Researching the people and places along Eccles Old Road has revealed a series of overarching and unifying themes. A few themes are introduced below but there are many more.
Textiles Whilst there were no great mills, weaving sheds or warehouses along the road, it will come as no surprise that over centuries significant numbers of residents were involved in textile production. The first local instances date from the 1600s with linen weaving at Broomhouse. By the 1800s bleaching fields had become a feature of the surrounding landscape in the early stages of the cotton industry. Later the road became the home for many well-known cotton and silk manufacturers, merchants, textile designers, commission agents, warehousemen and mill workers, their occupations documented in census returns, newspaper reports, wills and obituaries.
Health and medicine The road has had a close association with public health. Many doctors and surgeons made their homes along the road including the eminent Thomas Percival who lived at Hart Hill. Others gave financial support for the establishment of local hospitals, including the Pendlebury Children’s Hospital and Salford and Pendleton Dispensary, later the first Salford Royal hospital. Today the second Salford Royal, originally the workhouse infirmary, dominates the road on land originally the home of early handloom weavers. Several local houses became GP’s surgeries, consulting rooms and clinics and a dockers rehabilitation centre during World War II and after.
Public space and education Conscious of the need for healthy outdoor space Salford became a major player in the public park movement, acquiring the Buile Hill estate on Eccles Old Road in order to extend Seedley Park. Later adding Hart Hill and thereby providing 68 acres of healthy, out-door space for Salford’s population, the city park became the centre for public events such as the 1930 Salford pageant and annual Salford Shows. Education, exercise and culture also played its part in this endeavour with a natural history museum central to the park, the provision of bowling greens and tennis courts and regular park concerts. Educational provision also reminds us about the many large schools along the road as well as Salford Royal’s 40 years as a teaching hospital.
Exploring themes sets the road within the context of public health, education, culture, leisure and commerce et al.
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