Coordinates: 53°27′49″N 2°15′00″W / 53.4636°N 2.25°W / 53.4636; -2.25

Hulme Arch and Beetham Tower.jpg
The Hulme Arch Bridge, with the Beetham Tower in the background
Hulme is located in Greater Manchester

 Hulme shown within Greater Manchester
Area  2.204 km2 (0.851 sq mi) [1]
Population 8,932 [1]
    - Density  4,053 /km2 (10,500 /sq mi)
OS grid reference SJ834963
    - London  162 mi (261 km) SSE 
Metropolitan borough Manchester
Metropolitan county Greater Manchester
Region North West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district M15
Dialling code 0161
Police Greater Manchester
Fire Greater Manchester
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament Manchester Central
List of places: UK • England • Greater Manchester

Hulme is an inner city area and electoral ward of Manchester, England. Located immediately south of Manchester city centre, it is an area with significant industrial heritage.

Historically a part of Lancashire, the name Hulme is derived from the Old Norse word for a small island, or land surrounded by water or marsh, indicating that it may have been first settled by Norse invaders during the period of the Danelaw.




Hulme derives its name from the Old Norse word for a small island, or land surrounded by water or marsh.[2] The area may have fitted this description at the time of the Norse invasion and settlement as it is surrounded by water on three sides by the rivers Irwell, Medlock and Corn Brook.

Early history

Hulme was evidenced as a separate community south of the River Medlock from Manchester in 15th century map prints.[citation needed] Hulme Hall was close to the River Irwell on a site near where St George's Church was later built. Until the 18th century it remained a solely farming area, and pictures from the time show an idyllic scene of crops, sunshine and country life. The area remained entirely rural until the Bridgewater Canal was cut and the Industrial Revolution swept economic change through the neighbouring district of Castlefield where the Duke of Bridgewater's canal terminated, and containerised transportation of coal and goods rose as an industry to support the growing textile industries of Manchester. It was this supply of cheap coal from the Duke's mines at Worsley that allowed the textile industry of Manchester to grow.

Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution brought development to the area, and jobs to the poor, carrying coal from the 'Starvationer' (very narrow canal boats), to be carted off along Deansgate.[citation needed]

Many cotton mills and a railway link to Hulme soon followed, and thousands of people came to work in the rapidly expanding mills in the city. The number of people living in Hulme multiplied 50-fold during the first half of the 19th century. Housing had to be built rapidly, and space was limited, which resulted in low-quality housing interspersed with the myriad smoking chimneys of the mills and the railway. Added to the lack of sanitation and rampant spread of disease,[citation needed] this gave an extremely low quality of life for residents. Reports of the time suggest that at times the air quality became so poor that poisonous fumes and smoke literally "blocked out the sun" for long periods.[citation needed]

By 1844, the situation had grown so serious that Manchester Borough Council had to pass a law banning further building. However, the thousands of "slum" homes that were already built continued to be lived in, and many were still in use into the first half of the 20th century.[citation needed]

Large numbers of Irish immigrants settled in Hulme, in common with the rest of Manchester.[citation needed]

In 1913 it was said "It is probable that in no northern city is the divergence between classes so marked as it is becoming in Manchester. Among the 80,000 inhabitants, for example, of Hulme, the poorest and most neglected district of the city, is to be found only a tiny minority of persons of much education and refinement, these being with rare exceptions doctors, or ministers of the various religious denominations, and their wives"[3]

In the early 20th century transport in Hulme was improved when the existing horse bus services were replaced by electric trams. These services connected Hulme with the suburbs further south, Moss Side, Whalley Range and Chorlton-cum-Hardy. Boston Street and Preston Street carried complementary single lines of track southwards from Jackson Street.[4] From 1949 the tram services were withdrawn and replaced by the motorbuses of Manchester Corporation Transport.[citation needed]

Two theatres were built in Hulme, the Hulme Hippodrome and the BBC Playhouse. The Playhouse was for a short time opened as the Nia Centre but closed due to financial problems. The Hippodrome is still occupied in 2009.

Post Second World War

At the end of World War II, the United Kingdom had a need for quality housing, with a rapidly increasing "baby boomer" population increasingly becoming unhappy with the prewar and wartime "austerity" of their lives, and indeed, their living space.

By the start of the 1960s England had begun to remove many of the 19th century slums and consequently, most of the slum areas of Hulme were demolished. The modernist and brutalist architectural style of the period, as well as practicalities of speed and cost of construction dictated high rise "modular" living in tower blocks and "cities in the sky" consisting of deck-access flats and terraces.

In Hulme, a new and (at the time) innovative design for deck access and tower living was attempted. This consisted of curved rows of low-rise flats with deck access far above the streets, known as the "Crescents" (which were, with unintentional irony, architecturally based on terraced housing in Bath). In this arrangement, motor vehicles remained on ground level with pedestrians on concrete walkways overhead, above the smoke and fumes of the street. People living in these new flats were rehoused from decaying Victorian slums which lacked electricity, running water, bathrooms or indoor toilets, and were mostly overcrowded.

High-density housing was balanced with large green spaces and trees below, and the pedestrian had priority on the ground over cars. The 1960s redevelopment of Hulme split the area's new council housing into a number of sections. Hulme 2 was the area between Jackson Crescent and Royce Road. Hulme 3 was between Princess Road and Boundary Road based along the pedestrianised Epping Walk, Hulme 4 was between Princess Road and Royce Road and Hulme 5 - the "Crescents" themselves were between Royce Road and Rolls Crescent. The names of the "Crescents" harked back to the Georgian era, being named after architects of that time: Robert Adam Crescent, Charles Barry Crescent, William Kent Crescent and John Nash Crescent, together with Hawksmoor Close (a small straight block of similar design attached to Charles Barry Crescent). At the time, the "Crescents" won several design awards, and introduced technologies such as underfloor heating to the masses. They were also popular because they were some of the first council homes in Manchester to have central heating. The development even had some notable first occupants, such as Nico and Alain Delon.

However, what eventually turned out be recognised as poor design, workmanship, and maintenance meant that the crescents introduced their own problems. Design flaws and unreliable 'system build' construction methods, as well as the 1970s oil crisis meant that heating the poorly insulated homes became too expensive for their low income residents, and the crescents soon became notorious for being cold, damp and riddled with cockroaches and other vermin. Crime and drug abuse became significant problems in Hulme, as police did not patrol the long, often dark decks, due to the fact that they were not officially considered streets. The decks made muggings and burglary relatively easy, as any crime could be carried out in almost total privacy, with no hope for quick assistance from police below.

The crescents became troublesome very shortly after their construction—within a decade, they were declared 'unfit for purpose', and several plans were drawn up that suggested various differing types of renovation and renewal for the blocks, including splitting the buildings into smaller, more manageable structures by removing sections. In the 1980s and 1990s many of these vacant deck-access flats were squatted and the area acquired a 'Bohemian' reputation for its many punks, artists and musicians.

During the late 1980s Viraj Mendis, an asylum seeker from Sri Lanka, sought the right of sanctuary in the Church of the Ascension in Hulme. He was an active supporter of Sri Lanka Tamils and claimed danger of death if he was sent back to Sri Lanka. He stayed in the church for two years until the church was raided by police on 18 January 1989.[5]

Modern Hulme

The decision was made in the early 1990s to demolish Hulme's crescent blocks and replace them with low-rise flats and houses. The total amount of public and private money spent on improving Hulme and neighbouring Moss Side between 1990 and 2002 had exceeded £400 million.[6] The area by then had become popular and desirable, containing a mix of council and privately-owned housing.

One part of Hulme, the Birley Fields, has been partly developed for a series of office blocks and partly retained as urban parkland. The blocks house companies such as Michelin and Laing O'Rourke as well as the University of Manchester/IFL/Server Hotel data centre. In 2009, Manchester Metropolitan University announced plans for the redevelopment of Birley Fields as the site of a new £120 Million campus. The proposed scheme, which will utilise cutting edge environmental technologies, includes new academic buildings, student accommodation and the landscaping of the area will include a new community square. As of December 2010 the project is seeking final planning permission and works are due to start in 2011.

The reputation for anti-social activity that Hulme acquired in the 1970s and 1980s has declined. The counterculture that the area fostered toward the 1990s survived the redevelopment[7] and is evident in, for example, Hulme Community Garden Centre, a not-for-profit organisation underpinned by organic principles promoting, among other things, sustainability and urban gardening and food production.[8]

Hulme's proximity to the city centre has meant that it has become a popular place to live for a new generation of city dwellers. The area is popular with young professionals who are attracted by apartment prices that are cheaper than the city centre and yet within a 15 minute walk to the centre of town and the main university campus. Students of the University of Manchester are also choosing to live in many of the student-focused residential developments in the area.[citation needed]

Its proximity to the city centre gives easy access to the many bars, restaurants and cultural attractions of Manchester. But local amenities including the Zion Arts Centre, Hulme Community Garden Centre and Hulme Park give the area a nice bohemian feel at times. And for everyday shopping there is the Hulme Shopping Centre which includes an ASDA supermarket and a little indoor market that is worth a look.

In 2008, following a tenants' vote, the area's remaining council housing stock was transferred to the City South Housing Association along with that of several neighbouring areas.


Hulme emerged in the Middle Ages as a township and chapelry, in the ecclesiastical parish of Manchester in the Salford Hundred in the historic county of Lancashire.[9] Under the terms of the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834 Hulme was in Chorlton Poor Law Union which was established on 3 February 1837 until 1915 and in Manchester Poor Law Union from 1915 until 1930.[10] From 1824 to 1845 commissioners had powers for the improvement of the area of the township, and it became part of the Borough of Manchester in 1838.[9]

Hulme is a ward of the city of Manchester. It is represented on the City Council by Councillors Amina Lone, Mary Murphy, and Nigel Murphy.[11][12] The district is part of the Manchester Central parliamentary constituency, which is currently represented at Westminster by Tony Lloyd MP. In common with the rest of Greater Manchester, Hulme is part of the North West England European Parliament constituency.


Hulme is south of Manchester city centre, beyond the River Medlock. The part of Hulme nearest to Old Trafford is known as Cornbrook from the Corn Brook, a tributary of the River Irwell. The Bridgewater Canal passes through Hulme.

A panorama of Hulme, looking northwards towards Manchester city centre.


Hulme has a very diverse population, both ethnically (the main groups being white British and black British), and in age spread and lifestyle.[citation needed]

Ethnic group - percentages; white (persons)% 67.97

Ethnic group - percentages; mixed (persons)% 5.95

Ethnic group - percentages; Asian or Asian British (persons)% 5.39

Ethnic group - percentages; black or black British (persons)% 15.19

Ethnic group - percentages; Chinese or other ethnic group (persons)% 5.50


The Church of St George, Chester Road, Hulme a Commissioners' Church, was an Anglican church built to the designs of Francis Goodwin in 1826-27 and has a tall tower and a fine galleried interior. It was once the garrison church for the nearby barracks and the graveyard has many interesting gravestones.[13] After being derelict for many years it has been converted to residential use.

St Mary's Church, Chichester Road (architect J. S. Crowther, 1856–58) is another former Anglican church. It has a tall steeple and a lofty interior.[14][15] This too has been converted into apartments.

St Wilfrid's Roman Catholic Church, Birchvale Close (formerly Bedford Street), is an early work of A. W. Pugin: the tower is incomplete and the church is a good example of early Gothic Revival work.[14]

The Bishop of Hulme was one of three suffragan bishops in the Diocese of Manchester from 1924 and 2009; the last Bishop of Hulme was Stephen Lowe.


In 1904, Henry Royce and Charles Stewart Rolls created a business partnership after meeting at Manchester's Midland Hotel and decided to start to build their own versions of the motor car (a relatively new invention). Hulme was chosen for their first Rolls-Royce workshop, though operations were moved to Derby shortly afterwards.

Many street names in the current Hulme commemorate this little piece of history, such as Royce Road and Rolls Crescent, though the Royce public house, a popular drinking establishment with a distinctive ceramic historical 'mural' was razed for the creation of modern flats, in the 1990s regeneration of Hulme.

Hulme Park On Friday 10 August 2007, a sculpture by George Wyllie MBE "Temple" was based on a Rolls Royce radiator grille and was unveiled in Hulme Park by the Scottish artist and is dedicated to Hulme's older residents, some of whom could have worked at the factory.

Other notable people

See also Category:People from Hulme

Rowland Detrosier, a radical politician, preacher and educator, was brought up in Hulme in the early 19th century. Actor Alan Igbon, known for playing Loggo in Alan Bleasdale's TV drama Boys from the Blackstuff, was born in Hulme. Morrissey, lead singer of the Smiths, spent his childhood in Hulme and neighbouring Stretford. Jazz trumpeter Kevin Davy lived in Hulme during his time as a student at Manchester Polytechnic. Poet and BBC Radio 4 presenter Lemn Sissay spent the first 17 years of his life in care, in Hulme and its surrounding areas. TV presenter and author John Robb lives in Hulme. Billy Duffy (guitarist with English alt. rockers the Cult) grew up in Hulme. Film critic Mark Kermode lived in Hulme while he was a university student in Manchester.


  1. ^ a b Usual Resident Population in Manchester, Manchester City Council. Retrieved on 2008-02-10
  2. ^ "Hulme: Districts & Suburbs of Manchester" (HTTP). Manchester UK. Papillon Graphics. Retrieved 20 August 2007. 
  3. ^ Russell, Charles E. B. (1913) Social Problems of the North. London. A. B. Mowbray.
  4. ^ Yearsley, Ian (1962) The Manchester Tram. Huddersfield: Advertiser Press
  5. ^
  6. ^ Taylor, Paul (6 July 2006), "News Special: Moss Side Riots 25 years on", Manchester Evening News (M.E.N. Media),, retrieved 29 August 2010 
  7. ^ "The People's Republic of Hulme", The Archive Hour, radio programme first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 7 August 2010.
  8. ^ "Who we are", Hulme Community Garden Centre website. Retrieved on 2010-8-29.
  9. ^ a b Greater Manchester Gazetteer, Greater Manchester County Record Office, Places names – G to H,, retrieved 27 December 2010 
  10. ^ Chorlton Workhouse, The Workhouse,, retrieved 27 December 2010 
  11. ^ Councillors by Ward: Hulme, Manchester City Council. Retrieved on 2008-02-10.
  12. ^ Hulme by-election results, 4 Nov 2010
  13. ^ Betjeman, J. (ed.) (1968) Collins Pocket Guide to English Parish Churches: the North. London: Collins; p. 158
  14. ^ a b Pevsner, N. (1969) Lancashire: 1. Penguin Books; p. 331
  15. ^ Chichester Road, named after Francis Chichester, is relatively recent: it was formerly in Upper Moss Lane.

Further reading

  • Makepeace, Chris (1995) Looking Back at Hulme, Moss Side, Chorlton on Medlock & Ardwick. Altrincham: Willow
  • Potts, Bob (1997) The Old Pubs of Hulme and Chorlton-on-Medlock. Radcliffe: Neil Richardson

External links

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