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Middleton, Greater Manchester

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Title: Middleton, Greater Manchester  
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Middleton, Greater Manchester


Middeton's Durnford Street, with the Church of St Leonard appearing above the rooftops
Middleton is located in Greater Manchester
 Middleton shown within Greater Manchester
Population 45,580 (2001 Census)
OS grid reference
   – London  166 miles (267 km) SSE 
Metropolitan borough Rochdale
Metropolitan county Greater Manchester
Region North West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district M24
Dialling code 0161
Police Greater Manchester
Fire Greater Manchester
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament Heywood and Middleton
List of places
Greater Manchester

Middleton is a town in the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale, Greater Manchester, England,[1] on the River Irk 5 miles (8.0 km) south-southwest of Rochdale and 4.4 miles (7.1 km) north-northeast of Manchester city centre. In 2001, Middleton had a population of 45,580. It lies on the northern edge of Manchester, with Blackley to the south and Moston to the south east.

Historically part of Lancashire, Middleton's name comes from it being the centre of several circumjacent settlements. It was an ecclesiastical parish of the hundred of Salford, ruled by aristocratic families. The Church of St Leonard is a Grade I listed building. The Flodden Window in the church's sanctuary is thought to be the oldest war memorial in the United Kingdom, memorialising the archers of Middleton who fought at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. In 1770, Middleton was a village of twenty houses, but in the 18th and 19th centuries it grew into a thriving and populous seat of textile manufacture and it was granted borough status in 1886.

Langley in the north of the town was one of Manchester City Council's overspill council estates, whilst Alkrington in the south is a suburban area.[2]


  • History 1
  • Governance 2
  • Geography 3
  • Economy 4
  • Landmarks 5
    • St. Leonard's Church 5.1
    • Tonge Hall 5.2
    • Alkrington Hall 5.3
    • Old Boar's Head Inn 5.4
  • Sports 6
  • Transport 7
  • Education 8
  • Notable people 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
    • Notes 11.1
    • Bibliography 11.2
  • External links 12


In 616, Æthelfrith of Bernicia, an Anglo-Saxon King, crossed the Pennines with an army and passed through Manchester to defeat the Brythons in the Battle of Chester.[3] A wave of Anglian colonists followed this military conquest and their settlements are identified by the "ton" Old English suffix to local place names.[3] Royton, Crompton, Moston, Clayton, Ashton and Middleton are a number of settlements northeast of Manchester suggested to have been founded as part of this colonisation.[3] It is therefore thought that Middleton as a settlement dates from the 7th century.[3]

Although unmentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, Middleton is said to be "of great antiquity"; a community at Middleton is thought to have evolved outwards from a church that existed considerably earlier than the Norman conquest of England.[4]

The name Middleton first appears in 1194, and derives from the Old English middel-tūn, meaning middle farm or settlement,[4][5] probably a reference to its central position between Rochdale and Manchester.[6]

During the Middle Ages, Middleton was a centre of domestic flannel and woollen cloth production.

The development of Middleton as a centre of commerce occurred during the 17th and 18th centuries.

  •, A brief history of Middleton.
  • [3], Middleton Archaeological Society covering Middleton's heritage.
  •, a guide to Middleton Town Centre with event and regeneration news.
  •, Historical and genealogical information relating to Middleton.
  • Stats and Maps is the Rochdale Borough statistics and maps website. It is a shared evidence based that provides quick and easy on-line access to data, information, and intelligence about the borough of Rochdale, and aims to meet the needs of the local community, LSP partners, and the general public.
  • [4]

External links

  • Nicolaisen W. F. H., Gelling M., & Richards M. (1970). The Names of Towns and Cities in Britain. B. T. Batsford Ltd.  
  • Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council (n.d.). Metropolitan Rochdale Official Guide. London: Ed. J. Burrow & Co. Limited. 


  1. ^ a b "Greater Manchester Gazetteer". Greater Manchester County Record Office. Places names – M to N. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 8 October 2007. 
  2. ^ Anon (23 May 2005). "Alkrington". Middleton Guardian. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 22 June 2007. 
  3. ^ a b c d Ballard, Elsie (1986) [1967]. A Chronicle of Crompton (2nd ed.).  
  4. ^ a b c d Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council (N.D.), p. 29.
  5. ^  
  6. ^ Nicolaisen, Gelling & Richards, The Names of Towns and Cities in Britain, p. 135
  7. ^ Philosophy on councils has yet to emerge. The Times. 8 July 1972
  8. ^  
  9. ^ Office for National Statistics (2001). "Greater Manchester Urban Area" (http). Retrieved 24 December 2007. 
  10. ^  
  11. ^ Bluebird – Contacts
  12. ^ "Bus firm gives fire-hit mill new lease of life". Middleton Guardian (M.E.N. Media). 23 February 2012. Retrieved 18 May 2012. 
  13. ^ "McBride trades in line with plan". Manchester Evening News (M.E.N. Media). 1 November 2006. Retrieved 18 May 2012. 
  14. ^ Edgar Wood (PDF). Rochdale Link4Life. Retrieved 2 February 2010. 
  15. ^ a b "The Church Building". Middleton Parish Church. Retrieved 16 May 2007. 
  16. ^ Mountford, Emma (7 September 2006). "World’s oldest war memorial nears milestone". Middleton Guardian (M.E.N. Media). Retrieved 30 June 2008. 
  17. ^ "Middleton, St Leonard". Images of England. Retrieved 24 December 2007. 
  18. ^ Mountford, Emma (7 June 2007). "Historic Tonge Hall torched". Middleton Guardian (M.E.N. Media). 
  19. ^ "Tonge Hall to be sold for £1". Rochdale Online. Retrieved 2012-09-03. 
  20. ^ "Radical plans for Heywood".   Retrieved on 30 August 2008.
  21. ^ Spence, Peter (September 2004). "Bamford, Samuel (1788–1872)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 15 February 2008. 
  22. ^ BBC News - Lee Rigby murder: Woolwich and Middleton face recovery
  23. ^ Kenny, Laura (11 October 2007). "Soccer star parents in robbery terror". Middleton Guardian (M.E.N. Media). Retrieved 16 March 2009. 
  24. ^ Mountford, Emma (21 June 2007). "Bernard Manning 1930-2007". Middleton Guardian (M.E.N. Media). 
  25. ^ Sue, David (8 December 2006). "Courteeners are Legends in Waiting". City Life. Retrieved 18 May 2012. 
  26. ^ Purdy, Martin (2 November 2006). Brave Andy’s big night in the spotlight. Middleton Guardian (M.E.N. Media). Retrieved 20 March 2009. 



See also

Author and artist Glenn B Fleming was born in Middleton, moving to Alkrington at the age of four. Artist Helen D Bennett, born in Moston, lived in Alkrington and now lives in Middleton.

Fashion designer John Richmond and Olympic silver medalist Keri-Anne Payne also attended Cardinal Langley Roman Catholic High School.

Notable sportsmen connected with Middleton include Manchester United F.C. (and former England national football team) Paul Scholes (Salford-born) and locally born Mark Allott the Oldham Athletic midfielder, both educated at St Mary's Roman Catholic Primary School, and later Cardinal Langley Roman Catholic High School. Frank (Typhoon) Tyson, test cricketer from the late 1950s, attended Queen Elizabeth's Grammar school. Norma Ball, wife of Bobby Charlton, attended Queen Elizabeth's grammar school; she married Bobby at St Gabriel's church in Middleton.

Sally Dynevor, an actress in the Manchester-based soap opera Coronation Street is from Middleton.

Steve Coogan,[23] John Richmond, Clint Boon of Inspiral Carpets, Maartin Allcock of Fairport Convention and Jethro Tull, Brendan and Martin Coogan all attended the local Cardinal Langley Grammar School, later known as Cardinal Langley Roman Catholic High School. Bernard Manning (1930–2007), Manchester-born (Ancoats) comedian, lived in Alkrington.[24] Gold selling music producer Louis Gibzen attended Middleton Technology School. All four members of the indie-rock group The Courteeners are also from the area.[25] The Chameleons, a post-punk band, was formed in the area, and was described by the Middleton Guardian as "Middleton's most famous export".[26]

Notable scientists from Middleton include the biologist John R Cain, founder of astronautical hygiene, who attended Hollin High School and Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School.

Joel Halliwell (1881 – 1958) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross in World War I. Lee Rigby, British soldier and victim of the 2013 Woolwich attack, was from Middleton.[22]

"Moonraker" is a nickname sometimes given to people from the town (and other places see Moonrakers). Middleton has been the birthplace and home to notable people, of national and international acclaim. Amongst the most notable persons of historic significance from the town include Thomas Langley (born in Middleton in 1363) who served as Bishop of Durham, Cardinal of the Catholic Church, Lord Chancellor of England, and as England's first de facto Foreign Secretary. Samuel Bamford was a radical writer and politician. He led the Middleton contingent to the meeting at St. Peter's Fields in August 1819, pressing for parliamentary reform, which ended in the Peterloo Massacre.[21]

Notable people

What is presently the Middleton Campus of Hopwood Hall (a college of further education), was, from 1946 to 1989, a De La Salle Catholic College of Higher Education affiliated to the Victoria University of Manchester. Originally founded as a teacher training college, the chapel, designed by Sir Frederick Gibberd, was the architectural prototype for the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. The chapel still exists but its spire is no longer topped with a cross. Hopwood Hall College benefits from its extensive grounds and leisure facilities which were developed over many years by the De La Salle College.

Almost every part of Middleton is served by a school of some kind, some with religious affiliations. According to the Office for Standards in Education, schools within the town perform at mixed levels.


Mills Hill railway station is on the eastern boundary of town, one mile east of the town centre, with direct services to Rochdale, Manchester Victoria, Bolton, Wigan and Leeds. It opened in 1838 and closed in 1842, it was later re-opened in 1985 and remains in use.
Middleton railway station, near the town centre, was terminus of a short branch line which closed to passengers in 1964.

In 2005, the new Middleton Bus Station was opened to replace the old one, next to the Middleton Arndale shopping centre. The station cost £4.5 million and replaced the previous station which dated to the 1970s.[20] The majority of services in Middleton are oprerated by First Greater Manchester and serve destinations including Bury, Oldham, Rochdale and Tameside. Frequent services to Manchester city centre are provided by First Greater Manchester's 17/18 overground services as well as service 163. Middleton is located close to junction 19 of the M62 motorway and, at Rhodes, junction 21 of the M60 motorway .


Middleton is also home to Rochdale Triathlon Club. Weekly coached swimming sessions are currently held at Middleton Arena, Tuesday 7-8pm and Thursday 9-10pm.

In January 2009, Middleton saw the opening of a new £13 million sports and leisure venue in the town centre. The Middleton Arena is a joint venture by Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council and supermarket chain, Tesco. The facility has replaced the old Middleton Civic Centre and Middleton Leisure Centre, allowing the site currently occupied by these buildings to be cleared for further development into a supermarket.

Middleton is also host to many local clubs for various sports, one of which is Middleton Cricket Club who are currently playing in the Central Lancashire Cricket League. Four golf clubs are within easy reach of the town centre; North Manchester Golf Glub, The Manchester Golf Club (at Slattocks), Heaton Park Golf Club and Blackley Golf Club.


Situated below the parish church, on Long Street, this was originally a coaching inn on the road between Chester and York. It is said to date from at least 1632.and part of it go back to the 1500s

Old Boar's Head Inn

Alkrington Hall was built in 1736 and was the seat of the Lever family. Its dominant position on a wooded hillside, looks out over the Irk Valley towards Middleton. The original parkland around the hall has now been developed into high end housing.

Alkrington Hall

Middleton Archaeological Society (MAS) has been undertaking research into Tonge and Tonge Hall. The first of these investigations took place in August 2012 and work is ongoing. The MAS website has more information including photographs of the dig at

Tonge Hall is a grade II* listed Tudor structure badly damaged by an arson attack in 2007.[18] Rochdale Council are now (2012) in the process of buying the property from the owner for a nominal sum with a view to restoration. The North West Building Preservation Trust, a registered charity, is likely to take over its long term maintenance.[19]

Tonge Hall

Tonge Hall

The church was designated a Grade I listed building in 1957.[17] Middleton Archaeological Society (MAS) have been investigating Clarke Brow, a public field next to St Leonard’s Square, and carried out its first dig there in August and September 2013. An account of the Society's research can be found on their website

The present church was built by Sir Richard Assheton, in celebration of the knighthood granted to him by Henry VIII for his part in the Battle of Flodden, the largest battle ever fought between England and Scotland. The Flodden Window, in the sanctuary, is thought to be the oldest war memorial in the UK.[16] It memorialises on it the names of the Middleton archers who fought at Flodden Field in 1513. The church also has one of the finest collections of monumental brasses in the area, including the only brass in the UK of an English Civil War officer in full armour, Major-General Sir Ralph Assheton.[15]

The Parish Church of St Leonard was completed in 1524, incorporating two stone arches made of stonework from an earlier Norman church. A wooden Saxon church is believed to have occupied the site long before the Norman church was built, in about 1100.[15]

St. Leonard's Church

In the early 1970s, The Arndale Property Trust cleared land adjacent to Middleton Gardens to build an 'American-style' modern shopping precinct. The Middleton Arndale Centre commenced trading in 1971, although it was officially opened by Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent in March 1972.

Middleton has recently benefited from redevelopments which have seen the construction of a new sports, leisure and civic centre, 'Middleton Arena'. A large new Tesco supermarket has also just been opened in the town centre.

Several of Middleton's buildings were designed by Edgar Wood, a local-born influential architect of his day. Several in Middleton are landmarks and are notable.[14]

A row of buildings in Middleton's town centre, including one (second from the left) by local born architect Edgar Wood. Several buildings in the town are known to be by Wood.


Bluebird Bus and Coach is a travel company based in Middleton.[11] Bus company JP Travel has been based in Middleton since 1974.[12] Robert McBride, a household and personal care product manufacturers, is also based in the town.[13]

Industrial polymer, thermoplastics and nonwovens producer The Vita Group have a registered office in Middleton.[10] Kitbag operate a distribution centre from Greengate in Middleton.


Varyingly agreed divisions and suburbs of Middleton include Alkrington, Barleyfields, Bowlee, Boarshaw, Cheapside, Hebers, Hollin, Hopwood, Jumbo, Langley, Moorclose, Rhodes, Stake Hill, Middleton Junction, Thornham and Tonge. Mills Hill is an area shared between Middleton and Chadderton.

There is a mixture of high-density urban areas, suburbs, and semi-rural locations in Middleton, but overwhelmingly the land use in the town is urban. The territory of Middleton is contiguous with other urban areas on its southern and eastern sides, and for purposes of the Office for National Statistics, forms part of the Greater Manchester Urban Area,[8][9] the United Kingdom's third largest conurbation. The M60 motorway passes to the south of Middleton; the M62 passes to the north. A heavy rail line enters Middleton from Moston and Blackley to the south, and passes to the east of Middleton's town centre before continuing on northwards to Rochdale.

Much of Middleton's built environment is characterised by its 19th-century red-brick terraced houses, the infrastructure that was built to support these and the town's former cotton mills, although from the middle of the 20th century the town saw the growth of its outlying residential areas of Langley, Hollin and Boarshaw which is predominately ex-local authority housing. The skyline is marked by St. Leonard's Church. The urban structure of Middleton is regular in comparison to most towns in England. Residential dwellings and streets are located around the town centre.

Middleton experiences a temperate maritime climate, like much of the British Isles, with relatively cool summers and mild winters. There is regular but generally light precipitation throughout the year. Middleton is watered by two confluent streams which have their rise in the immediate district.

At (53.5547, −2.1887) and 206 miles (332 km) north-northwest of London, Middleton stands on undulated land immediately north of the Metropolitan Borough of Manchester; Chadderton and Royton are close to the east. The town of Rochdale lies to the north-northeast. The town is supposed to have derived its name, Middle-town, from its situation midway between Manchester and Rochdale. It is situated on an ancient road between those places. Middleton town centre is around 100 feet (30 m) above sea level.


Today Middleton forms part of the Heywood and Middleton parliamentary constituency, represented in the House of Commons by Liz McInnes, of the Labour Party.

The Middleton parliamentary constituency was created by the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885. It was abolished in 1918 when Middleton became part of the Middleton and Prestwich constituency.

In 1861 commissioners were established for the improvement of Middleton and Tonge townships or civil parishes. In 1878, the township of Alkrington and parts of the townships of Hopwood and Thornham were added to the area of the commissioners. It was in 1886 this territory was incorporated as a borough, giving it Borough status in the United Kingdom. Following the Local Government Act 1894 parts of Great Heaton and Little Heaton townships were added to the newly created Municipal Borough of Middleton, a local government district in the administrative county of Lancashire. In 1933 there were exchanges of territory between the borough of Middleton, the City of Manchester and Chadderton Urban District. In the same year, parts of Unsworth were amalgamated with Middleton, whilst part of it was moved to Royton Urban District. It was proposed in the Redcliffe-Maud Report that Middleton become part of a new Metropolitan Borough of Oldham,[7] however, following the Local Government Act 1972, the Municipal Borough of Middleton was abolished and its territory became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale within the metropolitan county of Greater Manchester.[1]

Lying within the historic county boundaries of Lancashire from the early 12th century, Middleton was once an ecclesiastical parish of the hundred of Salford, and in Oldham poor law union.

The coat of arms of the former Middleton Municipal Borough Council, granted by the College of Arms on 28 January 1887. The motto Fortis in Arduis is Latin for Strong in difficulties.


The town was linked to the national rail network until 1964 when Middleton railway station closed. Mills Hill is now the nearest station.

Warwick Mill is a monument to be seen from all around Middleton and was a venue for a workers' Luddite revolt.

JW Lees houses its brewery at Middleton Junction. The brewery owns several pubs in the Greater Manchester area.

The town's local newspaper, the Middleton Guardian has a history going back to Victorian times.

Industrial scale textile manufacture was introduced to Middleton as a result of the Industrial Revolution. Middleton became a centre for silk production in the 18th century, which developed into a cotton spinning industry by the mid-19th century and which continued through to the mid-20th century.[4] This transition gave rise to Middleton as a mill town.

Warwick Mill is a former cotton mill in Middleton

Suffield built a market house, warehouses and shambles in the town at his own expense. [4]

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