Beswick, Manchester facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsBeswick
Gorton Road in Beswick
|OS grid reference
|North West England
Beswick is an area of east Manchester, England. Historically in Lancashire, it neighbours the district of Bradford to the east and the two are sometimes referred to as Bradford-with-Beswick. The River Medlock and the Ashton Canal both run through it.
Philips Park offers 31 acres of parkland on the doorstep of Beswick and was awarded Green Flag status by the Civic Trust in 2009
Located in the heart of east Manchester and within the Medlock Valley, it provides a unique mix of woodland, wild grassland, water and rolling hills. The park’s other facilities include a Visitor Centre, park warden service, toilets, children’s play area, hard standing ball court, junior football pitch, allotments, community orchard, bowling green and pavilion, a show-field for events, picnic area, seating and quiet areas along with a pond and dipping platform.
The park has a thriving friends group who, alongside the wardens, help organise environmental and educational activities as well as health walks.
Philips Park is well used by the local community and visitors to the area, and is particularly popular for annual events such as Party in the Park, which takes place in the summer as well as hosting one of Manchester’s biggest free firework display in November.
Philips Park opened on 22 August 1846 as one of the world’s first municipal parks, intended for free use by the public to encourage (a mixing of the classes). It was established by funds raised by public subscription and purchased from the estate of Lady Hoghton, a local landowner, for £6,200 (approximately £400,000 in today’s money).
The formation and opening of the park was largely due to the commitment of Mark Philips, a local MP, who lobbied considerably for the creation of parks for the working people of the city. In 1844, following 7 years of intense campaigning, the ‘Committee for Public Walks, Gardens and Playgrounds’ was set up, and the first three parks were opened on the same day in 1846. The popularity of the park continued for over a century. Many of its original features remain to this day, including the carriage drive, serpentine paths, amphitheater and the Head Gardeners house. Archaeological finds include a Roman coin, minted in the reign of Emperor Gallienus, and a halberd (a type of spear) from the 16th Century.
In 2001 the park was given Grade II Listed status with the National Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England and was awarded its first Green Flag in 2005.
Beswick Village was ancient and around 1200–1230 it was known as Bexwic and it is believed to be a combination of a personal name and a settlement or dwelling place. At the height of the Industrial Revolution there was less industry here than in Bradford Village and it was primarily a residential area of terraced houses.
The area around Philips Park has a rich industrial heritage. Former industries include coal mining, cotton mills, engineering works, coking works, power production and chemicals.
Famous local industries include Bradford Colliery: coal had been mined in the area since Tudor times, and Bradford coal was used to power the very first cotton mills in Manchester. Deep mine shafts were sunk in the nineteenth century, and in the early twentieth century there was a conveyor belt that took coal to the nearby power station. Bradford Colliery finally closed in 1968.
Johnson and Nephew’s wire works was similarly famous, supplying wire for the first transatlantic cables and many other products exported all over the world. By the 1980s, most of these traditional industries had closed and the surrounding area was largely derelict.
East Manchester has been massively transformed and work is continuing by the work of New East Manchester and the development of SportCity. In 2002, East Manchester was the focus of the XVII Commonwealth Games, which brought a wealth of new development to the area, including:
•The City of Manchester Stadium
•The National Cycling Centre (Manchester Velodrome)
•The English Institute of Sport
•National Squash Centre
•Regional Athletics Arena
•Indoor Tennis Centre
Beswick, Manchester Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.