Unsworth

Unsworth

Unsworth is a residential area of the Metropolitan Borough of Bury, in Greater Manchester, England. It is seven miles (11.2 km) north of the city of Manchester and four miles (6.4 km) south of Bury.

History

The area in its original form of "Underwood" can be traced back to the first century AD. After the Norman Conquest in 1066, it became part of the Pilkington estate before finally passing into the hands of the Derby family in the 15th century.

Two local pubs of note are The Lord Clive - named in honour of Clive of India, whose family were reputed to have had ties with the area, and The Dragon, which alludes to a local legend that the area had been ravished by one of the mythical beasts until as is so often the case - it fell victim to Thomas Unsworth, a brave knight. Another village pub is The Queen Anne on Hollins Lane.

Something of Unsworth's original nature can still be discerned in the area of Unsworth Pole, the area around the First World War memorial at the junction of Sunny Bank Road and Parr Lane. The Pole or "Pow" (as it was known locally in the Lancashire dialect) was named after the pitch pole fixed there by the Earl of Derby which would be greased each year for the village's pot fair. Local men would then try and clamber up it to grab a side of bacon attached to the top; the successful contestant could keep the ham. Parr Lane, nearby, takes its name from Parr Brook which snakes through the area before joining the River Roch at Blackford Bridge.

It and Castle Brook were a source of water for some of the district's industries which provided employment for local people. As well as bleach and dye works in the area, the land was also used to provide clay for brickworks. The first major change to the farmland that still dominated the area until the 20th century came with the construction of the Royal Air Force's logistics base at nearby Pilsworth in World War II, parts of which remained into the early 1980s as recognisable military structures, although then in use by shipping firms and other industries.

Governance

Between 1889 to 1974, Unsworth lay within the administrative county of Lancashire. With the passage of the Local Government Act 1972, it became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Bury, in Greater Manchester.

Geography

Originally a small village, the area's character changed completely in the 1960s, with the rapid urbanisation of the until-then open countryside.

Transformation began in the 1950s and then became faster in the 1960s with the rapid construction of housing in the area - now known as Sunny Bank, after the major road connecting the old village of Unsworth to the A56 arterial road between Bury and Manchester.

Education

The area was the site of Bury's first purpose-built comprehensive school in 1971. It remained something of an oddity for much of that decade at a time when the local authority was in Conservative hands, and fiercely resisting central government pressure to end selection. Unsworth Comprehensive, as it was originally known, was later re-named Castlebrook High School.

References

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