In 1892, during excavation work in connection with the building of the Manchester-Sheffield-Lincoln railway line, a stone axe was found in the Gore Brook area. It probably dates from the Neolithic or New Stone Age (3500-2000 BC) and is an indication of how long this area has been settled by man.
Continued occupation of the area is evident as the line of Hyde Road is believed to be a Roman Road. It would have been constructed during the occupation from 79 AD until around 390 AD, after which it fell into disrepair until coming back into use in the 19th century.
The name 'Gorton' is derived from 'Gore', meaning muddy in Old English, and 'ton' meaning farm or homestead in Anglo-Saxon. It probably dates from the early 7th century and refers to muddy or marshy land beside the brook.
Nico Ditch, still evident half a mile to the south of the conservation area, was a Saxon defensive earthwork constructed during the Danish invasion between 870 and 920 AD. Ryder Brow, alternatively named Winning Hill, is where a decisive battle took place.
Following the Norman Conquest in 1066, William granted territory in the north west of England to Roger Poictou who bestowed the manor of Manchester on Nigellus, a Norman knight. Gorton was included in the manor and a survey of 1322 refers to 15 houses and a water mill, the latter powered by Gore Brook.
In 1612-13 tenants were given the right to purchase the land they farmed. This freed Gorton from the domain of the Lords of Manchester. At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1642, there were 96 Gorton men above the age of 18.
The rural character of the area changed dramatically with the arrival of the Industrial Revolution, and particularly with the opening of the Beyer-Peacock Railway Works (Gorton Foundary) in 1855. The combination of factories, mills and rows of houses to accommodate the workers had a significant impact on the appearance and character of the area.
The population increased from 3,000 in 1845 to 13,500 in 1890, and again to 27,000 in 1900. The Gorton Works of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincoln railway opened in 1848 and closed in 1963. Gorton Foundary closed in 1966.