Irlam and Cadishead

Local history in Irlam and Cadishead

The Irlam and Cadishead area, the most westerly part of the new Salford, was a comparatively remote and underdeveloped area of moss land until the early 19th century.

Back in 1212, the first record showed that the whole of Cadishead (then called 'Cadwaldensate') was rented from King John by one Gilbert Notton for the sum of four shillings a year. At the same period of the 13th century, neighbouring 'Irrewilham' was in the possession of the de Irlam family. Two centuries later the de Irlams lived at Irlam Hall but by 1688 this seat had become the property of Thomas Latham who played a major part in bringing William of Orange to the throne. The Latham family's important role in local history was acknowledged by the fact that their features were used in Irlam's former armorial bearings.

Much of the land area of this part of Lancashire (as it was until 1974) was moss land - largely a part of Chat Moss, an area supposedly named after St Chad who was the Bishop of Mercia in the 7th century. As, however, Chat Moss was long ago part of a great tree-edged inland lake, it is much more likely that the name stems from the word 'Chat', meaning a place of small trees.

It was not until 1805 that work began on reclamation of this swampy area and the immense problems encountered during the construction of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway are well known. Even today, parts of this area, despite heavy industrialisation, are still surprisingly remote and bleak especially in the locality of Woolden Hall. Much of the moss land is, however, extensively cultivated, and produce is supplied to the markets of Manchester and Liverpool.

In 1894, the Irlam Urban District came into being and the Manchester Ship Canal was opened. The later history of the area became closely linked with the Manchester Ship Canal. The canal's construction caused a diversion to be made in the Liverpool to Manchester Railway and a new Irlam station had to be built - at the canal company's expense!

Much industrial development took place along the canal banks and the Irlam Steelworks, opened in 1910, were a major source of local employment and economic stability until their closure in 1979. A diversified Industrial Estate has now been developed on the site of the former steelworks. The population of Irlam was only just over 4,000 in 1901 but by the outbreak of the Second World War it had reached 14,600. When Irlam Urban District became a part of Salford in April 1974, the population of the area stood at over 20,500.