Prestwich: Wikis


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Coordinates: 53°32′00″N 2°17′00″W / 53.5333°N 2.2833°W / 53.5333; -2.2833

Prestwich, St Mary's Church.jpg
Church of St Mary the Virgin, Prestwich
Prestwich is located in Greater Manchester

 Prestwich shown within Greater Manchester
Population 31,693 
OS grid reference SD814034
    - London  166 mi (267 km) SE 
Metropolitan borough Bury
Metropolitan county Greater Manchester
Region North West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district M25
Dialling code 0161
Police Greater Manchester
Fire Greater Manchester
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament Bury South
List of places: UK • England • Greater Manchester

Prestwich is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Bury, in Greater Manchester, England.[1] It lies close to the River Irwell, 3.1 miles (5 km) north of Salford, 3.3 miles (5.3 km) to the north-northwest of the city of Manchester, and 4.7 miles (7.6 km) south of Bury.

Historically a part of Lancashire, Prestwich's early history is marked by its status as the seat of the ancient parish of Prestwich-cum-Oldham, in the hundred of Salfordshire. The Church of St Mary the Virgin—a Grade I listed building—has lain at the centre of the community for centuries.

The oldest part of Prestwich developed around what is now Bury New Road and is known locally as "Prestwich Village". There is a large Jewish community in Prestwich and Whitefield, crossing over into Broughton Park in Salford and the neighbouring parts of Cheetham Hill and Crumpsall, within the city of Manchester's boundaries, to form the second-largest Jewish community in the United Kingdom.





The name Prestwich is possibly of Saxon origin, derived from Priest Wic, which in Old English translates to "the priest's farmed land". Another possible derivation of the town's name is "Priest's retreat". Wic was a place-name element derived from the Latin vicus, place. Its most common meaning is dairy-farm.[2]


The Church Inn (formerly The Ostrich Inn) next to St Mary's Church
Arts and Crafts, grade II listed building on Hilton Lane, built c1880[3]
Beech Tree Bank, Rectory Lane. Recently renovated Victorian villas built 1881

Bury New Road, which runs through the centre of Prestwich, roughly follows the line of the Roman road connecting the forts at Mamucium (Manchester) and Bremetennacum (Ribchester) and it is believed that a Roman fort or encampment was also built in Prestwich. Although the precise location of the fort is unknown, it is thought that it may have been in the area known as "Castle Hill", near the present border with Salford, mirroring an encampment on Rainsough Hill equidistant from the Roman road.[4] According to John Booker B.A., 19th century author and curate of the parish church, these were two agrarian camps whose purpose was to protect the cattle kept in the woods of Broughton and Kersal,[5] the camp in Prestwich being located "just to the right of the old road to Bury, immediately beyond Singleton Brook, on the first field in the Parish of Prestwich, which was formerly known as Lowcaster". Roman coins have been found in Prestwich just off Bury New Road and near Prestwich Golf Course. Some have also been found in Prestwich Clough, about half a mile away from Prestwich village and Bury New Road.

The first records of Prestwich date to the 11th Century and it is likely the village grew up to serve the needs of the parish church making Church Lane the historic centre.[6] A hoard of sixty five 12th Century silver coins dating to the reign of King Stephen were found in the Sedgley Park area in 1972.[7][8] It is known that a rector of Prestwich existed by 1200[citation needed] The present Parish church of St Mary the Virgin stands at the end of Church Lane in the village centre. Parts of the building date from around 1500, although the last extensions were made at the end of the 19th century. The church was the centre of the vast ancient ecclesiastical parish of Prestwich-cum-Oldham. For a time in the 19th century, the church was referred to locally as St Bartholomew's, which could be attributed either to the unpopularity of the Blessed Virgin at the time, or to sheer ignorance. The church wakes were traditionally held around St Bartholomew's Day, and this could have reinforced the error.

In the 17th and 18th centuries local government, away from the towns, was based on the parish structure. The Lord of the Manor administered land tenure and inheritance, but law and order was kept by the constables appointed by the parish, assisted by the church wardens. The local Justices sat in a room called the "Star Chamber" in the Ostrich Inn, now the Church Inn, close to the parish church.[9] The Justices' seat can still be seen in the Church Inn in the area opposite the main bar. In the late 18th century The area consisted mainly of green fields and wide open spaces with a few houses dotted about the countryside. Prestwich village was made up of two parts — one being fairly close to the church and the other around Great and Little Heaton. The population was estimated at 670. Rooden Lane, which later became part of Bury Old Road, was a centre for hand-loom weaving and at Simister and Bowlee, silk weaving was established. The first road to be turnpiked was Bury Old Road in 1754 under the control of the Cheetham Hill Trust.[10]

Bury New Road, which was to become the main thoroughfare from Manchester to Bury, was constructed in 1827.[11] During the 19th Century another area of development grew up around the junction of Fairfax Road and Bury New Road with a second village centre on Bury old Road. The area in between these centres remained rural, however, the arrival of the railway in 1881 encouraged affluent merchants from Manchester to move in and build their villas.[6] Prestwich Hospital was built as an asylum in 1851 and by 1900 it had grown into the largest asylum in Europe.[6]

Tram to Manchester passing through Prestwich Village in 1904

Electric trams arrived in the area around the turn of the century, and the route along Bury New Road to Kersal Bar (the location of the Bury New Road toll bar until 1848) was officially opened on Friday 5 December 1902.[12] In 1906 nine acres of land were given to the Prestwich Urban District Council by William Gardner, a further thirteen acres were purchased and the "sylvan and beautiful" Prestwich Clough was opened to the public as a place of recreation.[13] By 1912 the population had increased to 12,800, but from the 1930s onwards the remaining fields were developed and by 1961 the population soared to 31,000 and Prestwich had become a suburb of Manchester.[6]

St Margaret's Church

In 1849, St Margaret's Church was erected near the gates of Heaton Park, originally as a chapel of ease to the parish church, but since 1885 as a parish church in its own right. The church was extended many times in the 19th century, in 1863, 1871, 1884, 1888 and 1899. A particular feature of St Margaret's Church, is the splendid Arts and Crafts Movement oak carving (including reredos, choir stalls, rood screen, panelling, pulpit, bishop's chair, altar rails, etc.) by Arthur Simpson of Kendal, widely believed to be the finest collection of his ecclesiastical work.

Other Anglican, Roman Catholic and Methodist churches

Other Anglican churches in the area include churches dedicated to St Gabriel, St Hilda and St George.

The Roman Catholic Church in Prestwich began to reappear in late Victorian times. Mass was celebrated in 1889 for the first time since the Reformation. The present Catholic church, dedicated to Our Lady of Grace, was opened in 1931 and consecrated in 1956. There are two local Methodist churches, Heaton Park Methodist Church and Prestwich Methodist Church.

Jews and Muslims

In more recent times, the migration of Jewish families, mainly from the nearby Cheetham area of Manchester and neighbouring Broughton Park in Salford, as well as the later arrival of Muslims into this thriving urban area of Greater Manchester, resulted in the additional presence of synagogues and mosques, alongside Christian places of worship.

Rectors of St Mary's, Prestwich

The list of rectors is continuous from the 14th century, albeit in rather confused form for a period around the time of the Commonwealth. A particularly famous rector was the Revd. John Lake, inducted to the living in 1668, who later became one of the Seven Bishops imprisoned in the Tower of London by King James II. The Revd. Levett Harris held the living from 1763 unti 1783. Harris's son, also Levett Harris, became an American diplomat appointed by President Thomas Jefferson the first American Consul General to St. Petersburg, Russia.[14] The Revd. Henry Mildred Birch, rector from 1852 to 1884, was the first tutor of the future King Edward VII.

Rectors from 1900:

1900–1940 The Revd. Canon Frederic W. Cooper
1940–1966 The Revd. Canon Francis Paton-Williams
1967–1978 The Revd. Canon David E. Ratledge
1978–1985 The Revd. Canon Thomas N. Evans
1986–2002 The Revd. Canon Frank Bibby

The living of Prestwich was suspended by the Diocese of Manchester in 2002. A priest-in-charge, The Revd. Bryan Hackett, residing in the Rectory, was appointed.


There are cemeteries at the parish church of St. Mary the Virgin and St. Margaret's Church. There are also three Jewish cemeteries:

  • Philips Park Cemetery
  • Prestwich Village Cemetery, Bury New Road (in use from 1841 to 1951)
  • Rainsough Cemetery, Rainsough Brow (in use from 1923)


The coat of arms of the council of the former Municipal Borough of Prestwich.

Prestwich was the ecclesiastical centre of Prestwich-cum-Oldham an ancient parish in the Salford Hundred of Lancashire,[15] and became the Prestwich Urban District under the Local Government Act 1894. It was granted a charter to become a municipal borough in 1939. Under the Local Government Act 1972 it became an unparished area in the Metropolitan Borough of Bury, now one of the ten boroughs of Greater Manchester.

Prestwich is a part of Bury South Parliamentary constituency, which has been represented by Labour MP Ivan Lewis since 1997. Since the year 2007 Prestwich has had a Mayor to help Ivan Lewis with his duties in and around Prestwich. The current mayor of Prestwich is Mr Frank Hindle, a life time resident who has recently expressed a wish to organise the first 'Gay Pride' festival in the village.


The Railway and Naturalist and the White Horse, Prestwich Village

Prestwich is bounded on the north by Whitefield, on the east by Heaton Park, to the west by the Prestwich Forest Park and the Irwell Valley (Agecroft and Clifton) and to the south by the City of Salford. The two main north-south roads passing from central Manchester to Bury, Bury New Road (A56) and Bury Old Road, traverse the district.

The geology of the area is characterised by carboniferous coal measures and sandstone appertaining to the Carboniferous Westphalian C geological age. This is overlain with quaternary glacial drift comprising sand, gravel and boulder clay.[16]

Prestwich Panorama taken from the tower of the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin

Natural history

In the early 20th century James Cosmo Melvill wrote that Kersal Moor, Prestwich Clough, Mere Clough, the Park and Hurst Clough were the homes of most of the interesting plants. Many noted local botanists had studied the area including Leo Grindon, Thomas Rogers,[17] and Richard Buxton.[18]


Poppythorn Cottage on Poppythorn Lane
Longfield Suite Main Entrance

From the 1991 census the population of Prestwich was estimated at 33,047.[19] An estimated 19% of the population of Prestwich and Whitefield are Jewish and are part of the second largest Jewish Community in the UK outside London, which also reaches over the border into Salford's Broughton and Manchester's districts of Crumpsall and Cheetham Hill.[20]

The area in the south of Prestwich known as Sedgley Park has a sizeable Jewish population and is served by five synagogues.[21] There are many Jewish businesses, specialist shops and delicatessens along King's Road, Bury New Road and Bury old Road.

There is a large Irish Catholic community in Prestwich and the surrounding area, served by St Monica's RC High School Specialist Language College, located alongside Bury Old Road, and Our Lady of Grace Primary School on Willow Road.


Prestwich has a wide range of traditional and superstore shopping. Jewish-owned shops give Prestwich a particular distinction.[22] The Longfield Centre was built in the 1970s, between Bury New Road and Rectory Lane, to provide a shopping precinct and civic centre for Prestwich. The centre includes the Longfield Suite, Prestwich Library, Prestwich Health Centre, an NHS drop-in centre and a number of retail shops.

Prestwich is now considered to be an affluent area and is sometimes called the "Didsbury of North Manchester".[23]


Prestwich has good transport links with Manchester city centre, Bury and other parts of Greater Manchester. The high frequency services along Bury new road and Bury Old Road, and other services, are mostly provided by First Manchester. There are more locally orientated bus routes, linking Prestwich village to northern areas of Salford including Pendlebury, Swinton, Monton and Eccles. 'The Lancashire Way' and 'The Witch Way' express services link Prestwich to Manchester, Burnley and Pendle.

Prestwich is served by four tram stations on the Metrolink line from Manchester to Bury -

Bury Old Road and Bury New Road both run north-south through the town and there are several east-west routes, including Sheepfoot Lane, Scholes Lane and Hilton Lane.

Places of interest

Heaton Park

One of Europe's largest municipal parks at 259 hectares (640 acres), Heaton Park, is situated to the east of Prestwich, within the City of Manchester. It was sold to Manchester Corporation in 1902 by the Earl of Wilton.[24] The park is four miles from Manchester city centre and although officially part of the City of Manchester, has a Prestwich postal address.[25]

Prestwich Forest Park

One of the trails to Prestwich Clough.

Prestwich Forest Park consists of 200 hectares of land on the western side of Prestwich incorporating:

Although much of the area of the present park was industrialised during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, most of it has now been returned to a more natural state with extensive woodlands, reservoirs and grasslands. While this area has become a haven for wildlife there are still remnants to be found of the area's industrial past. The history, wildlife and points of interest of Philips Park, Prestwich Clough and Waterdale Meadow are described in downloadable illustrated leaflets produced by the Metropolitan Borough of Bury Environmental Services Department.[26][27] Philips Park has been designated as a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) and Prestwich Clough as a Site of Biological Importance (SBI) due to the important contribution they make to the wildlife heritage of Greater Manchester. The Irwell Sculpture Trail, the Irwell Valley Way and a National Cycle Route all pass through the park. The "Friends of Prestwich Forest Park" and the BTCV coordinate volunteer activities and events such as the Prestwich Clough Centenary Celebrations.[28][29] The BTCV has a permanent base in the renovated Philips Park Barn which has become a major environmental education and countryside centre for the borough.[30]

Local media

One local newspaper that covers the area of Prestwich (as well as neighbouring Whitefield and Radcliffe) is The Advertiser, (one of the GWN Greater Manchester Weekly News newspapers) a weekly freesheet, based in Salford. The Prestwich and Whitefield Guide and The Bury Times are sold in many local shops. The Jewish Telegraph is produced and printed in Prestwich.



The local amateur teams which represent Prestwich are Prestwich Heys AFC and Prestwich FC.

For many years, Prestwich Heys (formed 1938) played on the field just off Heys Road, a site known as Grimshaw's. The local high school, which is now Prestwich Arts College, obtained the land for use as their sports fields and the team found a new home on Sandgate Road, just over the border in Whitefield. This field was near the site of the old St Joseph's Roman Catholic High School (which merged with St Peter's RC High School, rebadged itself as St Monica's RC High School and relocated to the St Peter's site) and has been redeveloped to include concrete "fencing", a car park and club facilities. Prestwich Heys currently play in the Manchester Football League.

Prestwich FC were formed as Prestwich CC FC in 2005 and played in the Bury Sunday League. In 2009 the club expanded to include two teams playing in the Lancashire Amateur League as well as three junior teams. The club, part of Prestwich Cricket, Tennis & Bowling Club, play their home games at Grimshaw's with further home pitches at Drinkwater Park and Heaton Park.

Other local sides include Bury Amateurs who play some of their home games at Drinkwater Park and also Prestwich Marauders play their home matches at various places locations. These teams are usually in the North Bury League or the Bury and Radcliffe League.


The main cricket club is Prestwich Cricket Club. Located between Prestwich Metrolink station and Grimshaw's playing fields off Heys Road, Prestwich CC also has crown green bowling and tennis facilities as well as a spacious clubhouse. Prestwich CC has been on this site for many years, with the clubhouse having many photos on display from previous teams and players.

Crown Green bowling

Prestwich has a very active bowling scene, with Veterans', Ladies', and Men's Leagues. Clubs involved in these leagues are usually located in the Prestwich and Whitefield areas, but also come from the neighbouring towns of Radcliffe, Bury, Ramsbottom, Heywood, Middleton and Crumpsall. Other leagues that these teams play in are the Salford League and the Middleton League. There are also flat green bowling facilities located in Heaton Park which were built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

Snooker and billiards

The Prestwich and District Snooker League brings together different clubs in the area to compete on Thursdays and occasionally on Tuesdays.[31]


The Longfield Centre civic hall has one of the largest sprung floor ballrooms in the Northwest of England and has been the host venue for Danceclub2000[32] since August 1998.

Private members' clubs

Notable people

William Sturgeon (1783–1850), physicist and inventor. He created the first practical electric motor and electromagnetic solenoid. He lived in Prestwich and is buried at St Mary's cemetery.

Richard Buxton (1786–1865), botanist, was born at Sedgeley Hall Farm.[33] Buxton published a botanical guide to the plants found around the Manchester area in 1849.[18]

Dr Montagu Lomax, who was an assistant medical officer at the Prestwich Asylum from 1917 to 1919, exposed the inhuman, custodial and antitherapeutic practices there in a book[34] which led to a Royal Commission, increased central control and ultimately the Mental Treatment Act of 1930.[35][36] However, much of what Lomax described could still be seen in parts of Prestwich Hospital in the 1960s and 1970s.[37][38]

The amateur astronomer Michael Oates, who resides in Prestwich, has discovered 144 comets using images from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory and for almost 5 years, held the world record for the greatest number of comet discoveries by an individual.

The author Howard Jacobson was born and raised in Prestwich, and educated in nearby Whitefield.

Actress Julie Stevens, who appeared regularly in early episodes of TV series The Avengers and was a mainstay of younger children's TV shows Playschool and Playaway, was born in Prestwich in 1936.

Actress/Director Noreen Kershaw (Albion Market, Brookside, Watching, Heartbeat, Shameless and Life on Mars) lives in Prestwich.

Actress Amanda Noar was born in Prestwich in 1962.

Popular culture

The comedienne Victoria Wood was born in Prestwich.[39]

The members of the band Elbow, from Bury, live in Prestwich.

Kevin Godley and Lol Creme of the band 10cc were from Prestwich.

Jazz organist Alan Haven was born in Prestwich.

The Fall's lead singer Mark E. Smith has lived there for most of his life.

Punk rock band Buzzcocks' former bassist Steve Garvey lived there (Reportedly).[40][41][42] He also worked there, in The Graveyard Studios.

Punk band Sham 69 also lived in the village in the early 1980s. Broadcaster and raconteur James H. Reeve is a current Prestwich resident.

One of the Atomic Kitten band members, Jenny Frost, grew up in Prestwich and attended the local Catholic high school, St Monica's High School.

Another notable resident of the area was the German-born model and singer, Nico, who famously performed on the Velvet Underground's album in 1967, the Velvet Underground and Nico.

Choreographer Arlene Phillips was born in Cheetham Hill and raised in Prestwich and Didsbury.[43]


  1. ^ "A select gazetteer of local government areas, Greater Manchester County". Greater Manchester County Record Office. 2003-07-31. Retrieved 2007-06-20. 
  2. ^ Domesday Book
  3. ^ Anon. "Wrenwood and Rookwood". Listed Buildings - Alphabetical listing as of January 2006. Metropolitan Borough of Bury. Retrieved 3 January 2010. 
  4. ^ Prestwich History Retrieved 2007-12-20
  5. ^ Booker, John (1852). Memorials of the Church in Prestwich: Derived Chiefly from Unpublished and Authentic Sources (abridged ed.). Manchester: Simms and Dinham. p. 71.,M1. 
  6. ^ a b c d Anon. Love Prestwich: Part 1: Prestwich Today. Metropolitan Borough of Bury. 
  7. ^ Anon (19 October 2007:). "Prestwich Museum re-launch". Bury Council press release. Metropolitan Borough of Bury.{eeeda625-f208-4a87-a5e6-1ca99c630f36}. Retrieved 4 January 2010. 
  8. ^ King, Edmund (22 Sep 1994). The Anarchy of King Stephen's reign By Edmund King. Clarendon Press. p. 192. ISBN 0-19-820364-0. Retrieved 4 January 2010. 
  9. ^ Makepeace, C. E. (1974) Prestwich, a brief history. Prestwich Borough Council
  10. ^ Pratt, Ian (9 November 2009). "Looking back:Rural Prestwich on 18th century map". The Prestwich and Whitefield Guide (Newsquest Media Group). Retrieved 3 January 2010. 
  11. ^ Pratt, Ian (31 December 2009). "Looking Back:Road that was destined for major traffic". The Prestwich and Whitefield Guide (newsquest Media Group). Retrieved 3 January 2010. 
  12. ^ pratt, Ian (31 October 2008). "Looking back:Inn was open all hours to cater for the workers". The Prestwich and Whitefield Guide (Newsquest Media Group). Retrieved 3 January 2010. 
  13. ^ pratt, Ian (26 November 2009). "Looking back:'Sylvan' view of the Clough in 1908". Prestwich and Whitefield Guide (Newsquest Media Group). Retrieved 3 January 2010. 
  14. ^ The Parish of Prestwich with Oldham, A History of the County of Lancaster, Vol. 5, William Farrar and J. Brownbill (eds.), Victoria County History, BritishHIstoryOnline
  15. ^ Map of the ten parishes of the Hundred of Salford retrieved 2007-11-02
  16. ^ Anon (June 2009). "Phase 1 geo-environmental ground investigation At Longfield Shopping Centre, Prestwich Town Centre, Manchester for the Hollins Murray Group". Planning report. Hollins Murray Group. pp. 14. Retrieved 20 October 2009. 
  17. ^ Melvill, J. C. (1905) "Flora", in: Nicholls, W. History and Traditions; pp. 165–182
  18. ^ a b Buxton, Richard (1849). A botanical guide to the flowering plants, ferns, mosses, and algæ, found indigenous within sixteen miles of Manchester: with some information as to their agricultural, medicinal, and other usesr. Manchester: Longman and Co. Retrieved 11 May 2009. 
  19. ^ Bury MBC Contaminated land inspection strategy section 2 Retrieved on 2008-03-11
  20. ^ Adweb: Prestwich location report Retrieved on 2008-03-11
  21. ^ Jewish Communites and Records: Synagogues of Greater Manchester Retrieved on 2008-03-12
  22. ^ Prestwich Advertiser - Community - Rochdale Observer
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ Manchester Art Galleries: visitor information Retrieved 2007-10-26
  26. ^ A Walk in Philips ParkRetrieved 2007-10-26
  27. ^ A Walk in Prestwich Clough Retrieved 2007-10-26
  28. ^ Prestwich Clough Day 2007 Retrieved 2007-10-26
  29. ^ Prestwich Clough Centenary Committee
  30. ^ Prestwich Forest ParkRetrieved 2007-10-26
  31. ^ Prestwich Snooker
  32. ^ Danceclub2000
  33. ^ The parish of Prestwich with Oldham: Prestwich', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 5 (1911), pp. 76–80. URL: Date accessed: 19 December 2007.
  34. ^ Montagu Lomax, The Experiences of an Asylum Doctor London: George Allen & Unwin 1921
  35. ^ BA Towers The management and politics of a public expose: the Prestwich Inquiry 1922 J Social Policy (1984) 13: 41-61
  36. ^ TW Harding, "Not worth powder and shot." A reappraisal of Montagu Lomax's contribution to mental health reform British Journal of Psychiatry (1990) 156: 180-187
  37. ^ J Hopton Daily life in a 20th century psychiatric hospital: an oral history of Prestwich Hospital Int Hist Nurs J (1997) 2: 27-39
  38. ^ J Hopton Prestwich Hospital in the twentieth century: a case study of slow and uneven progress in the development of psychiatric care History of Psychiatry (1999) 10: 349-369
  39. ^ "Victoria Wood to return to drama". Manchester Evening News. 23 June 2006. 
  40. ^ [1]
  41. ^ [2]
  42. ^ [3]
  43. ^ "How Jewish is Arlene Phillips?". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 25 September 2009. 

Further reading

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

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Prestwich is a suburb of Manchester in the United Kingdom. It is part of The Metroplitan Borough of Bury in Greater Manchester.

Get in

It is situated about four miles to the north of Manchester city centre and is served by three metro stations on the Bury line of Greater Manchester's Metrolink light rail system.


Along with neighbouring Whitefield, to the north, and Broughton Park , to the south, which is part of Salford, it has the largest concentration of jewish residents of any area outside London.

  • Prestwich is the birthplace of British comedienne Victoria Woods.
  • To the east of Prestwich is Heaton Park, Manchester's largest open space and one of the largest municipal parks in Europe.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

PRESTWICH, an urban district in the Prestwich parliamentary division of Lancashire, England, 5 m. N.N.W. of Manchester on the Lancashire & Yorkshire railway. Pop. (1901), 12,839. It possesses cotton manufactures, but consists chiefly of handsome mansions and villas inhabited by Manchester merchants.

<< Sir Joseph Prestwich

Pretoria >>


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