Cheadle Hulme

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History - ad 1930-1999


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(See 3 millennia)


Housing & Amenities
  The area became more suburban with floods of people from Manchester resulting in a 40% population increase  - 'The Manchester Exodus'. The Hill Top farm area disappeared to housing and new houses were built at Gill Bent, Hulme Hall Road and Cheadle Road at a typical cost of 600. (For an uncomplicated view of childhood life in the 1930s in Cheadle Hulme the short book by Joyce Irwin is a good read.)

A cinema (originally on Mellor road), was opened on November 11th 1930 as the Elysian Cinema on Station Road just after the talkies appeared. This closed on March 2nd 1974 and the building was used for a time as a supermarket (Kwik Save) and then became a posh shopping mall (more).
Cinema - Shopping Mall
The expansion of local shopping facilities around the station area were most dramatic when the precinct was added in the sixties in place of a farmer's field.Cheadle Hulme Shopping Precinct
(More Photos)

A new library was opened in 1936 following on from 7 years of 'free' library services in Mellor Road.
Library on Mellor Road (1999)

Kings Hall also on station Road was built in 1937 and used for dances, whist drives, meetings, and wedding breakfasts. In the 1970s it became a restaurant and was internally refurbished in the late 1990s as a pub (Witherspoons).
Kings Hall (1999)

Second World War Years
Avros / Bombs / Evacuees
There was a lot of activity at nearby Woodford where the Lancaster Bombers were made and assembled. Sometimes great transporters ('Queen Marys') from Chadderton would take up all the street in bringing in plane parts.  Over 12,000 evacuees from the local towns and cities were housed in Cheadle and Gatley during the war. RAF and WAAF units were based at Grove Lane. Some of the old tank traps are still present near Dairy House farm - the present site of the tennis and leisure club.

Stockport was bombed in 1940 and 1941 (2 people were killed in Cheadle). German bomber was shot down & crew bailed out over the Cheadle Hulme area and taken prisoner. Some of the fishing ponds close to the new Handforth Dean shopping area are reported to be bomb craters. A number of V1 rockets also hit the area in 1944.

Postwar housing boom
In the 1950s & 1960s the population of the urban districts of Cheadle & Gatley, Bramhall & Hazel Grove almost doubled. The open farmland around Higher Bent Farm (Gillbent Road area) disappeared around 1960 to private and council houses (Woking Road, Arundel Road, Newlands Avenue area), soon to be followed (about 1968 onwards) by the Hursthead estate replacement of Hursthead farm. The farm site is now occupied by Hursthead Primary School. Lower Bent farm on the junction of Stanley road and Gillbent Road however, still remains.

In the 1970s more houses were built, this time closer to the station area at Ramillies avenue - the Marlborough estate. Since then there has been much filling in of the remaining spaces by individual houses or small developments.

Social changes in the last 30 years of the century saw a major decline in cinema- going as home television took over. Drink-driving laws, increased wine consumption and dinner parties also contributed to a decline in the traditional pub - thus many were modified for family and dining use. As rapid changes occurred there was also increased interest in local history and heritage - hence this web site! A conservation area was also established to preserve some of the character of Cheadle Hulme (See also Aerial View 2000).

Over this period, trams disappeared from the large town centres, railway usage declined, there was massive increase in motor traffic, and Manchester International Airport (Ringway in 1938, MIA 1962) was created.

Manchester International Airport

Air travel increased greatly in the 1970s and 1980s (and for the Cheadle Hulme area brought increased jobs, traffic, and noise). In the 1990s a new air terminal and rail station was added and construction of a second runway begun (1998 - due for completion in 2000).

Some specific changes in the area include:-
1950s - 2500 street lights with tungsten filaments in the urban district.

1956 - Etchells Road created

1958 - The Conway public house opened on Turves Road.

1959 - Kingsway (Road) extended south across the Mersey, thus bypassing Cheadle.

1960s - Street lamps converted to fluorescent lighting.

1960 - Cheadle Hulme Fire Station opened on Etchells Road

1964 (May 28th) train derailment at Cheadle Hulme centre's bridges killed 3 people and resulted in extensive rebuilding
Cheadle Hulme Station (Photos).

1967 - Station Road was widened and straightened to pass directly in front of Millington Hall instead of joining Bellfield Avenue. This lead also to office block development and increased traffic - 'the end of the village atmosphere' said many. (More).

1970 - A smithy in Hulme Hall Road used for shoing horses was designated to be replaced by a public house called the Smithy. Instead the Smithy pub was built on Stanley road and the smithy site became the Smithy Green doctors surgery. Later (1985) part of this moved to Bridge House on Ladybrook Road.

1970s - Three motorways were built in the borough (M63, M56, M62) and in 1974 the M63-M62 (spaghetti) junction at Kingsway was constructed.

1974 - Cheadle High Street takes 24,000 vehicles per day!

1980s  - M63 motorway extended through Stockport.

1980s - There were still two large pockets of open land between the Woking Road estate and Kingsway albeit bisected by the railway (an area Fletcher Moss tried to preserve in 1894), and south of Stanley Road and Grove Lane.

1990s - Kingsway (A34) was extended to bypass Cheadle Hulme, Handforth and Wilmslow (1997), and the MAELR route was built from Woodford to the old A34 at the Waggon and Horses Inn effectively disturbing the above two remaining spots of tranquility. The new roads (like the railways of the past) brought two massive 'out of town' shopping developments and two new names to the area - Cheadle Royal (included the Lewis's, Sainsburys, and Lloyd Centre) and Handforth Dean (Marks & Spencers, Tescos, Allders).

Click here for larger images

Cheadle Hulme Bypass

Click here for more images

New Leisure Centre


Many other aspects (schools, pubs, clubs, etc) of Cheadle Hulmes's recent history are covered in Topics.


Conservation Area (Click for details)
Conservation Area

UDC & Surrounding areas
1935 - Bramall hall was purchased by Hazel Grove & Bramhall UDC from Mr Davies. Airplane manufacturing grew and shrunk at Heaton Chapel (Faireys - 1935), Woodford (Avros - 1938, British Aerospace - 1980s onwards).

1939 - Mersey covered in Stockport centre by a concrete plinthed road.

1960s - Stockport's shopping facilities (Merseyway Shopping Precinct) expanded over the covered Mersey.

1967 - Passenger aeroplane crashed in Stockport centre

In a foreword to Tom Bowden's book on Cheadle & Gatley UDC (1974) Lord Redcliffe-Maud summarises nearly a century of achievement for the UDC - "They have been pioneers and path-finders for a century. I know of no other town in Britain with a finer tale of democratic innovation. Telephones and library service available before the nineteenth century ended; housing and town-planning underway before the first World War; electricity by 1924; imaginative help for the unemployed during the 'thirties'; a green belt before such things were nationally heard of; leadership in smoke-control and use of the computer ...."

1974 (April 1st) Stockport Metropolitan Borough created (included Cheadle, Gatley, Cheadle Hulme, Bramhall, Hazel Grove). This became one tenth of the new Greater Manchester County. (The GMC council was abolished 1986 but the area county is still extant). Most Cheadle Hulmites never ceased using Cheshire as the postal address anyway!


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Fenced garden and plants replaces open fields in modern Cheadle Hulme

Epilogue from MM
1999 - Living around the centre of the 'old Cheadle Hulme circuit', the numerous trees, colourful gardens, sounds of the birds, appearances of squirrels and foxes, and being able to walk to the local library and village centre or through the fields to the west, helps maintain much of the quiet rural aspect of the area as in days gone by. You can still see visible signs of local history in Millington and the black and white halls of Hulme and Bramhall without too much effort. However, regular interruptions by speeding trains, noisy aircraft (especially on bank Holiday afternoons), and joining the Cheadle-Manchester traffic crawl to work and back each day, and the difficulty of crossing a local main road on foot remind us all too easily of the changes that have taken place in recent times. Add to that the hustle and bustle of shopping (by car) at major supermarket centres, the television, the hi-fi, the telephone, fax, computer, and email - it becomes obvious that the people have changed more than the place. During this last year of the millennium Cheadle Hulme is having a face-lift to its shopping precinct, a couple of roundabouts added to busy junctions, under- footpath tv/telephone cabling, and the prospects of more housing (or shops, or leisure facilities) on its westerly and southerly greenbelts.
What next for the third millennium?

The Future ?

Sources & References

Also see Squire 1994


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Memories of childhood in 1930s Cheadle Hulme - Quotes from Joyce (Abbott) Irwin

1930s aged 6-16.
"We lived in the Cheshire village of Cheadle Hulme, eight miles from Manchester. It was real country in those days and the village comprised the parish church of All Saints along with the church school which most of the children attended and a few shops. Also there was the important school named Warehouseman and Clerks Orphan Schools ... "

"As the village began to grow a cinema and later still a dance hall were added to the amenities .. "

"Our home was a a Victorian semi with large rooms and coloured glass in the front door. There was an outside wash-house and coal cellar and steps leading down from the back door" (Heathbank Road).

"In those days everything seemed safe. Great Britain was still considered great and we still had an Emperor King on the throne." ... "Opposite our house was the main London to Manchester railway line and one day there was great excitement as the Royal train was due to pass and we children waited for what seemed like hours clinging to the wooden fence, just hoping to catch a glimpse of the King and Queen." ... ".. later on when it was the Silver Jubilee all the children of the village were treated to a matinee at the local cinema - named the Elysian ..."

"Our great joy was to cycle down the Cheshire lanes on spring and summer days with hardly any traffic to contend with .."

"One highlight of my childhood was when my father acquired a car - a gleaming maroon red Singer deluxe". In 1934 driving tests were brought in for the first time and also the 30 m.p.h. speed limit - also Belisha Beacons were introduced. The radio was important, walking to church for Evensong, trips to Manchester to  Lewis's, Affleck and Browns, Kendal Milnes, and Marshall and Snelgrove. Outings to St Annes near Blackpool, Bridlington, and the North East. Family always called neighbours auntie or uncle to the children.

Joyce went to Queens Road Primary School, then Burlington College Woodford, then Stockport High School for Girls in Cale Green.


Irwin (1984) - Whatever happened to Sunday Best?