Pendlebury is a town within the metropolitan borough of the City of Salford, in Greater Manchester, England. It lies to the northwest of Manchester City Centre, northwest of Salford, and southeast of Bolton.
Historically a part of Lancashire, Pendlebury together with the neighbouring settlements of Swinton and Clifton, formed the municipal borough of Swinton and Pendlebury. Existing as a centre for coal mining for many years, the northern edge of Pendlebury saw extensive coal extraction from several pits up until the closure of Agecroft Colliery in the 1990s.
The name Pendlebury is formed from two Celtic words, "pen" meaning "hill" and "burh" meaning "settlement".
In 1199 King John confirmed a gift of “one carucate of land called Peneberi” to Ellis son of Robert. The King had originally granted this land when he was Earl of Mortain (1189-99) and confirmed the grant when he became King. The deed was signed by the King at Le Mans in France and witnessed by Geoffrey, Archbishop of York, the Bishops of Sarum and St. Andrews, the Earl of Leicester and the Archdeacon of Wells as well as other gentry. Ellis is described elsewhere as Master sergeant of Salford and a benefactor of Cockersand Abbey.
Pendlebury's records go back to 1201 when it was linked with the manor of Shoresworth, the land to the south of Pendlebury (described as "one oxgang of land") before that manor became part of Pendleton. The manors of Pendlebury and Shoresworth were in 1212 held of the king in chief in thegnage by a rent of 12s. The tenant was Ellis son of Robert de Pendlebury, to whom King John had granted “one carucate of land called Peneberi” in 1199 while he was Count of Mortain and confirmed the gift when he became King. Ellis is described elsewhere as Master sergeant of Salford and a benefactor of Cockersand Abbey. Ellis died in or about 1216, and his son Adam succeeded him in his manors and serjeanty. In 1274 Ellis son of Roger came to a violent death, and Amabel, as widow of Ellis son of Roger the Clerk, claimed dower in various lands against Roger de Pendlebury. A short time afterwards, Amabel having received her dower, she and Roger de Pendlebury had to defend a suit brought by one Adam de Pendlebury, who satisfied the jury of his title to the manor. Ellis had a brother William and daughters Maud, Lettice, and Beatrice. Maud married Adam son of Alexander de Pilkington, (from the family later known for Pilkington's Lancastrian Pottery & Tiles) and had a daughter Cecily. The manor was sold before 1300 to Adam de Prestwich. The new lord of Pendlebury married Alice de Woolley daughter of Richard son of Master Henry de Pontefract, the eventual heir being a daughter Alice, wife of Jordan de Tetlow. Her heir also proved to be a daughter, Joan, who married Richard de Langley, and the manor descended regularly in this family until the end of the 16th century. Robert Langley died 19 September 1561, leaving four daughters as co-heirs. On the division of the estates, Agecroft, and lands in Pendlebury became the portion of Anne, who married William Dauntesey, springing from a Wiltshire family. The 'manor' of Pendlebury also was claimed by the Daunteseys for some time, but was afterwards said to be held with Prestwich, descending in the Coke family until about 1780, when it was sold to Peter Drinkwater of Irwell House, Prestwich.
Condensed from: 'Townships: Pendlebury', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4 (1911), pp. 397-404
Agecroft Hall, the Tudor home of the Lord of the Manor of Pendlebury, stood on slightly rising ground on the west side of the Irwell valley, where the river flows southwards towards Manchester between the high ground of Kersal and Prestwich on the east and north, and Irlams-o'-th'-Height and Pendlebury on the west. The building was probably begun towards the end of the reign of Henry VII. In 1666 there were thirty-five hearths liable for tax in Pendlebury. Agecroft Hall was the only large house, having eleven hearths. At the end of the 19th century, industrialisation swept through the Irwell Valley. Coal pits were opened all around Agecroft Hall, railway tracks were cut across the manor and the sinking of a colliery made a dirty lake on the edge of the estate. The house fell into disrepair and was sold at auction in 1925 to Mr & Mrs Thomas C. Williams. The structure was dismantled, crated, shipped across the Atlantic, and painstakingly reassembled in Windsor Farms, Richmond, Virginia, USA. Today, Agecroft Hall stands re-created as a tourist attraction on the banks of the James River, in a setting chosen to be reminiscent of its original site at Agecroft near the River Irwell.
The Kearsley, Clifton, Pendlebury and Pendleton Miners' Association was established in 1888 and became the Pendlebury Branch of the National Union of Mineworkers in 1959. With the decline of the industry, the once popular Pendlebury Miners' Club was inevitably demolished in the 1990s.
Swinton and Pendlebury was a municipal borough of the administrative county of Lancashire, which contained Pendlebury along with Swinton and Clifton. Swinton and Pendlebury received its Charter of Incorporation from the 18th Earl of Derby on September 29, 1934 at a ceremony in Victoria Park, Swinton (at that time the council meetings were held in Victoria House in the park). The new borough council required larger premises and launched a competition to design a new town hall. The winners were architects Sir Percy Thomas and Ernest Prestwich. The land of the former Swinton Industrial Schools on Chorley Road in Swinton was purchased for £12,500 and the foundation stone of the new town hall laid there on October 17, 1936. The town hall opened for business on September 17, 1938 and since April 1, 1974 has been the administrative headquarters of Salford City Council.
The town still features a mix of industrial and residential areas despite having lost all of its mines and most of its textile mills.
According to 'Townships: Pendlebury', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4 published in 1911, the manufacture and printing of cottons had long been the principal industries of the town, although most of this industry has now disappeared. The only mill left standing is the unoccupied Newtown Mill on Lees Street, off Station Road.
The Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (Fire Brigade) has its headquarters on Bolton Road (A666), close to the junction with Agecroft Road.
The Acme Mill that was so important in shaping Lowry's perceptions and which was the first spinning mill in the UK to be entirely electrically powered, was situated off Swinton Hall Road (south of the Manchester-Wigan railway line) but demolished in the 1980s to make way for a housing estate.
Also now demolished is Agecroft Power Station, which stood on the site currently occupied by Forest Bank Prison. Development of the neighbouring site of the former Agecroft Colliery into an industrial park has helped to provide some employment in the town
Pendlebury is the starting point of the A666 (Bolton Road) road which runs through the district starting at its junction with the A6 at the Pendlebury/Irlams o' th' Height boundary. This was the main route between Manchester and Bolton prior to the opening of the M61 motorway.
The 45 acre Northern Cemetery, also known as Agecroft Cemetery, was opened on 2 July 1903 on the flood plain between Langley Road and the River Irwell next to the border with Kersal. A crematorium was opened in the old non-conformist burial chapel in 1957. A fund has been launched, supported by Salford City Council and external partners, to restore the original Agecroft Burial Chapel which has fallen into a state of disrepair.
The architectural highlight of the town is the Grade 1 listed gothic style St Augustine's Church, which was built by George Fredrick Bodley between 1871 and 1874 and is widely acknowledged as his finest work. The churchyard contains a memorial to the 178 men and boys who lost their lives in the Clifton Hall Colliery disaster of 1885. The church itself became known as the 'miners' cathedral'. The vicar at the time of the disaster was said to have conducted funerals all day (64 of the victims are buried at St Augustine's ). The disaster was due to an underground explosion of firedamp. In May 2006, St Augustine's became the focal point of a campaign by English Heritage to save 19 places of worship in Greater Manchester from falling into dilapidation.
Pendlebury has been the home for the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital in Hospital Road since 1873. However the RMCH is set to close (along with its sister hospital Booth Hall Children's Hospital) with its functions relocated to a newly developed site alongside the pre-existing Manchester Royal Infirmary.
At the junction of Bolton Road and Agecroft Road stands a stone cross with the inscription "Lest we forget".
Behind the cross is a stone wall on which is written:
This cross was erected by Andrew Knowles and Sons to the memory of the brave men from their collieries who laid down their lives for their country A.D. 1914-1918Below the inscription are eight slate plaques each inscribed with the names of twenty four men.
The complete Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal was opened in 1809 and during the 19th and early 20th century provided the main means of transporting the coal away from the collieries. Many of the collieries set up ad-hoc tramways to link themselves to the canal. Coal was taken to wharves at Bolton, Bury, Radcliffe and Salford, as well across the River Irwell to Manchester. As late as 1905 over half a million tons of coal a year was still being carried. Perhaps unsurprisingly, many lengths of the canal subsided due to under-mining; maps from 1881-2 show areas of coal that ran beneath the canal that were bought by the canal company in order to safeguard it from subsidence. The canal progressively became disused from 1924; it was finally closed in 1961, though coal was still carried for a short distance in Bury until 1968. A canal restoration society was founded in 1987 and persuaded Bury, Bolton and Salford councils to protect the line of the canal from development - restoration was announced by British Waterways in 2002.
Pendlebury was served by Pendlebury railway station on the Manchester Victoria to Wigan line for over 80 years, until its closure on Saturday 1st October 1960 by British Railways due to low usage. The Irlams o' th' Height railway station, which was in the eastern extreme of the borough at the bottom of Bank Lane, had been closed for similar reasons 5 years earlier.
The former Station Hotel on Bolton Road, still stands opposite the location of Pendlebury station but has been rebranded as the Isis Italian Restaurant.
Perhaps ironically, the surviving Swinton railway station is also located in Pendlebury, meaning that the town once featured 3 railway stations within its boundaries.
Pendlebury also featured a link between Patricroft on Stephenson's 1830 Manchester to Liverpool line and Clifton Junction, until the Black Harry Tunnel collapse of 1953. The collapse caused 5 deaths and saw 2 houses disappear from Temple Drive in neighbouring Swinton - the line never reopened although much of its length is now a recreational footpath.
In the world of sport, St John's Churchyard (C of E) is the resting place of Geoff Bent, former resident of the district and one of the "Busby Babes" at Manchester United FC who perished in the Munich Air Disaster of 6th February 1958.
St John's is also the resting place of the legendary captain of Swinton Rugby Club, Jim Valentine who was an England rugby union international during the late Victorian era. He was tragically killed by lightning at Barmouth on Monday, 25th of July 1904 whilst on holiday, four days before he was due to celebrate his 38th birthday. His 48 tries for "The Lions" in the 1888-89 season still stands as a club record.
The world famous former home of Swinton RLFC, the Station Road ground, which held numerous internationals and major rugby league matches before its closure in 1992 was in fact based in Pendlebury. Boundary Road that marked the traditional divide with Swinton can be found on the southern side of the Manchester-Wigan railway line that ran behind the former main stand. (However, the true and actual Swinton Parish boundary is a little further down Station Road where the row of terraced houses ends and the B&Q car park begins). The site of the ground, which was home to a squash club in its later years, is now a housing estate. After an exile of 14 years, Swinton Lions announced in August 2006 an intention to return to Swinton and Pendlebury (M27) at a site adjacent to Agecroft Road, Pendlebury.
Despite carrying the name of a different suburb of Salford (which featured the club's earlier home), Langworthy ARLFC have been based in Pendlebury (at Rabbit Hills playing fields, Bolton Road) for over 20 years, whilst their local rivals Folly Lane ARLFC operate little more than a mile away on the Blue Ribbon field off Pendlebury Road between the ends of Fraser and Heron Streets and the Manchester-Wigan railway line. Both clubs have produced many players that have gone on to join rugby league's professional ranks.
Local side the Pendlebury Coyotes won the Amateur's World Championship in inline hockey at under-21 level in 2006 and were runners up in the World Championship at senior level.
Pendlebury was once home to two pre-eminent names in the arts who, at different times, lived in houses next to each other on Station Road - painter L. S. Lowry (1887 to 1976) and actor Sir Ben Kingsley (born 1943).
It was during his years in Pendlebury that Lowry produced the majority of his famous works, having been inspired by the industrial scenes about him. It has been reported that, having missed a train from Pendlebury station, Lowry came across the changing of shifts at the nearby Acme Mill and marvelled at the spectacle - this being the moment he decided that industrial scenes were fitting for further work. His picture 'Pendlebury Scene' showed an aspect of Acme Mill from George Street.
In addition to the famous 'one hit wonder' by Brian and Michael, Lowry's life has been celebrated by construction of The Lowry at the regenerated former Manchester Docks (Salford Quays). His name has also been adopted for a neighbouring shopping centre the Lowry Outlet and Salford's first ever 5 star hotel the Lowry Hotel Although it has to be said that the grandiose nature of these developments may well have passed the man himself by!