Our next stop was the town of Radcliffe, a few miles out of Bury, heading towards Manchester. Gemma’s Dad and Grandparents grew up here, and there were some buildings of important family historical importance to her here…
Status: Bury District, Greater Manchester (Historically Lancashire), Town, England
Travel: Metrolink (Bury – Radcliffe), Metrolink (Radcliffe – Market Street, via Prestwich)
Eating & Sleeping: N/A
Attractions: Old Town Hall, Cenotaph, St Thomas’s Church etc
Leaving the Metrolink Station, it was only a few minutes walk down to the former Town Hall, located at the junction of Spring Lane and Blackburn Street. It’s an incredibly detailed building. Radcliffe is only a small town so it was a nice surprise.
This beautiful building was built back in 1911, and contained a council chamber on the 1st floor, a public gallery, and a number of committee rooms. It has now been converted into flats (1999), and the more central tower has also disappeared.
Across the road is the Radcliffe Cenotaph, erected in 1922 as a Memorial to the fallen of World War I, and then later World War II. The British Flag flies proudly in front of it, and there are some finely sculpted bronze statues above the name plaques.
Our main stop was the Church of St Thomas, where Gemma’s Grandparents got married in 1960. You get a great view of the Church from the Metrolink Line/Station as the Station is much higher up than we are now.
This fine Church took 9 years to build, with construction starting in 1862, when the foundation stone was laid by Viscount Grey de Wilton, Seymour John Grey Egerton (1839 – 1898). It was finally consecrated in 1864, by the Bishop of Manchester, James Prince Lee (1804 – 1869). The Tower wasn’t added until 1870, and is today it’s stand out feature. In 1871 the tower was complete, and the Church has remained the same ever since. The modern building replaces the previous and original St Thomas’s (1819) which was demolished just before construction started on the new Church.
Inside it is beautifully decorated, and one of it’s main interior features is a large organ that once belonged to York Minster. The entrance to the Church is lined with large trees on either side, and you get the feeling you are passing back in time into a lovely rural setting.
Radcliffe is an interesting and quite rural town. We did miss a few things as we mainly visited to find the house Gemma’s Grandma grew up in, which we did. We will be in the area a few more times soon so we will nip and have a look for the Clock Tower in the shopping area.
Radcliffe is easily accessible by bus from Bury, as well as the Metrolink System between Manchester City Centre and Bury. You can change in Manchester for Network Rail services to most major destinations in the UK, from Glasgow to Liverpool to London, as well as trams to Rochdale, Ashton and Salford. I quite like Radcliffe, and living on the outskirts of one of England’s most beloved cities, yet still in a rural setting, must be quite special indeed.