High rises at Collyhurst
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Collyhurst is an inner city area of Manchester, England, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) northeast of the city centre on Rochdale Road (A664) and Oldham Road (A62). The River Irk passes through the area. Prominent buildings include two Roman Catholic churches, St Patrick's and St Malachy's.
Much of the red sandstone used for building in Manchester and the surrounding area, including stone for the Roman fort at Castlefield, St Ann's Church in the city centre, Manchester Cathedral and the original buildings of Chetham's Hospital, came from Collyhurst Quarry. Geologists use the term Collyhurst Sandstone for this type of soft red sandstone, which occurs in North West England. It is a fine to medium grained sedimentary rock, created from desert sands blown into dune formations during the Early Permian period when the area which now constitutes the British Isles was within the desert belts to the north of the equator. The rock is not very resistant to weathering and erosion and disintegrates relatively quickly. The quarry was mentioned by John Leland in the description of Manchester in his book. The Itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535 to 1543, saying that there was " a goodly quarre hard by the towne". Stone was transported the short distance into Manchester by river on barges or rafts. The quarry is disused and the area around it has been turned into a park called "Sandhills" as part of Manchester City Council's Irk Valley Project.
There are now two Roman Catholic churches in Collyhurst, St Patrick's and St Malachy's. There was once also St Edmund's in Monsall Street (architect P.P. Pugin, 1894). The three former Anglican churches have been demolished since they were described by Nikolaus Pevsner in The Buildings of England; Lancashire; I, 1969. The oldest was St Oswald's on Rochdale Road in the Gothic of the 13th century, the architect was E.H. Shellard; the east end was spectacularly picturesque and there was a steeple designed by John Lowe. Lowe was also the architect of the two other churches, the Albert Memorial Church in Queen's Road, 1864, a red brick building with a northwest tower topped by a spire; and St James's in Teignmouth Street, 1874 (this had a steeple at the northwest corner, a porch on the southwest, and a polygonal apse). The Union Chapel, Queen's Park, was designed by R. Moffat Smith and has a low turreted tower.
In 1972, all the C of E churches in Collyhurst and Monsall were amalgamated into a new benefice of the Church of the Saviour. The church was established on part of the site formerly occupied by St Oswald's Church on Rochdale Road. This is an evangelical Church of England church.
There is a war memorial on Rochdale Road next to the former site of the Collyhurst Flats, erected by public subscription and unveiled by the Rt. Hon. Earl of Derby KG (Secretary of State for War) on 23 May 1923 to commemorate British servicemen who died during the First World War.
For a brief period in the mid-1970s, The Electric Circus, a run-down venue on Collyhurst Street, formerly the Palladium variety club, found itself at the centre of Manchester's punk rock scene. It played host to bands such as the Sex Pistols, The Jam, Joy Division, then known as Warsaw, Buzzcocks, Slaughter and the Dogs and The Clash's "White Riot" tour before its closure in 1977. It has since been demolished.
On 15 August 1953, the front coach of a Manchester to Bury electric train fell from the Collyhurst viaduct over the River Irk after colliding with a local steam train. Ten people were killed and 58 injured in what became known as the Irk Valley Junction rail crash.
- Jim Allen, playwright
- Pat Barrett, light welterweight boxer
- Stan Bowles, England and QPR footballer
- Jackie Brown, former world champion flyweight boxer
- Les Dawson, comedian
- Michael Gomez, Irish-born super featherweight boxer
- Bruce Jones, former Coronation Street actor
- Henry Kelly, recipient of the Victoria Cross
- Brian Kidd, England, Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City footballer
- Carlo Sartori, Manchester United footballer
- Jack Smethurst, actor
- Nobby Stiles, Manchester United and World Cup winning footballer
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- "Irk Valley Junction 1953". Danger Ahead! – Historic Railway Disasters. Retrieved 12 December 2007.