A trip to the Lancashire industrial town
For the first time in several months, I managed to look around somewhere within my own parliamentary constituency. Which in my case is the one represented by Andrew Gwynne, and the most southern extremity of the Denton and Reddish seat.
Much of Reddish starts at Debdale Park and finishes at Lancashire Hill where Heaton Norris begins. North and South Reddish is linked by the regular 203 bus from Stockport to Piccadilly Gardens. A fair amount of Gorton Road is punctuated by local shops and pre-1960s houses, interrupted only by two railway stations, ASDA and Morrisons supermarkets, churches, two ex-pubs and a rather imposing pub on the corner of Longford Street West. To the west, it shares its boundaries with Levenshulme and Gorton. To the east, Reddish Vale with Denton and Brinnington a short walk away.
Reddish has a few footnotes in railway history. One is the former depot which housed EM1 and EM2 locomotives, and Class 506 the Woodhead line. Another, more infamous one, is the parliamentary train from Stockport to Stalybridge which calls at Reddish South station. There is only one journey. Once weekly. One direction. Only. And at few minutes after the finish of the weekday morning peak, on a Friday.
Textiles put the town on the map as much as the Woodhead line did. Four of its mills were on the banks of the Stockport branch of the Manchester and Ashton-under-Lyne Canal from Clayton. It was filled in by the early 1960s. Victoria and Elizabeth mills are being converted to apartments, with the former mill already converted. The other two, Houldsworth and Broadstone have been converted into mixed use developments, and both are well worth exploring.
Houldsworth Mill is so called owing to the nearby Houldsworth Square which is Reddish town centre proper. It opened in 1865 before becoming a catalogue warehouse for Myers in the early 1960s. This use continued till the mid 1970s, with the mill let as multiple units. With a lot of tender loving care needed, it was restored with conference facilities on one part, a day nursery in another, and in its more northern wing, a shopping centre and artists’ studios.
The shopping centre is on two floors, ground and second floors. The one on the second floor is known as Houldsworth Village, with faux Tudor style walls on each unit. There is a café, a secondhand bookshop and gallery, and furniture shops. At ground floor level, shops selling collectable items, customised furniture and a café. Parking is free with the car park accessed from Broadstone Road.
Just across Broadstone Road is Broadstone Mill. Though its sister opposite stand head and shoulders above it with the clock and chimney position, its domed tower makes it a good second. It is of later construction, opening in 1907. It suffered a similar fate to its more illustrious neighbour and became a multi-purpose development. In 2007, its ground floor and first floor became a shopping centre. Whereas Houldsworth mill has independent traders, the ground floor has concessions, including discount outlets for Nauticalia and the Yankee Candle Company.
There is two cafés on each floor; one is Massarellas, who also have a concession in The Arcades Shopping Centre, Ashton-under-Lyne. The first floor also has independent traders. Again, the centre is a boon for drivers.
Unless you wish to board the parliamentary train to Reddish South, getting to Reddish is pretty straightforward from Stockport or Manchester.
The 203 service operates at frequent intervals from Stockport to Manchester (Piccadilly Gardens) via Reddish and Gorton. From Ashton-under-Lyne and Stockport, the 7 operates every half hour (no Sunday and Bank Holiday service), with the 317 running every hour from Ashton to Stockport via Denton and Dane Bank (Sunday and Bank Holiday service starts at Dane Bank). Other services include the 42A via Stockport and East Didsbury and the 84 via Withington.
Stopping outside Houldsworth and Broadstone mills are the 173 to Stepping Hill Hospital and the 328 to Bridge Hall Estate (both services go via Stockport). Most of the aforementioned services are operated by Stagecoach Manchester.
Northern Rail has frequent services to Reddish North station from Manchester Piccadilly, Marple, New Mills Central and Sheffield railway stations. If you wish to board the Stockport – Stalybridge train, it leaves Stockport at 1013, arriving at 1020. Well worth missing ‘Homes Under The Hammer’ for, I say.
Any other suggestions?
Feel free to recommend any other shops or cafés in Reddish town centre. As always, comment eloquently. Perhaps you could tell us what the house speciality is from the Chinese chippy on the corner of Broadstone Road and Rupert Street.
S.V., 02 May 2014.