:"Or see Castlefields."infobox UK place

static_image_caption=View of Castlefield in 2007
country = England
official_name= Castlefield
latitude= 53.475
longitude= -2.255
metropolitan_borough= City of Manchester
metropolitan_county= Greater Manchester
region= North West England
post_town= MANCHESTER
postcode_district= M3
postcode_area= M
dial_code= 0161
os_grid_reference= SJ830976

Castlefield is an inner city area of Manchester, in North West England. It is historically notable for the Roman era fort of Mamucium or Mancunium (both forms are found) which later gave its name to Manchester. It is also the location of the world's first railway warehouse, and Liverpool Road railway station, the oldest surviving railway station in the world, [ [,%20manchester.pdf Museum of Science and Industry: Liverpool Street Station] ] both of which are now part of the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.

After suffering years of urban decay, Castlefield was designated as a conservation area in 1980 and the United Kingdom's first designated Urban Heritage Park in 1982. [Woodside et al. (2004), p. 286.] [cite web |title=Manchester firsts |author=Manchester City Council |url= | |accessdate=2008-07-15] This was motivated by the fact that the area is centred on the confluence of the Bridgewater Canal, Ashton Canal and Rochdale Canal as well as a network of railways and, consequently, a great deal of Manchester's industrial heritage is still intact in the area. The growth in tourism and leisure has transformed what was once a forgotten corner of the city into a thriving major attraction with frequent popular events. see: [ Manchester City Council: Castlefield Conservation Area: History] Retrieved on 2008-08-26]


A Roman fort called Mamucium, or Mancunium, was established in what is now Castlefield c. AD 79 near a crossing point on the River Medlock. [Gregory (2007), pp. 1, 3.] The fort was sited on a sandstone bluff near the confluence of the rivers Medlock and Irwell in a naturally defensible position. [Gregory (2007), p. 1.] It was erected as a series of fortifications established by Gnaeus Julius Agricola during his campaign against the Brigantes who were the Celtic tribe in control of most of northern England. [Mason (2001), pp. 41–42.] It guards the Deva Victrix (Chester) to Eboracum (York) Roman road running east to west, and a road heading north to Bremetennacum (Ribchester). [Gregory (2007), pp. 1–2.] The neighbouring forts were Castleshaw and Northwich. [Walker (1999), p. 15.] Built first from turf and timber, the fort was demolished around 140. When it was rebuilt around 160, it was again of turf and timber construction. [Gregory (2007), p. 3.] In about 200 the fort underwent another rebuild, this time enhancing the defences by replacing the gatehouse with a stone version and facing the walls with stone. [Philpott (2006), p. 66.] The fort would have been garrisoned by a cohort, about 500 infantry, of auxiliary troops.cite web |title=A guide to Mamucium |author=Norman Redhead |url= |publisher=BBC Online |date=20 April 2008 Retrieved on 20 July 2008.]

Evidence of both pagan and Christian worship has been discovered. Two altars have been found and there may be a temple of Mithras associated with Mamucium. A word square was discovered in the 1970s that may be one of the earliest examples of Christianity in Britain. [Shotter (2004), p. 129.] A civilian settlement, or "vicus", grew in association with the fort, made up of traders and families of the soldiers. An area which has a concentration of furnaces and industrial activity has been described as an industrial estate. [Shotter (2004), p. 117.] The "vicus" was probably abandoned by the mid 3rd century, although a small garrison may have remained at Mamucium into the late 3rd and early 4th centuries. [Gregory (2007), p. 190.]

A reconstructed part of the fort stands on the site and is open to the public. The name Castlefield is a short form of 'Castle in the field'. As well as lending its name to the Castlefield area of Manchester, Manchester derived its name from Mamucium which meant "breast-shaped hill" in Celtic.cite book|title=A Dictionary of British Place-Names|url=|last=Mills|first=A.D.|year=2003|publisher=Oxford University Press|location=Oxford|isbn=0198527586] The designation 'The Castle-in-the-field' was in use in the Middle Ages, but eventually came to be abbreviated to Castlefield, as it is in use now.

The village of Manchester later became established a kilometre to the north and the area around the "vicus" became known as "Aldport" or "The Old Town". A house and park here became the home of the Moseley family but, in 1642, after being used by Lord Strange as a royalist headquarters during the Siege of Manchester, it was burned down by parliamentarians. The River Irwell was made navigable in 1720s, leading to the construction of a quay in the area for loading und unloading of goods. In the 19th century the Bridgewater canal was constructed and the area became the hub of the developing canal network. As the industrial revolution progressed the canals gave way to the railways and the area became the centre of a network of railway lines and warehouses, some of which were built over the remains of the fort.

During the 20th century both canal and railway transport declined and the area became derelict. The historic railway complex in Liverpool road was sold to a conservation group for a nominal £1 and became the Greater Manchester Museum of Science and industry. In 1982 the area was designated as an Urban Heritage Park and a part of the fort was reconstructed on the excavated foundations.

Present day

As part of the renewal of the site, an extensive outdoor area was developed as an events arena which is used for a wide variety of events, including the annual Dpercussion music festival. Granada Television television studios are located in the area along with the now closed Granada Studios Tour. In 2008 it was reported that ITV are considering re-opening the tour as the company is searching for new forms of revenue to restore growth. [ [ The Rovers Return is coming to a high street near you - Times Online ] ]

Castlefield has several bars and restaurants which are particularly popular during the summer months when people flock to the area to enjoy the large outdoor drinking areas and regular live music events.

Castle Quay is home of radio stations Key 103 and Piccadilly Magic 1152.


Industrial landmarks

The area was once a site of warehouses around the canal basins still found in Castlefield. These warehouses were later abandoned and the area became a derelict place where the Bridgewater Canal meets the Victorian railway viaducts.

Most of the buildings have now either been renovated or restored and many have been converted in modern apartments (warehouse flats). Numerous archaeological digs have taken place and revealed a great deal about the early history of the city. Manchester City Council have recently encouraged high quality new developments to accompany the converted warehouses and enhance the conservation area. [ [ Manchester City Council: Castlefield Conservation Area: Improvement and Enhancement] ]



*cite book |last=Gregory |first=Richard (ed) |title=Roman Manchester: The University of Manchester's Excavations within the Vicus 2001–5 |publisher=Oxbow Books |date=2007 |location=Oxford |isbn=978-1-84217-271-1
*cite book |last=Mason |first=David J.P. |title=Roman Chester: City of the Eagles |publisher=Tempus Publishing Ltd |date=2001 |location=Stroud |isbn=0-7524-1922-6
*cite journal |first=Robert A. |last=Philpott |date=2006 |title=The Romano-British Period Resource Assessment |journal=Archaeology North West|volumne=8 |pages=59–90 |issn=0962-4201
*cite book |first=David |last=Shotter |date= [2004] 1993 |title=Romans and Britons in North-West England |publisher=Centre for North-West Regional Studies |location=Lancaster |isbn=1-86220-152-8
*cite book |first=John (ed) |last=Walker |date=1989 |title=Castleshaw: The Archaeology of a Roman Fortlet |publisher=Greater Manchester Archaeological Unit |isbn=0-946126-08-9
*cite book |last=Woodside |first=Arch et al. |title=Consumer Psychology of Tourism, Hospitality, and Leisure |url=,M1 |publisher=CABI Publishing |date=2004 |isbn=0851995357

External links

* [ Castlefield Canal Basins - photo tour]
* [ Manchester City Council: Castlefield conservation area]
* [ Eyewitness in Manchester: Castlefield - description and photographs]
* [ Website of the annual D-Percussion festival]

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