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Greater Manchester then and now: Prestwich, Whitefield, Salford

Greater Manchester then and now: Prestwich, Whitefield, Salford

When it comes to fame, Manchester is one of the most well-known cities in the UK. It grabs the attention of football fanatics, academics, musicians, and performers alike. It is a place where they come to experience and do the things they love. A lot of time and history has gone into creating this image of Manchester as a grand representation of British culture. But often what gets overlooked is the role that the surrounding areas played in making Greater Manchester truly great. Since the industrial revolution – which really put Manchester on the map – till now, Prestwich, Whitefield, and Salford all have rich histories which have contributed to the culture and traditions of Greater Manchester.

Prestwich and Whitefield were all major players in the industrial revolution. They gradually changed from rural, lightly populated areas, surrounded by country lanes, to bustling urban settlements. Like Manchester, the industrialisation of these areas focused largely on cotton and fabric manufacturing. Cloth was made, and Prestwich was known in particular for its silk weaving: a refined art. These locations would make, bleach, and dye fabric to be sold in Manchester. It would then be used in the factories there or exported around the rest of the world. This helped the UK become one of the most economically powerful countries in the world during this time.

The change from rural to urban settlements, and low to highly populated areas was a gradual one. But, the effect of the industrial revolution in the 19th century saw the population of Salford rise from 12,000 to 220,000 by the end of the century. This fast population change in the Salford created areas of densely populated housing with as many as 80 to the acre. Despite this, Salford was only given city status in 1926. The city’s brewing industry contributed a lot to the local economy too, and with the opening of the ship canal, the docks played a crucial role in trade and occupations for men in the city.


Like most places in the world, the population of Greater Manchester has continued to rise. The rise is much more gradual than that caused by the industrial revolution. Still, it has resulted in Greater Manchester being one of the best places for city living in the UK. You can see the remnants of the industrial revolution in inner-city areas that have been regenerated for modernity while holding onto the rich history of the city. Victorian factories are now luxury apartments, bars and clubs. The docks have now become Salford Quays, where instead of freight shipments with steamships, you can now enjoy a wide range of activities. You can try water activities like windsurfing, visit the Imperial War Museum, or watch an award-winning show at the Lowry.

With the rising population, the transport links across the region have had to be improved. Trains, trams, and even the busiest bus route in Europe are all found in Greater Manchester. The industrial revolution was so beneficial to the formation of modern Britain and the rest of the world, but it also caused extreme pollution and health problems. In a move away from this legacy, Greater Manchester has become one of the best places in the UK to fight these issues. World-leading universities like the University of Manchester and Salford University are tackling environmental and health problems through research.

The area itself continues to become greener every day with new cycle paths being added to encourage less traffic. Also, green spaces are more important than ever in Manchester. Attractions like Fletcher moss park, Heaton park or the nearby Peak District mean that the remnants of Greater Manchester’s industrial past can be escaped for the day or a long weekend.

Greater Manchester is a large area with a lot to offer potential property buyers. It is an area that offers rich cultural diversity, excellent transport links, excellent education options and world-renowned entertainment. To find out more about the property options in greater Manchester, contact our team today. We will be happy to discuss what else Greater Manchester can offer you. For more information about the best estate agents Manchester has to offer, visit our website.


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