M26 (Radcliffe) area guide
The M26 postcode district lies within or includes part of the following towns, counties, localities, electoral wards and stations: Kearsley, Little Lever and Darcy Lever, Manchester, Pilkington Park, Radcliffe, Radcliffe East, Radcliffe North, Radcliffe West, Stoneclough.
Located in North West of Manchester, Radcliffe has a very rich and long history. The name Radcliffe is derived from the two words, read and cliff. These words mean the red cliff or bank. The town’s history dates back to the Mesolithic age. In 1949, excavations in the town revealed artefacts dating back to pre-historic times. Roman remains have also been found in Radcliffe. A Roman road passes through the present day town and Roman forts can also be found around the postcode district. Throughout the dark ages, Radcliffe was most likely a moorland and swamp.
After the Norman conquest in the 11th century, the town was mentioned in the Domesday Book as a royal manor held by Edward the Confessor. Out of over a hundred villages, only four were held by Edward, including Radcliffe. Throughout the 15th and 16th centuries, Radcliffe belonged to different lords, until 1765, when the Assheton family gained control over the land.
During the Industrial Revolution, Radcliffe was a major producer of cotton and textiles. In 1780, Robert Peel built the town’s first factory, producing cotton. The factory was first powered by a water wheel, but soon after a goit (a small artificial channel that carries water) was used. The conditions were very poor during this time, as child labour was used and no regulations were established. Children lived in the factory, were given no pay and worked ten to twelve hour days until they reached the age of 21. An outbreak of typhoid fever led Peel to scrutinise the factory conditions, and resulted in the Factory Act of 1802, which introduced regulations for factories. After this, the conditions in the Peel factory were some of the best in the country.
Radcliffe also contained coal factories and many other textile mills. However, the paper industry really saw growth in the town and also helped the town to grow. During the First World War, the town’s factory grew further and produced roofing felt. After the Second World War, the mill produced over 700,000 tons of paper annually and employed over 600 people. The town hugely benefited from this industry as unemployment levels were relatively high before the mill came into existence.
In the 20th century, most of the town’s industries went into decline and now the buildings are occupied by various businesses. The town’s history and growth resulted in a predominantly Victorian and Edwardian housing stock, with many semi-detached or terraced houses for the factory workers.
The Manchester postcode area as a whole has a population of over one million, with around 35,000 of those living in M26. Average house prices in M26 are significantly lower than the national average. The housing stock consists mainly of semi-detached and terraced housing, with 31 per cent and 47 per cent respectively.
For those looking to live in the most desirable and expensive areas of the postcode district, Okehampton Close is a good place to start, as it contains some of the most expensive homes in M26. Most of the homes here are detached and have an average value of £270,000. This street is convenient for families, as the nearest primary school, Masefield Community Primary School, is located nearby on Masefield Road and the nearest secondary school, Little Lever School Specialist Language College, is located on Church Street. Also, there is a petrol station close by for car owners.
One of the most highly residential streets in M26 is Bolton Road. This street is ideal for young families, with Radcliffe Primary School just minutes away on Coronation Road. Also, there is a Post Office on the same street. Most of the homes on this street are terraced or semi-detached with an average price of £85,000.
Crompton Close is one of the least expensive places to buy property in M26, with the average house costing £60,000. Most of the properties here are either flats or semi-detached. This street is conveniently located for families, as it is close to Chapelfield Primary School on Clough Street and Philips High School on Higher Lane.
Radcliffe is well-linked to the Greater Manchester area and to other cities around England. A light railway system serves the town of Radcliffe on the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Line. Conveniently for residents, trams leave from the station and provide easy transport to Manchester and Bury. The Radcliffe Metrolink station is located on Crook Street. The town is also connected to the rest of the country by the A665.
Some of the best natural attractions in M26 are the two beautiful parks. Coronation Park is located just off New Road and is a brilliant spot for walking, picnicking and relaxing. It has been a public space since 1900, when the Earl of Derby donated the land. Close Park is another popular green open space located near Bury Street.
Radcliffe is home to the Radcliffe Cricket Club and the Central Lancashire Cricket Club. Radcliffe also contains historical landmarks that make the town an interesting cultural centre. The Radcliffe Tower is what remains of a 15th century stone-built manor house. This is a listed building and is a great representation of 15th century architecture. The tower is located on Tower Street.