Moss Side

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Moss Side
Brentwood Street in Moss Side - Manchester.jpg
Alexandra Park Estate in Moss Side, looking towards the Beetham Tower
Moss Side is located in Greater Manchester
Moss Side

 Moss Side shown within Greater Manchester
Population17,537 (Manchester City Council, 2010)
OS grid referenceSJ835955
    - London 162 mi (261 km) SE 
Metropolitan boroughManchester
Metropolitan countyGreater Manchester
RegionNorth West
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtM16, M14
Dialling code0161
PoliceGreater Manchester
FireGreater Manchester
AmbulanceNorth West
EU ParliamentNorth West England
UK ParliamentManchester Central
List of places
Greater Manchester
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Coordinates: 53°27′22″N 2°14′24″W / 53.456°N 2.240°W / 53.456; -2.240

Moss Side
Brentwood Street in Moss Side - Manchester.jpg
Alexandra Park Estate in Moss Side, looking towards the Beetham Tower
Moss Side is located in Greater Manchester
Moss Side

 Moss Side shown within Greater Manchester
Population17,537 (Manchester City Council, 2010)
OS grid referenceSJ835955
    - London 162 mi (261 km) SE 
Metropolitan boroughManchester
Metropolitan countyGreater Manchester
RegionNorth West
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtM16, M14
Dialling code0161
PoliceGreater Manchester
FireGreater Manchester
AmbulanceNorth West
EU ParliamentNorth West England
UK ParliamentManchester Central
List of places
Greater Manchester

Moss Side is an inner-city area and electoral ward of Manchester, England. It lies 1.9 miles (3.1 km) south of Manchester city centre and has a population of around 17,537. Moss Side is bounded by the neighbourhoods of Hulme to the north, Chorlton-on-Medlock, Rusholme and Fallowfield to the east, Whalley Range to the south and Old Trafford to the west.

In and around Moss Side are the public parks of Whitworth Park and Alexandra Park. The east of Moss Side is close to the Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan universities and is a popular area for students to live.[1] Between 1923 and 2003, Manchester City played at Maine Road in Moss Side.



Historically a part of Lancashire, Moss Side was formerly a rural township and chapelry within the parish of Manchester and hundred of Salford. Thought to be named after a great moss which stretched from Rusholme to Chorlton-cum-Hardy, the earliest mention of the area is in 1533 when it contained part of the estates of Trafford of Trafford.[2] Moss Side is described in the opening chapter of Elizabeth Gaskell's Mary Barton as a rural idyll with a 'deep clear pool' and an old black and white timber framed farmhouse, later identified as Pepperhill Farm.[2] Following the Industrial Revolution there was a process of unplanned urbanisation and a rapid increase in population size. The population in 1801 was 151 but by 1901 this had increased to 26,677.[2] The industrial growth of the area resulted in a densely populated area, so much so, that a part of the township of Moss Side was amalgamated into the expanding city of Manchester in 1885, with the rest joining in 1904.[3]

Mass development in Moss Side occurred in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when large numbers of red brick terraced houses were built, and soon attracted numerous Irish immigrants and other working people.

Manchester City F.C. moved to a new stadium on Maine Road on 25 August 1923, relocating from Hyde Road, Ardwick; on its opening it was one of the most capacious sports stadiums in the United Kingdom, capable of holding up to 85,000 spectators. The club would play there for the next 80 years.[4]

During the Manchester Blitz of World War II many of the terraced houses were damaged by German bombing on the night of December 22/23 1940.

Migrants from the Indian subcontinent and Caribbean settled in the locality during the 1950s and 1960s, and by the 1980s Moss Side was the hub of Manchester's Afro-Caribbean community.[5]

During the 1960s and early 1970s, Manchester City Council demolished many of the Victorian and Edwardian terraced houses to the west of Moss Side and replaced these with new residential properties.

In 1981, the Moss Side area was one of England's inner city areas affected by a series of riots. Analysts trace the 1970s origins of Manchester's gang crime to social deprivation in the south-central part of the city — Hulme, Longsight and Moss Side — where the activity of the underground economy encouraged a trade in illegal narcotics and firearms contributing to Manchester's later nickname of "Gunchester".[6] "Turf wars" between rival drugs 'gangs', resulted in a high number of fatal shootings.[5] During what has been termed the Madchester phase of the history of Manchester, narcotic trade in the city became "extremely lucrative" and in the early 1990s a gang war started between two groups vying for control of the market in Manchester city centre — the 'Cheetham Hill Gang' and The 'Gooch Close Gang', in Cheetham Hill and Moss Side, respectively.[7] There were several high profile shootings associated with gangs and drugs in this area during the 1990s and into the 21st century.[6][8] The last gang related gun fatality in Moss Side was in 2006.[5] Aided by the work of Xcalibre, the Greater Manchester Police's task force, founded in 2004, and the multiagency Integrated Gang Management Unit, gang related shootings in the area have fallen by about 90% in recent years.[9][10][11]

Many of the flats in neighbouring Hulme were demolished in the late 1990s to make way for new low rise homes. Housing on the Alexandra Park Estate in the west of Moss Side has been renovated and the streets redesigned to reduce the fear of crime.[12]


Moss Side is a ward within the local authority of Manchester City Council. The ward is represented by Labour Councillors Sameen Ali, Alistair Cox and Roy Walters.[13]

Moss Side is part of the Manchester Central constituency, represented by the Labour Party MP Tony Lloyd.


Moss Side lies either side of the A5103 (Princess Road), the main road out of Manchester towards Northenden, Manchester Airport, the M56 motorway and Chester. Parallel to this is Alexandra Road, which continues as Alexandra Road South past Alexandra Park (Alexandra Road was formerly one of two main shopping streets in Moss Side). Landmarks on Princess Road are the Royal Brewery and the Princess Road Bus Depot, built originally for the tramways in 1909 and used by Stagecoach Manchester until 2010.[14][15][16]

The western border of the Moss Side Ward is bounded in part by Withington Road. Parts of the eastern border are bounded by Wilmslow Road, where it meets Whitworth Park, and Parkfield Street. To the south, the border includes Alexandra Park, Horton Road and part of Platt Lane. To the north, the ward border mainly runs along Moss Lane East.[17]

The built environment of Moss Side is broadly characterised as a high-density residential area. This includes mainly Victorian and Edwardian terraces to the east and centre, with more recent developments, primarily the Alexandra Park Estate, built in the 1970s to the west of Princess Road.

The Moss Side Sports and Leisure Complex (north of Moss Lane West) was upgraded for the 2002 Commonwealth Games and has a gym and a variety of other sporting facilities.

Redevelopment and regeneration

Great Western Street runs through the centre of Moss Side.
View of Princess Road with, now demolished, Princess Road bus depot (with clock tower)
Wykeham Street with the Maine Place development in the background

Moss Side has benefited from very substantial redevelopment and regeneration over the past ten years (1997–2007) including improvement of the existing housing and residential environment along with several major housing projects currently in process or nearing completion. There has been considerable renovation of existing housing stock, such as local terrace housing and the Alexandra Park Estate, which has been ongoing since the late 1990s.[12]

A large site on Great Western Street has been developed by Moss Care Housing Ltd.[18] to provide a mix of 2,3 and 4 bedroom properties, with different tenures, some rental and others offered as shared ownership or for sale.[19]

The former Manchester City F.C. Maine Road site is in the process of redevelopment, marketed as Maine Place, primarily as 2,3 and 4 bedroom houses but including a limited number of flats, for sale or shared ownership, with many homes completed and occupied, along with a primary school, now open, and a health centre planned.[20]

The Bowes Street area, adjoining Princess Road, has been redeveloped, at the cost of £17 million, including the renovation or transformation, with some new build, of 155 properties in five streets.[21][22][23][24][25] Reported as being 'built or converted to a very high standard of eco-friendliness, with solar panels, water butts, thermal “skin” insulation and sun pipes being used' and aiming to offer 2, 3 and 4 bedroom homes with 'low running costs', the development plan states its aim, along with that at Maine Road, as being to provide mixed type "higher specification" housing, "diversify tenure" and promote the area as a "neighbourhood of choice".[23][24]

Marketed as "Infusion Homes", the properties were launched on the market on 26 February 2011. On 9 May, sales demand was reported as strong, with 60% of the properties having been sold.[26] On 11 May the development was awarded the UK's Best Affordable Housing Scheme at the national Housing Excellence Awards 2011[27][28]

Land adjacent to the development, formerly occupied by Bilsborrow primary school and the Stagecoach bus depot, both demolished as part of regeneration, remains vacant with no clear future use at present, though local community groups have short term plans to utilize the space for a gardening/food growing project.[29]

The impact of regeneration and redevelopment in changing perceptions of the area was demonstrated in The Guardian Saturday magazine, dated 8 September 2012, when Moss Side appeared in the long running Let's Move To series.[30]


There are currently two breweries in Moss Side. The Royal Brewery brewed Kestrel, McEwan's and Harp Lager but is now owned by Heineken for the production of Foster's Lager. Hydes Brewery brews traditional beers including Hydes' Bitter and the cask version of Boddingtons – the latter since the closure of the Strangeways Brewery in 2005. In January 2012, Hydes Brewery announced plans to move production to another site in the locality, later identified as being in Salford.[31][32]

The northern England office of Aquatech Pressmain,[33]which specialises in the 'supply of fluid pumping equipment to the Building Services, Process and Water Industries', is located in Moss Side.[34]

The Bridgewater Hospital,[35] on Princess Road, is a private hospital that provides a range of healthcare treatments.

Royal Brewery, Moss Lane East

Moss Side is near the University of Manchester, the Manchester Royal Infirmary, and further north the Manchester Metropolitan University. In 2009, Manchester Metropolitan University announced its plan to construct a new £120m campus at Birley Fields in nearby Hulme.[36][37]


In 2007, the Moss Side ward was estimated to have a total population of 17,537, of which 8,785 were male and 8,752 were female.[38] Moss Side is noted as an area with a greater population density and a faster population growth than other areas of the city of Manchester, with an increase of 17.4% between 2001 and 2007.[38] The "Moss Side ward profile: Version 2010/1", produced by Manchester City Council, points to a significant shift in the demography of Moss Side, in terms of age structure, from the middle of the last decade and projected into the middle of this decade, with more in the under 10 and 25–35 age groups, suggesting an increase in families with younger children.[38] Other sources indicate an accompanying change in Moss Side's ethnic population, with an estimated marked percentage increase in the Black African, Indian, Chinese and Other communities between 2007 and 2015.[39][40]

Changing age structure of the population

Estimated change in age groups for 2011 and 2015
Moss SideAll personsChange 2007–11:Change 2011–15:
20112015Number% changeNumber% change
All Ages18,74519,79412086.9%10485.6%

Source: Manchester City Council[41]


Moss Side and neighbouring Hulme traditionally constitute the heart of Manchester's Black Caribbean community and a number of commercial and social organisations which cater for these communities are based in this area. Social organisations include the West Indian Sports and Social Club, the Chrysalis Project,[42] the African Caribbean Mental Health Service[43][44] Commercial organisations include Caribbean bakeries and patty shops, as well as grocery and clothes shops, mainly centred on Claremont and Princess Roads. The Caribbean Carnival of Manchester is held in Alexandra Park every August.[45]

Moss Side is also home to a population with a keen interest in green politics and sustainable living, with initiatives such as the Moss Cider Project which promotes the production of cider from apples grown in Moss Side and the surrounding area.[46]

Community groups include the Cranswick Square Residents Group[47] located in the area around Cranswick Street and Broadfield Road in the centre of Moss Side. Founded in 2009, its stated aims include community involvement and improvement of the local environment, such as in taking ownership of open spaces.[48] One such space, known as 'The Triangle', involved the community group in regenerating wasteground into a communal garden.[49]

The Millennium Powerhouse youth service caters for 8–25 year olds and includes a music studio, fitness studio, dance studio, sports hall and offers information and advice to young people, including a library, along with recreational and sport groups.[50] The Windrush Millennium Centre, which provides adult education and other community facilities, is situated on Alexandra Road.


Manchester Academy school in Moss Side

In 2003, the Ducie High School was replaced by the independently run Manchester Academy, with the aim of overcoming barriers to education and achievement faced by young people in the community. In April 2009, the Manchester Evening News reported the Academy has met with success in raising educational standards in the area and, by 2010, 81% of pupils achieved A*–C grades at GCSE, compared with 13% at the former Ducie High School.[51][52] In November 2009, it won the Academy Partnership Award,[53] at the UK Education Business Awards,[54] whilst, in July 2010, Academy pupils were named as national debating finalists at the Debate Mate[55] competition at the House of Lords. In December 2010, it was reported that this 'once failing school' was 'now named as one of [the] UK's best'.[56]

The area has two primary schools: St Mary's Church of England, Claremont, and the new Divine Mercy RC Primary School[57] on the site of the former 'Maine Road' Manchester City F.C. football stadium which has been formed from the merger of St Edward's, and Bishop Bilsborrow Memorial Roman Catholic primary schools.[21][58]

The Windrush Millennium Centre on Alexandra Road provides facilities for courses of college and adult education, including some run by the City College Manchester and Manchester College of Arts and Technology. Manchester City Council runs the Greenheys Adult Learning Centre[59] on Upper Lloyd Street.[60]


Christ Church, Moss Side
Moss Side Good Friday walk crossing Princess Road

The original St James's Church (Church of England), Princess Road, was built in 1887–88 (architect John Lowe): of red brick in the Perpendicular revival style. This has now been replaced by a modern brick building which also contains offices used by local community groups.

Christ Church, Lloyd Street North, is an Anglican church of 1899–1904 by W. Cecil Hardisty and is a Grade II* listed building as of 24 April 1987.[61]

There are two Roman Catholic churches, the Church of Divine Mercy, a Polish church founded in 1961, which is on Moss Lane East; and the Church of Our Lady (founded 1949). The Polish church occupies a former Methodist chapel built about 1875 in the neo-Gothic style and contains stained glass windows commemorating victims of the Holocaust. It is a few yards south of Christ Church.[62][63][64]

The former Swedenborgian Church is also of 1888 and neo-Gothic in style.[65]


From 1923, Moss Side was the location of Manchester City F.C.'s stadium at Maine Road which on several occasions in its early years drew crowds of more than 80,000. However its capacity was gradually reduced over the years and by the mid-1990s it held just under 35,000 spectators all seated. Plans to rebuild the stadium to seat 45,000 were abandoned in favour of moving to the City of Manchester Stadium. Maine Road has since been demolished and a mixed development of two-, three-, and four-bedroom houses, flats, a health centre and a primary school has been built on the site.[20]

Notable people

The author Anthony Burgess, although born in Harpurhey, lived in Moss Side as a child,[66] as did historian Michael Wood who grew up in Moss Side as well. The political activist Emmeline Pankhurst was born in Moss Side.[67] The DJ "A Guy Called Gerald", real name Gerald Simpson, grew up in Moss Side.


  1. ^ South Manchester Regeneration Team: Moss Side and Rusholme District Centre Local Plan, page 52. Manchester: Manchester City Council, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c W.E.E.A. (1904-11-11). "Pepperhill Farm". Manchester Guardian.
  3. ^ Greater Manchester Gazetteer. Greater Manchester County Record Office. Places names - M to N. Retrieved 17 October 2008.
  4. ^ "Maine Road Public Art Programe". Maine Road Artworks. Retrieved 2012-07-30.
  5. ^ a b c Ravenscroft, Nick (2006-09-11). "Killing surprises few in Moss Side". BBC News (BBC). Retrieved 2008-11-14.
  6. ^ a b Randell, Tom (2006-09-15). "North West: Trying to banish 'Gunchester'". BBC News (BBC). Retrieved 2009-05-17.
  7. ^ "A street guide to gangs in Manchester". 2003-01-06. Retrieved 2008-11-14.
  8. ^ Osuh, Chris (2009-04-07). "Gooch Gang Smashed.". Manchester Evening News (Manchester Evening News). Retrieved 2009-05-23.
  9. ^ BBC, No author stated (2008-06-04). "Funding boost for crime unit". BBC News (BBC). Retrieved 2012-05-12.
  10. ^ "US police could learn how to tackle gang crime from us, claims senior GMP officer". Manchester Evening News (Manchester Evening News). 2011-08-16. Retrieved 2012-05-12.
  11. ^ Robson, Steve (2012-03-02). "Gangsters squeezed out of Moss Side and Hulme move into Wythenshawe to recruit drug dealers". Manchester Evening News (Manchester Evening News). Retrieved 2012-05-12.
  12. ^ a b South Manchester Regeneration Team: Moss Side and Rusholme District Centre Local Plan, page 35. Manchester: Manchester City Council, 2007.
  13. ^ "Councillors by Ward: Moss Side". Manchester City Council. Retrieved 2008-05-12.
  14. ^ Celebrating 100 Years of Princess Road. Manchester: Stagecoach, April 2010
  15. ^ "Princess Road book". Stagecoachbus. Retrieved 2011-09-20.
  16. ^ "Bus firm Stagecoach travels to new stop as century-old depot shuts". Manchester Evening News (M E N Media). Retrieved 2011-09-20.
  17. ^ "Map of Moss Side Ward". Manchester City Council. Retrieved 2009-04-18.
  18. ^
  19. ^ Ali, S.; Cox, A.; Walters, R. (Autumn-Winter 2010). "New Houses for Moss Side". New Labour Rose.
  20. ^ a b Osuh, Chris (2007-03-02). "Transfer to Maine Road". Manchester Evening News (Manchester Evening News). Retrieved 2009-05-04.
  21. ^ a b Osuh, Chris (2009-01-25). "Bus site to become estate". Manchester Evening News (Manchester Evening News). Retrieved 2009-05-04.
  22. ^ "Moss Cider brews community spirit in Manchester". BBC News. 27 September 2010. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
  23. ^ a b Manchester City Council: Deputy Chief Executive (Regeneration), The City Treasurer And Director Of Housing (15 December 2010). Final Proposals For The Regeneration Of Bowes Street, Moss Side. Easier Property.
  24. ^ a b "Infusion of enthusiasm in Moss Side, Manchester".
  25. ^ "Moss Side housing project to be unveiled". Place North West. 13 December 2010. Retrieved 3 January 2011.
  26. ^ "Buyers flock to Moss Side £17m regeneration scheme". 9 May 2011. Retrieved 18 June 2011.
  27. ^
  28. ^ "Housing Excellence Awards win for Infusion". 21 May 2011. Retrieved 18 June 2011.
  29. ^ "Consultation on Moss Side Bus Depot site TOMORROW". Cranswick Square Residents Group. 12 March 2012. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  30. ^ "Let's Move to Moss Side". The Guardian. 8 September 2012. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  31. ^ "Hydes Plans to Relocate Brewery  " (PDF) (Press release). Hydes Brewery. January 6, 2012. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
  32. ^ No named author (2012-03-20). "Hydes in £2m move to Salford - 18 jobs to go". Manchester Evening News (Manchester Evening News). Retrieved 2012-05-12.
  33. ^
  34. ^ Aquatech Pressmain. "Aquatech Pressmain - About Us - Company Profile". Aquatech Pressmain. Retrieved 2011-06-18.
  35. ^
  36. ^ Manchester Metropolitan University. "What is the Birley Fields Campus Plan?". Manchester Metropolitan University. Retrieved 2011-06-18.
  37. ^ Osuh, Chris (2009-06-26). "£120m super campus under spotlight". Manchester Evening News (Manchester Evening News). Retrieved 2011-06-18.
  38. ^ a b c "Moss Side ward profile: Version 2010/1". Manchester City Council. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
  39. ^ "Derived 2006-Based SNPP for 2011 StatWard – percentages". Manchester City Council. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
  40. ^ "Derived 2006-Based SNPP for 2015 StatWard – percentages". Manchester City Council. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
  41. ^ "Moss Side ward profile 2010/1". Manchester City Council. Retrieved 2010-10-16.
  42. ^ "Chrysalis Project".
  43. ^
  44. ^ "Greater Manchester Black History Trail". Acts of Achievement. Retrieved 2009-04-18.
  45. ^ "Caribbean Carnival of Manchester".
  46. ^ Thompson, Dan (2010-09-27). "Neighbours become brewers and create 'Moss Cider'". Manchester Evening News (Manchester Evening News). Retrieved 2010-09-28.
  47. ^
  48. ^ "Cranswick Square Residents Group - About". Cranswick Square Residents Group. 18 June 2011. Retrieved 18 June 2011.
  49. ^ "Moss Side Residents build a garden and a community". Tony Lloyd MP. 3 June 2011. Retrieved 18 June 2011.
  50. ^ "Millennium Powerhouse Centre". Manchester City Council. Retrieved 2012-07-01.
  51. ^ Qureshi, Yakub (2009-04-28). "Reborn school a class act". Manchester Evening News (Manchester Evening News). Retrieved 2009-04-28.
  52. ^ "Exam Results 2010". Manchester Academy. 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-09.
  53. ^ "Academy Partnership Award".
  54. ^ "Education Business Awards".
  55. ^ "".
  56. ^ Angela, Epstein (2010-12-06). "Once-failing school now named as one of UK's best". Manchester Evening News (Manchester Evening News). Retrieved 2011-01-08.
  57. ^
  58. ^ "School Finder: Moss Side". Manchester City Council.
  59. ^ "Greenheys Adult Learning Centre".
  60. ^ "Greenheys Adult Learning Centre". Manchester City Council.
  61. ^ Good Stuff IT Services (1987-04-24). "Christ Church - Manchester - Greater Manchester - England". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 2012-07-30.
  62. ^ Salford Diocesan Almanac
  63. ^ "The Catholic Faith". Retrieved 2012-07-30.
  64. ^ Hartwell, Clare, et al. (2004) Lancashire: Manchester and the South-East. New Haven: Yale University Press ISBN 0-300-10583-5; p. 481
  65. ^ Pevsner, N. (1969) Lancashire: 1. Penguin Books; pp. 333–334
  66. ^ Ratcliffe, Michael (2007) Anthony Burgess. In: "The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography". Oxford University Press
  67. ^ The birth indexes for the December Quarter of 1858 for the Chorlton registration district (vol. 8c, p.529) record her name as Emiline Goulden, but she never seems to have used that spelling.


  • Crofton, H. T. (1903). Old Moss Side, Manchester.
  • Porter, J. (1904). In and Around Moss Side.
  • South Manchester Regeneration Team (2007). Moss Side and Rusholme District Centre Local Plan.

External links