Heaton Chapel

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Heaton Chapel
Heaton Chapel is located in Greater Manchester
Heaton Chapel
Heaton Chapel
Location within Greater Manchester
Population(2001 Census)
OS grid referenceSJ880925
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtSK4
Dialling code0161
PoliceGreater Manchester
FireGreater Manchester
AmbulanceNorth West
UK Parliament
List of places
Greater Manchester
53°25′38″N 2°10′39″W / 53.4271°N 2.1774°W / 53.4271; -2.1774Coordinates: 53°25′38″N 2°10′39″W / 53.4271°N 2.1774°W / 53.4271; -2.1774

Heaton Chapel is an area in the northern part of Stockport, Greater Manchester, England. Within the boundaries of the historic county of Lancashire, it borders the Manchester districts of Levenshulme to the north, the Stockport districts of Heaton Moor to the west, Reddish and Heaton Norris to the east and Heaton Mersey to the west and south. Heaton Chapel and its neighbouring areas are collectively known as the Four Heatons.


St Thomas' Church

Before 1758, Heaton Chapel did not exist but was simply part of the Lancashire parish of Heaton Norris.[1] The need for a chapel was identified in Parliamentary Commission "Lancashire and Cheshire church surveys" (1649–1655) but it was a further hundred years before Mr A. Colier raised money by public subscription and Mr Sidebotham petitioned the bishop of Chester for a license to worship in 1758. It was dedicated 28 October 1758. It is speculated that the need for the chapel was stimulated by the preaching of Charles Wesley who visited Stockport in 1745. The Church was built on a field known as Yarn Croft of 1,712 square yards. The building was plain brick, with three rounded windows on the North side and three on the South side, and a small projecting chancel, which served as a place for the communion table, which was lit by means of a long round-headed window, with two long rectangular windows on each side.[2] The church is 'miswent'; that is not built on a true east–west axis. In 2015, the Diocese of Manchester changed the official address of the church from Heaton Norris to Heaton Chapel - 250 years after its establishment.

The principal road from Manchester to Stockport and the south ran through Heaton Chapel along the line of the present Manchester Road. It was turnpiked in 1724.[3] There was a toll gate opposite the church. It entered Stockport down Lancashire Hill. In 1826 a new turnpike was built.[4]

Heaton Chapel station with an EMU train

In 1837 Parliamentary approval was given for the railway to be built by the Manchester and Birmingham Railway, and the first section from Heaton Norris to Manchester Travis Street opened in 1841, but a viaduct needed to be built at Stockport. The London and North Western Railway completed the Crewe to Manchester Line from Manchester, London Road to Crewe, the rector, Mr Jackson used personal influence, to have a station built in 1851, close to the rectory in Heaton Moor Road. The Station was built in a cutting. There was already a Heaton Norris station (on Georges Road),so the new station was named Heaton Chapel. The subsequent growth of the Heaton Moor area led to a temporary change of the railway station name, Heaton Chapel for Heaton Moor, then Heaton Chapel AND Heaton Moor - but it has again returned to Heaton Chapel.[1] This line was electrified in 1959. A second line passes through Heaton Chapel but there is no station.

In the inter-war years there was a tram service along Wellington Road operated jointly by Manchester and Stockport corporation. Stockport used 460v DC and Manchester 400 volts so the Manchester trams would need another resistance in the circuit. The Stockport trams would probably have been able to manage without swapping, they would just be on a slightly lower voltage. The trams stopped at the Levenshulme/ Heaton Chapel border so the resistances could be changed and the collectors manually changed from one set of wires to the others.

A number of mansions were built close to the border with Heaton Moor during the early 20th century. This part of Heaton Chapel today has some of the most palatial and expensive housing in Greater Manchester.[5] Heaton Chapel was in 2018 ranked by The Times best places to live 2018, higher than Didsbury.[6]

Local economy[edit]

Heaton Chapel is largely residential, characterised by substantial well detailed early 20th century houses

A large biscuit works was opened in 1918 by McVitie and Price, later McVitie's, part of United Biscuits. In this location chocolate covered biscuits such as Penguin biscuits and Jaffa Cakes are manufactured.[1]

Crossley Bros. Ltd commenced motor car production in 1906 after several years experience of building engines and by the end of 1916 had already supplied large numbers of tenders to the Royal Flying Corps. In addition, production of Beardmore and Bentley Aero engines was undertaken. Wartime expansion of production had led to the acquisition of premises at High Lane, Heaton Chapel. This subsequently was renamed Crossley Road, and marked the spot where Stockport became Manchester.

In 1917 the factory was adapted to produce De Havilland DH.9 single-engined and DH.10 twin-engined bombers. It was known as the National Aircraft Factory No. 2, employed 2,500 people and was managed by Crossley Motors Limited. About 450 DH9s and seven DH10s were completed before production ceased after the Armistice.[7]

In 1934 the factory was acquired by Mr (later Sir) Richard Fairey, who wanted additional factory space to produce aircraft ordered under the UK's re-armament programme. Thus Fairey Aviation was based on Crossley Road next to the railway line.

The factory manufactured 14 Fairey Hendon,[7] 1,154 Battle, 600 Fulmar and 675 Barracuda aircraft and also reconditioned Swordfishes. Fairey's also built, under sub-contract, over 660 Handley Page Halifaxes and nearly 500 Bristol Beaufighters. Heaton Chapel had design staff and manufacturing capacity. Assembly was at Barton Aerodrome for a short period then at RAF Ringway from June 1937 onwards.[8]

In 1951 the FD1, Fairey Delta 1, was built here. On 10 March 1956, the Fairey Delta 2, with Heaton Chapel components, broke the World Air Speed Record at 1820 km/h (1132 mph).[8]

From 1954, the Gannet was also built here although production of the 338 aircraft was shared with the company's other factory at Hayes, Middlesex.

In 1946 the company diversified into the Nuclear industry, forming Fairey Stainless.

In 1986 Fairey Engineering was taken over by Williams Holdings and became Williams Fairey Engineering Ltd.[8] It is now known as WFEL. The Air Portable Ferry Bridge (APFB) is a lightweight 40 metre bridge that can be transported to site in a C130 aircraft, and erected by 8 engineers in 90 minutes. It is in use in Iraq and Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Fairey Aviation sponsored the Fairey Brass Band, who hold rehearsals in Heaton Chapel.

Popular culture[edit]

Sir John Alcock, who with Arthur Whitten Brown, made the first non-stop transatlantic flight in 1919, was raised in Heaton Chapel and attended St. Thomas' Primary School alongside the church.

Heaton Chapel was the home of the Poco-a-Poco Club, many a big name star performed here including David Bowie 27 April 1970. Sited at the junction of Denby Lane and Manchester Road, and formerly, the Empress Cinema, this has now been demolished and has been home to The Hinds Head pub for a number of years.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c The History of St Thomas', Heaton Norris, pub privately by the author, deposited with The British Library Copyright Receipt Office on 1 August 1979 under receipt 68519, and now released on line http://shawweb.myzen.co.uk/stephen/thomas0.htm
  2. ^ The Stockport Advertiser 1874
  3. ^ http://www.manchester2002-uk.com/districts/levenshulme.html Levenshulme:Districts and suburbs of Manchester
  4. ^ Townships: Heaton Norris', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4 (1911), pp. 323–326.
  5. ^ http://neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/LeadHome.do?m=0&s=1378904512622&enc=1&nsjs=true&nsck=false&nssvg=false&nswid=1440[bare URL]
  6. ^ "The Heatons, Cheshire — best places to live in the UK 2018".
  7. ^ a b R.A.Scholefield, "Manchester Airport", 1998, Sutton Publishing page 35, ISBN 0-7509-1954-X
  8. ^ a b c "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 March 2007. Retrieved 26 May 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) History of Fairey Engineering
  9. ^ Shaw, Stephen. "Poco a Poco, Stockport". Retrieved 24 June 2012.

External links[edit]