Bury (//, locally also //) is a town in Greater Manchester, England, on the River Irwell. It lies 5.5 miles (8.9 km) east of Bolton, 5.9 miles (9.5 km) west-southwest of Rochdale and 7.9 miles (12.7 km) north-northwest of Manchester. Bury is the largest administrative centre of the Metropolitan Borough of Bury, with an estimated population in 2015 of 78,723. The borough of Bury has a wider population of 187,474 as of 2011.
Bury resident Sir Robert Peel was a British Prime Minister who founded the Metropolitan Police and Conservative Party. The Peel Memorial stands outside Bury parish church and the Peel Monument stands on Holcombe Hill in Ramsbottom, overlooking the borough.
Bury was formed around the ancient market place but there is evidence of activity dating back to the period of Roman occupation. Bury Museum has a Roman urn containing a number of small bronze coins dated for AD 253–282 and found north of what is now the town centre. Under Agricola the road–building programme included a route from the fort at Manchester (Mamucium) to the fort at Ribchester (Bremetennacum) which ran through Radcliffe and Affetside. The modern Watling Street, which serves the Seddons Farm estate on the west side of town, follows the approximate line of the Roman road.
Before the River Irwell was diverted to its present course it flowed by the foot of the rock, from which the road 'The Rock' takes its name, which provided the platform for the fortified manor house, parish church and a few houses nestling around the village square.
The most imposing building in the early town would have been Bury Castle, a medieval fortified manor house. The castle was built in 1469 by Sir Thomas Pilkington, lord of the manors of Pilkington and Bury, and a powerful member of the Lancashire gentry. It sat in a good defensive position on high ground overlooking the Irwell Valley.
The Pilkington family suffered badly in the Wars of the Roses when, despite geography, they supported the House of York. When Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, Thomas Pilkington was captured and later executed. The outcome of the battle was the Lancastrian Duke of Richmond being crowned Henry VII by Sir William Stanley. As a reward for the support of his family, Thomas Stanley was created Earl of Derby and, amongst other lands, the confiscated Pilkington estate in Bury was presented to him.
The ancestral home of the Earls of Derby is Knowsley Hall on the outskirts of Liverpool. The family maintains a connection with Bury in various ways—the Derby High School is named after them. When the school opened in 1959 the 18th Earl of Derby was patron and the school's badge is based on the Earl's coat of arms. The 15th and 16th Earls were both supporters of Bury Grammar School, both financially and in terms of land, and one of the school houses is named Derby in their honour. The town was formerly home to the Derby Hall and the Derby Hotel.
Between 1801 and 1830, the population of the town more than doubled from 7,072 to 15,086. This was the time when the factories, mines and foundries, with their spinning machines and steam engines, began to dominate the landscape.
Probate evidence from the 17th century and the remains of 18th century weavers' cottages in Elton, on the west side of Bury, indicate that domestic textile production was an important factor in the local economy at a time when Bury's textile industry was dominated by woollens, and based upon the domestic production of yarn and cloth, as well as water-powered fulling mills.
Development was swift in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The establishment in 1773 by the family of Sir Robert Peel of Brooksbottom Mill in Summerseat, north of the town, as a calico printing works marked the beginning of the cotton industry in Bury. By the early 19th century, cotton was the predominant textile industry, with the Rivers Roch and Irwell providing power for spinning mills and processing water for the finishing trades. Development was further promoted when the town was linked to the national canal network by the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal, fully opened in 1808. The canal was provided with water from Elton Reservoir, fed by aqueducts from a weir on the Irwell, north of what is now the Burrs Country Park. The Burrs is also the site of another mill developed by the Peel family, first founded in 1790. The remains are displayed for the public. There were seven cotton mills in Bury by 1818 and the population grew from 9,152 in 1801 to 58,029 in 1901.
Following this, railways were opened, linking the town from Bury Bolton Street railway station to Manchester (via Prestwich and Radcliffe, to Rawtenstall and to Accrington. From the Knowsley Street railway station there were connections to the neighbouring mill towns of Bolton, Heywood and Rochdale. As well as the many cotton mills, other industries which thrived included paper–making, calico printing and some light engineering. The town expanded to incorporate the former townships of Elton, Walmersley and Heap, and rows of terraced houses encircled the town centre by the turn of the 19th century. Districts such as Freetown, Fishpool and Pimhole were transformed from farmers' fields to rows of terraces beside the factories and mills.
The houses were of the most limited kind, without basic facilities, sewers or proper streets. The result was the rapid spread of disease and high mortality rates in crowded areas. In 1838, out of 1,058 working class houses in Bury investigated by the Manchester Statistical Society, 733 had 3–4 people in each bed, 207 had 4–5, and 76 had 5–6. Social reformers locally and nationally were concerned about such issues, including Edwin Chadwick. One report that prepared the ground for the reform of public health matters, commissioned by then Prime Minister, Sir Robert Peel, asked local doctors for information. King Street, Bury was highlighted. It had 10 houses, each with one bedroom, and a population of 69. The average age of death in Bury was 13.8 years. Towns like Bury were likened to 'camps' where newcomers sought work in mill, mine or forge. Many, often from Ireland, found shelter in lodging houses. 38 in Bury were surveyed. 73% had men and women sharing beds indiscriminately, 81% were filthy and the average was 5.5 persons to a bed.
Although Bury had few of the classic late 19th century spinning mills that were such a feature of other Lancashire towns, a group known as Peel Mills are still in use at Castlecroft Road. Immediately north of the town centre, their name is another reminder of the link with the Peel family.
In 1688 Prince William of Orange (later King William III) landed at Brixham, Devon. He was met by a number of noblemen, who were then commissioned to raise regiments to help him oppose James II. Colonel Sir Robert Peyton raised a regiment containing six independent companies in the Exeter area. This regiment evolved to become the Lancashire Fusiliers: following successful recruiting a regimental depot was established at Wellington Barracks in 1881.
The post-war period saw a major decline in the cotton industry and, in common with many neighbouring towns, Bury's skyline was soon very different, with countless factory chimneys being pulled down and the associated mills closing their doors for ever. The old shopping area around Princess Street and Union Square was demolished in the late 1960s, and a concrete precinct emerged to replace it. This development was replaced by the Mill Gate Shopping Centre in 1995.
In 2010 a £350m large shopping area opened up around the Rock. The main street is populated mainly by independent shops and food outlets. At the top end of the street, though, is a shopping area with a multi screen cinema, bowling alley, and department stores including Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, Boots UK, Clark's, Poundland, the Body Shop and Warren James Jewellers.
Bury also benefited from other facilities in the early 2010s including a new medical centre and office accommodation close to Bury Town Hall. A decision by Marks and Spencer to vacate its store in the Mill Gate Shopping Centre and move into a new larger one on The Rock emphasised a change of clientele in the town.
The town centre is famous for the traditional market, with its "world famous" black pudding stalls. Bury Market was also once famous for its tripe, although this has declined in recent decades. The Bury Black Pudding Co, owned by the Chadwick family, provides black pudding to retailers such as Harrods and other supermarkets, and the market is a destination for people from all over Greater Manchester and beyond. The last 30 years have seen the town develop into an important commuter town for neighbouring Manchester. Large scale housing development has taken place around Unsworth, Redvales, Sunnybank, Brandlesholme, Limefield, Chesham and Elton. The old railway line to Manchester Victoria closed in 1990 and was replaced by the light rapid transit system Metrolink in 1992. The town was also linked to the motorway network with the opening of the M66, accessed from the east side of the town, in 1978.
The town was initially a parish, then a select vestry with a board of guardians for the poor. Improvement commissioners were added before the borough charter was granted in 1876. In 1889, the town's status was raised to that of a county borough of Lancashire.
The coat of arms was granted in 1877 and its symbols represent local industry. In the quarters are representations of the anvil (for forging), the golden fleece (the wool industry), a pair of crossed shuttles (the cotton industry) and a papyrus plant (the paper industry). Above them are a closed visor capped by a mayfly and two red roses. The Latin motto "Vincit Omnia Industria" translates as "work conquers all".
With the passage of the Local Government Act 1972, Bury merged with the neighbouring municipal boroughs of Radcliffe and Prestwich, together with the urban districts of Whitefield, Tottington and Ramsbottom in 1974 to become the Metropolitan Borough of Bury. The borough is part of the metropolitan county of Greater Manchester.
On 3 July 2008, a referendum was held in the borough to decide whether it should be ruled by a directly elected mayor. The proposal was rejected by the voters.
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Bury is located on the edge of the western Pennines in North West England, in the northern part of the Greater Manchester Urban Area. Its position on the River Irwell has proved important in its history and development. Flowing from north to south, the river divides the town into two parts on the east and west sides of the valley respectively. The town centre sits close to, and above, the river on the east side. Bury Bridge is a key bridging point, linking the east side of town and the town centre with the western suburbs and Bolton beyond. Other bridges across the river are few—there is one at Radcliffe Road to the south and one at Summerseat to the north. There is a bridge at the Burrs, but it serves a cul-de-sac and does not allow full east–west access. To the south, the main tributary (the River Roch, flowing from the east) joins the Irwell close to another significant bridging point, Blackford Bridge. This carries the main road south (the A56) towards Manchester.
Bury experiences a warm temperate climate with warm summers and cool winters owing to the shielding effect of the Western Pennine Moors. Summer is the driest time of the year with low rainfall. Bury rarely experiences temperatures over 30 °C (86 °F), due to oceanic north easterly winds. In summer, the temperature is warm and Bury experiences much sun. Winters are cool; temperatures can drop below freezing between December and March. There is not much extreme weather in Bury; floods are rare since the town is on higher ground, although flood is occasionally seen in Ramsbottom. Early summer thunderstorms bring high rainfall.
|Population growth in Bury since 1901|
|Source: Vision of Britain|
Attractions in Bury include:
Bury is home to several fine sculptures and pieces of public art. Edward Hodges Baily's 1851 statue of Sir Robert Peel stands in the centre of town, while Lutyens' Lancashire Fusiliers War Memorial can be found outside the Fusilier Museum. George Frampton's 'cheering fusilier', a tribute to those who died in the Boer War, stands in Whitehead Gardens near the town hall. The Kay Monument, a solid pavilion with a stone dome capped with a bronze Fame, commemorates John Kay, the inventor of the flying shuttle which revolutionised the weaving industry. Designed by William Venn Gough in 1908, it holds a number of sculpted bronze plaques by John Cassidy. Contemporary works include Ron Silliman's text piece From Northern Soul (Bury Neon) at Bury Interchange.
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Between 1903 and 1949, the Bury Corporation Tramways network served the town.
Bury Bolton Street railway station, first opened in 1846 and substantially rebuilt in the 1880s and again in the 1950s, is now home to the East Lancashire Railway, a heritage railway which serves Heywood, Ramsbottom and Rawtenstall, but which does not provide a regular commuter service. The station is the original railway station of Bury, and it was a mainline station until 1980, although after December 1966 passenger services were reduced to a commuter service to Manchester only (formerly there were services to Ramsbottom, Rawtenstall and Bacup to the north of Bury also from Bolton Street station).
Bury was served by two major railway stations between 1848 and 1970, when Bury Knowsley Street railway station was closed. Bury Knowsley Street station had passenger services travelling east–west through Bury, connecting the town directly to both Bolton and Heywood. After October 1970 services to and from Manchester were the only passenger rail services connecting Bury to the national rail network. Bury to Manchester Victoria rail services were provided by Class 504 units, which were third-rail operated, in the 1970s and 1980s. Bury Interchange, opened in March 1980 close to the site of the former Knowsley Street station (which was demolished in the early-1970s); it was the replacement for the Bolton Street railway station (which was subsequently taken over the East Lancashire Railway heritage line in 1987), and initially incorporated a railway station, with services to Manchester Victoria, and a bus station. Third-rail powered heavy rail passenger services integrated with the national rail network ceased in 1991, with Metrolink taking over the line and trams operating the line since April 1992. Bury has therefore not had a conventional heavy rail link to the national network since 1991.
First Greater Manchester and Rosso operate most bus services around Bury, connecting with destinations within Greater Manchester, Rossendale, Accrington and Burnley. The bus station is connected to the Bury Interchange Metrolink tram stop, to provide a vast complex of inter-modal transport. There is also a free car park at the rear of the complex and a cycle hub for parking bikes during the day. The station is located in the centre of Bury, close to Bury Market, the Millgate Shopping Centre, the Rock and the main square.
Bury F.C. is the town's local football club. Bury currently plays in League One, the third tier of English football. The team's home ground since its formation in 1885 has been Gigg Lane. The club enjoys a moderate but loyal fanbase, with average attendances over the last couple of seasons recorded as 3,774 and 3,750 respectively.
The club was established in 1885 and in 1889 they finished as runners-up in the inaugural season of the Lancashire League. They were elected to the Football League Second Division in 1894, at the same time as Manchester City. They would be promoted to Division One at the end of their first season, beating Liverpool in a play-off. More success came in 1900 when the club won the FA Cup, followed by a further win in 1903. On the second occasion the team beat Derby County 6–0—a record victory for a Cup Final that still stands. The most recent run of success was in 1996 and 1997, when the club was promoted from Football League Division Three and Football League Division Two in successive seasons, having been champions in each division.
The club currently (2017-18) plays in League One, with a thriving Youth and Centre of Excellence department. The club has produced players such as David Nugent, Simon Whaley and Colin Kazim-Richards. Former legends include free scoring Lenell John-Lewis, old timers Norman Bullock and Henry Cockburn, Neville Southall, Dean Kiely, Lee Dixon, Colin Bell, Terry McDermott, Alec Lindsay, Trevor Ross and John McGrath.
Gigg Lane was used by F.C. United of Manchester of the Northern Premier League Premier Division. FC United is a breakaway group of former Manchester United fans adhering to the anti Malcolm Glazer movement and outright commercialism in modern football. F.C. United's attendances were lower than those of Bury. Until 2002 Manchester United Reserves were also hosted at Gigg Lane in Bury.
The Lancashire Spinners are a basketball team based in Bury. They compete in the second tier English Basketball League Division 1, and have done so since promotion from Division 2 in 2015. The club have close ties with nearby Myerscough College.
The Met arts centre, based in the Derby Hall on Market Street, is a small performing arts venue promoting a programme of theatre, music and comedy events. The Met has hosted famous comedy acts such as Peter Kay, Jason Manford, Steve Coogan and Eddie Izzard in their days before fame.
The Fusilier Museum, home to the collection of the Lancashire Fusiliers, commemorating over three hundred years of the regiment's history. The museum occupies the former School of Arts and Crafts on Broad Street.
The award-winning Bury Transport Museum, part of the East Lancashire Railway, holds a fine collection of vintage vehicles and interactive displays. It is housed in the Grade II listed, beautifully restored, 1848 Castlecroft Goods Shed. In 2011 Bury Transport Museum won a National Railway Heritage Award.
The 2008 Mercury Music Prize winning group Elbow, fronted by Guy Garvey, hails from Bury and in 2009 the group was awarded the Freedom of the Borough after their 2008 classic album Seldom Seen Kid won several accolades including a Brit Award and Mercury Prize.
Bury hosts several music festivals yearly, including the 'Glaston-Bury' festival on the August bank holiday weekend, and the Ramsbottom Music Festival, closing the festival season in mid September. While Glaston-Bury hosts mainly local/upcoming bands, Ramsbottom Music Festival hosts a wider range of talent, including bands such as Soul 2 Soul and The Proclaimers. The festival also has a popular silent disco, where DJs battle for the larger audience. For the past two years, this battle has largely been dominated by the DJ team BABs, a brother and sister partnership from the local village of Edenfield.
Bury is known for its black puddings so much so, that it is not uncommon to see it marketed as "Bury Black Pudding" on a menu. Bury simnel cake is a variant of the cake originating in Bury. The town was also notable for tripe, though there is little demand for this in modern times.
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Bury is twinned with:
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