Our Castlefield Timeline Voting Results

C astlefield Forum have been working closely with Manchester City Council, BDP Landscape Architects, Smiling Wolf and Deco Publique to plan a renovation scheme for our much-loved inner-city green space. The renovation provides us with a perfect opportunity to celebrate Castlefield’s unique history and a historic timeline has been proposed as a central feature of the project.

Since February 2017 we’ve been asking the Castlefield Community to tell us their favourite stories and memories of the area. Firstly we sent out an online survey, the response was fantastic with stories and events recounted spanned nearly 2,000 years – from the original Roman settlement to today’s colourful social scene.

We collated these stories and events into three main strands: Culture and Lifestyle; Environment, Architecture & Place; and Science & Industry.

During the weekend of the Castlefield Food Festival we presented these events to more than 100 people. Each participant highlighted up to five events from each category they felt deserved to make the final cut. In addition to the live count, we circulated an online voting form. All of the votes were added together, giving us the results below. Funding permitting, these will form the basis of our bespoke Castlefield timeline.

These results from the Public’s input will form the basis of the continued work.

Culture & Lifestyle Results
Top Five Stories

The Pubs of Castlefield

1. The Pubs of Castlefield – c1930
Votes – 67

They’ve slaked the thirst of canal workers, boatmen and market traders over the years and still sit at the heart of the community. Castlefield’s pubs are part of the fabric of the area and are as important to a strong community today as ever before.


2. Lights Camera Action! Granda TV – 1956, 1995 – 2003
Votes – 59

Some of popular culture’s greatest TV shows were created right here in Castlefield at Granada Studios on Quay Street. The list of greats include Coronation St, The Krypton Factor, Seven Up! and Phoenix Nights. The Beatles also filmed their first television appearance in Studio 12 there.


3. Castlefield Food Festival – 2015 – 2017
Votes – 53

Now in its third year, Castlefield Food Festival showcases the best local farmers and producers alongside urban street food vendors and bars. Master Classes and Cook-offs are free to attend while live music helps create a fantastic atmosphere. Over 40,000 people attend over the long weekend making it one of the area‘s most popular annual events.


4. The Hit Factory – 1858 – 2017
Votes – 48

The chapel was built in 1858, designed by local architect Edward Walters. It was bought by Pete Waterman in 1980 and converted into a studio where Kylie Minogue sang and Rick Astley made pop history, recording “Never Gonna Give You Up”. It’s now offices.


5. Castlefield Forum – 2007 to date
Votes – 43

‘Everyone who lives in Castlefield knows it’s special and pull together to protect it, whether it’s looking out for each other or going out picking up litter or gardening, or helping baby ducks out of a grid- there’s a real community here’ Castlefield Forum is a voluntary group that works on projects to celebrate, improve and safeguard the area.

Distribution of Votes


1. The Pubs Of Castlefield – 67
2. Lights, Camera, Action! – 59
3. Castlefield Food Festival – 53
4. The Hit Factory – 48
5. Castlefield Forum – 43
6. A Place Of Protest – 36
7. Drinks For The Hospital – 30
8. Roll Up, Roll Up For The Fair – 27
9. D-Percussion – 26
10. The Canal Festival – 25
11. The Olympic Bid – 23
12. The Stables Theatre – 18
13. Cheering On The Three Lions – 15
14. Heroes Return – 8
15. G.W.R. Horses & The May Day Parade – 6

Environment, Architecture & Place Results

Top Five Stories


1. Walk on the Wild Side – 2017
Votes – 59

Despite the city location, nature is very much a part of Castlefield’s character. 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.


2. Merchants’ Bridge – 1995
Votes – 52

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”


2. Lock Keeper’s Cottage – 1863
Votes – 52

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, and thought to be the only detached house in Manchester city centre.


4. Archaeological Excavations – 1906 – 1907, 1978, 1985, 2008
Votes – 46

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.


5. Hail Caeser – 79AD
Votes – 43

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.

Distribution of Votes


1. Walk On The Wild Side – 59
2. Merchants’ Bridge – 52
2. Lock Keeper’s Cottage – 52
4. Archaeological Excavations – 46
5. Hail Caesar! – 43
6. Urban Heritage – 36
7. The Missing Churches – 34
7. Atherton Street School – 34
9. Let There Be Light – 21
10. The Ordsall Chord – 20
11. Encore! – Castlefield Arena – 15
12. Farewell Flyover – 14
13. Brother Against Brother – 12
14. Bonnie Prince Charles – 11
15. Flightweight Champion of the World – 5

Science & Industry Results

Top Five Stories


1. The Oldest Surviving Passenger Station – 1830 – 1844
Votes – 91

The Manchester to Liverpool Railway opened in 1830 – the first passenger railway in the world. The station closed to passenger services on 4 May 1844 with the opening of Victoria Station, however it still operated as a bustling goods yard until British Rail took over in 1948. The original station survives as part of the Museum of Science and Industry.


2. The Museum of Science & Industry – 1969 to Date
Votes – 70

First set on Grosvenor St, the museum was so busy it had to expand. When Liverpool Rd Station shut in ’75 the council bought it as MOSI’s new home. The museum has continued to grow and proudly displays objects and ideas to explain all things scientific or industrial. An additional changing programme of exhibitions also educates and inspires.


3. The Pioneer’s Canal – 1760 – 2017
Votes – 68

Francis Egerton 3rd Duke of Bridgewater built “Britain’s first” canal to transport coal from Worsley mines to industrial Manchester. By 1765 the canal reached Castlefield. The Wharf & Basin became a hive of activity resulting in kilns, and the warehouses we still see, being built. Rochdale Canal joined the Bridgewater in 1805 creating an inland port.


4. All Aboard – 1830, 1880 – 1890
Votes – 46

The Manchester & Liverpool Railway was opened in 1830 – the first line to rely exclusively on steam power, with no horse-drawn traffic. Much of the brick and iron infrastructure that makes Castlefield so distinctive is linked in some way to the expansion of the railways, which enabled Manchester’s cotton industry to thrive.


5. Social Revolution – 1830, 1880 – 1890
Votes – 43

The Hall of Science opened by the ‘co-operative’ movement creator Robert Owen (Byrom St) to encourage radical and reforming debate. Over 3,000 people would attend lectures here at weekends, on English social and political matters. Amongst the list of speaker, Friedrich Engels, co-author of the Communist Manifesto appeared here during his time in Manchester.

Distribution of Votes


1. The Oldest Surviving Station – 91
2. The Museum of Science & Industry – 70
3. The Pioneer’s Canal – 68
4. All Aboard – 46
5. Social Revolution – 43
6. Canal Workers – 35
7. Connecting The City – 26
8. James Brindley – 23
8. Furnaces & Kilns – 23
10. Campfield Markets – 17
11. Get Creative! – 16
12. Castlefield Ironworks – 14
13. Grocer’s Company Warehouse – 12


For a Full comprehensive Breakdown of the results from The Castlefield Food Festival and Online Vote please view the pdf bellow.


The Next Step

Funding permitting, these will form the basis of our bespoke Castlefield timeline and we invite you to watch this space for further updates.