Ordsall, Greater Manchester

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Ordsall Hall entire west wing 29 Jan 2009.jpg
Ordsall Hall
Ordsall is located in Greater Manchester
Location within Greater Manchester
Population14,194 (2011.ward)
OS grid referenceSJ815975
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townSALFORD
Postcode districtM5
Dialling code0161
PoliceGreater Manchester
FireGreater Manchester
AmbulanceNorth West
UK Parliament
List of places
Greater Manchester
53°28′26″N 2°16′41″W / 53.474°N 2.278°W / 53.474; -2.278Coordinates: 53°28′26″N 2°16′41″W / 53.474°N 2.278°W / 53.474; -2.278

Ordsall is an inner city area of Salford, Greater Manchester, England. The population at the 2011 census was 14,194.[1] It lies chiefly to the south of the A57 road, close to the River Irwell, the main boundary with the city of Manchester, Salford Quays and Manchester Ship Canal, which divides it from Stretford.

Historically part of Lancashire, Ordsall was the birthplace of the bush roller chain and is home to Ordsall Hall.


The name Ordsall has Old English origins being the personal name Ord and the word halh, meaning a corner or nook, which has become the modern dialect word "haugh".[2] This, indeed, describes the position of the manor of Ordsall, for its boundary on the south side is a large bend in the River Irwell, which became the site of the docks for the Manchester Ship Canal. Ordsall first appears in records in 1177 when Ordeshala paid two marks towards an aid, a feudal due or tax.

Antiquarian and Geologist, Samuel Hibbert-Ware gave a different etymology for the name; ord is a Saxon word for "primeval" or "very old" and hal meaning "den" - hence the name Ordeshal could mean "very old den". His reasoning for this was the location in the area of the cave known as Woden's Den.[3]

Woden's Den[edit]

Woden's Den in 1780 as sketched by Thomas Barret

Before the River Irwell was deepened to make it navigable there was an ancient paved ford at Ordsall known as Woden's Ford and nearby, in a lane leading to Ordsall Hall, was a cave known as Woden's Den. The cave was of great interest to 19th-century antiquarians, but their constant trespassing to view the site prompted the landowner to completely destroy it early in the century, and no trace of the feature remains. However, the cave was described and sketched by Thomas Barret in about 1780.[note 1][4] He postulated that, as this part of the Irwell was subject to regular flooding, travellers would have made offerings to Odin, the protector of travellers, before attempting the crossing.[3] He also said that there were strong grounds to suppose that Cluniac monks of Lenton Priory, who had a cell called "St Leonards" at nearby Kersal, converted the cave into a Christian hermitage and served as guides to the crossing at Woden's Ford and the surrounding marshes in order to supplant the earlier pagan practices.[3][5]

Regeneration project[edit]

By the 1990s, Ordsall was one of the most deprived parts of Greater Manchester, with some of the highest crime rates. In April 1994, The Independent newspaper reported that the area had unemployment above 20% (around twice the national average) and that arson and car crime were a regular occurrence. In July 1992, a riot in the area saw local gangs fire gunshots at police and fire crews.[6]

As of 2007, the area is undergoing urban regeneration under a joint venture agreement between Salford City Council and property developer LPC Living. The "Heart of Ordsall" framework, agreed in 2005, means that over the next five years extensive environmental and infrastructure improvements will be made to the Ordsall estate at a cost of around £150 million.

The regeneration is very much community led and has already delivered a new £6.5 million primary school and children's centre. The school accommodates 315 pupils and also incorporates an 83 place children's centre providing education, health, social care and day care facilities for the local community. A dedicated street sweeper, designed by local children, cleans around Ordsall three times a week in addition to the council services as a result of local concern over litter.

Between 800 and 1,000 new homes for local families and first-time buyers will be delivered, a new community hub will cover the whole of Ordsall including Salford Quays; improvements to Ordsall Park and plans for other play areas and small open spaces are also in the pipeline for 2008.

The estate will be opened up to shoppers, with the former Radclyffe School site on Trafford Road, earmarked as a new retail centre, replacing the existing district centre. There will be new pedestrian routes and cycle lanes, visibility across the area will be improved to reduce the fear of crime, and there will be improved access to nearby Metrolink stations for the Quays and the city centre.

Over £40 million has already been privately invested into the area, with the creation of hundreds of homes aimed toward first-time buyers and local residents, including Gresham Mill situated on the River Irwell, Radclyffe Mews on Taylorson Street and Quay 5, a £24 million scheme of 231 flats which sold out in just six weeks.


Ordsall Chord railway line became operational on 10 December 2017.[7] This short railway line links Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Oxford Road to Manchester Victoria, increasing capacity and reducing journey times into and through Manchester. It allows trains to run from Newcastle, Middlesbrough and Leeds direct to Manchester Airport without having to reverse at Manchester Piccadilly.


Despite its notorious past, Ordsall's location between Manchester city centre and Salford Quays has led to a regeneration boom. Average house prices have risen over 100% in the past 5 years, with the area in the centre of key regeneration visions such as the Irwell City Park scheme. A study commissioned by insurers More Than, published in June 2007, revealed that Ordsall had become one of the United Kingdom's property hot spots, ranking 17th out of the 35 identified. The study rated areas by looking at homes occupied by young, affluent professionals.[8]


Ordsall Hall

Ordsall Hall's Great Hall
Mary Radclyffe, daughter of Sir John Radclyffe of Ordsall, c. 1610, Denver Art Museum

Ordsall Hall is a Tudor mansion that was for over 300 years the home of the Radclyffe family. In more recent times it has been a working men's club and a school for clergy, the forerunner of the Manchester Theological College, amongst other uses. Like many old buildings, Ordsall Hall is said to be haunted, in particular by "the White Lady", who it is said threw herself off the balcony overlooking the Great Hall. An episode of the TV programme Most Haunted was filmed at the hall in 2002.

Salford Lads' Club

Ordsall is home to Salford Lads Club, which is featured on the inside cover of the album The Queen Is Dead by the pop band the Smiths. The club is on the corner of St Ignatius Walk and Coronation Street.

St Clement's Church

St Clement's Church is the Anglican parish church of Ordsall. The church was opened in 1877 and is now a Grade II listed building.[9][10]

St Joseph's Church

St Joseph's Roman Catholic Church is one of the few buildings to have survived the Ordsall slum clearances. The church was designed by W. Randolph and cost £5,000 to build, equivalent to £550 thousand today.[11] It was opened on Sunday 20 April 1902. The building was severely damaged during the Manchester Blitz of Christmas 1940. The interior has been largely reconstructed and modernised since then.


St. Joseph's RC Primary School[12] was rated as outstanding in its 2007 Ofsted report, and one of the 100 top performing schools in the UK.[13] Notable developments include a new primary school for the area, Primrose Hill, as well as an inner-city academy to be affiliated with MediaCityUK at Salford Quays.

Cultural references[edit]

In 1959 a young Tony Warren got an idea of a drama set on the streets of Ordsall, which ended up into the longest running soap opera in UK history Coronation Street, the whole area since then has been demolished.

The BAFTA award-winning British comedy film East is East, released in 1999, was set in Monmouth Street, now demolished.

Notable people[edit]

  • Joe Gladwin, actor, best known for his role as Wally Batty in the BBC sitcom Last of the Summer Wine, was born and brought up in Ordsall. He attended Mount Carmel RC School.
  • Alistair Cooke, journalist and presenter of Letter from America, born in Ordsall before the family moved to Blackpool, in large part due to the young Cooke's health.
  • Alan Clarke and Graham Nash of The Hollies pop group grew up and attended school in Ordsall.
  • Nigel Pivaro, Coronation Street actor and journalist, lived for many years in the area and has written about it. Pivaro lived first in West Park Street as a young child, before its demolition in the mid sixties, and later returned to live in Nine Acre Court.
  • Tim Burgess of the band The Charlatans lived in Oldfield Road in the 1990s.
  • Peter Hook of the pop group New Order has many family members from the neighbourhood and was a member of Salford Lads Club.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Worden's or Woden's Ford is a paved causeway across the River Irwell from Hulme-field, where Medlock loses itself in the aforesaid river, to the opposite bank, but now lost to every observer since Irwell was made navigable. Woden's Den is the spot I wish to throw light upon, although obscured by darkness, perhaps of many ages. Tradition supposes it to have been the den or woody habitation of the priest or priests of Woden, the much esteemed war deity of the idol Saxons...What might be the extent, or bounds, of this supposed idol temple, or place of sacrifices, we know not; but certainly it was once of a much larger extent. What remains of its height is now about 6 feet, and the length of the whole, as it now appears is about 22 yards. At the South, and near the great tree, as may be seen by referring to the drawing, is a hole about 3 feet wide, much resembling an oven, and near the middle is another excavation, not so deep in the rock as the former, at the northern extremity. The margin of the rock, just above the surface of the Earth, is ornamented with a sort of regular Gothic tracery, and gently curves into a cavity of about double the size of the aforesaid recesses. The range of the rock is all along shaded with overhanging bushes, which much obscure the same from the notice of passengers. Admitting the above to be in a devoted place for pagan superstitions in the Saxon times, it again presents itself under the character of a place dedicated to the retirement and devotion of a professor of Christianity. On one part of the rock much labour has been distilled into ornamenting it with root characters, which have been called runic, but which plainly appear upon closer examination, to have the letters J.H.S. the Latin initials of Jesus the saviour of men in rude church text. The above letters show themselves in three or four places, and, in one part, the letters appear about 3 feet longer a-piece. Some few shields ornamented with crosses may be seen in different places wrought upon the rock. Near the south end are the faint remains of a shield with the like of a sword handle near it. At what period of time a change of worship happened here I cannot say, but many places devoted to heathen worship were afterwards dedicated to Christianity.</ref> Hibbert was convinced that the cave was a temple to Odin, saying in his book History of the foundations in Manchester of Christ's College, Chetham's Hospital and the Free Grammar School (1830), "There can be little question but that in this recess the sacrifices, divination and compacts appertaining to worship of the hero of the Edda were regularly practised".


  1. ^ "City of Salford ward population 2011". Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  2. ^ Ekwall, E. (1940) The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names; 2nd ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press; p. 334
  3. ^ a b c Hibbert-Ware, Samuel (1848). "3". The ancient parish church of Manchester, and why it was collegiated. Thomas Agnew. pp. 11, 12.
  4. ^ Hibbert-Ware, Samuel; John Palmer; John Palmer; William Robert Whatton (1830). "1". History of the foundations in Manchester of Christ's College, Chetham's Hospital and the Free Grammar School. 1. Thomas Agnew and Joseph Zanetti. p. 4.
  5. ^ Reilly, John (1859). The people's history of Manchester. Simpkin (London) and Heywood (Lancashire). Retrieved 30 April 2012.
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Manchester Ordsall Chord rail link completed BBC News 9 November 2017
  8. ^ "'YAPPY Index' Reveals Nation's Next Property Hotspots" (DOC). Royal & Sun Alliance. Retrieved 12 June 2007.[dead link]
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 April 2009. Retrieved 26 March 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/LAN/Salford/StClement.shtml
  11. ^ UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  12. ^ "St Joseph's RC Primary School Ordsall". Ofsted. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
  13. ^ "St Joseph's RC Primary School" (HTTP). Ofsted. Retrieved 8 May 2012.

External links[edit]