infobox UK place
country = England
official_name= Irlam
latitude= 53.4467
longitude= -2.4133
population = 18,504 (2001 Census)
metropolitan_borough= Salford
metropolitan_county= Greater Manchester
region= North West England
constituency_westminster= Eccles
post_town= MANCHESTER
postcode_area= M
postcode_district= M44
dial_code= 0161
os_grid_reference= SJ725945

london_distance= convert|166|mi|km|abbr=on SE

Irlam is a town within the metropolitan borough of the City of Salford, in Greater Manchester, England. It lies on flat ground by the Manchester Ship Canal, convert|6.7|mi|km|1|lk=on west-southwest of Salford, convert|7.6|mi|km|1| west-southwest of Manchester and convert|8.3|mi|km|1 east-northeast of Warrington. At the time of the United Kingdom Census 2001 Irlam had a population of 18,504.

Historically a part of Lancashire, Irlam was a relatively remote and underdeveloped area of moss land until the early-19th century. Chat Moss is a large area of peat bog which dominates the local landscape. Work was carried out during the 19th century to reclaim large areas of Chat Moss to ensure the completion of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1829. Irlam (or archaically Irwellham) takes its name from the River Irwell which passed through the area until its waters were united with the Manchester Ship Canal in 1894. Irlam's history has been closely linked with the canal since it opened.

Irlam, together with its southwestern neighbour Cadishead, formed an urban district from 1894 until 1974 when it was incorporated into the City of Salford. Irlam's geography is varied - the northern half continues to exist as moss land, enabling the area to have the largest farming community in Greater Manchester. The southern half is predominantly residential, and has a major employment source at the Northbank Industrial Estate.


Irlam is situated on the north bank of the River Irwell, from which it almost certainly takes its name, being known in the 13th century as "Irwellham". [cite web |title=Townships:Barton |work= A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4 |date=1911 | url= |accessdate=2007-06-26] Until around the time of the arrival of the railway, in 1830, Irlam remained a largely undeveloped village, on the edge of the peat bog known as Chat Moss.cite web |title=Irlam & Cadishead – Local History |publisher=Salford City Council |url= |accessdate=2007-04-24]

From at least the beginning of the 13th century, Irlam was held by the de Irlam family, whose seat was Irlam Hall. By 1688 Irlam Hall had become the home of Thomas Latham, who played an important part in bringing William of Orange to the throne of England in 1689. [Cooper, "Salford: An Illustrated History", p. 169.]

Irlam Urban District was created in 1894, the same year that the Manchester Ship Canal opened. The subsequent industrial development of Irlam owed much to the construction of the canal, which effectively rendered the River Irwell navigable to large ships. The Latham family's importance to the local area was acknowledged when their features were incorporated into the arms of Irlam's former urban district council.


Steel manufacture was a very significant source of employment in Irlam for a large part of the 20th century. The Partington Steel and Iron Company opened the first steelworks in Irlam, in 1910. It subsequently became a part of the Lancashire Steel Corporation, and later British Steel. Rationalisation and the concentration of steel manufacture into fewer, larger sites, meant that by 1979, all steel production in Irlam had ceased. [cite web |title=Eyewitness in Manchester |publisher=Manchester Online |url= |accessdate=2007-06-28] The former steelworks are now the site of the Northbank Industrial Estate. Dean Group International Ltd continues the metal melting traditions of Irlam with their foundry on the Northbank Industrial Estate []

In 1975, Tesco opened the UK's first hypermarket in Irlam.


Irlam is home to an amateur football club, Irlam F.C., which plays its football in the Premier Division of the Manchester Football League and has its ground in Silver Street. There are also two junior football teams in the area, Irlam Vale F.C., [ Irlam Rangers A.F.C] Irlam cricket club plays in the Lancashire County League, and Irlam Hornets rugby league team has just been reformed.


Further reading

1. [ Historical photos and discussion of Irlam]



*cite book |first=Glynis |last=Cooper |title=Salford: An Illustrated History |publisher=The Breedon Books Publishing Company |year=2005 |isbn=1859834558

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