Manchester City Council

Sports, leisure & the arts Victoria Park Conservation Area

History

With the advent of the Industrial Revolution the growth of Manchester, and in particular the cotton industry, made the owners of businesses wealthy in a short space of time. Factories, powered by steam engines, discharged smoke which made the city centre an unpleasant and unhealthy place to live, and those who could afford to do so moved away to outlying areas.

In the 1830s Manchester was not yet a city, and Rusholme was an independent township. Richard Love was commissioned to plan a 70-acre private estate there and the scheme was officially launched in 1837.

By 1845, when residents formed the Victoria Park Trust, about a dozen houses had been built, nine of which are standing today. The incorporation of Rusholme into Manchester County Borough in 1885 brought official recognition of the Trust by the City Council.

The Park remained a private estate to which access could be gained only by paying a toll at the Park's entrance gates. During the second half of the nineteenth century, the professional classes moved into the area, and a number of houses came to be associated with prominent politicians and artists. Charles Halle, founder of the Halle Orchestra, and the painter Ford Madox Brown both lived in Addison terrace; Richard Cobden lived at Crescent Gate and the Pankhurst family lived at no. 4 Buckingham Crescent in the 1890s.

A steady deterioration of the area became noticeable in the 1920s, when it was bisected by the construction of Anson Road, and changing economic and social circumstances since 1945 have accelerated the decline.

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