Images along Manchester’s Princess Road – not Parkway!

EYEWITNESS 2015 blog by Aidan O'Rourke

Night view of the Hulme Arch and Princess Road looking north

Night view of the Hulme Arch and Princess Road looking north


First of all, let me get one thing straight: The name of Manchester’s main dual carriageway south out of Manchester city centre, the A5103, is called Princess ROAD, not Princess Parkway. This name is valid as far as the bridge over the Mersey, several miles to the south. Then for less than a mile it is Princess Parkway until Northenden Road where it becomes the M56 motorway.

Princess Road street sign

Princess Road street sign – Princess Road runs from the Mancunian Way to the bridge over the Mersey

Princess Parkway sign

Princess Parkway runs the short distance from the Mersey Bridge to the junction with Northenden Rd where the M56 begins

Unfortunately many journalists, councillors and members of the public are not aware of the correct name of this very important road, which they call ‘the Parkway’ or ‘Princess Parkway’. Princess Parkway was planned in the late 1920s as a separate section of the road. The name was approved by Shena Simon and it was intended to be an attractive, tree-lined avenue leading to the new suburb of Wythenshawe. In later years Princess Parkway was covered over by the M56 motorway and the junction to the north, with its slip roads.

I know about these things! I took a great interest from childhood onwards. Another point of uncertainty: Why is the highway named after a princess and who was she? No one seems to know!

Here’s the article that appeared in the Manchester Evening News on Monday 25 January 2016.

Princess Road is an enigma. Manchester’s grand highway to the airport, Wythenshawe and the south was begun in the 1920s but only completed in the 70s. It’s a wide, busy dual carriageway, but designated A5103, more suggestive of a minor A road. It’s called Princess Road but which princess was it named after? People call Princess Road ‘the Parkway’ but only the section south of the Mersey is Princess Parkway. The route was to have been a motorway all the way into the city. That’s why buildings were demolished on the west side. Greenheys Lane intersection is very wide. This was to have been the junction of two motorways, but they never materialised. Offices, apartments, churches, Southern Cemetery and several educational institutions are next to it including the striking MMU Birley campus building. Another enigma is why the new Metrolink stop was named Withington, a place that to my reckoning is at least a mile away. In my humble opinion it should have been called Princess Road Metrolink stop. And so who was it named after? I believe it might have been Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood (1897-1965) but I can find no proof. Can anyone help?
Demolished Princess Road bus depot

Demolished Princess Road bus depot

 

Princess Road looking north from the Loop Line bridge

Princess Road looking north from the bridge over the former South Manchester Loop Line

 

MMU Birley building on Princess Road Hulme

MMU Birley building on Princess Road Hulme

 

"Withington" Metrolink stop

“Withington” Metrolink stop. It should have been named Princess Road

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Streets in Manchester named after famous people

EYEWITNESS 2015 blog by Aidan O'Rourke

Mosley Street stone carved sign

Mosley Street stone carved sign


 

Street names can tell us a lot about the heritage of a place. Unfortunately most street signs in Manchester and the rest of the UK don’t have any information on the origin of the name and in particular the person after whom a street is named after. In France and Germany, there is often a smaller plaque with information about the person. In this article I picked out some street names with names of people and researched a little into their origin.
 

In France they love to name streets after historical figures. Above the street sign they provide a notice with information about the person. Maybe we should do that here. I’ve picked out a few in Manchester: John Dalton Street is a permanent reminder of the famous scientist who pioneered modern atomic theory. Whitworth Street is named after Joseph Whitworth, engineer and philanthropist. Mosley Street is named after the Mosley family, who were lords of the manor and prominent landowners. Oldham Street is named after Adam Oldham, a wealthy feltmaker. Jack Rosenthal Street is part of the recently created First Street district, home of HOME. He scripted many episodes of Coronation Street as well as one of my favourite sitcoms, The Lovers. Other streets around First Street honour Annie Horniman, James Grigor, Isabella Banks and of course there’s Tony Wilson Place. A section of the A6010 in the Bradford area of east Manchester was named after Alan Turing. The plaque commemorates the opening in Sept 1994 by Michael Meacher, who recently died. Kingsway was begun around 1928 and named after King George the Fifth. In France they’d probably call it “Avenue George-Cinq”. Hmm, I think we’ll stick with Kingsway!

 

Alan Turing Way next to Sportcity

Alan Turing Way plaque


 
Jack Rosenthal Street, First Street

Jack Rosenthal Street, First Street


 
Kingsway Manchester

Kingsway Manchester


 

Mosley Street Manchester

Mosley Street Manchester


 

Oldham Street facades, Manchester city centre

Oldham Street facades, Manchester city centre


 
Whitworth Street Manchester

Whitworth Street Manchester

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