Greater Manchester Gazetteer
This gazetteer has been prepared to assist in compiling places indexes for archives purposes. Entries are therefore mainly for the local government areas most likely to be useful for indexing, namely:
In the North of England the measures for repairing highways and for relief of the poor which were required by Tudor Acts of Parliament often came to be undertaken by divisions of ecclesiastical parishes known as townships. This arrangement was officially recognised by the Act of Settlement of 1662 and, since townships were responsible for poor relief, they amounted to civil parishes. (In some cases such a division did not occur; Warburton, for example, was both an ecclesiastical parish and a township). Townships were the basis for defining other local government areas e.g. poor law unions, boroughs. However, during the nineteenth century they ceased to have direct responsibility for poor relief and highways and they lost importance in local government to new local authorities such as urban districts and municipal boroughs. From the 1890s there was a tendency for townships and parts of townships within urban districts and boroughs to be merged so that townships could be formed with boundaries corresponding to those of the relevant urban district or borough. This tendency was so general that merging of this kind is not referred to below.
The establishment of these was begun in 1894 by the Local Government Act of that year.
By this term is meant boroughs, including municipal boroughs and county boroughs, existing from the time of the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835 to local government reorganization in 1974, though medieval grants of charters to towns are briefly noted. The establishment of "improvement commissioners" or a local board of health is also indicated since often it meant the beginning of modern forms of local government in a locality.
It is hoped that at least the major changes in the areas of the above mentioned types of authorities have been indicated in this gazetteer.
Titles, e.g. townships, boroughs, are omitted except where needed to prevent confusion between local government authorities with the same name but greatly different in area, e.g. "Stockport Borough" (to 1974) and "Stockport Metropolitan Borough" (from 1974). The order of names (and titles, if any) is the natural one, e.g. "Great Bolton", not "Bolton, Great". The method for alphabetical arrangement consists' of treating each entry as if it made up a single word (e.g. "Littleborough" before "Little Hulton").
Of the other types of local authorities the ones chiefly referred to are poor law unions and rural districts. Unions are mentioned because of the importance of their functions in local government and because of the way in which their areas were used to determine other local government areas. Rural sanitary districts, for example, which were established under the Public Health Act of 1872, consisted of those areas of unions for which no local board of health, improvement commissioners or borough council existed. In 1894 they were succeeded by rural districts, often of the same name. The tendency from 1894 for rural districts to disappear, either by conversion into urban districts or by absorption of their areas into neighbouring local authorities, was particularly strong around Manchester; only Bucklow and Wigan Rural Districts survived until 1974 in the area that was to become Greater Manchester County.
Localities smaller in area than townships are noted where similarity of names might cause confusion (as between Werneth in Oldham Borough and Werneth township) or where it seemed helpful for local history purposes. For such localities which have not been included, information on their location can be obtained from Bartholmew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, Ordnance Survey maps or indexes to books on place-names.
Our acknowledgements to Mr. Andrew Cross, Salford City Archives for permission to convert this gazetteer into electronic form