as well as many of its half-timbered houses and old farm buildings, which have been carefully preserved among the more recent residential developments which have taken place.