Alsager shown within Cheshire
|OS grid reference|
|– London||144 mi (231 km) SE|
|Unitary authority||Cheshire East|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||North West England|
Alsager is a town and civil parish in the unitary authority of Cheshire East and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England, to the north-west of the city of Stoke-on-Trent, and east of the railway town of Crewe. The town has a population of 11,775. Going clockwise, starting from the north, the civil parish is bordered by the parishes of Betchton to the north, Church Lawton to the north-east and east, Kidsgrove in Staffordshire to the south-east, Audley Rural, in Staffordshire to the south, Barthomley to the south-west, Haslington to the west, and Hassall to the north-west.
In the centre of Alsager is a lake, Alsager Mere. This isolated pool, once the focal point of the town, is only accessible by two fenced public viewing areas and by local residents who have gardens adjoining the waters.
Alsager has hosted an annual summer carnival since 1998. Until June 2009 the summer carnival was located in Milton Gardens but it has since moved to the Alsager School Playing Fields to increase capacity.
Alsager was recorded as 'Eleacier' in the Domesday Book, and was a small farming village until the 19th century when, due to its rail connections and rural character, it became a home of choice for pottery works managers from the nearby Federation of Six Towns which later became the city of Stoke-on-Trent.
During the Second World War, a large armaments factory was built outside Alsager at Radway Green, and the town expanded dramatically to house the influx of factory workers. Also during the war a camp was constructed for the training of Royal Marines. This bore the name of "H.M.S. Excalibur" and was situated at the top of Fields Road by the side of the Stoke to Crewe railway line. In 1948 it became a displaced persons camp for refugees from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the former Polish Ukraine, countries which had been forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Union. Many men from these countries had fought on the side of the Germans in order to try and regain independence, and they were afraid to return to their countries of origin, as many who had returned were executed by the Russians. A school was set up for the education of their children whose only common language when they arrived was German. The school continued to exist for many years in the same set of wooden huts under the name "Excalibur School". The first Roman Catholic church in Alsager was one of the wooden huts and was attended mainly by the Lithuanians, most of whom were Roman Catholic. The Anglican churches are Christ Church (1789), and St. Mary Magdalene (1898).
Alsager previously had three Methodist churches at Hassall Road (Wesleyan), Wesley Place (Wesleyan), and Crewe Road (Primitive Methodist). By December 2009 two Methodist churches remained, but today there is just one.
The Roman Catholic community is served from St Gabriel's Church. The parish is located in the Diocese of Shrewsbury (Central Cheshire Region – Local Pastoral Area 9).
The artist James Lloyd was born in the town.
Formerly housed on Manchester Metropolitan University's Alsager campus, Alsager Arts Centre had a public programme of touring new performance and visual art work presented in two intensive seasons – September to November and January to March. The centre has now moved to the university's Crewe campus, as its Alsager site has closed.
In August 2010 Alsager hosted the first annual Alsager Arts Festival.
Alsager hosts the annual Alsager Music Festival which takes place in Milton Gardens.
Public education, at primary and secondary school level, is managed by Cheshire East Council and the Alsager Community Trust. The Alsager Community Trust is a co-operative trust, in which all the schools in the town are members. Secondary education is provided by Alsager School, an Academy school, that is situated opposite the former Manchester Metropolitan University campus. It is attended by over 1,300 pupils between the ages of 11 and 18. Alsager School is a Business and Enterprise College.
Six primary schools feed into Alsager School: Alsager Highfields, Cranberry Primary School, Excalibur Primary School, Pikemere School, Rode Heath School and St Gabriel's R.C. Primary School.
Former Manchester Metropolitan University
During the Second World War a Hostel built of wooden army huts was constructed on the site of the MMU to house workers at the Royal Ordnance Factory, Radway Green, and was called "Heathside". In 1945 it became "Alsager Training College" for the training of teachers which were in short supply at that time. The wooden huts were still in use for the housing of students until the early 1960s. The MMU Alsager was home to the Contemporary Arts and Sports Science Departments of the Manchester Metropolitan University. The University absorbed the former Crewe & Alsager College of Higher Education, forming the Crewe and Alsager Faculty, now renamed MMU Cheshire. The Alsager Arts Centre was also on campus, and promoted touring contemporary dance, music, theatre, live art, performance writing and visual art events to the public as well as members of the University community.
The university has been transferring staff and departments from Alsager to the Crewe campus since 2006 and the entire Alsager site is now closed. The Arts Centre has also moved to the MMU campus in Crewe, and has been renamed the Axis Arts Centre.
The campus on Hassall Road has been earmarked for a total of 300 houses, office space and a retail development, including shops, restaurants and financial services. It was proposed that no more than 150 houses would be built before 2011, with the remaining 150 built between 2011 and 2014 however plans have since been delayed.
Alsager is close to junction 16 of the M6 motorway, and is served by Alsager railway station on the Crewe to Derby line. Buses (the number 6) run to Crewe twice an hour and Hanley every 20 minutes. Regional Route 70 passes to the west of the town. The 78 bus service links Alsager with Sandbach, Congleton and Rode Heath.
The Trent and Mersey Canal runs just to the north-east to the town, forming part of the Cheshire Ring Canal Walk and the South Cheshire Way footpath. The canal's towpath and the nearby 'Salt Line' are also routes of the National Cycle Network.
Between 2012-13 Alsager town centre has been redeveloped somewhat:The Co-operative Food store was rebuilt in 2012, and has since been sold off and converted to an Asda supermarket. A Town Square has been created, Fairview park has been rebuilt and capacity at Fairview Car park has been increased. In April 2014 Cheshire East Council gave planning permission for the development of a new Sainsbury's store on the former Twyfords site off Lawton Road. Sainsbury's are currently reviewing their plans for a large store in the town due to changing patterns in the way people shop, which is currently away from large stores to online shopping and top up shopping at smaller stores. The company along with its rivals have scrapped many major new store schemes throughout the UK.
There are currently proposals to build 1267 new build houses, a new supermarket and petrol station in Alsager.
Alsager is home to AFC Alsager, Alsager Town F.C., Alsager Bank Corner FC, Alsager Cricket Club, the Alsager Golf and Country Club, the Alsager Institute Bowling Club, the Alsager Company of Archers, Triton Hockey Club and Alsager Lawn Tennis Club.
It also has a number of youth teams in the 'lads'n'dads' league. There is a thriving pool league. There is a swimming club. There is a leisure centre within Alsager, this is managed by Cheshire East Council.
Alsager also hosts the UK's biggest 5 Mile Road Race each year in February. The event attracts many of the UK's top endurance athletes.
Alsager has several parks. The town's main park is Milton Garden, which has an ornamental sunken garden, a skatepark, a small children's football pitch and a play area.
Pastimes and leisure pursuits
- Official 2011 Census figures. Neighbourhood Statistics website. Retrieval Date: 10 May 2013.
- Alsager Mere. Retrieval Date: 10 August 2007.
- Alsager Partnership website. Retrieval Date: 3 June 2010.
- Alsager.com website. Retrieval Date: 10 May 2013.
- Church Lawton Barrows. Retrieval Date: 10 August 2007.
- Scholes, R. (2000) Towns and villages of Britain: Cheshire. Sigma Press: Wilmslow, Cheshire. ISBN 1-85058-637-3.
- Christ Church. Retrieval Date: 10 August 2007.
- St Mary Magdalene – A Church Near You – website. Retrieval Date: 19 January 2009.
- Wesley Place Methodist Church Alsager website. Retrieval Date: 10 August 2007.
- Alsager Community Theatre. Retrieval Date: 20 April 2011.
- Alsager Arts Centre website. Retrieval Date: 10 August 2007.
- Alsager Festival website. Retrieval Date: 3 June 2010.
- Alsager Music Festival website. Retrieval Date: 10 May 2013.
- Alsager School website. Retrieval Date: 10 August 2007.
- "Job cuts planned at MMU Cheshire". The Sentinel. 17 November 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2010.
- Axis Arts Centre website
- The Sentinel. Retrieval Date: 4 April 2014.
- Alsager Residents Action Group website. Retrieval Date: 10 May 2013.
- .Alsager Gardens Association website. Retrieval Date: 10 August 2007.
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