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London Road, the major road going through Hazel Grove
Hazel Grove shown within Greater Manchester
|OS grid reference|
|Metropolitan county||Greater Manchester|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||SK6, SK7|
|Dialling code||0161, 01625|
|EU Parliament||North West England|
|UK Parliament||Hazel Grove|
Historically a part of Cheshire, until 1836 the area was known as Bullock Smithy; however, this name was unpopular with its residents and so the settlement was renamed Hazel Grove, possibly due to the large number of hazel trees found in the locale, though more probably from a small hamlet towards High Lane called Hessel Grave. The SK7 postcode, which also includes Bramhall and Woodford, is one of the most sought after residential postcodes in Greater Manchester.
Hazel Grove is made up of three separate townships: Norbury, Torkington and Bosden-cum-Handforth, Norbury (Nordberie) being mentioned in the Domesday Survey, 1086. Each of the townships were manorial lands. Until the 17th century the area was known exclusively by each of the respective townships.
In 1560 Richard Bullock built a smithy on the corner of what is now Torkington Park. This building later became the Bullock Smithy Inn and gradually the whole area became known as Bullock Smithy.
There was no church in the area until the end of the 16th century. The church consisted of a very basic chapel, without communion. It was a favoured hotbed of the northeast Cheshire Non-conformist movement. After the Restoration in 1662, it was forbidden for ministers to preach without the Book of Common Prayer. The minister of Norbury Chapel, John Jolie, went to preach, but found that the door was locked. He and his followers broke down the door and he preached as usual. Subsequently, he was tried for Non-conformity, but it was decided that Norbury Chapel was not a consecrated place. In 1750, John Wesley preached in Bullock Smithy describing it as "... one of the most famous villages in the county for all manner of wickedness."
By 1833, the village had grown to over 3,000 people and it was decided the area should have its own parish. In July 1834, the Church of St. Thomas was consecrated at Norbury.
The village elders began to tire of the jokes surrounding the name Bullock Smithy. The Manchester Guardian had carried a humorous story about an auctioneer trying to sell a rare book. No bidders were coming forward, so in an act of encouragement he told the crowd "Come on, Where's tha al from? Bullock Smithy? because tha don't know a book from a brick." In 1835, it was decided that the village would be known as Hazel Grove. The name Hazel Grove had been used in the village previously. An area called Hassel Grave near High Lane appears on a map of 1674, and an area near Poise Brook was locally known as Hazel Grove. The present Grove Inn had been called the Hazel Grove Inn since it opened; however on 26 September 1836 the name was officially changed.
The village was part of the civil parish of Norbury which was included in the Stockport Rural District of Cheshire from 1894 to 1900. From 1900 to 1974 Hazel Grove was part of the Hazel Grove and Bramhall civil parish and urban district. Hazel Grove and Bramhall was abolished in 1974 and its former area was transferred to Greater Manchester to form part of the Metropolitan Borough of Stockport.
Notable features of Hazel Grove include the A6 road, a major thoroughfare running from London to Carlisle, which passes through the centre of the area. There have been many attempts and plans to build a by-pass for the large amount of heavy traffic which uses the A6 on its way into and around Stockport and south Manchester, but so far none has been built. The village is served by Hazel Grove railway station which is on the Hope Valley and Buxton lines from Stockport. Hazel Grove (Midland) was situated between the railway overbridges at the south end of the town and was open from 1902 until 1917. The local tram services to Stockport, Reddish and Manchester terminated near Norbury Church and the Rising Sun pub until about 1950, when they were replaced by buses and the cobbles on the A6 were covered by tarmac. At the start of the operation of the tram services Hazel Grove residents were – jokingly – alleged to black-lead the tramlines early in the morning.
|High Lane – Disley|
Hazel Grove has a number of primary schools and Hazel Grove High School, the local high school. The main primary schools in the area are Hazel Grove Primary School, Torkington Primary School, Norbury Hall Primary School and Moorfield Primary School. There are two local Catholic primary schools, St Simon's and St Peter's.
Most village residents work outside the village. The village is also home to Adidas who have their main warehouse on the edge of Hazel Grove, and the nearby Stepping Hill Hospital which is the main maternity and A&E hospital serving the Stockport and south Manchester areas.
NXP (Formerly Philips, Mullard) have a Semiconductor manufacturing plant (wafer Fab) located in Hazel Grove off Bramhall Moor Lane. The site has been there for over 25 years and currently employs in the region of 650 people. Before that, the site was at School Street, which has an interesting history. Before 1939 the site beside the Marcliff (later Warwick) cinema at the south end of the village had a garage and petrol station (opposite Jack Sharp's greyhound track), which was converted at the outbreak of war into an aircraft factory, occupying the entire triangle between Macclesfield Road and the two railway lines. This seemed also to have been extended behind the Norbury Church, in School Street. At the end of the war prefabs were built. The Macclesfield Road site was taken over later for pharmaceuticals by British Schering. Eventually G.E.C. started a transistor factory at the School St address. Both of these locations are now light industrial estates housing a number of small businesses, some still in the original buildings.
Hazel Grove "High Street" (London Road) and its surrounding area is the largest district centre in Stockport Borough with a diverse range of small shops and larger supermarkets, public houses, restaurants and takeaways.
Speedway racing was staged at the greyhound stadium in Hazel Grove in 1937 although details of the meetings are sketchy. Greyhound racing meetings were held every Saturday afternoon for many years, until the track was closed around 1960. In the 1970s part of the site was made into an extension of the local football pitches on Torkington Park for amateur teams to use until the site was sold and redeveloped, partly as a Carpetright store, partly as the Greyhound Industrial Estate.
Opposite this Carpetright store lies Hazel Grove Snooker Club, which was established in 1985 and hosts over 30 tables, making it one of the largest clubs in the country. This club regularly hosts the WPBSA Under-18 Snooker Championships and has played host to a variety of famous snooker players.
Hazel Grove has several recreational centres. Hazel Grove Leisure Centre, in the grounds of Hazel Grove High School, Hazel Grove Pools and Target Fitness and Torkington Park which provides crown green bowling, tennis courts and football pitches.
There is also a tennis and bowling club on Douglas Road and two cricket clubs, Hazel Grove CC and Norbury CC, the latter including a lacrosse club and crown green bowling club, each with their own facilities, whilst Norbury Athletic is a junior football club based opposite the high school on Jacksons Lane.
Hazel Grove Football Club was founded in 1957 and play their home games at Torkington Park. The club was taken over by new management in 2014 and will play in the Manchester Saturday Morning Football League in the 2014/15 season.
- Coutie, H (1982). Hazel Grove: A Village History Trail: Hazel Grove or Bullock Smithy?. Stockport Historical Society. ISBN 0-905164-75-X.
- Speak, R (1964). The Story of Hazel Grove and Bramhall. Stockport: The Crescent Press.
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