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Prestwich: The Manchester Beat Part Two

John McCready takes Bury New Road to the western side of a fascinating suburb

Written by . Published on November 25th 2013.


Prestwich: The Manchester Beat Part Two
 

THERE are two arterial routes out of the Deansgate that will lead you to Prestwich. Neither are glamorous but, both are interestingly and intensely urban. I chose the western road, Bury New Road, past that long row of bargain bucket menswear wholesalers and the brooding towers and turrets of Strangeways. This continues uphill through Lower then Higher Broughton to where you’ll encounter a place where the rules are different. 

"You can get a three or four bed house here still for a similar amount to the cost of a two bed terrace in Chorlton or Didsbury,” says Campbell. "You have to look a little harder here for the good places to eat and drink- they're not all laid in a row for you. 

Here old ladies dripping in thick old gold lunch at Panama Hattys (Unit 2, The Radius, Fairfax Road) just steps away from shell-suited scratchers counting copper outside 99p Universe (Unit 11, Longfield Centre). A place where England's greatest living poet, a long term resident, can be found most days skulking in the shadows of an exact replica of a sixties council estate boozer (The Forresters Arms, 444 Bury New Road). This is a few doors down from a shop where you can snap up (yes, I know) a crocodile (Viper And Vine, 404-406 Bury New Road). 

This in turn is over the road from a Michelin recommended (and surely soon to be starred?) restaurant Aumbry (2 Church Lane) and just down the lane from the parish church whose 12th century graveyard holds the fictional remains of Corrie's Mike Baldwin and Fred Elliot (I say Fred Elliot). 

Meanwhile all of the area was the stamping ground of Howard Jacobson, one of the UK's most acclaimed writers and a Man-Booker prize winner. Read his Mighty Waltzer for stories of the area.

Prestwich - Howard JacobsonPrestwich - Howard Jacobson

Prestwich has money 

Prestwich has money - that's clear from the impressive housing stock which peels back right along the Bury New Road. None of it is dilapidated and much of the larger examples still hold single families - invisible beyond long driveways off leafy lanes. 

Out on the main road, where the well to do come to shop, they may treat themselves to a Two Can Dine from a huge Marks and Spencer (492 Bury New Road) heading toward the deafening M60 at the top end of the New Road. But unlike Didsbury, or even Chorlton, no one here wants to sit outside a coffee shop to inform the world they don't mind paying three quid for a cup cake, or clothes shop for anything more that a warm pullover and some sensible shoes. There is no showy spending here and precious little sign of that changing. Prestwich may have money but it’s more careful. 

The sparse and bare brick modern Cuckoo (395-7 Bury New Road) has been open a mere twelve weeks and suggests the arrival of a newer kind of Prestwich resident - one who likes his pork pulled and his onion chutney caramelised - according to an inviting and extensive daytime menu. 

Paul Campbell, an online vinyl record retailer runs his Vox Pop business from premises nearby and has lived here all his life. He welcomes the arrival of a decent independent cappuccino - beyond the perfectly useful ones served by a brace of butty shops clogged at lunch time by men in yellow tabards with hard hats waiting impatiently on bacon on white with brown. 

"You can get a three or four bed house here still for a similar amount to the cost of a two bed terrace in Chorlton or Didsbury,” says Campbell. "You have to look a little harder here for the good places to eat and drink- they're not all laid in a row for you. But they are here. And there's history too".

Authentic Tudor from 1974 

He points me to the uniquely named Railway and Naturalist (464 Bury New Road) a short walk up the road and across the treacherous motorway - feeding the fearsome main drag that's not to be attempted without the aid of a pedestrian crossing. 

The pub has character for sure but would probably frighten the life out of the average media type used to Burton Road manner. There is some strange, large white tiling and beams that I'm pretty sure aren't Tudor. It looks a bit like my mum's front room in 1974.

Railway and NaturalistRailway and Naturalist

Sky Sports holds sway and John, enjoying what could well be his first of the day, tells me he's been coming in here "fifty year". I ask him about the history of the place in the manner of some urban Tony Robinson. He keeps one eye on the big telly on the wall and directs me to a framed picture in the back room which will tell me all I need to know. 

I feel about as 'local' as one of those students in American Werewolf in London. In the back room, beyond a bijou snooker table you might buy your younger brother from Argos, a fading photocopy tells the tale of Railway and Naturalist - opened 163 years ago in 1850 and so called for being the haunt of railway workers who built the line to Radcliffe (opened in 1879) and local Naturalists who, in the late 19th century, would scour Prestwich's plentiful green space, far beyond the burgeoning industrial hum of Manchester, for evidence of newly-discovered and rare species. Fascinating stuff which might be used to weave a lucrative thematic tale, perhaps also being reason to refurb this homely space into something 'heritage' related. It isn’t going to happen soon. 

Milky Dreams and kosher burgers 

Prestwich proper though, begins where the road out of Manchester intersects with King's Road. Here, you're hardly buying the tongue in cheek reputation of the area as a 'posh Salford'- though there may be a hint of luxury to be found beyond the (Monday afternoon shuttered) doors of Milky Dream (23 Bury New Road). 

I had imagined it to be some kind of breast feeding emporium but discovered on closer inspection a Kosher takeaway. Chris, chef at Rare Grill restaurant (25B Bury New Road) is doing his pre-lunch prep and tells me their posh Kosher burger menu is popular with locals and that the area is "just about all kinds of people getting on. People here won't be fooled by decor and design. They want quality and they will pay for it if it's right." 

Rare Grill has gone ahead anyway and created a clean-lined modern space together with a reasonably priced menu that would raise no eyebrows in Hale. I leave Chris to his Kosher onions and head across to Judaica World (2-4 Kings Road) which was maybe once a religious bookshop. 

Now you can buy a cornucopia of cultural markers - from nine-branched Menorah candlesticks and Kippah hats to stamps, a newspaper with yesterday's word from Tel Aviv, or a kosher Smirk chocolate bar. 

Prestwich as a whole is home to many of Manchester's estimated community of 40,000 Jews and the largest British Jewish community outside London. I can't tell you how many local Jews have enjoyed a Smirk themselves, but I can tell you it's a bit like a Mars Bar. Fine with me. 

Two old fellers at the counter appeared to be counting money from various collection boxes in the pursuit of some change. I introduce myself several times, each more loudly, but they shrink further into their earnest task without speaking. Was this a sign of Charedi, an Orthodox and inward looking form of the religion that 98 per cent of the local community is said adhere to?  I'd say they just couldn't be arsed, to be honest, with some nosey sod from something called a 'website’. 

Tea and cakes in real china cups 

I tramp uphill further in search of the true town centre. Lots of  assisted homes for the superannuated (somewhere posh where you have a flat but you have your soup in a communal area in front of Homes Under The Hammer) being promised by flashy road-side advertising and a place further on called Butt Hill Court. I'd wager its residents cannot get their keys in the outside entrance for laughing about that each day. 

The historic St Mary's church tower can be spied beyond The Clough. That's not a football manager but more green space. It's uninvitingly damp today but on a sunny morning it sings out - an impressive civic garden and park mapped out in 1906. Prestwich is blessed by good walks, Heaton Park, to the east, The Clough to the west. And unlike the flat byways of south Manchester, these places have proper topography.

Prestwich - The CloughPrestwich - The Clough

A big lump of growing brick work featuring the Aldi signage is in construction on the other side of the road - just near Holt's neat and proper 'pub-like' Red Lion (398 Bury New Road). 

Julie at the quaintly charming Time For Tea (416 Bury New Road) just beyond it is surprisingly looking forward to the opening in early 2014 as its car park will mean her customers can drive by for a brew from a real china cup. I take tea with Julie as she tells me hyper busy Bury New Road has never been an easy place to stop and park. She has, hence, never benefitted much from passing trade. 

Julie does lovely looking home-made cakes and stews for a regular clientele. It's thankfully the kind of check table-clothed mini home-spun front room where there's little point in asking for the wi-fi password. Julie has a Costa in the precinct a few hundred yards away to compete with and lots of sit-in butty shops like The Quirky Cafe (429 Bury New Road). She tells me a cooperative community supermarket idea is looking for funding and has its eye on a Blockbuster space further up the road- with a view to creating something like Chorlton's defining Unicorn. A sign that former tough times are changing, she believes, and an example of a proud and spirited local community. 

The Sorry Mum Tattoo Studio and pizza wars 

Not much sign of that change at the mouth of the Longfield Shopping Centre, just a scones throw away from Julie's lovely little traditional respite and opposite the brilliantly named Sorry Mum Tattoo Studio (449a Bury New Road). There are pigeons in flight overhead and pound shops galore. Bet Fred is thriving next to Iceland and the  'chazzer' shops are revving up for a thrifty Christmas- with window displays of old board games and jigsaws-with 'all 1001 pieces complete'. An old man crosses my path with the demeanour of someone who has just discovered he's won the lottery but lost his ticket. 

Amazingly, this depressing recession hit black hole gives way to an open square, the aforesaid Costa, a trusty Croma (The Radius, 30 Longfield Centre) and Panama Hattys scrapping it out side by side for the posh pizza pound. I survey its acres of plate glass window on the way up to the Metrolink stop.

CromaCroma

Hard not to make the instant judgement that the well-heeled mums and daughters, middle-aged sisters and moneyed looking OAPS inside clearly aren't short of the price of a panna cotta. I hole up temporarily in Pinto's Sandwich Bar (3 Fairfax Road) across the way, It's an agreeable little cafe adept at a reviving brew. I see they sell tickets for Chorlton based disco enterprise Bop Local's Prestwich club night - beloved of mid-thirties to mid-fifties mums and dad who still like to cut a rug, setting off home before the babysitter wants an extra twenty quid after 1am.Their bi-monthly Bops at Heaton Park Social Club (315 Bury Old Road) are a much-needed addition to a restaurant and pub-led local evening economy. 

Top nosh, poets and ancient boozers 

But if you really want to spend some money in the evening round here, you could cross the road from Shameless Precinct and blow a couple of hundred quid with Gordo and the gang at Aumbry (2 Church Lane). Though you don't neccessarily have to raid the cashpoint to experience the skill and magic of a husband and wife chef team who both trained at Heston Blumendaft's Fat Duck. There’s a profile of the chef Mary-Ellen McTague here.

Prestwich - Mary Ellen McTaguePrestwich - Mary Ellen McTague

Julie at Time For Tea says the £25 a head Tuesday 'taster' menu is, "to die for". I know the place has been reviewed to death by palettes greater than mine. 

Over at the Forresters Arms, I survey the red-nosed boozers enjoying a different kind of amuse bouche and possibly starting the long road to chips and gravy at 11pm. 

I wonder if Bet Fred in the precinct have odds on anyone having ever knocked back a pint here before nipping over the road for a scallop ceviche - a journey that would be the very essence of the Prestwich experience. 

Perhaps The Fall's Mark E Smith, the greatest living English poet cited above (reputed to frequent the Forresters) has the dosh, you'd guess, in his snazzy Lakeland leather jacket. 

Two old fellers in the corner, Tom and George are mid-way through a glass of Holts' finest. They say they've never heard of him before George's bitter fog subsides temporarily. "I know who you mean! Off the telly. Singer! " Tom is none the wiser.

Mark E SmithMark E Smith

You can see why Smith would hole up here. An invisible means of surveying the mood of the modern working (and non-working class). Source material for the Hip Priest's latter day songs and masterpieces like 'Bury'. You can just see him here, scowling magnificently despite a stubborn midday winter sun flooding the room through smudgy windows. Prestwich makes the Fall make even more sense. A wonderful and frightening world reflected in the fact the town had an asylum that was once the biggest in Europe, the anti-Didsbury defiant nature of the place, even at its most moneyed, and the 'Witch Way' Buses speeding ruthlessy up the killer main drag to Pendle and the Luciferian Lancashire hills beyond. 

Ambling down Church Lane for a swift half at the Church Inn (40 Church Lane) right next to St Mary’s church at the bottom, you're struck by an immediate dose of relative silence away from the main road. A tidy and anonymous recent looking refurb makes it look like it could be anywhere in rural Lancashire. There is no sense of a history proudly announced to stretch back to 1600 on the sign outside.

The Church InnThe Church Inn

The Church of St Mary The Virgin itself dates back to possibly 1200. It's a favouite location of Corrie directors. Walking across the grave stones with the not so distant rush of M60 traffic an ambient backdrop, it's easy to lapse into a reflective reverie while feeling the weight of the history here......Jason Grimshaw getting out of the bog window on bottling it at his wedding to Sarah. Fred Elliot and Mike Baldwin somewhere here too. Makes you think. 

Aliens, lunatics and scorpions... 

The real history of the town which grew around the church has its origin in Saxon and Norman settlements. The name itself seems to relate to it being known as a retreat for priests. Prestwich seemed to miss the start of the Industrial Revolution and thrived instead as pastoral land suitable for raising animals and sheep in particular. No wonder naturalists were drawn to its peaceful fields. The sheep story may go some way to explain its association with traditional crafts of weaving and cloth dyeing. In 1828 a route close to an old Roman road and the track of the current Bury New Road became a turnpike connecting Prestwich with the wealthy of Manchester who moved in and built many of its fine houses. A Lunatic Asylum founded in 1848 became the largest in Europe by 1900. The madness in my area, indeed.

Prestwich - the old loony binPrestwich - the old loony bin

Which may explain the unnaturally extensive collection of vintage Star Wars figures. They fill up every corner Endless Music (418 Bury New Road) that isn't already piled high with records and music memoribilia. This used to be a confusing and untidy place to find anything but, 12 years after it opened, Dylan is separate from Cohen and, thankfully , there's no space for Union J in this Mojo styled mini universe of 'real' music. Pressing the jeweller's style entry bell will gain you access to this proper spotter's treasure trove. 

Owner, Mike surveys his kingdom from behind two massive computer monitors and muses on Prestwich itself. "It seemed like it was dying a few years back. The internet, ebay and the like have really sustained me here. But I'm full at weekends and Prestwich won't give up. There are plenty of tiny little independents like me who will always hang on. And it's changing, I think. This road has history anyway. It will always be here. Along with most of us". 

I turn back towards Manchester, a straight line ahead past exotic pet shop Viper and Vine again - surely the sort of shop that might appeal to born and bred Prestwichian Victoria Wood. I decide not to bob in for a crocodile before I get a proper lead. Still, I do think I should put that Xmas Special Scorpion Starter Kit (38.99) on my list for Santa.

The Manchester Beat Part One: West Didsbury

Prestwich - the ancient parish churchPrestwich - the ancient parish church (photo by Iain Peacock @iainpics)


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67 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

IzeNovember 26th 2013.

Brilliant article - affectionate, informative and entwined with some lovely bits of humour.

1 Response: Reply To This...
crisbyNovember 27th 2013.

Spot on comment. I think I'd spend more time on this site if there was more of this kind of thing ( as there used to be in the MEN when it was a proper newspaper). Use Mr McCready as much as poss before he moves on to higher things.

AnonymousNovember 26th 2013.

In Manchester you basically reverse the London rule. i.e In London do not head South of the river. In Manchester do not head north of the city centre!

6 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 26th 2013.

Cheeky git, you ever even been to Prestwich?

Christine LawleyNovember 26th 2013.

And where might you be from, disrespectful youth ? There are some very nice parts to the north of the city - Archer Park , Alkrington, up Heywood Old Road, etc etc

tblzebraNovember 26th 2013.

Which river would that be? There are places all over Greater Manchester that have bad reputations for various reasons; Moss Side, Longsight, Gorton - aren't they South Manchester?

GimboidNovember 26th 2013.

I think Anonymous is either not from Manchester or has a very sheltered knowledge of the city.

AnonymousNovember 27th 2013.

Or he could have been making a joke...

BenbrierlyApril 24th 2014.

You should c0me to what's left of Moston for a pint, you'll love it.

StephenNovember 26th 2013.

Anonymous you are wrong. Once it was the case, but not for a long time. Because the University is on the south side, it used to be the case that when graduates decided to stay on that they moved within a few miles of campus. This had a knock on effect of making these areas young, vibrant and desirable to live in. The last housing bubble changed everything. Prestwich and Whitefield in particular are both full of ex Chorlton dwellers, who once rented there but when entering into home ownership saw better options for their buying power in North Manchester. Quite a few of my neighbours fit loosely into this category (some sold flats and then bought here). You're about 10 years out of date with that assumption.

AnonymousNovember 26th 2013.

Really glad that John is now writing for Confidential, he's a scouse diamond in the Mancunian rough.

AnonymousNovember 26th 2013.

Well I am prepared to be proved wrong but on my last visit to Prestwich in 2011 I found the place rather intimidating. I went to a nice Thai place and walked up to a bar past some very dodgy pubs. It may well be improving but didsbury/chorlton it aint!

9 Responses: Reply To This...
AndrewNovember 26th 2013.

“Didsbury & Cholton it ain’t” – are you even from Manchester? Cholton isn’t all Organic Rhubarb and Fair –Trader Dungarees you know. My advice is not to leave the house is walking past some pubs caused you so much upset.

CKRISGNovember 26th 2013.

No thai places in Prestwich...which bar, dont think you have ever been..

AnonymousNovember 26th 2013.

I was merely offering an opinion. An opinion shared by most people in Manchester. One that can be backed up by property prices, amenities, schools and restaurants all being of a considerably higher standard in the South of the City.

AndrewNovember 26th 2013.

You are obviously entitled to your opinion, but being from south Manchester originally, it does make me laugh how many people have “discovered Cholton”. I love the place, but it has, as does everywhere, more than enough undesirable types. And if we were going off “restaurants being of a higher standard” then Prestwich would beat it hands down - Aumbry. Personally I love the whole of Manchester and love the fact we have a such a diverse City and I don’t want each suburb to try and emulate another.

GimboidNovember 26th 2013.

" An opinion shared by most people in Manchester" any evidence of that or is it just your assumption, based on what people you know think?

AnonymousNovember 26th 2013.

Based on the amount of people living in the north who aspire to live in the South. And those from the south only moving there as it's cheaper due to poor schools/amenities etc.

GimboidNovember 26th 2013.

And how many is that?

AndrewNovember 26th 2013.

Anom not having ago or anything, but you seem to be stating opinion as fact without any facts.

SquirrelitoNovember 26th 2013.

Was in Prestwich village on Saturday, and you're right. Its not Chorlton as it is now, Chorlton as it was maybe 10 years ago, yeah. Still a bit rough around the edges in parts but with interesting new ventures opening and being sustained. Some of the house prices are eye-opening. There are some gorgeous neighbourhoods with prices to match. Venture closer to the city centre to Broughton Park and they're incredible. Just a 5 minute walk north west from Cheetham Hill and you're in full on millionaire's territory.

Scott WilsonNovember 26th 2013.

Proud to be a patron

Scott WilsonNovember 26th 2013.

Elbow and Nico

4 Responses: Reply To This...
Poster BoyNovember 26th 2013.

For real?

tblzebraNovember 26th 2013.

Guy Garvey lives in a fantastic Victorian Villa in Prestwich. If I told you which one, I'd have to kill you.

Cheekbones to die forNovember 26th 2013.

Guy Garvey's ok, but Nico was the VELVET bloody UNDERGROUND. So where did she live? Will you have to kill me?

StephenNovember 26th 2013.

Cheekbones. Nico lived in Manchester for years. Not sure about Prestwich though, I thought she lived in Higher Broughton?

CKRISGNovember 26th 2013.

"He points me to the uniquely named Railway and Naturalist (464 Bury New Road) a short walk up the road and across the treacherous motorway - feeding the fearsome main drag that's not to be attempted without the aid of a pedestrian crossing" Its across the road, anything north of the motorway is Whitefield.... google calling

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Jonathan Schofield - editorNovember 26th 2013.

CKRISG - I edited that bit wrongly, my fault. So I'll re-edit it to make sense. Now what do you think about the other bits between the bits of geography you disagree with?

CKRISGNovember 29th 2013.

Not a case of disagreeing JS you were wrong!!! the rest of the article, some good points, but mostly written with by someone with south Manchester rose tinted glasses, wrong on house prices, poor references to the a in general, very much point scoring to appeal to the SM readership most of whom are southern imports. All in not a good review.

Paul CarterNovember 26th 2013.

You've forgotten the Godfather of House Music! Marshall Jefferson lives in Prestwich.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
DrBassNovember 27th 2013.

Seriously? I know where Guy Garvey lives but that is way more impressive!

Daniel CoultasNovember 27th 2013.

seriously?!

AnonymousNovember 26th 2013.

'Prestwich has money'? So do parts of Cheadle/Gatley. The descendents of European Jewish immigrants have done well for themselves. A lesson for the rest of us!

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 27th 2013.

Ha, Jacobson couldn't look any more Jewish. There's a street in Prestwich that looks like a Hollywood set. Palm tree, glass and big staircase.

AnonymousJune 20th 2014.

Lovely bit of racial theory like we all have big noses..NOT nice...

Frank ShatliffNovember 26th 2013.

great the way you have put this together but come to Prestwich in June and see our carnival weekend 14th 15th June 2014 thanks

OutsiderNovember 26th 2013.

As a person who doesn't know Prestwich that well, so I suppose someone with a little perspective, I found the piece fascinating. Do more of this sort of thing.

SadieNovember 26th 2013.

As an adoptee Manc, great to read about the place I've lived for the last 4 years. As Outsider says, more like this please!

Edel MaryleeNovember 26th 2013.

Anonymous. last time I saw crime figures Prestwich and Chorlton were on a par. Granted I like some of what south Manchester has to offer, think it's totally inaccurate to say that schools and amenities (I am assuming shops/restaurants) are of a 'considerably higher standard'. Really. Lots of amenities up these parts, not all laid out as stated in the article, not all that obvious to a newcomer. Find me a Boomerang www.boomerangcentre.co.uk/… in south Manchester. A charity sensory play area, for people with disability and children, great value,, great facility. Schools also not so good as well! Show us your proof! What a statement. Funny the entire rest of Manchester survives not living in Chorlton. How do we manage it. Coming from another country I always found peoples obsession with how great certain parts of South Manchester are. They really are not THAT great. Just a teeny bit better than some other parts of Manchester. Just a little. And on some things they arent that great at all. Houses crammed onto street after street, expensive and all with the same or worse crime levels than other parts of the city, hurray. 50 seconds walk from our house is Prestwich clough. A country walk without having to drive anywhere. I'd rather be there anyday then in a queue for an overpriced cupcake.

Lewis JonesNovember 27th 2013.

Nico lived in Beechcroft with John Cooper Clarke on Sedgley Park Road. James H Reeve lived on Scholes Lane facing Sedgley Park Road. I've a feeling that The Church Inn is also host to Prestwich's longest running & original monthly Comedy Night, every 2nd Thursday

1 Response: Reply To This...
Prestwich SloopyNovember 27th 2013.

never ceases to amaze me how cheeky people can be plugging fantastic local events such as Prestwich Comedy Night, it's outrageously funny and a bargain at £6 for 3 comedians +MC, whether you live in a council house or a millionaires mansion. Prestwich is what you make of it.

Angela HiltonNovember 27th 2013.

I really, really hope we never get as knobby as Chorlton.

Jonathan SchofieldNovember 27th 2013.

Kids, kids come on. When I commissioned this I really didn't think we'd get an 'Our suburb's better than your's, nah nah-nah nah' spat. Hilarious

AnonymousNovember 27th 2013.

Can I just state that I have nothing against North Manchester whatsoever I was merely stating some home truths. Like, yes there are a few streets in Prestwich that have some big houses on them, but less than a two minute walk away you are in 'The Bronx'. Schools- areas of Trafford have the grammar school system so recieve much better results. Then you have provate schools like MGS/Withington etc etc.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
PeeksNovember 27th 2013.

The Bronx? Really? I remember as a kid thinking a couple of areas of Prestwich were a bit rough. Then I lived, and saw some actual rough places, and got a bit of perspective.

AnonymousNovember 28th 2013.

Have you checked the schools out?? - St. Monica's/St. Gabriel's - frequently top performers. There are Private Schools such as King David and Bury Grammar too. Chorlton is not in Trafford, so you are still going out of area for "much better results".

AnonymousNovember 27th 2013.

P.S Jonathan maybe a good article would be on if there is a North/South divide in the city......could start some lively debate.

Prestwich SloopyNovember 27th 2013.

Great article, good review of the New Road areas of Prestwich. I sensed a slight disturbance with the link from the Asylum to plentiful Star Wars figures. Any plans to give the Old Road & Simister the same treatment?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Prestwich SloopyNovember 27th 2013.

oh...and you skipped the Friendship & nearby restaurants when travelling to Sedgley Park. Great work though.

AnonymousNovember 27th 2013.

"shell-suited scratchers counting copper outside 99p Universe " Nice.

AnonymousNovember 27th 2013.

An entertaining read about the town I call my home, I laughed, learnt and cringed with recognised. I'm shocked though that there was no mention of the fabulous incredible edible community group, did you not spot the planters around the village?

Debbie WellsNovember 27th 2013.

Great piece - thanks MCR Confidential. So good to see something (fairly) positive about Prestwich! We've been running a very successful alternative cabaret night there (Shangri La! Prestwich plug plug....) for years which shows the appetite for culture locally and showcases national but also local talent. We've recently noticed lots of new initiatives joining the fray like Prestwich Book Festival, fantastic Poetry and Comedy nights and Northern Soul nights. Bring it on I say! We ain't Chorlton yet but we're starting to give it a good run for its money...

crisbyNovember 27th 2013.

I'd like to point out something that some of the posters here don't seem to realise, namely that Prestwich, unlike Chorlton and Didsbury, is not, and never has been, in Manchester. And I agree that it gives Chorlton a run for its money. Also, charming though Didsbury is, Prestwich has the advantage of fewer of its shops having been lost to the ubiquitous student-serving winebars etc.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
GimboidNovember 27th 2013.

No-one's mentioned it cos no-one gives a toss about such petty technicalities. At any rate it's about as close to the city centre as the other suburbs it's being compared to.

crisbyNovember 27th 2013.

Gimboid, 'petty technicalities' like local identity often matter to people. More practically, would the Clough look so nice if it were maintained by Manchester City Council? I think not; but then again, maybe Manchester residents are happy paying lower council tax than folk in Bury metro..

GimboidNovember 27th 2013.

If your 'local identity' is dependant on fairly arbitrary administrative boundaries that have only existed for 40 years, your local identity is in trouble. It takes a certain level of obtuseness to insist that somewhere like Prestwich isn't, for most practical reasons, part of the city of Manchester.

GimboidNovember 27th 2013.

And as a measure of just how abitrary those boundaries are, Prestwich WAS for a few years part of Manchester, under the the Poor Law Union, the early form of local authority. So if you're going to crow about your distinctive local identity, maybe get your facts straight?

Susan HalpernNovember 27th 2013.

I grew up in Prestwich and couldn't leave quickly enough. On the (thankfully rare) occasions when I return it seems unchanged to me - a miserable and constricted place - UGH!!

Lorna JacksonNovember 27th 2013.

You missed some great shops in Prestwich.. Ellie Magpie, Bride to Be, Luci Living Design and Jadore Vintage Clothing, all deserve a mention!!!

Karina DouglasNovember 27th 2013.

Great informative article. I challenge you to do a similar one for Newton Heath! I'd love somebody to show my childhood home in a good light! Go on, I dare you!

1 Response: Reply To This...
GimboidNovember 27th 2013.

Might be a challenge, but always good to hear positive things about maligned areas. Would you care to start yourself, Karina?

AnonymousNovember 28th 2013.

As a former Prestwich-ite (via Bury, which I also love) and now living in Sydney, I read this with misty-eyed affection. I love north Manchester for its proximity to actual, usable, wild, green spaces. Funnily enough the Sydney suburb I now live in is not unlike Prestwich, not quite the hipster paradise of the inner-inner west, but still with enough community spirit to have lots of great thriving community businesses in a city where you'll never go hungry (unless you want to eat after 9:00pm)

Graeme WrightNovember 28th 2013.

Used to live either side of Prestwich - Higher Broughton and Besses - in the eighties and Prestwich was great for drinking, eating and shopping. Never saw Mark E Smith but still good memories of The Grapes, The Church and jazz at The Red Lion. Very well written and the sort of article that MC is worth following for. Thank you Mr McCready

AnonymousNovember 28th 2013.

Actually Nico and Ten cc lived in my house in prestwich Nico was still in residence when we moved in Prestwich has a great musical heritage

AnonymousNovember 29th 2013.

I moved from London a lifetime ago and landed in PRESTWICH.....Was a secret location back those days....Not that many incomers..God knows why, as was so close to the city centre and so MUCH better than all the usual South Manchester suspects!!! Live now, just a little further in, in Broughton Park...close enough to Prestwich and the "village"..Would live nowhere else.....

A.N.DNovember 30th 2013.

Prestwich is a great place to live, Heaton park is a real bonus (biggest municipal park in Europe I believe) a wonderful huge green space that our children love. As a parent I am really impressed with all that it has to offer the children, Footlights for example has been excellent. Oh and the schools (we are currently applying for primary) are great too, we have several good schools to choose from and the picture for secondary schools is even better. Whoever the loser is that keeps on harping on about South Manchester having better amenities is simply wrong, yes you have more delis and cafes but there is more to life than that. You are living in an overcrowded fools paradise, do us all a favour and stay there.

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