Old Trafford (area)

Last updated

Old Trafford
Greater Manchester UK location map 2.svg
Red pog.svg
Old Trafford
Location within Greater Manchester
Population13,000 approx.
OS grid reference SJ825955
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Historic county
  • Lancashire
Postcode district M15, M16
Dialling code 0161
Police Greater Manchester
Fire Greater Manchester
Ambulance North West
UK Parliament
List of places
Greater Manchester
53°27′37″N2°17′13″W / 53.4603°N 2.287°W / 53.4603; -2.287 Coordinates: 53°27′37″N2°17′13″W / 53.4603°N 2.287°W / 53.4603; -2.287

Old Trafford is an area of the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford, Greater Manchester, England, two miles (3.2 km) southwest of Manchester city centre, roughly delineated by the crossroads of two old toll gates, Brooks's Bar to the east and Trafford Bar tram stop to the west.


Old Trafford is the site of Old Trafford football stadium, home of Manchester United F.C., and Old Trafford Cricket Ground, home of Lancashire County Cricket Club, on opposite ends of Brian Statham Way (formerly Warwick Road) and Sir Matt Busby Way (formerly Warwick Road North). The road between them retains the name Warwick Road, and the southern section on the other side of the Metrolink line is Warwick Road South.


Old Trafford was a crossing point over the River Irwell in ancient times. The name Old Trafford possibly derives from the time when there were two Trafford Halls, Old Trafford Hall and New Trafford Hall. The old hall was close to what is now the White City Retail Park, and was said to have been the home of the de Trafford family since 1017, until the family moved to the new hall in what is now Trafford Park, some time between 1672 and 1720. [1] The name of the area around Old Trafford Hall may subsequently have become shortened to Old Trafford. [2] The old hall was demolished in 1939. [3]

In the 1820s, Manchester scientist John Dalton chose Old Trafford as the site for a Royal Horticultural and Botanical Gardens because of its clean, unpolluted air, and so began the area's association with sports and recreation. The popularity of the botanical gardens, which was similar to The Crystal Palace, led wealthy people to build large houses in the area. In 1857, and again in 1887, the gardens staged exhibitions of art treasures, the former as part of the Art Treasures Exhibition and the latter in celebration of Queen Victoria's silver jubilee. The Hallé Orchestra was formed to participate in the first of these exhibitions. The site of the botanical gardens was purchased by White City Limited in 1907, and it subsequently became an amusement park, although the name lives on in the street called Botanical Gardens. From the 1950s to the 1970s, White City Stadium was used as a greyhound racing track and for stock car racing. This site is now White City Retail Park. The front entrance is all that has been preserved of the old botanical gardens. Nearby, on the site of what is now the Greater Manchester Police Headquarters, was Henshaw's Institute for the Blind, which originally opened as Henshaw's Blind Asylum in 1837. Next door on the same site was the Royal Institute for the Deaf, where the film Mandy was made.

Old Trafford expanded and became an urban area after the building of the Manchester Ship Canal in the 1890s, and the subsequent development of nearby Trafford Park Industrial Estate, in the early 20th century. Trafford Park provided employment for thousands of local residents. Employment was also provided on a smaller scale, notably by the railways (Trafford Park shed alone had over 300 staff), Duerr's Jams, Vimto, Arkady Soya Mill [4] and Ludwig Oppenheimer Mosaics. The Royal Army Medical Corps and the Territorial Army have well-established bases in the area.

Slum clearances during the 1960s and early 1970s saw some of the old Victorian housing stock demolished. However, after the perceived failure of the deck-access concrete crescents of Hulme, Old Trafford's residents preferred renovation to demolition. As a result, there are still many Victorian terraced streets in the area.

By 1985, employment at Trafford Park had fallen to 24,500, as unemployment in the northwest soared above 30 per cent in some inner-city areas. Nearby Manchester Docks, which had also been a major source of local employment, closed in 1982. As the revitalised Salford Quays it has become an emblematic part of the regeneration of Manchester in general.


Old Trafford was formerly a hamlet in the township of Stretford. [5] It was in the Municipal Borough of Stretford until 1974. In 1974, as a result of the Local Government Act 1972, it became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford in Greater Manchester. Since the realignment of Trafford's ward boundaries in 2004, Old Trafford has been divided between Clifford and Longford wards, with the larger part being in the former. [6] [7]

Old Trafford is part of the parliamentary constituency of Stretford and Urmston. The current Member of Parliament is Kate Green of the Labour Party.

In 2005, Trafford Council proposed to the Boundary Commission for England that the wards of Gorse Hill, Longford, and Clifford – which includes Old Trafford – should be moved into a new Salford and The Quays constituency, along with some other wards from Salford. [8] At the subsequent public enquiry in November 2005, Beverley Hughes opposed the change, as well as an alternative proposal to create a constituency of Salford and Old Trafford. The Boundary Commission rejected Trafford Council's proposals, noting that there was "strong opposition to the creation of a constituency that crossed the Manchester Ship Canal and ... that the Canal provided a clearly identifiable boundary which should not be breached". [9]


Old Trafford and Key West as viewed from Salford Quays Old Trafford from the Lowry Centre - geograph.org.uk - 696955.jpg
Old Trafford and Key West as viewed from Salford Quays

The area is unusual in effectively being a peninsula. Its northern boundary was the River Irwell, now canalised into the Manchester Ship Canal. To the east was a tributary of the Irwell, the Cornbrook. This was culverted as the area grew in the 19th century. In fact, Victorian Hulme and Old Trafford seemed indistinguishable, as the hidden river made its way out of sight. Similarly, the southern boundary was the Black Brook, which was culverted at about the same time as the Cornbrook. Thus Upper Chorlton Road, under which it flows, does not seem to be a natural boundary. Both sides of the road look similar, and Darley Park, on the Trafford side, could easily fit into Whalley Range. Some small anomalies due to the brook's underground route were not amended until the late 1980s. Similarly, the inter-war development of Firswood is almost indistinguishable from its Chorlton-cum-hardy neighbours. Old Trafford makes up the northern tip of Trafford and adjoins St. Georges, Hulme, Whalley Range and Moss Side  – all of which are within the boundaries of the City of Manchester  – and Ordsall to the northeast, which is within the boundaries of the City of Salford. At the crossroads of Brooks's Bar the boundaries between Old Trafford and Hulme, and Moss Side and Whalley Range meet. The boundary passed through the playground of Loreto College, as was famously illustrated by a photo of girls straddling the line, in the 1970s Nuffield O-Level Geography Textbook. On the western side of the area, the road named Seymour Grove has an interesting origin. In the 19th century, the people of Chorlton called it Trafford Road, and the people of Old Trafford called it Chorlton Road. Neither name was appropriate, as nearby roads already had those names. So the area's richest inhabitant, a millionaire grocer called Sir Thomas Seymour Mead, decided the road should be named after him.


Old Trafford Football Stadium, home of Manchester United F.C. Old Trafford, reflected.png
Old Trafford Football Stadium, home of Manchester United F.C.

Until the mid-20th century there were four cinemas in Old Trafford: the Imperial Picture Theatre in Chorlton Road, Brooks Bar, The Globe on Cornbrook Street, The Lyceum in City Road and the Trafford Picture House in Talbot Road. Three of the buildings have survived, although not now operated as cinemas. The Imperial opened in 1913, and for a brief period in the 1970s it became an Asian films cinema. It closed in 1979, and the building is now occupied by a timber and ironmongery business. The premises occupied by The Globe were originally part of the Manchester Carriage and Tramways Company's horse-drawn tramway depot. The cinema closed in the mid 1960s, and is now used as a warehouse. The Lyceum opened in 1915, and it also closed in the 1960s. Its building is now used for private functions. The Trafford Picture House opened in 1922, and closed in 1958. After a period when it was used as a vehicle auction room the building became derelict, and it was demolished in 1997. [10]

Present day

Today, Old Trafford has approximately 13,000 residents. Cultural diversity has been a feature of the area for over a century. Irish immigrants settled in the locality from the 1880s, coming to Manchester to work on the ship canal. Polish and east European migrants arrived during and after the Second World War. The Afro-Caribbean community arrived and settled in the 1950s and 1960s. People from the Indian sub-continent started to arrive during the 1960s but settled in more significant numbers from the 1980s onwards.

Old Trafford is among the 10% most deprived areas in England, suffering problems of unemployment, poor housing and low educational achievement. It also has levels of youth crime well above the national average.

Ayres Road and its environs are the heart of modern-day Old Trafford and a walk down this road gives a real flavour of the multi-cultural nature of the neighbourhood, with its variety of grocers' shops selling food stuffs from Europe, the Caribbean and South-East Asia; its Catholic church, St. Alphonsus, frequented by a predominantly Irish congregation, the vibrant and busy St John's Community Centre and Shizhan House, the Chinese Medicine Centre, on the site of the old Vimto offices. Something of this atmosphere is evoked by Manchester poet Lemn Sissay in his poem Ayres Road.

Religion and community

Only 45% of the residents of Clifford ward (the ward that contains the larger part of Old Trafford) reported themselves as being Christian in the 2001 Census, compared to 76% across Trafford as a whole, and 72% across England. [11] This is reflected in the unusually high number of non Christian places of worship in the area.

Since the 1980s Old Trafford has become home to two large South Asian communities Punjabi Pakistanis  – almost all being Muslim. Muslims represent the largest non-Christian religious group in the area, with 28% of the population, compared to 3% in the whole of Trafford. To service this community there are four mosques in the area; the Faizan-e-Islam mosque, the Masjid-e-Hidayah, the Masjid-e-Noor and the Masjid Imdadia.

There is also a smaller Sikh community, with its own Gurdwara, the Sangat Bhatra Sikh Temple, Upper Chorlton Road. Sikhs account for 4% of the area's population, significantly above the less than 1% average for Trafford and England. To further add to the religious mix there is also a Buddhist temple, the Fo Kang Shang Buddhist Temple, although Buddhists are recorded as making up only 0.2% of the area's population, roughly the same proportion as for Jews. The former library on Stretford Road has been converted into a Chinese Cultural Centre, and a Chinese Medical Centre is on Ayres Road. For many years the numerous Polish community had a focal point in their ex-servicemen's club on Shrewsbury Street, now no longer there.

Old Trafford is in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salford, [12] and the Church of England Diocese of Manchester. [13]


Along with the rest of Trafford, Old Trafford maintains a selective education system assessed by the 11-plus examination. There is only one secondary school in Old Trafford; a private, female-only, Muslim secondary school but there are three primary schools within the area.

Old Trafford Stadiums

Old Trafford Old Trafford front.jpg
Old Trafford
Lancashire County Cricket Club LCCC Entrance.jpg
Lancashire County Cricket Club

Old Trafford has been the site of Manchester United Football Club's Old Trafford stadium since 1910. Lancashire County Cricket Club's ground, which is also known as Old Trafford, is close by. Before the club's formation, in 1864, it had been the home of Manchester Cricket Club, who had moved here in 1856.

The ground of the Northern Lawn Tennis Club was in Old Trafford from 1882 to 1909 (near the cricket ground): this is commemorated in the name of Tennis Street. The move to West Didsbury in 1909 was prompted by the industrialisation of Trafford Park and consequent air pollution. The half-timbered pavilion was dismantled and re-erected at the new ground. [14]

Notable people

Famous people who were born or lived in the area include political and social activist Sylvia Pankhurst, singer Ian Curtis of Joy Division and his wife, the author Deborah Curtis, artist L. S. Lowry, aviator John Alcock, [15] Dodie Smith, the author of 101 Dalmatians . [16] Old Trafford also produced two Victoria Cross winners in the First World War: Charles Coverdale, a sergeant in the Manchester Regiment, and James Marshall, an officer in the Lancashire Fusiliers. Rebecca Long-Bailey, MP for Salford and Eccles and Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury was born in Trafford.

Related Research Articles

Chorlton-cum-Hardy Human settlement in England

Chorlton-cum-Hardy is a suburban area of Manchester, England, three miles (4.8 km) southwest of the city centre. Chorlton ward had a population of 14,138 at the 2011 census, and Chorlton Park 15,147.

Trafford Metropolitan borough in England

Trafford is a metropolitan borough of Greater Manchester, England, with an estimated population of 235,493 in 2017. It covers 41 square miles (106 km2) and includes the area of Old Trafford and the towns of Altrincham, Stretford, Urmston, Timperley, Partington and Sale. The borough was formed in 1974 as a merger of the municipal boroughs of Altrincham, Sale, and Stretford, the urban districts of Bowdon, Hale and Urmston and part of Bucklow Rural District. The River Mersey flows through the borough, separating North Trafford from South Trafford, and the historic counties of Lancashire and Cheshire.

Castlefield Human settlement in England

Castlefield is an inner city conservation area of Manchester in North West England. The conservation area which bears its name is bounded by the River Irwell, Quay Street, Deansgate and Chester Road. It was the site of the Roman era fort of Mamucium or Mancunium which gave its name to Manchester. It was the terminus of the Bridgewater Canal, the world's first industrial canal, built in 1764; the oldest canal warehouse opened in 1779. The world's first passenger railway terminated here in 1830, at Liverpool Road railway station and the first railway warehouse opened here in 1831.

Chorlton-on-Medlock Human settlement in England

Chorlton-on-Medlock is an inner city area of Manchester, England.

Manchester docks Series of docks in Manchester, UK

Manchester docks were a series of nine docks in Salford, Stretford and Manchester at the east end of the Manchester Ship Canal in North West England. They formed part of the Port of Manchester from 1894 until their closure in 1982. The docks marked the upper reaches of the ship canal, and were a destination for both coastal and ocean-bound vessels carrying cargo and a limited number of passengers, often travelling to and from Canada.

Hulme Human settlement in England

Hulme is an inner city area and electoral ward of Manchester, England, immediately south of Manchester city centre. It has a significant industrial heritage.

Stretford Human settlement in England

Stretford is a historic market town in Trafford, Greater Manchester, England, on flat ground between the River Mersey and the Manchester Ship Canal, 3.8 miles (6.1 km) southwest of Manchester city centre, 3.0 miles (4.8 km) south of Salford and 4.2 miles (6.8 km) northeast of Altrincham. Stretford borders Chorlton-cum-Hardy to the east, Urmston to the west, Salford to the north, and Sale to the south. The Bridgewater Canal bisects the town.

Whalley Range, Manchester Human settlement in England

Whalley Range is an area of Manchester, England, about 2 miles (3.2 km) southwest of the city centre. The population at the 2011 census was 15,430. Historically in Lancashire, it was one of the earliest of the city's suburbs, built by local businessman Samuel Brooks.

Stretford and Urmston (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1997 onwards

Stretford and Urmston is a constituency in Greater Manchester represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2010 by Kate Green, a member of the Labour Party.

Barton upon Irwell Suburban area of the City of Salford, Greater Manchester, England

Barton upon Irwell is a suburban area of the City of Salford, Greater Manchester, England, with a population of 12,462 in 2014.

Flixton, Greater Manchester Human settlement in England

Flixton is a village and electoral ward in the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford, Greater Manchester, England. The population of the ward at the 2011 census was 10,786. It lies about six miles (9.7 km) to the southwest of Manchester city centre, within the historic county boundaries of Lancashire. Flixton and neighbouring Davyhulme are considered areas within Urmston. Neolithic and Bronze Age artefacts have been found locally and the area may have been inhabited in those periods. Medieval Flixton was a parish within the Hundred of Salford and encompassed the manor of Flixton, along with its church, first mentioned in the 12th century. The parish comprised isolated farmsteads and a manor house. Toward the end of the 17th century its population began to rise, continuing through the 19th century, although at a much slower pace than its neighbours. Flixton was a remote rural area with few transport links and did not witness the level of industrialisation other parts of Manchester saw, but its connection to the railway network in 1873 helped transform the area into a middle-class suburb.

Stretford was a parliamentary constituency in North West England, which returned one Member of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

Firswood Human settlement in England

Firswood is an area of Stretford in the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford, Greater Manchester, England.

Trafford Park Area of the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford, Greater Manchester, England

Trafford Park is an area of the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford, Greater Manchester, England, opposite Salford Quays on the southern side of the Manchester Ship Canal, 3.4 miles (5.5 km) southwest of Manchester city centre and 1.3 miles (2.1 km) north of Stretford. Until the late 19th century, it was the ancestral home of the Trafford family, who sold it to financier Ernest Terah Hooley in 1896. Occupying an area of 4.7 square miles (12 km2), it was the first planned industrial estate in the world, and remains the largest in Europe.

Ordsall, Greater Manchester Human settlement in England

Ordsall is an inner city area of Salford, Greater Manchester, England. The population at the 2011 census was 14,194. It lies chiefly to the south of the A57 road, close to the River Irwell, the main boundary with the city of Manchester, Salford Quays and Manchester Ship Canal, which divides it from Stretford.

Manchester City and Manchester United are popular Premier League football clubs in Manchester. United's ground is in Old Trafford; Manchester City's home ground is the City of Manchester Stadium in east Manchester. Fixtures between the clubs are referred to as the Manchester Derby. Manchester United are historically the most successful football club in England with 66 elite honours won.

Barton Road Swing Bridge Swing bridge for road traffic in Greater Manchester that crosses the Manchester Ship Canal between Trafford Park in the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford to Barton-upon-Irwell in the City of Salford

Barton Road Swing Bridge is a swing bridge for road traffic in Greater Manchester that crosses the Manchester Ship Canal between Trafford Park in the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford to Barton-upon-Irwell in the City of Salford. The bridge is a Grade II listed building, and is part of a surrounding conservation area. It runs parallel to the Barton Swing Aqueduct which carries the Bridgewater Canal. The bridge opens regularly for traffic along the Manchester Ship Canal, which can cause delays for road traffic.

Hulme Locks Branch Canal

The Hulme Locks Branch Canal is a canal in the city of Manchester. It is 200m in length and was built to provide a direct waterway between the Mersey and Irwell Navigation and the Bridgewater Canal. The canal opened in 1838 and was superseded in 1995 by a new lock at Pomona Dock 3. As both of its locks remain closed, the canal is now overgrown.

Timeline of Manchester history Timeline of the history of Manchester, England

The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Manchester in north west England.



  1. Nicholls 1996, p. 9.
  2. Masterson & Cliff 2002, pp. 12–13.
  3. Masterson & Cliff 2002, p. 69.
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 September 2012. Retrieved 6 February 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. "Stretford". The New Lancashire Gazetteer or Topographical Dictionary 1830. Salford Hundred Ancestry, Annals and History. Retrieved 18 July 2007.
  6. "Clifford Ward Profile". Trafford Council. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 8 May 2007.
  7. "Longford Ward Profile". Trafford Council. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 8 May 2007.
  8. "Boundary change – the facts". Sale and Altrincham Mesenger. 7 November 2005. Retrieved 10 August 2008.
  9. "Revised and Final Recommendations for Parliamentary Constituency Boundaries in Greater Manchester". Government News Network. Archived from the original on 29 March 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2007.
  10. Rendell, Cinemas of Trafford, pp. 57–60
  11. "Clifford Neighbourhood Statistics". Statistics.gov.uk. Retrieved 6 May 2007.
  12. "Catholic Diocese of Salford" . Retrieved 7 May 2007.
  13. "The Church of England Diocese of Manchester". Archived from the original on 27 December 2007. Retrieved 7 May 2007.
  14. Phythian, Graham (2010) "Looking Back", in: South Manchester Reporter; 13 May 2010, p. 22
  15. Massey, A History of Stretford, p. 193
  16. Scheerhout, John (12 September 2002), Honour for 'Dalmatians' Dodie, Manchester Evening News , retrieved 14 January 2010


  • Massey, Samuel (1976). A History of Stretford. John Sherratt and Son. ISBN   0-85427-046-9.
  • Masterson, Vicki; Cliff, Karen (2002). Stretford An Illustrated History. The Breedon Books Publishing Company. ISBN   1-85983-321-7.
  • Nicholls, Robert (1996). Trafford Park: The First Hundred Years. Phillimore & Co. ISBN   1-86077-013-4.
  • Rendell, Douglas (1998). Cinemas of Trafford. Jarvis Print Group. ISBN   0-9512560-1-7.
  • Spencer, Reuben (1897). A Survey of the History, Commerce and Manufactures of Lancashire; ... together with a biographical sketch of Reuben Spencer ... Biographical Publishing Co. ISBN   0-9512560-1-7.
  • Trafford Council (June 1994). Trafford, Greater Manchester. The British Publishing Company. Trafford1994.