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Walkden is a town within the metropolitan borough of the City of Salfordmarker, in Greater Manchestermarker, England. It is west-northwest of Salfordmarker, and west-northwest of Manchestermarker.

Historically a part of Lancashiremarker, Walkden was once a centre for coal mining and textile manufacture.

According to the United Kingdom Census 2001, Walkden had a total resident population of 38,685.

History

The term Walkden or Walkeden has been in existence since at least the 13th century. It was used in documents dating back to 1246. After a court case in 1313 over a dispute involving land, a jury decided that Walkden was too small to be considered a hamlet or a town but was "only a place in Farnworth". In 1765 'Walkden Moor' was the subject of a parliamentary Enclosure Act.

Walkden's industrial history links are mainly to coal mining, but also to cotton mills. Underground canals still link Walkden to Worsleymarker (famous due to the Bridgewater Canal), which were used to transport coal from the mines in Walkden until the railways were used as an improved form of transportation. There is a railway stationmarker which is mainly used by commuters. This station was for many years known as Walkden High Level to differentiate it from the now demolished Walkden Low Level railway station, opened in 1875 and closed in 1954. Walkden Low Level connected Bolton with the main Manchester-Liverpool route. This line also had railway stations at Roe Green, Worsleymarker and Montonmarker (Ecclesmarker).

The monument in St Paul's Churchyard, close to the town centre, was erected in 1868 in memory of the Countess of Ellesmere. It was originally located in the town centre where the A6, A575 and B5232 meet but was moved in 1968 due to traffic congestion, into the churchyard. Over time, four of the angels on the monument went missing. Not all of them have been found, and very recently, a project was completed to restore the stone monument, clean it and protect it. A plaque was added and a small metal fence erected around the monument in an effort to protect it from vandals. The work was finished around September 2006.

Governance

Until 1894, the majority of Walkden lay within the ancient ecclesiastical Parish of Ecclesmarker, within the Hundred of Salfordmarker, although some parts of Walkden; including Linnyshawmarker and Toppings Bridge, lay within the Parish of Deanemarker.

Walkden was one of several areas amalgamated into the newly created City of Salfordmarker metropolitan district of Greater Manchestermarker in April 1974, as part of the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972, having previously formed part of the Worsley Urban District in the administrative county of Lancashiremarker.

Walkden, which forms part of the Worsley parliamentary consistituencymarker, is divided by three electoral wards; Little Hulton, Walkden North and Walkden South. Between 1885 and 1983 Walkden lay in the now defunct Farnworth constituency. Prior to that, from 1868-1885, it lay within the South East Lancashire constituency.

Geography

Education

Walkden has several primary schools, three high schools and a sixth form college. Walkden High School, St. George's RC High School and Harrop Fold Specialist Arts College. St George's will be being demolished in near future (2010 if Councils plans go ahead) and will not be rebuilt. However, Walkden High will be rebuilt with the same name, but with a larger building, thereby increasing its pupil capacity.

St. Paul's Crompton St. C of E Primary School is a primary school in Walkden. Serving students ages 3–11, the school has approximately 300 students.

A number of the town's primary schools are church schools. They include: St. Paul's, Crompton Street and St Paul's, Heathside, which are both Church of England schools. Christ the King is the Roman Catholic primary school for Walkden, Worsleymarker and Roe Green. In addition there are three county primary schools - they are North Walkden Primary School in the north of the town and Mesne Lea Primary School and James Brindley Primary School in south Walkden.

Salford Collegemarker, a vocational post-16 college, has its main facilities located in Walkden at its Worsley Campus on Walkden Road, close to the railway stationmarker.

Transport

Walkden has extensive transport links. The local railway stationmarker is located on Walkden Road and is a five-minute walk from the town centre. According to the latest figures, it is used by over 150,000 passengers annually. There are twice-hourly daytime services to both Manchestermarker and Wiganmarker, from where there are connecting services to Manchester Airportmarker and the rest of the UK. This is reduced to an hourly service each way in the evenings. There is no Sunday service from the station.The A6 runs through the centre of Walkden and the East Lancashire Road (A580) runs parallel to Walkden, with connections to the M60marker ring-road and the motorway network. The M61 in Walkden is in the Guinness Book of Records for being the widest section of motorway in Britain, (there are 17 lanes side by side at Linnyshawmarker Moss). There are also extensive and frequent bus services, mainly operated by First Manchester, linking the town with Manchestermarker, Boltonmarker and Leighmarker. Services include the 36 and 37 routes between Bolton and Manchester via Farnworthmarker (37), Little Hultonmarker (36) and Swintonmarker. Both services run a Monday-Saturday daytime service of every 10 minutes.

Economy

In the centre of Walkden is the local shopping precinct named the Ellesmere Centre. It adjoins the retail park and was built as part of the same development. At present, the centre is undergoing substantial rebuilding as part of the Tescomarker redevelopment. The centre now has only two entrances (previously, it had three) - the main Bolton Road entrance remains unchanged, but the North West (Tesco) and North East entrances have been replaced with an entrance at the South West of the centre, facing McDonalds.

At the Northern end of the Centre is a Post Office, where one can purchase many postal and Philately-related items, along with foreign exchange services. This Post Office's name is Worsley Post Office, which seems a little odd when it would normally beexpectedt to be called Walkden PO. There is also an Boots Chemist, a 'Peacocks' clothing store, a newsagent and a pet shop.

Above this end of the Centre is the clock-tower. This contains a replica of the famous Lady Bourke Clock, once standing proudly on the NCB Offices in Bridgewater Road(since demolished). The original clock was used to alert coal miners to the beginning or end of their shifts. Its bell would toll, supposedly loud enough to catch the attention of the miners. However, workers claimed that they could not hear it strike once at 1pm to mark the end of their dinnertime and the resumption of the working day. Therefore the clock was altered to strike 13 times at 1pm, a tradition carried over to the new replica clock.

At the end of this section, there are two moving walkways to take people to the first floor. These were installed as part of an extension to the centre, which replaced the previous Market Hall and Pembroke Hall concert / dining / theatre venue. The first floor (which was part of the original centre) is, currently, mostly empty. There are however two cafes; "Granny's Pantry" and "Lowry's" along with a smattering of other shops, including "Blades" barber's shop, a school uniform supply shop, a ladies clothing and shoe shop and a shop called Clouds which sells a variety of items ranging from candals and incense to aromatherapy items to tarot and oracle. visit the shop's website for more details

In the middle of the centre, there is a large "market square". The new entrance leads into this square from the Tesco access road (opposite McDonalds). "Quality Save" is the largest shop in this section. Many of the smaller shops which were displaced by the redevelopment have been resited here.

From this square leads the main 'street' of the Ellesmere centre with shops to the left and right and smaller shops running down the centre, so as to make two main walkways. Shops include 'Greggs the Baker', a cobbler/key cutter, a newsagent, and three Charity shops. There are various crossing points between the two walkways and there is an open-plan feel. At the edge of the square there is a lift. Walking down the walkways, there are small sets of stairs to lead to the first floor. As you progress, you head towards the other entrance to the Ellesmere Centre, which opens onto Bolton Road. At the entrance there are two more moving walkways, again leading to the first floor.

Ellesmere Retail Park

Ellesmere Retail Park was built at the same time as the Ellesmere Centre's transformation from outdoor shopping precinct (named the St. Ouen Precinct) to indoor covered shopping centre. The retail park plays host to several tenants including a 24-hour Tescomarker superstore (currently undergoing substantial redevelopment due to complete around July 2010), a Total Fitness gym and a Buckingham Bingo hall. Kwik Save was also a tenant until it closed in 2005, leaving the northern side of the park looking rather empty apart from a sports store JD Sports), an 'Instore' and a Blockbuster video store. There is also a small pond in the northern side of the retail park, mainly used by anglers. At the southern end of the park, there are three fast-food restaurants; the ubiquitous McDonald's, KFC and a Subway, along with local businesses and services (Tanning, Sex Shop, Furniture, Clothing and a NHS Clinic) some of whom were displaced from the Market Hall when the Ellesmere Centre underwent further expansion. Until Tesco has completed redevelopment, Tesco have moved into a Temporary Store at the former site of Kwik Save from May 11 2009 until the new Tesco has finished construction.

Bolton Road

Bolton Road is one of the main roads through Walkden, leading to Boltonmarker via Farnworthmarker. On it are numerous banks and building societies, including Halifax, Natwest, Lloyds TSB, Nationwide and Abbey . There is also a Sue Ryder Care charity shop, a handbag shop and a take away pizzeria. Bolton Road also contains various local businesses such as PC Concepts and Straight To The Point Tattooing & Body Piercing Studio along with a newsagent and auto-parts store. A new Health Centre and library called the 'Walkden Gateway' opened here in 2008. It houses the new Walkden library and some NHS services, including physiotherapy and a sexual health clinic.

Blackleach Country Park

Blackleach Country Park can be found in the old industrial area of Walkden. It was originally created to be used by factories, but soon the factories moved and the reservoir was left. The lake was split in half. One half is now home to a wildlife reserve, whilst the other still acts purely as a reservoir.

One of the more famous factories of the Blackleach site was a factory which produced dyes. Adjacent to the factory was a large mound of waste, known locally as "Stink Bomb Hill", due to the strong sulpherous smell that emanated from it. Some of the dyes were accidentally released into the air, and one of the hills in the park became a striking purple at its peak. Rumours spread about the hill and people began taking children, suffering with whooping cough, up the hill, believing it would cure them. White clothes hung up on neighbouring washing lines would too be tinged purple.

Religion

A number of religions are represented in Walkden. There are two Anglican churches, St. Paul's and St. John the Baptist. There are two Methodist churches, Walkden Methodist Church and Worsley Road North Methodist Church. Christ the King Roman Catholic Church serves the Catholic communities of Walkden, Roe Green and Worsley. There is also a Congregational Church. Nearby Little Hulton and Swinton have local congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses, while Swinton also has a stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The Salvation Army can be found in Farnworthmarker, with other branches in Swinton and Eccles.

Notable people



References

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External links




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