The history of the two villages of Irlewhelam (Irlam) and Cadwalenstate (Cadishead) can be traced back many hundreds of years. Sandwiched as they are between the Manchester Ship Canal and the vast expanse of Chat Moss, which for many years was an impenetrable peat bog. Strategically located at the crossing point of Chat Moss and the River Mersey, Great Woolden Hall Farm is a site of Iron Age and Roman Farmsteads.
For hundreds of years the two small villages survived on river trade. As the two great cities of Manchester and Liverpool grew and as trade on the rivers increased and pack horses and carts carried goods between the two cities, so too did Irlam and Cadishead. The coming of the railways, first in 1830 when Robert Stephenson famously floated the Liverpool to Manchester Railway across Chat Moss and a second line in 1873 started the industrialisation of both villages.
In 1894 the navigation of the River Irwell and Mersey was replaced by the Manchester Ship Canal. The scene was now set for rapid growth as company after company sought canal side and rail access. Steel, soap, petrochemicals and food production employed thousands. Irlam and Cadishead boomed and shops lined the district from one end to the other. With industry came housing and many estates were built between and after the two world wars.
By the 1970s industry was changing and with it the district declined. By the 1980s new industry started to arrive and today we see virtually all of the old industrial sites regenerated with new businesses or housing developments. The canal is no longer a polluted industrial waterway and is host to a variety of wildlife. Chat Moss is not the vegetable garden it once was but offers 10 square miles of protected green belt. The street scene along Liverpool Road has undergone a transformation as too has Irlam Station and its surrounds – which is now a wonderful landmark for the area.
This is complemented by the A57 Cadishead Way Bypass, which was introduced a number of years ago to move commuting traffic and heavy goods vehicles to the outskirts of the district and follows the canal on its northern bank.
If you are interested in history – then keep in touch with this page as it will be developed with a lot more content in the near future.