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Gorton Monastery, Gorton.jpg
Gorton Monastery
Greater Manchester UK location map 2.svg
Red pog.svg
Location within Greater Manchester
Population36,055 (2011)
OS grid reference SJ885965
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district M18
Dialling code 0161
Police Greater Manchester
Fire Greater Manchester
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament
List of places
Greater Manchester
53°27′55″N2°10′21″W / 53.465314°N 2.172491°W / 53.465314; -2.172491 Coordinates: 53°27′55″N2°10′21″W / 53.465314°N 2.172491°W / 53.465314; -2.172491

Gorton is an area of Manchester in North West England, southeast of the city centre. The population at the 2011 census was 36,055. [1] [2] Neighbouring areas include Audenshaw, Denton, Levenshulme, and Reddish.

Manchester City and metropolitan borough in England

Manchester is a major city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. The Greater Manchester Built-up Area is the United Kingdom's second-most populous, with a population of 2.55 million. The city's metropolitan area is the second largest in the United Kingdom, after London, with a population of over 3.2 million. It is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, and an arc of towns with which it forms a continuous conurbation. The local authority is Manchester City Council. Manchester is a major international centre of tourism, commerce and industrial heritage. Manchester is frequently referred to as the United Kingdom's second city.

North West England region of England in United Kingdom

North West England, one of nine official regions of England, consists of the five counties of Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside. The North West had a population of 7,052,000 in 2011. It is the third-most-populated region in the United Kingdom after the South East and Greater London. The largest settlements are Manchester, Liverpool, Warrington, Preston, Blackpool and Chester.

Manchester city centre central business district of the City of Manchester, England

Manchester city centre is the central business district of Manchester, England, within the boundaries of Trinity Way, Great Ancoats Street and Whitworth Street. The City Centre ward had a population of 17,861 at the 2011 census.


A major landmark is Gorton Monastery, a 19th-century High Victorian Gothic former Franciscan friary.

Gorton Monastery former Franciscan friary in Gorton, in east Manchester, England

The Church and Friary of St Francis, known locally as Gorton Monastery, is a 19th-century former Franciscan friary in Gorton, Manchester, England. The Franciscans arrived in Gorton in December 1861 and built their friary between 1863 and 1867. Most of the building work was done by the friars themselves, with a brother acting as clerk of works. The foundation stone for the church was laid in 1866 and completed in 1872; it closed for worship in 1989. It is a prominent example of High Victorian Gothic architecture, and has been listed with Grade II* status since 1963. It was designed by Edward Welby Pugin (1834–1875), whose father, A.W.N. Pugin, promoted the revival of Gothic as the style of architecture which was the ideal expression of Catholic faith and worship in church buildings.

High Victorian Gothic Eclectic architectural style and movement during the mid-late 19th century

High Victorian Gothic was an eclectic architectural style and movement during the mid-late 19th century. It is seen by architectural historians as either a sub-style of the broader Gothic Revival style, or a separate style in its own right.


According to local folklore, Gorton derives its name from Gore Town, due to a battle between the Saxons and Danes nearby. [3] [4] This has been dismissed by historians as "popular fancy". [5] The name Gorton means "dirty farmstead", [6] perhaps taking its name from the Gore Brook, or dirty brook, which still runs through the township to-day. The brook may have acquired that name because of the dirty appearance of its water, perhaps caused by discolouration due to peat or iron deposits. [7]

Saxons Germanic tribes from the North German Plain

The Saxons were a Germanic people whose name was given in the early Middle Ages to a large country near the North Sea coast of what is now Germany. In the late Roman Empire, the name was used to refer to Germanic coastal raiders, and also as a word something like the later "Viking". In Merovingian times, continental Saxons were associated with the coast of what later became Normandy. Though sometimes described as also fighting inland, coming in conflict with the Franks and Thuringians, no clear homeland can be defined. There is possibly a single classical reference to a smaller homeland of an early Saxon tribe, but it is disputed. According to this proposal, the Saxons' earliest area of settlement is believed to have been Northern Albingia. This general area is close to the probable homeland of the Angles.

The Danes were a North Germanic tribe inhabiting southern Scandinavia, including the area now comprising Denmark proper, and the Scanian provinces of modern southern Sweden, during the Nordic Iron Age and the Viking Age. They founded what became the Kingdom of Denmark. The name of their realm is believed to mean "Danish March", viz. "the march of the Danes" in Old Low German, referring to their southern border zone between the Eider and Schlei rivers, known as Danevirke.

In England, a township is a local division or district of a large parish containing a village or small town usually having its own church. A township may or may not be coterminous with a chapelry, manor, or any other minor area of local administration.

In medieval times, the district was a township of the ancient parish of Manchester in the Salford Hundred of Lancashire.

Manchester (ancient parish) ancient parish

Manchester was an ancient ecclesiastical parish of the hundred of Salford, in Lancashire, England. It encompassed several townships and chapelries, including the then township of Manchester. Other townships are now parts of the Anglican Diocese of Manchester and/or Greater Manchester.

Lancashire County of England

Lancashire is a ceremonial county in North West England. The administrative centre is Preston. The county has a population of 1,449,300 and an area of 1,189 square miles (3,080 km2). People from Lancashire are known as Lancastrians.

Manchester City F.C. was founded as St. Mark's (West Gorton) in 1880. The club was formed with the aim of binding the local community and to combat a form of gang warfare called scuttling that existed in the 1870s. [8] [9] The rector's daughter, Anna Connell, is widely credited as the founder, although churchwarden William Beastow is believed to be the person who played the main part in creating sporting activities for the parish. In 1875, St. Mark's Cricket Club are known to have played and this evolved into the football club later in the decade. [10] The first recorded football game was played in November 1880. [11]

Manchester City F.C. Association football club

Manchester City Football Club is an English football club based in Manchester, that competes in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. Founded in 1880 as St. Mark's, it became Ardwick Association Football Club in 1887 and Manchester City in 1894. The club's home ground is the City of Manchester Stadium in east Manchester, to which it moved in 2003, having played at Maine Road since 1923.

Scuttlers members of neighbourhood-based youth gangs formed in Manchester, England

Scuttlers were members of neighbourhood-based youth gangs formed in working class areas of Manchester, Salford, and the surrounding townships during the late 19th century. It is possible to draw parallels with the London street gangs of the 1890s, whose behaviour was labelled hooliganism. The social commentator Alexander Devine attributed the gang culture to lack of parental control, lack of discipline in schools, "base literature" and the monotony of life in Manchester's slums.

A Blackfoot Sioux chief named Charging Thunder came to Salford aged 26 as part of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show in 1903. Like many Lakota tribesmen, Charging Thunder was an exceptional horseman and performed thrilling stunts in Buffalo Bill's show in front of huge crowds, on the site of what is now the Lowry in Salford Quays. But when the show rolled out of town, he remained in London. He married Josephine, an American horse trainer who had just given birth to their first child, Bessie and together they settled in Darwen, before moving to Gorton. His name was changed to George Edward Williams, after registering with the British immigration authorities to enable him to find work. Williams ended up as an elephant keeper at the Belle Vue Zoo. He died on 28 July 1929 from pneumonia aged fifty-two. His interment was in Gorton's cemetery.

Sihasapa traditional tribal grouping within the Lakota people

The Sihásapa or Blackfoot Sioux are a division of the Lakota people, Titonwan, or Teton.

County Borough of Salford former district of England

Salford was, from 1844 to 1974, a local government district in the northwest of England, coterminate with Salford. It was granted city status in 1926.

Buffalo Bill American frontiersman and showman

William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody was an American scout, bison hunter, and showman. He was born in Le Claire, Iowa Territory, but he lived for several years in his father's hometown in Toronto Township, Ontario, Canada, before the family returned to the Midwest and settled in the Kansas Territory.

20th century

The world-famous Belle Vue Zoological Gardens, comprising a zoo, gardens, amusement park, exhibition complex and speedway stadium, was opened in 1836 in Gorton and became one of the leading attractions in the UK. The site spanned 165 acres of land and attracted over two million visitors a year. [12] The zoo was the third-largest in the UK, and the exhibition hall held concerts from a range of national and international artists, such as Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones. After 141 years, the zoo closed in 1977, with the rest of the site finally cleared for redevelopment in 1982 to build a new zoo for local residents to be exhibited.

Myra Hindley, convicted of taking part in the Moors Murders in 1966, grew up in Gorton. [13] She and Ian Brady lived there at the time of the first three Moors murders, before moving to Hattersley in 1964 when Hindley's family home was included in a local demolition programme. Brady and Hindley committed two further murders after moving from Gorton, before they were finally arrested in October 1965. Their first victim, Pauline Reade (who died in July 1963 aged 16, but whose body was not found for 24 years), was a Gorton resident and a neighbour of Hindley. [14] The third victim, Keith Bennett, was also from Gorton. He was last seen alive on 16 June 1964. His body has yet to be found, and Pauline Reade's body was not found until 1987. [15]

Economy and Development

The Industrial Revolution brought work and industry to Gorton in the form of locomotive factories, including that of Beyer, Peacock and Company. Today these sites continue to employ workers in a variety of fields, from local private businesses to national companies, including the manufacturing headquarters of Iceland [16] . A number of retail and recreation sites are also a source of local employment for many in the area, such as the TV and film production studio, Space Studios, which employs up to 300 people [17] . Less than 3 miles from the centre of Manchester, Gorton is also made up of many tertiary sector workers who commute into the city.

The popular television series Shameless, which aired on Channel 4, was mainly filmed in West Gorton. The parade of shops used for filming in the initial series was built on the site of St. Mark's Church, Clowes Street, the birthplace of Manchester City F.C. [18] The area has since been demolished and redeveloped with various new social and private housing, [19] new Medical Centre, retail and commercial spaces, as well as the "Space Project", a large-scale television and film production studio with six sound and prop stages used to film various BBC and ITV productions.

In 2006, Manchester City Council started a multimillion-pound redevelopment of the Gorton District Shopping Centre. The small market and retail area were demolished and work started in late 2007 to construct a new market hall and Tesco Extra hypermarket on the site. In July 2008, the new Manchester Gorton Market Hall was opened to the public. [20] The construction of the new hypermarket and neighbouring petrol station continued, and in late October 2008, the new Tesco Extra store opened its doors for trading. Further retail outlets were developed near this site along Hyde Road, including Subway, Coral and Age UK. [21]


Belle Vue is a locality within Gorton, as are West Gorton, which was included in the City of Manchester in 1890, whereas the remainder of Gorton wasn't until 1909, thanks largely to the work of councillor Joseph Henry Williamson, then Chairman of Gorton Urban District Council, and Abbey Hey, mostly a residential district, but also well-known locally as the location of Wright Robinson College.

The area south of the former Roman road, Hyde Road, and between Belle Vue and Reddish is a historic area in which various ancient tools and weapons have been unearthed from various historic battles that took place there. [22] Many local placenames allude to this history, including Winning Hill, also known as Ryder Brow, a locality within Gorton that contains many topographical features, including Bottom o’ th’ Brow at the base of a valley and Gore Brook that runs through Gorton, flowing west to the river Mersey. Much of this area contains the Gore Brook Valley Conservation Area. Ryder Brow is served by Ryder Brow railway station.

Gorton also has several allotments and parks which are supported through the Gorton Horticultural Society.

Landmarks and attractions

Gorton is home to Gorton Monastery, a Franciscan, 19th century High Victorian Gothic friary. This has been renovated and secularised: it was previously derelict after the friars moved out. The parish left by the Friars came under the care of the Diocese of Salford. St Francis of Assisi RC Church on Textile Street, Gorton, and Sacred Heart Church, Levenshulme Road, Gorton, now form part of the R.C. Parish of Sacred Heart and St. Francis. Other churches in Gorton which were designed by notable architects include the Brookfield Unitarian Church on Hyde Road, built by Richard Peacock [23] and the Mount Olivet Apostolic Church (originally the Anglican church of Our Lady of Mercy and St Thomas of Canterbury) on Mount Road, which was built by Walter Tapper in 1927. [24]

Gorton Heritage Trail is a public trail with 20 sites of interest. The trail is partly semi-rural, largely located within the Gore Brook Valley Conservation Area, and highlights various local landmarks, including ecological and topographical sites, and grade-listed monuments and buildings. The trail starts in Sunny Brow Park, and leads northwards to Debdale Park, following the reverse course of Gore Brook. [25]

Peacock Mausoleum located at Brookfield Unitarian Church, Gorton Peacock Family Memorial, Brookfield Unitarian Church, Gorton.jpg
Peacock Mausoleum located at Brookfield Unitarian Church, Gorton
St James' Church, Gorton. St James Church Gorton Winter.jpg
St James' Church, Gorton.

There are a number of grade-listed buildings in Gorton, most notably Gorton Monastery. Other listed buildings and monuments include:

Gorton was home to the world-famous Belle Vue Zoological Gardens from 1836 until its closure in the 1980s. At its peak, Belle Vue attracted more than two million visitors a year. [27]



Beyer, Peacock locomotive plate Bassendean rail museum gnangarra 07.jpg
Beyer, Peacock locomotive plate
Early light rail demonstration at Debdale Park, 1987 DLR train at Debdale Park Manchester.jpg
Early light rail demonstration at Debdale Park, 1987

Gorton is bordered to the north by the Piccadilly-Glossop train line (formerly the Great Central Railway [28] ), and is served by several train stations including Gorton railway station, which opened in 1842 as Gorton and Openshaw and was replaced in 1906. It is still in operation today on the Hope Valley Line and is served by train services between Manchester Piccadilly and Glossop/Hadfield. [29] The station is mentioned in the 1964 song "Slow Train" by Flanders and Swann, referred to as "Openshaw".

Other stations in the area include Ashburys, Belle Vue and Ryder Brow

Another railway station in the Gorton area was Hyde Road which opened in 1882 on the ill-fated Fallowfield Loop railway line; both the station and the line closed to passengers in 1958. Hyde Road railway station had a brief revival in 1987 when it played an important role in the early development of the Manchester Metrolink system. A temporary station called Debdale Park was constructed on the site of the Hyde Road railway station to host a public exhibition of Project Light Rail, in which a train on loan from the fledgling Docklands Light Railway system in London was driven along a short stretch of track to demonstrate the light rail/tram network in Manchester being planned. This was the first ever light rail vehicle seen in operation in Manchester. Soon after the demonstration, the Fallowfield line was dismantled and has since been converted by Sustrans into a cycle track, the Fallowfield Loop, which runs from Debdale Park to St Werburgh's Road Metrolink station in Chorlton-cum-Hardy. [30] [31]

In 1849, a locomotive works was built for the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway, later the Great Central Railway, known locally as the Gorton Tank. It carried out repairs and major overhauls, producing new boilers and all LNER castings. There was also a carriage and wagon works which had been built in 1881 which carried out light repairs. Both were closed in 1962. [32] Gorton was also the home of the Beyer-Peacock locomotive Company at Gorton Foundry, from 1854, until it closed in 1966. One of the company's partners, Richard Peacock subsequently became Liberal MP for Gorton in the 1885 general election.


The former municipal borough of Manchester was created in 1838 and elevated to a city in 1853. Part of Gorton township was included in the city in 1890. The remaining part of the township became an Urban District of the administrative county of Lancashire in 1894. A small part of the urban district was transferred to the city of Manchester in 1901 and the remaining area was fully incorporated into Manchester in 1909.

Gorton forms part of the Manchester Gorton parliamentary constituency, comprising Gorton North, Gorton South, Fallowfield, Longsight, Levenshulme, Rusholme and Whalley Range. [33] The Gorton area is split into two electoral wardsGorton North and Gorton South. Father of the House and Britain's longest serving backbench MP, Sir Gerald Kaufman, represented the Gorton area (Ardwick followed by Manchester Gorton) for 47 years until his death in February 2017. [34] Manchester Gorton's current MP is Afzal Khan.

Performing arts and sport

Gorton Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 1854 and is an amateur orchestra. [35] The folk comedy group Gorton Tank were based in Gorton and were popular in the Manchester area. The painter Michael Gutteridge was born in Gorton. The Gorton Morris Men were responsible for reviving the rushcart ceremony in Gorton. [36] Manchester City F.C. were founded as St. Mark's (West Gorton) in 1880. Abbey Hey F.C. club is in Gorton. "Bouncing Billy Barker" was a local man who specialised in jumping feats. [37]

Notable residents

See also

Related Research Articles

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Longsight inner city area of Manchester

Longsight is an inner city area of Manchester, England, 3 miles (4.8 km) south of the city centre, bounded by Ardwick and West Gorton to the north, Belle Vue to the east, Levenshulme to the south, and Chorlton-on-Medlock, Victoria Park and Fallowfield to the west. Historically in Lancashire, it had a population of 15,429 at the 2011 census.

Levenshulme human settlement in United Kingdom

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Belle Vue, Manchester area of Gorton, in the city of Manchester, England

Belle Vue is an area of Manchester, England, east of the city centre, bordered by the Hope Valley Line on the east and the Glossop Line on the west. It is known for the former Belle Vue Zoological Gardens and Belle Vue Stadium.

Abbey Hey area of Gorton, in the city of Manchester, England

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Fallowfield railway station

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Hyde Road railway station former railway station in Gorton, Manchester, England

Hyde Road was a railway station in Gorton, Manchester, England, on the Fallowfield Loop Line. It opened in 1892 and closed in 1958 when local passenger services on the line stopped. The station was sometimes advertised as Hyde Road for Belle Vue, that is, convenient for Belle Vue Zoo, about one mile away. The track closed completely in 1988 and the track was taken up. The station has long since been demolished, and the site has now been partly redeveloped. The line of the track is used as a cycleway.

Fallowfield Loop railway line former local railway route in Greater Manchester, England

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St Werburghs Road tram stop

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Debdale Park

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Peacock Mausoleum

The Peacock Mausoleum is a Victorian Gothic memorial to Richard Peacock (1820–1889), engineer and Liberal MP for Manchester, and to his son, Joseph Peacock. It is situated in the cemetery of Brookfield Unitarian Church, Gorton, Manchester. The mausoleum was designed by the prolific Manchester architect Thomas Worthington. It was made a Grade II* listed structure on 3 October 1974.

Brookfield Unitarian Church church in Manchester, UK

Brookfield Unitarian Church, Gorton, Manchester, is a Victorian Gothic church.

Before Manchester City Football Club moved into their first permanent home in Manchester, England, in 1887, the club played at a short series of grounds which ranged from established cricket venues to bumpy fields with no stands or boundaries nor history of sporting usage. The club was founded as a philanthropic endeavour to encourage impressionable youths to commit to wholesome activities rather than falling to the local adolescent culture of alcohol and violence. The sport of football was barely 15 years from the writing of its own rulebook. The club had no immediate option of using or constructing a stadium, and thus most of their first locations were nothing more than painted lines and goalposts. As the club reformed and changed its name twice between 1880 and 1887, soits choice of locations were a series of low-cost, short-term solutions when their current location became untenable. In 1887, when City moved to their sixth pitch in only eight years, they had the money, ambition, reputation and stability to construct themselves a more permanent base of operations, at the stadium named Hyde Road.

Manchester is a city in Northwest England. The M18 postcode area is to the southeast of the city centre, and contains the area of Gorton. The postcode area contains 14 listed buildings that are recorded in the National Heritage List for England. Of these, three are listed at Grade II*, the middle grade of the three grades, and the others are at Grade II, the lowest grade. The area is now mainly residential, and the listed buildings include houses, churches, a mausoleum, a public house, a war memorial, and a former school.



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