Radcliffe, Greater Manchester

Radcliffe, Greater Manchester

infobox UK place
country = England
map_type= Greater Manchester
latitude= 53.5615
longitude= -2.3268
official_name= Radcliffe
population= 34,239Fact|date=February 2007
metropolitan_borough= Bury
metropolitan_county= Greater Manchester
region= North West England
constituency_westminster= Bury South
post_town= MANCHESTER
postcode_district = M26
postcode_area= M
dial_code= 0161

static_image_caption= Radcliffe's main Landmark, St Thomas and St John Church with St Philip

Radcliffe is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Bury, in Greater Manchester, England. It lies along the course of the River Irwell, convert|2.5|mi|km|1 south-west of Bury, and convert|6.5|mi|km|1 north-northwest of Manchester.

Historically a part of Lancashire, Radcliffe is a former mill town, having been a centre for cotton spinning as a result of the Industrial Revolution.



Radcliffe takes its name from 'red cliff' (rock) on the River Irwell. It was first named this by one of William the Conqueror's soldiers who took control of Radcliffe after 1066. [cite web |url=http://www.bury.gov.uk/VisitorGuidesAndMaps/Radcliffe/Default.htm |title=Radcliffe |publisher=bury.gov.uk |author=Bury Metropolitan Borough Council |accessmonthday = August 5 | accessyear=2007]

Early history

There are few places in the north-west of England with a history as long as Radcliffe's, stretching back more than 6,000 years to Mesolithic times, Roman associations and a mention in the Domesday Book. [cite web |title=Radcliffe 3 sites Masterplan |url=http://www.urbed.coop/journal_docs/Radcliffe%203%20sites%20masterplan%20report_final-April_low%20res.pdf |publisher=Bury Metropolitan Borough Council |accessmonthday = August 5 | accessyear=2007]

Medieval buildings in Radcliffe include the parish church, a tithe barn and Radcliffe Tower. The tower is all that remains of an early 15th century stone-built manor house.cite web |title=Radcliffe Tower |url=http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=44210 |publisher=Pastscape.org.uk |accessdate=2008-01-05] The structure is a Grade I listed building and protected as a Scheduled Monument.cite web|title=Radcliffe Tower |url=http://www.imagesofengland.org.uk/Details/Default.aspx?id=210639 |publisher=Images of England|accessdate=2008-01-05]

Industrial Revolution

During the Industrial Revolution, Radcliffe was a centre of coal and cotton spinning production, and is the Metropolitan Borough of Bury's most westerly town. Until recently Radcliffe was also a centre for the production and treatment of paper products. Two of the town's largest employers were the East Lancashire Paper Company (Church Street East), and Radcliffe Paper Mill (Stand Lane). Both have since been demolished. The town also had its own electricity power station, Radcliffe Power Station.


Radcliffe became an urban district in 1894, and received a charter as a municipal borough in 1935. [cite web |url=http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/relationships.jsp?u_id=10109164 |title=Relationships / unit history of Radcliffe |publisher=Department of Geography, University of Portsmouth |accessmonthday = August 5 | accessyear=2007] It became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Bury in 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972. The town's Town Hall was located on the junction of Water Street and Spring Lane. For many years the building was unoccupied however it was converted for use as private accommodation in 1999. [cite web |url=http://www.byphl.co.uk/old_radcliffe_town_h.html |title=The Housing Link (2003) |accessmonthday = 13 November | accessyear=2007]


Prior to the Metrolink being opened 6th April 1992, the town was served by the Bury to Manchester Victoria branch line with a single railway station (Radcliffe central) between Spring Lane and Church Street West. Before this route opened there was a line to Bolton via Little Lever though this was closed in the 1960s. The town's original railway station (known as Radcliffe Bridge) was at the end of Railway Street serving the Clifton to Ramsbottom line, although this now lies along the path of the A665 Pilkington Way (the new road is actually built below the level of the old station). The old line is still quite visible from aerial photography, Outwood Viaduct has been restored and the route southwest of the town converted for use as a nature trail forming part of the Irwell Sculpture Trail.

The town also has a large bus station, located between Dale Street and the Irwell.

The Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal, which runs through Radcliffe and was once a major source of trade for the town (Radcliffe Wharf is reached either by Gorsefield Close or Hampson Street), is to be cleaned up as part of a wider scheme across Greater Manchester. Work is currently ongoing in Salford, on the Salford arm of the canal.cite web | title = Full Steam Ahead For Canal Restoration In Salford | publisher = British Waterways | url = http://www.britishwaterways.co.uk/newsroom/stories/restoration_in_salford.html | accessdate=2008-06-27]


Radcliffe is home to Radcliffe Borough Football Club and to Radcliffe Cricket Club who play in the Central Lancashire Cricket League. Sir Frank Worrell played for Radcliffe Cricket Club for many years. A street near the cricket ground was named in his honour. [cite web |url=http://books.google.com/books?id=IcxYwq0sB_8C&pg=PA126&lpg=PA126&dq=sir+frank+worrell+radcliffe&source=web&ots=wzBP2JfquD&sig=T3t8ZH4UrtTpU4NWT49L3ecMzpU |title=Cricket Nurseries of Colonial Barbados (page 126), The Elite Schools, 1865-1966 |publisher=Press University of theWest Indies |accessmonthday = October 29 | accessyear=2007] Sir Garfield Sobers also played for the cricket club for a while.

Famous Radcliffe Borough Players include Paul Gascoigne and Matt Derbyshire


Radcliffe is served by the Parish of St Thomas and St John and the Parish of St. Mary. The main Roman Catholic Church is St. Mary & St. Philip Neri. There is also a Baptist church, Methodist Church and a United Reformed Church in the town.


Schools located in the town include:


Radcliffe has two weekly newspapers, the Radcliffe Times, based at the Bury Times offices, in Bury, and the Salford-based Advertiser, which also covers the neighbouring areas of Prestwich and Whitefield.


In the past couple of decades the town's shopping area has declined, with many smaller businesses closing their doors forever.Fact|date=February 2007 The town has retained its Boots, and Ethel Austins and there is a large Asda supermarket a short distance away from the old building, now occupied by a Dunelm Mill store. A Kwik Save store (housed in a former cinema) once existed next to the bus station however this was demolished to make way for the new Reinventing Radcliffe development.

The market has also seen a major decline in the last 10 years.

Future developments

The town is currently undergoing a multi-million pound revamp (under the banner of Reinventing Radcliffe), which will include town centre living, and a new state-of-the-art school which will replace Coney Green High School and Radcliffe High School. Until the new school is built, the two high school sites have been renamed Radcliffe Riverside East Campus (Coney Green) and Radcliffe Riverside West Campus (Radcliffe High). The lower school students in years 7, 8, and 9 are presently studying at the Coney Green building, while the upper school students years 10 and 11 are studying in the Radcliffe High building. In the near future Radcliffe Riverside students will study in a new building that is intended to be the centrepiece of the town.

Notable people

Radcliffe was the birthplace of Canadian author Donald Jack and also the home of Olympic medal winning cyclist Harry Hill who took bronze at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Radcliffe was also the birthplace of film director Danny Boyle and the late snooker player, John Spencer. It is also home to Coronation Street actor Ben Thompson and actress Jane Danson. Suzanne Shaw, formerly of Hearsay lived her formative years in the town.

The Madchester band 808 state was formed in Radcliffe in 1988.


External links

* [http://www.radcliffe.info/ The official site for Radcliffe by Bury MBC]
* [http://www.radclifferiverside.com/ Radcliffe Riverside School website]
* [http://www.baph.org.uk/imagepages/quarterly/q42p43.htm British Association of Paper Historians - East Lancs Paper Mill advert]
* [http://3401.e-printphoto.co.uk/ben/index.cfm?z=z&y=y&p_id=980322&c_id=31897&action=view Image of Radcliffe in the 1950s taken from church tower, old railway line visible]

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