Manchester City Council

Sports, leisure & the Arts Graver Lane Conservation Area

Origins and development

As with much of the City of Manchester, development in this area took place as a consequence of the rapid increase in the industrialisation of the area, aided by the growth of railway lines.

In the 1840s a station was built at Clayton Bridge on the railway line that linked Manchester with Oldham and the Pennines. The station is located at the southern end of the designated area on Berry Brow.

The area began to develop for residential purposes, supporting both workers employed in nearby cotton mills and wealthier businessmen and their families in larger properties located on Windsor Road (the name presumably reflecting the status).

The majority of the houses were in the form of terraces, and these remain dominant in much of the area, but the large individual houses are located exclusively on Windsor Road, although their front aspect is facing south-east, with large gardens extending down towards the valley in which Lords Brook flows.

With the rapid increase in the rate of industrialisation in Manchester, especially in the second half of the 19th century, river valleys were obvious locations for the construction of industrial buildings associated with the various processes in the cotton industry, because of the requirement for water. The Medlock valley, located to the south of the study area was no exception and there is historic evidence to show that the river had a collection of mills along its banks.

A bleach works and a dye works were built close to the study area, confirming the link between the provision of housing for workers in the Graver Lane area and employment in the cotton industry. A printing works and a rubber works were also built in the near vicinity and there is evidence of former quarries and clay pits, now occupied by reservoirs.

Existing watercourses were channelled to form mill races, providing water for the industrial processes in the near-by mills. All these places would have provided employment for the residents of the Graver Lane area.

Prevailing or former uses within the area
Residential uses were the raison d'etre for the development of the area and they continue to dominate the area, although institutional uses, including educational and welfare homes and recreational facilities also exist currently.

At the southern end of the designated area railway facilities are in evidence, including the Railway Hotel.

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