Moss Side: Wikis


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Coordinates: 53°27′22″N 2°14′24″W / 53.456°N 2.240°W / 53.456; -2.240

Moss Side
Alexandra Road in Moss Side, looking towards the Beetham Tower
Moss Side is located in Greater Manchester
Moss Side

 Moss Side shown within Greater Manchester
Population 10,977 (2001 Census)
OS grid reference SJ835955
    - London  162 mi (261 km) SE 
Metropolitan borough Manchester
Metropolitan county Greater Manchester
Region North West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district M16, M14
Dialling code 0161
Police Greater Manchester
Fire Greater Manchester
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament Manchester Central
List of places: UK • England • Greater Manchester

Moss Side is an inner-city residential area and electoral ward of Manchester, in Greater Manchester, England. It lies 1.9 miles (3.1 km) south of Manchester city centre and has a population of around 11,000. Moss Side is bounded by the neighbourhoods of Hulme, Rusholme, Fallowfield, and Old Trafford, on the north, east, south and west respectively.

Historically a part of Lancashire, Moss Side was formerly a rural township and chapelry within the parish of Manchester and hundred of Salford. Following the Industrial Revolution there was a process of unplanned urbanisation and a rapid increase in population size. The industrial growth of the area resulted in a densely populated area, so much so, that a part of the township of Moss Side was amalgamated into the expanding city of Manchester in 1885, with the rest joining in 1904.[1]

Moss Side is the home of a multi-ethnic community, the result of several waves of immigration to Britain. In the mid-19th century, Moss Side attracted Irish people fleeing the Great Famine. Migrants from the Indian subcontinent and Caribbean settled in the locality during the 1950s and 1960s, and by the 1980s Moss Side was the hub of Manchester's Afro-Caribbean community.[2] Analysts trace the 1970s origins of Manchester's gang crime to social deprivation in the south-central part of the city—Hulme, Longsight and Moss Side—where it was difficult to make money by legitimate means.[2] A parallel trade in illegal narcotics and firearms gave rise to Manchester's nickname of "Gunchester".[3] There were several high profile shootings associated with gangs and drugs in this area during the 1990s and into the 21st century, albeit at a declining rate.[3][4]

In and around Moss Side are the public parks of Whitworth Park and Alexandra Park. Between 1923 and 2003, Moss Side was the location of Manchester City F.C.s stadium, at Maine Road. There are two breweries in Moss Side. The Royal Brewery brewed Kestrel, McEwan's and Harp Lager, but is now managed by Scottish and Newcastle for the production of Foster's Lager. Hydes Brewery brews traditional beers including Hydes' Bitter and the cask version of Boddingtons – the latter since the closure of the Strangeways Brewery in 2005.



Mass development in Moss Side occurred at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries when large numbers of red brick terraced houses were built, and soon attracted numerous Irish immigrants and other working people.

During the Manchester Blitz of World War II many of the terraced houses were damaged by German bombing on the night of December 22/23 1940.

Large numbers of West Indian and Asian immigrants arrived in the area during the 1950s and 1960s. During the 1960s and early 1970s Manchester City Council demolished many of the Victorian and Edwardian terraced houses to the west of Moss Side and replaced these with new residential properties.

The Royal Brewery

In 1981 the Moss Side area was one of England's inner city areas affected by a series of riots. From the early 1990s into the early 2000s it became associated with gun crime in south Manchester, and came to national attention, along with the neighbouring districts of Hulme, Longsight and Old Trafford, for "turf wars" between rival drugs gangs, which resulted in a number of fatal shootings.[2] During what has been termed the Madchester phase of the history of Manchester, narcotic trade in the city became "extremely lucrative" and in the early 1990s a gang war started between two groups vying for control of the market in Manchester city centre - the Cheetham Hill Gang and The Gooch Close Gang, in Cheetham Hill and Moss Side respectively.[5] During this period Manchester obtained a reputation for gun crime, and was nicknamed the "Bronx of Britain".[6]

Many of the flats in Moss Side and neighbouring Hulme were demolished in the late 1990s to make way for new low rise homes. Housing on the Alexandra Park Estate has been renovated and the streets redesigned to reduce the fear of crime.[7]

Since the early 1990s there has been a steady rise in the Somali population in the area as a result of people seeking asylum. In the 2000s, there has also been a concentration of Iraqi and Romanian asylum seekers in Moss Side. The east of Moss Side is close to the Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan universities and is a popular area for students to live.[8]

There are two breweries in Moss Side. The Royal Brewery brewed Kestrel, McEwan's and Harp Lager, but is now managed by Scottish and Newcastle for the production of Foster's Lager. Hydes Brewery brews traditional beers including Hydes' Bitter and the cask version of Boddingtons - the latter since the closure of the Strangeways Brewery in 2005. The more widely available keg version of Boddingtons is no longer brewed in Manchester. Hydes also brews Harp laMoger under contract.[citation needed]


Manchester Central constituency is represented by the Labour Party MP Tony Lloyd.

Moss Side is a ward within the local authority of Manchester City Council. The ward is represented by Labour Councillors Sameen Ali, Alistair Cox and Roy Walters.[9]


Great Western Street runs through the centre of Moss Side

Moss Side lies on the A5103 (Princess Road), the main road out of Manchester towards Northenden, Manchester Airport, the M56 motorway and Chester. Parallel to this is Alexandra Road which continues as Alexandra Road South past Alexandra Park (Alexandra Road was formerly one of two main shopping streets in Moss Side). Landmarks on Princess Road are the Royal Brewery and the Princess Road Bus Depot (built originally for the tramways in 1909 and still in used by Stagecoach Manchester).

The western border of the Moss Side Ward is bounded in part by Withington Road. Parts of the eastern border are bounded by Wilmslow Road, where it meets Whitworth Park, and Parkfield Street. To the south the border includes Alexandra Park, Horton Road and part of Platt Lane. To the north the ward border mainly runs along Moss Lane East.[10].

The built environment of Moss Side is broadly characterised as a high-density residential area. This includes mainly Victorian and Edwardian terraces to the east and centre, with more recent developments, built in the 1970s to the west of Princess Road.

Moss Side has benefited from redevelopment and regeneration which has included improvement of the housing and residential environment. There has been substantial renovation of existing housing stock, such as local terrace housing and the Alexandra Park Estate (South Manchester Regeneration Team 2007). The former Maine Road site is currently being redeveloped, as housing, a health centre and a primary school, and it is planned to redevelop the area now occupied by the Stagecoach bus station and adjoining primary school.[11][12]

The Moss Side Sports and Leisure Complex was upgraded for the 2002 Commonwealth Games and has a gym and a variety of other sporting facilities (north of Moss Lane West).


Moss Side Compared[13][14][15]
UK Census 2001 Moss Side Manchester England
Total population 10,977 441,200 49,138,831
Foreign born 36% 15% 9.2%
White 48% 81% 91%
Asian 9.0% 9.1% 4.6%
Black 32% 4.5% 2.3%
Christian 52% 62% 72%
Muslim 15% 9.1% 3.1%
Hindu 0.7% 0.7% 1.1%
No religion 16% 16% 15%
Over 75 years old 3.9% 6.4% 7.5%
Unemployed 7.9% 5.0% 3.3%

According to the United Kingdom Census 2001 in the Moss Side electoral ward of Manchester there were 10,977 residents of which 48.41% were male and 51.59% were female. Compared against the demography of England, Moss Side is home to a diverse range of people.

Moss Side and neighbouring Hulme constitute the heart of Manchester's Black community and a number of commercial and social organisations which cater for the community are based in this area. Social organisations include the West Indian Sports and Social Club, the Chrysalis Project,[16] and the nearby "African Caribbean Mental Health Service". [17]. Commercial organisations include Caribbean bakeries and patty shops, as well as grocery and clothes shops, mainly centred on Claremont and Princess Roads. The Caribbean Carnival of Manchester is held in Alexandra Park every August.[18]

The Millennium Powerhouse Centre caters for 8-25 year olds and includes a music studio, fitness studio, dance studio, sports hall and offers information to young people along with recreational and sport groups.[19] The Windrush Millennium Centre, which provides adult education and other community facilities, is on Alexandra Road.


Manchester Academy school in Moss Side

In 2003, the Ducie High School was replaced by the "Manchester Academy".  with the aim of overcoming barriers to education and achievement faced by young people in the community. In April 2009, the Manchester Evening News reported the Academy has met with success in raising educational standards in the area, with, an above national average of, 62% of pupils achieving A-C grades at GCSE, in 2008, compared with 13% at the former Ducie High School.[20].

The area has three primary schools: St Mary's Church of England, Claremont, and a new primary school on the site of the former "Maine Road" football stadium which has been formed from the merger of St Edward's, and Bishop Bilsborrow Memorial Roman Catholic primary schools.[11][21]

The Windrush Millennium Centre on Alexandra Road provides facilities for courses of college and adult education, including some run by the City College Manchester and Manchester College of Arts and Technology. Manchester City Council runs the Greenheys Adult Learning Centre on Upper Lloyd Street.[22]


The original St James's Church, Princess Road, was built in 1887-88 (architect John Lowe): of red brick in the Perpendicular revival style. This has now been replaced by a modern brick building which also contains offices used by local community groups.
The former Swedenborgian Church is also of 1888 and neo-Gothic in style.[23]


From 1923, Moss Side was the location of Manchester City F.C.'s stadium at Maine Road which on several occasions in its early years drew crowds of more than 80,000. However its capacity was gradually reduced over the years and by the mid-1990s it held just under 35,000 spectators all seated. Plans to rebuild the stadium to seat 45,000 were abandoned in favour of moving to the City of Manchester Stadium. Maine Road has since been demolished and a mixed development of two-, three-, and four-bedroom houses, flats, a health centre and a primary school has been built on the site.[12]

Notable people

The author Anthony Burgess, although born in Harpurhey, lived in Moss Side as a child.[24] The political activist Emmeline Pankhurst was born in the Moss Side area of Manchester.[25]


  1. ^ A select gazetteer of local government areas, Greater Manchester County, Greater Manchester County Record Office, 2003-07-31,, retrieved 2008-10-17 
  2. ^ a b c Ravenscroft, Nick (2006-09-11). "Killing surprises few in Moss Side". BBC News (BBC). Retrieved 2008-11-14. 
  3. ^ a b Randell, Tom (2006-09-15). "North West: Trying to banish 'Gunchester'". BBC News (BBC). Retrieved 2009-05-17. 
  4. ^ Osuh, Chris (2009-04-07). "Gooch Gang Smashed.". Manchester Evening News (Manchester Evening News). Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  5. ^ "A street guide to gangs in Manchester". 2003-01-06. Retrieved 2008-11-14. 
  6. ^ Chapman, Andrew; Keith (2006-06-11). "Tragedy of gun girl, 15". Retrieved 2008-11-14. 
  7. ^ South Manchester Regeneration Team: Moss Side and Rusholme District Centre Local Plan, page 35. Manchester: Manchester City Council, 2007.
  8. ^ South Manchester Regeneration Team: Moss Side and Rusholme District Centre Local Plan, page 52. Manchester: Manchester City Council, 2007.
  9. ^ "Councillors by Ward: Moss Side". Manchester City Council. Retrieved 2008-05-12. 
  10. ^ "Map of Moss Side Ward.". Manchester City Council. Retrieved 2009-04-18. 
  11. ^ a b Osuh, Chris (2009-01-25). "Bus site to become estate". Manchester Evening News (Manchester Evening News). Retrieved 2009-05-04. 
  12. ^ a b Osuh, Chris (2007-03-02). "Transfer to Maine Road". Manchester Evening News (Manchester Evening News). Retrieved 2009-05-04. 
  13. ^ United Kingdom Census 2001 (2007-01-17). "2001 Census; Key facts sheets". Retrieved 2007-07-10. 
  14. ^ United Kingdom Census 2001 (2001). "Manchester (Local Authority)". Retrieved 2007-07-10. 
  15. ^ United Kingdom Census 2001 (2001). "Moss Side (Ward)". Retrieved 2007-07-14. 
  16. ^ "Chrysalis Project". 
  17. ^ "Greater Manchester Black History Trail". Acts of Achievement. Retrieved 2009-04-18. 
  18. ^ "Caribbean Carnival of Manchester". 
  19. ^ "Millennium Powerhouse Centre". Manchester City Council. Retrieved 2009-04-18. 
  20. ^ Qureshi, Yakub (2009-04-28). "Reborn school a class act". Manchester Evening News (Manchester Evening News). Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  21. ^ "School Finder: Moss Side". Manchester City Council. 
  22. ^ "Greenheys Adult Learning Centre". Manchester City Council. 
  23. ^ Pevsner, N. (1969) Lancashire: 1. Penguin Books; pp. 333–334
  24. ^ Ratcliffe, Michael (2007) Anthony Burgess. In: "The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography". Oxford University Press
  25. ^ The birth indexes for the December Quarter of 1858 for the Chorlton registration district (vol. 8c, p.529) record her name as Emiline Goulden, but she never seems to have used that spelling.


  • Crofton, H. T. (1903), Old Moss Side, Manchester 
  • Porter, J. (1904), In and Around Moss Side 
  • South Manchester Regeneration Team (2007), Moss Side and Rusholme District Centre Local Plan 

External links

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