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A journey along Palatine Road south Manchester - link between two counties

Palatine Road is one of my favourite roads in Manchester. It's a product of the 19th century, lined with many distinguished Victorian Houses as well as some contemporary style residences. Christie Hospital backs onto Palatine Road, and it's also in the address of the Northern Lawn Tennis Club as well as Northenden Golf Club. An interesting feature of Palatine Road is the origin of its name, which most people are not aware of.

Palatine Road was so named because it links Lancashire and Cheshire, both of which are county palatines. The title 'county palatine' originates in medieval times, and signifies that the county had special privileges. See Wikipedia

When first built south Manchester was mostly farmland. Since then things have changed, but the Victorian character of Palatine Road, at least in the Withington West Didsbury area, remains unchanged.

Here is a brief travelogue as we travel down Palatine Road from Withington.

Palatine Road begins where Wilmslow Road, the ancient road, branches off to the left. The junction is next to the White Lion pub, which has now sadly closed. Burton Road goes off to the right.

Palatine Road extends south in a straight line. On the left is Christie Hospital. New buildings have been constructed here in the last few years. Further down on the right is the Victorian residence Holly Royde House, which now houses apartments but in the late 90s it was under threat.

At the junction with Lapwing Lane, the disused railway line passes under Palatine Road at a diagonal angle. Here on the right was West Didsbury and Albert Park Station. The line is to be brought back into use as part of the Metrolink system, so a stop will probably be built here.

Palatine Rd Barlow Moor Rd junction

Palatine Road continues south through the attractive suburb of West Didsbury. On the left St Aidan's church. The junction with Barlow Moor Road is, for me, a key focal point of south Manchester, the intersection of two roads with great local significance.

Sadly the 1930s style direction sign is in very bad condition. The half-timbered shop fronts facing onto Barlow Moor Road on the west side of the junction are very attractive and have retained a 19th century charm.

The state of the trees along Palatine Road worth noting. Up until the 1970s, the trees were well maintained and regularly cut back. Today they have grown considerably, blocking the the view of the houses, and almost meeting above the road at some points. In order for a city to maintain an attractive appearance, trees - like beards - need to be cut

As we continue south we pass Marie Louise Gardens on the left. The Britannia Country House Hotel is on the right.

Now we have reached the River Mersey and it is at this point that we leave Lancashire and enter Cheshire (in their ancient boundaries), passing under the busy M60 motorway (formerly M63) here supported on a long viaduct which crosses the Mersey at this point. We are now in the suburb of Northenden, and still in the City of Manchester.

The village of Northenden is so named because of its position on the northern boundary of Cheshire. The village of Northenden has less a less traditional feel because of the row of modern shop fronts, with apartments above, set back from the road on the right. In front of is a lay-by for cars.

As we proceed further, Palatine Road bends to the right and we pass the former ABC Forum cinema, now used as a place of worship.

The end of Palatine Road is marked by the start of the M56 motorway, at this point carried on a flyover above the junction. Up until the construction of the M56 in the 1970s there was a roundabout at this point. See an early 20th century view of it in the Manchester Local Studies collection.

See Palatine Road on Multimap.

And so ends our brief trip down Palatine Road, one of Manchester's most interesting and most beautiful roads.

This article will be expanded with more information and more photographs. If you can offer any more information and insights, please contact.

Written by Aidan O'Rourke
Posted/Updated 2007-07-29

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