Ardwick Youth Club: Erected 1897 – Demolished 2013

I had been watching the demolition of Ardwick Youth Club on Palmerston Street, on an off for a few days. Then a few days ago, on 30th January, I was driving past and noticed that all that was left to come down was the front facade. I pulled up and, in a moment of serendipity, videoed the demolition of the original terracotta brick frontage saying ‘Erected 1897’.

See also the useful history me blog


Roundhouse (Field Trip: Litter Shrine)

Christ Church, the original building that became the Roundhouse, closed in 1880.

Manchester Settlement: a registered charity founded in 1895 by the University of Manchester.

The original home was the Roundhouse in Ancoats, Manchester. It provided a large recreation room for plays and dances.

In 1963 the Settlement moved out of its other building at Ancoats Hall.

The Roundhouse was demolished in 1986.

In May 2009 the charity moved into a new £2.2m centre in Openshaw.

Today: January 31st 2013, the brick circle contains silver birches, wild brambles and much litter.

An unusual amount of discarded footwear.

Intervention: ‘Litter Shrine‘.


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Medlock Drift 20: Ancoats Bridge to New Viaduct Street

An odd mix of moods, mess, and ecology along this section of the River.

Ancoats Bridge….

IMG_2478Limekiln Lane:

CaCO3 + heat → CaO + CO2

CaO = Quicklime.

Because it is so readily made by heating limestone, lime must have been known from the earliest times, and all the early civilizations used it in building mortars and as a stabilizer in mud renders and floors. Knowledge of its value in agriculture is also ancient, but agricultural use only became widely possible when the use of coal made it cheap in the coalfields in the late 13th century, and an account of agricultural use was given in 1523.

IMG_2479 IMG_2480One of the best beaches in Manchester…

IMG_2481 IMG_2484 IMG_2486 IMG_2487Path up to Aden Close….

IMG_2488 IMG_2489 IMG_2490 IMG_2491 IMG_2492 IMG_2494 IMG_2495This was the Ardwick Youth Centre. Now being demolished….


English Heritage’s Pastscape website notes that ” The Ardwick Lads’ and Mens’ Club, now the Ardwick Youth Centre, opened in 1897 and is believed to be Britain’s oldest purpose-built youth club still in use [and was until earlier in 2012]. Designed by architects W & G Higginbottom, the club, when opened, featured a large gymnasium with viewing gallery – where the 1933 All England Amateur Gymnastics Championships were held – three fives courts, a billiard room and two skittle alleys (later converted to shooting galleries). Boxing, cycling, cricket, swimming and badminton were also organised. At its peak between the two world wars, Ardwick was the Manchester area’s largest club, with 2,000 members.”

IMG_2499Views from the Palmerston Street bridge…..

IMG_2500 IMG_2502 IMG_2503Gurney Street Bridge….

IMG_2504 IMG_2506 IMG_2507 IMG_2508 IMG_2509 IMG_2510 IMG_2511Footbridge over to Purslow Close….

IMG_2512So much for the sign to St.Anne RC Primary….

IMG_2514Looking down over the Holt Town Bridge, marking the end of Ashton New Road and the start of Merrill St….

IMG_2516View up Merrill St….

IMG_2517And the new tramline extension out to Ashton-Under-Lyne is nearly complete…


IMG_2522 IMG_2523Odd concrete dome….part of playground?

IMG_2525 IMG_2526The bridge at New Viaduct Street goes over both the River Medlock and the Ashton Canal.

IMG_2527 IMG_2528A heron in the Medlock – a good sign: heron = fish….

IMG_2530 IMG_2531New tramlines over the Medlock…..

IMG_2534The Gas Holder station is dominant in the local area….walking down Upper Cyrus Street…

IMG_2537Round the corner and down Upper Helena Street….rust, small businesses, corrugated iron, padlocked gates…

IMG_2538 IMG_2539This park had me a bit uneasy…there only one entrance to it and, until the works on the tramway are complete, there is no way out. It could be a delightful place with a bit of care.

IMG_2541The Ashton canal, frozen over….

IMG_2544Proximity to Man City Stadium…..

IMG_2545 IMG_2546 IMG_2547The Medlock flows under the Ashton Canal….

IMG_2551The Ashton Canal flows under the railway and over the Medlock….

IMG_2552 IMG_2553 IMG_2555 IMG_2556 IMG_2561 IMG_2563 IMG_2565 IMG_2566 IMG_2567 IMG_2569 IMG_2572Squirrel and broken glass…

IMG_2574The River Pub on Palmerston Road… (‘River’ i.e. Medlock)….

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A good article on the demolition of Ardwick Lads Club and mentioning the River pub is here.

 On the 10th September 2012 an application for prior notification of proposed demolition was submitted on behalf of Manchester City Council to Manchester Planning, for the demolition off Ardwick Lads’ Club (Ardwick Youth Centre) of 100 Palmerston Street (M12 6PE), citing that there was “no use” for the building in respect to its historic place within the community as providing a refuge and sporting provision to the young of Ancoats.

All historical, architectural, build quality and potential use within existing and wider regeneration process were quickly dismissed. More details on the planning application can be read here: 100472/DEM/2012/N2

Whilst permission to demolish was “not required” (Decision Letter, 8th October 2012), it begs the questions, was it in the communities best interest to strip an area already critically lacking in its historical and architectural roots and importantly an area that already has little or no sporting or community provisions.

A last ditch attempt to save and spot list Ardwick Lads Club on historical and architectural grounds was dismissed by English Heritage and backed by theSecretary for Culture Media and Sport, with no attention paid to local significance or importance.


Medlock Drift 19: London Road to Ancoats Bridge

This area is the most chopped up, culverted and dark section of the River Medlock. As with most of the river in the city, the access and viewing points are hidden, hard to find and unwelcoming. To anthropomorphise a little, I would say the river here is depressed and unseen – even unwanted. The Bond Street and Baring Street industrial estates are seedy, grim sites. The river flows under many of the warehouses and businesses – silent and apologetic. For most of the walk I felt uneasy. This is an urban landscape of dodgy deals, broken bricks, muddy car parks, prostitution, and lurking danger.

Starting from Berry St and the back of the Macdonald Manchester Hotel (previously the BT building. Architect J L Hammond). Just visible, through the pillars,  is the Holloway Wall – a curious piece of brutalist modernism acting as a work of art and also a sound barrier for the old UMIST site.

IMG_2408Here is a video of Steve Millington from the Manchester Modernist Society talking about this area….

Victory House, later Telecom House, was completed in 1973 and designed by architect J L Hammond. The building was originally intended to be a hotel. At that time, tax relief was given to hotel builders, but shortly before it was due to open, the legislation changed, and the developer was forced to adapt it for office use.

“Graceful in its position, snaking down London Road, unusual window patterns, good detailing (especially on the rooftop plant blocks) and very elegantly and cleverly supported on slender supports this building is somewhat of a Cinderella. Ironically permission has recently been given to turn part of the building back into a hotel.” (Information and comments by Eddy Rhead)

IMG_2410 IMG_2411This vast warehouse seems to be currently unused….

IMG_2412The Medlock goes into the tunnel that takes it under the University of Manchester (old UMIST site) campus…..

IMG_2417 IMG_2420 IMG_2421This fragment of river is typical of how the river presents in this part of town. Emerging, curving and then disappearing under buildings….

IMG_2422Macdonald Hotel…..

IMG_2423The river stays north of the Mancunian Way. On the left is the Unversity Halls of Residence. Under the Mancunian Way is the skate park….(see Steve Millington video above)….

IMG_2425 IMG_2426 IMG_2427 IMG_2428Views from Baring street Bridge (presumably previously Boardman St Bridge according to sign).

IMG_2431 IMG_2432 IMG_2434The river goes under Fed Ex building….

IMG_2435 IMG_2436 IMG_2437 IMG_2439Baring street is where the taxis for Piccadilly Station queue…

IMG_2440 IMG_2441 IMG_2442 IMG_2443The only way to see the river as it emerges from under the Fed Ex site is to go onto the Klyn & Klyne car park. There was no-one around so I went on to the fire escape. From there the river is on a corner and visible emerging and disappearing again….at which point an officious man in a fork lift truck had a rant at me….

IMG_2444 IMG_2447The area around Bond street is particularly run down…

IMG_2449 IMG_2450The river runs somewhere under Temperance Street and Chapelfield Road…but hard to tell where exactly….

IMG_2451 IMG_2452 IMG_2453Spelling?

IMG_2454Finding the river again going under Fairfield Street. A nondescript bridge….

IMG_2456 IMG_2457 IMG_2458 IMG_2461Helmet Street, Aldow Industrial Park. The Medlock is behind the trees and security fence….

IMG_2462 IMG_2463 IMG_2464 IMG_2465 IMG_2466 IMG_2467View from Pin Mill Brow / Ancoats Bridge….

IMG_2468Ancoats Bridge marks the start of the Mancunian Way….

IMG_2469And on the other side of Ancoats Bridge is a promising piece of woodland with the path up to Holt Town and the Man. City Stadium…

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Medlock Drift 18: Clayton Vale to Alan Turing Bridge

13th January 2013.

Once a vast tip, Clayton Vale is now a well managed public amenity (and hence the least amount of rubbish on the whole river). Past industries include a print and dye works and Bradford Colliery. In around 1907 Manchester Corporation started to purchase buildings on the site for plans to use it as a tip for the ash cinders from Stuart St Power Station and as a municipal tip. Larger scale tipping started in the early 1920s at the western end of Clayton Vale, adjacent to Bank st Bridge, Clayton Vale Lane and the Manchester Corporation Sidings.

Waste disposal activities spread eastward down the valley and by 1966 the maps indicate that the entire area of Clayton Vale had either been used for tipping or was in current use as a landfill site. The landfill of the Vale took place prior to the Control of Pollution Act 1974 (which required that the disposal of all controlled wastes onto land be licensed); therefore the exact nature of the fill materials is not known. However, a review of documentation and historical maps held by MCC indicates that tipping commenced in Clayton Vale prior to 1909, with a small area of waste disposal located to the west of Clayton Vale House near Clayton Vale Bridge. It is understood that tipping ceased prior to 1974 and the historical maps indicate that the site was disused by 1981. The site was heavily polluted by industrial waste throughout the industrial revolution and even up to 1983. In 1982 Manchester City Council purchased the whole valley and began the reclamation of the site to turn it back into open space for the public.

IMG_2244Entrance gates to Medlock Vale…

IMG_2245 IMG_2247 IMG_2248 IMG_2249 IMG_2250 IMG_2252 IMG_2253 IMG_2254 IMG_2255Signs of moorings…

IMG_2256 IMG_2257 IMG_2258 IMG_2260 IMG_2262Work began in 1905 on the brick channel from the Iron Bridge at Clayton Vale to the bridge at Mill Street, now Alan Turing Way. Locally the river became known as the Red River because of the red bricks used to help with the flow of the river and to prevent flooding such as the famous one in 1872. On a 1909 map The River Medlock is shown as being culverted (A structure used to enclose the river to allow it to pass underneath a structure such as a road). By 1923 the River Medlock was fully canalised.

IMG_2263 IMG_2265 IMG_2266 IMG_2267 IMG_2268 IMG_2271 IMG_2273 IMG_2275 IMG_2277 IMG_2278 IMG_2282Tunnel under Bank Bridge Rd. The shape of the tunnel is unusual…

IMG_2285 IMG_2291 IMG_2292Industrial buildings at Philips Park on Riverpark Rd….

IMG_2293 IMG_2294 IMG_2296Philips Park Cemetery…..

IMG_2297The Jewish section of the cemetery is interesting. Only recently restored.

IMG_2298 IMG_2299 IMG_2301 IMG_2302This symbol on a Jewish headstone has got me curious. The snake eating its own tail or ‘ouroboros’ is an ancient mystical symbol, as far as I know not usually associated with Judaism.

IMG_2304 IMG_2308 IMG_2310 IMG_2312 IMG_2313 IMG_2314 IMG_2315 IMG_2318The exit of the river from the tunnel under Bank Bridge rd is not very accessible….brambles and scrubby bushes…..

IMG_2320Manchester Velodrome….

IMG_2321 IMG_2323Eithad / Man City Stadium behind the Bradford estate….

IMG_2326 IMG_2327 IMG_2328 IMG_2329 IMG_2330Here, as we reached Alan Turing Way, the river goes underground and under Holt Town, emerging from under New Viaduct St…..

IMG_2331 IMG_2333 IMG_2335 IMG_2336Mill Street Bridge is now Alan Turing Bridge. Alan Turing

IMG_2337 IMG_2338 IMG_2342 IMG_2343Interesting signage.

Turing’s homosexuality resulted in a criminal prosecution in 1952, when homosexual acts were still illegal in the United Kingdom. He accepted treatment with female hormones (chemical castration) as an alternative to prison. Turing died in 1954, just over two weeks before his 42nd birthday, from cyanide poisoning. An inquest determined that his death was suicide; his mother and some others believed his death was accidental. On 10 September 2009, following an Internet campaign, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made an official public apology on behalf of the British government for “the appalling way he was treated”. As of May 2012, a private member’s bill was before the House of Lords which would grant Turing a statutory pardon if enacted. (Wikipedia)

IMG_2344 IMG_2347I found inner peace when I did my tax return…

IMG_2348 IMG_2349Western entrance to Philips Park Cemetery….


Philips Park Cemetery

IMG_2354Ruined church…..

IMG_2356 IMG_2357 IMG_2362 IMG_2363Back towards the eastern end of Clayton Vale…



Medlock Drift 17: Woodhouses to Clayton Mill Bridge and back

The Brookdale golf course dominates this walk – though the path along the top of Bell Clough is lovely and provides good views into the valley. Over the railway and alongside Greenside is a muddy littered track. Arriving at Clayton Mill Bridge, there is a real sense of shift of mood. Here is the border from Tameside into Oldham district but also the start of Clayton Vale. The walk back up Millstream Lane and Green Lane is uninspiring – passing the MDW Industrial Estate and United Utilities owned sewage works. Vale Lane cuts off Medlock road for a more pleasant route back up to Woodhouses.

IMG_2174 IMG_2175Footbridge from golf course up to the track along Bell Clough…

IMG_2178Manchester & Ashton-Under-Lyne Canal (Hollinwood Branch)….

IMG_2179Bridge over canal….

IMG_2181Looking down over the golf course and into the vale….

IMG_2184 IMG_2185 IMG_2186 IMG_2187 IMG_2189 IMG_2190 IMG_2191 IMG_2192 IMG_2193Footpath over railway bridge to Greenside….

IMG_2195 IMG_2196Greenside…..

IMG_2197 IMG_2199 IMG_2200 IMG_2201 IMG_2203 IMG_2204 IMG_2205 IMG_2206 IMG_2207 IMG_2208Coming out at the eastern end of Clayton Vale…..

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Clayton Mill Bridge….(not sure what ‘Walt(s?) ‘ refers to)

IMG_2211 IMG_2213 IMG_2214 IMG_2215Railway viaduct over Millstream Lane…

IMG_2216 IMG_2219 IMG_2221MDW Ind Est….

IMG_2222 IMG_2224 IMG_2225 IMG_2227 IMG_2229 IMG_2230 IMG_2231 IMG_2233 IMG_2234 IMG_2236Car crash site – wall of sewage plant…

IMG_2237 IMG_2238 IMG_2241Vale Lane…..

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Daisy Nook, M60, Brookdale Golf Course, Woodhouses

Interesting walk as this part of the Medlock goes under the M60. The walk goes under and over the motorway depending on approach.

Stannybrook road….





IMG_2127Red Dragon on Oakhill Farm House….

IMG_2128Manchester & Ashton-Under-Lyne Canal (Hollinwood Branch)…..

IMG_2129Footbridge over M60….

IMG_2130 IMG_2132 IMG_2133 IMG_2134 IMG_2137 IMG_2138 IMG_2139 IMG_2140 IMG_2141 IMG_2142 IMG_2143 IMG_2144 IMG_2145 IMG_2147 IMG_2149 IMG_2151 IMG_2152 IMG_2153 IMG_2154 IMG_2155 IMG_2156 IMG_2157 IMG_2158Down to Brookdale Golf Course….

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Medlock Road

IMG_2165 IMG_2166Cutting back down to the M60….

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Park Bridge and Daisy Nook

5th & 6th Jan 2013.

Returning to Park Bridge for more local exploration and then a second day walking from Park Bridge to the start of Daisy Nook.

Derelict K6 phone box at Dingle Terrace….

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The vast railway viaduct is sadly no longer….

IMG_2015 IMG_2017Park Bridge..

IMG_2019Xmas decor….

IMG_2020 IMG_2022 IMG_2023 IMG_2024(2)Up onto Bankfield Clough…

IMG_2027 IMG_2029 IMG_2033 IMG_2036Fairbottom Bobs….

IMG_2037 IMG_2039Park Bridge Road runs alongside the Medlock….


IMG_2041 IMG_2042 IMG_2043 IMG_2044 IMG_2045 IMG_2046Ubiquitous rubbish….

IMG_2047 IMG_2049 IMG_2051 IMG_2053 IMG_2054 IMG_2055 IMG_2056 IMG_2057 IMG_2058 IMG_2060 IMG_2062 IMG_2063 IMG_2067The path and bridleway leading up to Bardsley Vale Mills….

IMG_2068Tunnel under Oldham Road….

IMG_2070The mill houses a pharmaceutical business…



Alt to Park Bridge

30th Dec 2012.

Parking on Alt Lane and stumbling down to the wet and boggy banks of the Medlock between Alders Farm and Cockfields Farm. This is the section below Lees New Road and emerging from Leesbrook. The river showed signs of recent flooding with flattened grass and deposits of rubbish. Beyond the fields the river enters a small and atmospheric valley – the site of a mined coal seam. There are warning signs and sectioned off areas where the mine shafts used to be. Fragments of coal can still be picked up. The destination was Bridge Park – a significant heritage site.

Not sure of the meaning of the place name ‘Alt’. Probably from the Gaelic meaning stream or burn? But the Germanic word means ‘old’.

IMG_1971 IMG_1972 IMG_1973 IMG_1975Horse chewed bark….

IMG_1976 IMG_1977 IMG_1979Landslip and signs of coal…

IMG_1980 IMG_1981 IMG_1982 IMG_1984 IMG_1990 IMG_1991 IMG_1994 IMG_1995 IMG_1996 IMG_1997 IMG_1998 IMG_1999 IMG_2000 IMG_2001 IMG_2004Eldencross Ltd. is a warehouse and storage facility…..

IMG_2005From Wikipedia:

Samuel Lees junior founded Park Bridge ironworks in 1786 on 14 perches of land rented from the Earl of Stamford.[1] Originally the ironworks produced raw iron; the ironworks were some of the largest in 19th century Tameside, and one of the earliest ironworks in the northwest. Samuel Lees’ wife, Hannah Lees (née Buckley), inherited ownership of the ironworks on her husband’s death in 1804. Under Hannah Lees, the ironworks were expanded including the construction of a weir and a water power building on the River Medlock. The success of the ironworks precipitated the construction of worker housing in the 1820s. Further worker housing was added in the 1840s and 1850s.[2] The ironworks remained of the largest such works in Tameside, including a nearby colliery and associated with the Oldham, Ashton and Guide Bridge Railway. The business was inherited by another four generations of the Lees family, until the closure of the site.[3] The ironworks started to decline at the end of the 19th century with the cessation of coal mining in the Medlock Valley in 1887. Competition from the steel industry over a long period and the closure of the railway in 1959 further dented the profits. The ironworks finally closed in 1963, still under the control of the Lees family.[1]
The abandoned ironworks fell into decay and were demolished or reduced to ruins in the 1970s. Because the buildings were not recorded before their demolition, they site of the ironworks is of interest to archaeologists – particularly the University of Manchester Archaeological Unit – as part of the development of the later iron industry in the north west. In 1975 the Medlock and Tame Valley Conservation Association opened the Park Bridge Museum to encourage interest in the historical significance of Park Bridge.
In 1986, the museum became a visitor centre, and in 1995 was renamed the Park Bridge Heritage Centre.[1]
They provided rivets world wide. The Eiffel Tower and The Titanic both used their rivets in their construction.

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Reminiscences of Park Bridge


Strinesdale and Waterhead

23rd December 2012.

This section of the walk picks up from Cairo and Majestic Mills near the Huddersfield Road in Oldham. Aptly named ‘Waterhead’ is the local area for two reservoirs and a water treatment plant. It is owned an managed by United Utilities. The site around Strinesdale was landscaped in the 1990s when the drinking water reservoirs were decommissioned. It is now a nature reserve. The upper reservoir is particularly lovely and leads up into the meandering valley of the Medlock to Roebuck Lane.

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Upper Strinesdale reservoir…

Strinesdale is an area of water and woodland covering approximately 40 acres (162,000 m²). In 1991, the reservoirs were drained and replaced by two smaller lakes with the old reservoir sites being planted with trees and grassland. The original reservoirs were built in 1828 and the erected plaque can be seen at Upper Strinesdale.

Strinesdale derives its name from the Old English “Strine” meaning boundary in connotation to the old Lancashire/Yorkshire boundary that ran through the middle of the site.
A flood struck Oldham on July 11 causing major damage across the area.

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Medlock emerges from bridge at Roebuck Lane. Not far beyond here is the source of the Medlock.



Turning round and returning along the tracks on the east side of the reservoirs. There are many solid, yet rusting, signs of the industrial heritage.

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Back to the Huddersfield Road. The Waterhead Academy website says:

Our Academy opened in September 2010 and embodies the coming together of our two predecessor schools at Breeze Hill and Counthill, which were founded in 1960 and 1951 respectively.
Our Academy’s twin specialisms are English and Creative Technologies, each of which gives special impetus to our students’ ability to succeed in every area of the curriculum.
Our Academy embraces two Campuses: our Main Campus on Huddersfield Road and our Sports Campus on Counthill Road.
Our Main Campus is built on the site of a former spinning Mill and on the boundary line which separates the counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire. One of the original boundary stones has been retained and is set within the wall at the Academy Entrance.

The Academy was built on the site of Orb Mill (demolished in 2004)

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Link to some interesting UrbEx exploration of the culverts under and around this area: Majestic Culverts

Link to United Utilities wiki