Environment, Architecture & Place

P eople love the tranquility, the cultural heritage, the industrial landscape and the architecture of Castlefield. Below are some of the most prominent events and features of Castlefield for you to chose from.

Once you have selected your top five stories please hit the send button to confirm your choice and send us your pick. If you have any stories about this aspect of life in Castlefield do not hesitate to get in touch with us through our email.

  • 1. Back to School: 1912 – c1980
  • 2. Archaeological Excavations: 1906 – 07, 1978, 1985 – 86, 2008
  • 3. Brother Against Brother: 1642
  • 4. Bonnie Prince Charles: 1745
  • 5. Encore! 1990
  • 6. Farewell Flyover: 1994
  • 7. Lock Keeper’s Cottage: 1863
  • 8. The Missing Churches: 1825 – 1952, 1769 – 1931
  • 9. The Ordsall Chord: 2015 – 2017
  • 10. Hail Caesar! 79AD
  • 11. Flightweight Champion of the World: 1927
  • 12. Let There Be Light: 1792 – 1820
  • 13. Urban Heritage: 1982
  • 14. Walk on the Wild Side: 2017
  • 15. Merchants’ Bridge: 1995

Please select up to 5 stories

The school, on Great John St, had a flat roof playground. Desks were put out for lessons on sunny days & in the winter it would collect water and make a great slide. One boy recalls filling boxes with water and dropping them on the girls playground below. A girl remembers boys kicking balls down onto their playground so that they could go down and torment them.

Relics have been found here since the 1700s. A report c.1830 tells of a man finding a “bucketful” of Roman coins, knotting his smock to make a sack to carry them away. Luckily the many more recent excavations have been better recorded – uncovering the remains of the settlement and 10,000+ artefacts.

Aldport Lodge, once sited close to Deansgate, was the headquarters of the Royalist forces besieging Manchester as part of the civil war. They failed and consequently it was burned down by the victorious Parliamentarians.

The Stuart Pretender, led the last uprising in the Jacobite Rebellion in his bid to become King. He drilled his artillery on the site of St John’s Gardens, using it as a gun park. This is commemorated on a plaque on the wall of no. 15 Byrom Street, and in the naming of Artillery Street.

One of the most important modern structures to Castlefield’s distinctive character is the Arena. Built in 1990 it’s enabled Arcade Fire, Bjork, Last Shaddow Puppets, Blossoms, James, The Courteeners and Richard Ashcroft amongst many others to play outdoor gigs to crowds of up to 8,000.
It’s hosted political and sporting event too.

“The day Chester Road Flyover was demolished residents of Castle Quay received a letter inviting them to take a walk on the traffic- only bridge to say goodbye to a much-maligned friend. It was a bright Sunday morning. As we climbed the up we took photographs to remember the day, knowing that Castlefield was about to change for ever.” Julian Bovis

The 1863 Manchester and Salford Directory lists a John William Smith, living at Lock House, whose job was “toll collector”. It’s now owned by local developers the Ramsbottom family who were responsible for initiating the sensitive regeneration of the Castlefield basin and surrounding area. It is thought to be the only detached house in the city centre.

St Matthew’s – Designed by Charles Barry, architect of the Palace of Westminster. It was demolished in 1952 after lying derelict for years. During this time the children of the area are known to have played in the building. St John’s – Now St John’s Gardens – built by Edward Byrom, a co-founder of the first bank in Manchester in 1769. It was demolished 1931.

The Chord is a short railway line under construction to link Manchester’s Piccadilly and Victoria Stations. Once complete 700 more trains will operate in the city a day. Sadly, it will cut off Liverpool Road Station from the main line, ending the connection to the oldest passenger railway station in the world.

Known as the birthplace of Manchester due to being the site of the Roman settlement of Mamucium. Founded by General Agricola it was built on a rocky outcrop protected by the Rivers Irwell and Medlock. This is the first definite record of human settlement in Manchester.

Children played football on Byrom’s field in the 1900s and adults crowded in New Quay St every Sunday – it was 2d a man, first to five goals. In 2017 Anderlecht trained in Castlefield before their quarter-final match against Man Utd. Local Boxer Ernie Lord competed in New York for World Flightweight Title in 1927 but lost to Fidel La Barba.

In 1792 an act of parliament formed a body of men to clean and light the streets with oil lamps. In 1820 Manchester gained gas street lights, helping to make the city safer.

The significance, locally, nationally and internationally of Castlefield was recognised in 1982 by the creation of the World’s First Urban Heritage Park.

Despite the city location, nature is very much a part of Castlefield’s charater. It is home to many animals including; Badgers, Barn owls, Bats, Canada Geese, Coots, Cormorants, Dormice, Grass Snakes, Heron, Hornets, Kestrels, Kingfishers, Mallards, Newts, Otters, Polecats, Stoats, Swan and Water vole.

Built in 1995, the multi-award winning Merchants Bridge was constructed using cutting-edge technology of the day. The designers, Ramboll, say it’s a “symbol of the area’s regeneration. Its counterbalanced curves transport and cradle pedestrians in a way that suggests they should linger and enjoy the spectacle”

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