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Church of St Peter Blackley 7.jpg
The Grade II listed church of St. Peter in Blackley
Blackley is located in Greater Manchester
Blackley shown within Greater Manchester
Population 10,196 (2001 Census)
OS grid reference SD853028
• London 186 m
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district M9
Dialling code 0161
Police Greater Manchester
Fire Greater Manchester
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament
List of places
Greater Manchester
53°31′21″N 2°13′22″W / 53.52246°N 2.22282°W / 53.52246; -2.22282Coordinates: 53°31′21″N 2°13′22″W / 53.52246°N 2.22282°W / 53.52246; -2.22282

Blackley /ˈblkli/ is a suburban area of the city of Manchester, England. Historically in Lancashire, it is 3 miles (4.8 km) north of Manchester city centre, by a meander of the River Irk. Further north is Middleton. It is crossed by a main arterial road from the city centre; Rochdale Road (A664), to Middleton.


The hamlet of Blackley was mentioned in the Domesday Book. The name derives from the Anglo-Saxon Blæclēah = "dark wood" or "dark clearing". In the 13th and 14th centuries Blackley was referred to as Blakeley or Blakelegh, a spelling that is consistent with the local pronunciation.[1]

By the Middle Ages, Blackley had become a park belonging to the lords of Manchester. Its value in 1282 was recorded as £6 13s 4d (£6.67 approx.), a sum approximately equivalent in buying power to £3,500 today.[1][2]

The lords of Manchester leased the land from time to time. In 1473 John Byron held the leases on Blackley village, Blackley field and Pillingworth fields at an annual rent of £33 6s 8d (£33.33 approx.). The Byron family continued to hold the land until the beginning of the 17th century when Blackley was sold in parcels to a number of landowners.[1]

By the middle of the 17th century, Blackley was a village of just 107 inhabitants. Blackley today is hardly recognisable as the same rural area, that it had been at the start of the 19th century. Now only local place names like Meadows School, Plant Hill or French Barn Lane hint at its rural past.[3] In 2014 Blackley appeared on a list of top 10 places to live in Greater Manchester.


The first industrial enterprise in the area was the Borelle Dyeworks, established in 1785, by an emigrant French industrialist Louis Borelle, who gave his name in corrupted form to Barrel Brow.[4]

A contemporary and compatriot of his was Angel Raphael Louis Delaunay, whose Delaunay Dyeworks, famous for their 'Turkey Red' dye, has given its name to Delauney's Road.[4] After Delaunay's death in 1865, the noted chemist Ivan Levinstein bought the dyeworks.[4] The facility expanded, under Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) ownership, to employ a large number, many in chemical research.[5][6]

It was in the ICI laboratories that not only dyestuffs but also medical breakthroughs, such as the anti malarial drug Paludrine,[7][8] and Antrycide to combat African sleeping sickness were discovered.

In recent years, the facility has contracted, and the staff level is now less than 100 in a descendant company, Avecia, and the land at one point was scheduled for housing developments. Adjacent to this facility, and formerly an early 19th-century logwood mill, there was another plant, Connolly's (Blackley) Ltd., later BICC, makers of telecommunication cabling.


Blackley is a part of the parliamentary constituency of Blackley and Broughton, considered to be a safe Labour Party seat. The current Member of Parliament (MP) is Graham Stringer (Labour). UKIP came second in the constituency in May 2015, in the month's general election.


During the 1930s, substantial residential development took place in Blackley to provide overspill housing for Manchester's growing population. This is an area with a mixture of housing which is mainly privately owned homes: owner occupied and privately rented.


Blackley is well served in terms of green space and parks, with significant open spaces at :

Boggart Hole Clough[edit]

Boggart Hole Clough is a country park where many walks can be undertaken, guided or otherwise. Thanks to recent funding the park now has many leisure facilities; a bowling green, tennis and basketball courts, a boating lake and a children's play area. It has its own permanent orienteering course and an athletics track. Visitors can enjoy family fun days in the summer and an annual firework display. There is a considerably old stone bridge across the brook running through the clough.

Blackley Forest[edit]

A Site of Biological Importance and an example of one of the country's first Community Woodlands. Planted to commemorate the Queen's coronation and also the local people who gave their lives in the Second World War. The area has had woodland on it since the Norman Conquest in 1066, when wild boar and deer roamed and eagles flew above.[9]

The forest is a diverse mix of woodland, grassland and wetlands, dissected by a well established network of paths and steps. The River Irk can be seen in its most natural state, fringed by birch trees with some colonies of autumn crocus.

Heaton Park[edit]

Heaton Park, at around 650 acres (2.63 km2), is the biggest park in Greater Manchester, and one of the largest municipal parks in Western Europe, providing some 25% of Manchester's total green space. It is the grounds of Heaton Hall, a Grade I listed, neoclassical 18th century country mansion. The hall was remodelled to a design by James Wyatt in 1772,[10] and is now open to the public as a museum and events venue. Although the park is officially part of the City of Manchester, only two of a number of entrances are accessed from Blackley, on Middleton Road.[11]


Rochdale Road (A664) in Blackley looking towards Manchester city centre

Like many areas in Manchester, Blackley is very well served by buses primarily along the main arterial routes of Rochdale Road (A664), and Cheetham Hill Road/Bury Old Road (A665) directly to and from Manchester city centre. Initially these would have been provided by the precursors to, and Manchester Carriage and Tramways Company, and currently by First Greater Manchester.

Other journeys are provided by Stagecoach Manchester, which took over JPT in April 2014. There are frequent Metrolink trams from Bowker Vale to and from Manchester city centre and as far south as Altrincham and as far north as Bury. Manchester's M60 orbital motorway is the northern boundary of Blackley.


Primary schools[edit]

Blackley has a number of primary schools which include: '

  • St. Clare's Primary School
  • Crab Lane Primary School
  • Camberwell Park School
  • E-ACT Blackley Academy
  • Bowker Vale Primary School
  • Mount Carmel RC Primary School
  • Crosslee Community Primary School
  • St John Bosco's RC Primary School
  • Pike Fold Primary School
  • Holy Trinity Primary School

Secondary schools[edit]

Secondary schools in Blackley include: The Co-operative Academy of Manchester, Manchester Creative and Media Academy and Our Lady's RC High School.


Blackley Golf Club

Blackley Golf Club has occupied its present site close to the M60 since 1937. The club celebrated its centenary in 2007, and a new clubhouse opened in 2009.

AFC Blackley

The only Saturday team to play in Blackley, they played in the Manchester Premier League. The club lost its ground in Blackley village when it was earmarked for development. The club then moved to Plant Hill Park. It has now disbanded.

Blackley Cricket Club

Blackley Cricket Club currently play in the Greater Manchester Cricket League. The club is located on Crab Lane. In 2009 they won the Greater Manchester cricket league title.

Notable people[edit]

(Either born in Blackley; or born in Manchester, and resident in Blackley)


  1. ^ a b c "Townships: Blackley" (HTTP). A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4 (1911), pp. 255–59. British History Online. Retrieved 2007-04-10. 
  2. ^ "Currency converter" (HTTP). The National Archives. Retrieved 2007-04-10. 
  3. ^ "Districts and suburbs of Manchester" (HTTP). Blackley. Papillon Graphics' Virtual Encyclopaedia of Greater Manchester. Retrieved 2007-04-10. 
  4. ^ a b c Turkey Red in Blackley, W.H. Cliffe on ColorantsHistory.Org
  5. ^ "Salt and the Chemical Revolution". 11 The Ammonia-Soda Process. Archived from the original on 2009-10-18. Retrieved 2010-07-13. 
  6. ^ "British Dyestuffs Corp and ICI". Retrieved 2010-07-13. 
  7. ^ Carrington HC, Crowther AF, Davey DG, Levi AA, Rose FL (1951). "A metabolite of paludrine with high antimalarial activity". Nature. 168 (4288): 1080. PMID 14910643. doi:10.1038/1681080a0. 
  8. ^ Crowther AF, Levi AA (1953). "Proguanil, the isolation of a metabolite with high antimalarial activity". Br J Pharmacol Chemother. 8 (1): 93–97. PMC 1509229Freely accessible. PMID 13066702. doi:10.1111/j.1476-5381.1953.tb00758.x. 
  9. ^ "History of Blackley Forest". Friends of Blackley Forest. Archived from the original (HTTP) on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2010-07-14. 
  10. ^ "Heaton Hall & Orangery". Manchester City Council. Archived from the original (HTTP) on 2010-05-02. Retrieved 2010-07-14. 
  11. ^ "History & Architecture" (HTTP). Manchester City Council. Retrieved 2010-07-14. 
  12. ^ Introduction, retrieved 2 July 2012 
  13. ^ Roger Byrne on
  14. ^ Greer, Stuart (2 July 2010). "Factory Records fanatic vows to give it all to Manchester". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  15. ^ "Who is Crocodile Joe?". BBC Manchester. BBC. 22 October 2008. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  16. ^ "'Crocodile Joe' earns his corn by snaring snake at North Manchester General hospital". Manchester Evening News. 27 September 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 

External links[edit]