The name of Wythenshawe seems to come from Old English
“wiðign” = “withy tree”
“sceaga” = “wood”.
It is generally believed that “sceaga” has morphed over the years to be pronounced “shawe”.
The ancient townships of Northenden, Baguley appear in the Domesday Book (of 1086) and together with Northen Etchells, became the present-day Wythenshawe when they were merged with Manchester in 1931.
Until then, the name had referred only to Wythenshawe Hall and its grounds.
In the 1920’s building work started on a housing estate an area of approximately 11 square miles (28 km2).
Intended to be a “garden city” where people could be rehoused away from industrial Manchester. Town planner Patrick Abercrombie identified the area as the most suitable undeveloped land for a housing estate close to the city.
It is argued that Wythenshawe was once the largest council estate in Europe.
It is Manchester’s largest district.
Part of Benchill (not the area southwest of Gladeside Road) and some areas in the north were built before World War II and called the Wythenshawe Ward of the City of Manchester.
The rest was built after the Second World War, starting in the late 1940s as wartime building restrictions were relaxed. Parts of Baguley were still semi-rural in the 1960s, but now there is very little open country left.
Originally built without many shops, amenities or services there was very little employability to hand.
Although Northenden already had a shopping area on Palatine Road, the earliest new shops were built in the 1930s and included parades on Hollyhedge Road, and on Altrincham Road in Sharston (the latter was demolished in 1973 to make way for the M56 Sharston bypass).
There were smaller local shops, usually a grocers – selling general household provisions, at Minsterly Parade (Woodhouse Park), Haverley Circle (Benchill),
However, it took decades for some areas of Wythenshawe to get their own neighbourhood shops, which meant residents had to travel or visit a mobile shop van when it visited their area; various residents’ associations were set up to address those problems, but progress was very slow.
After the Second World War, Wythenshawe eventually expanded, with several further shops being built (such as Haveley Circle, built in the early 1950s but demolished in the 1990s) and businesses were attracted to the area with the expansion of the Sharston Industrial Estate and, later, the Moss Nook and Roundthorn industrial complexes.
Wythenshawe gradually acquired all the amenities and facilities that the original planners had neglected to include with the building of several new schools, shops, pubs and churches.
The area also got its own hospital, and Wythenshawe Hospital grew out of the earlier Baguley Hospital in 1948.
The largest shopping area was built in the 1960s in the town centre, known as the Wythenshawe Civic Centre, which has been expanded further since it was first built.
In 1971, the Wythenshawe Forum was opened there, which included a library, a swimming pool, a restaurant, a bar and a theatre.
From the 1990s to the 2000s, the houses that were built and owned by the council were transferred to the control of local housing associations, such as Willow Park in east Wythenshawe and Parkway Green in west Wythenshawe.
Both associations merged in 2013 to form the Wythenshawe Community Housing Group which is now responsible for around 14,000 homes in Wythenshawe.
Housing approx 110,000 residents.
It is now at the centre of massive regeneration across Manchester.
The residents of Wythenshawe are now supported by an infrastructure including Wythenshawe Hospital, the Sharston Industrial Estate and the Moss Nook and Roundthorn industrial complexes, 35 schools, The Forum complex and “Civic” shopping area, where the local police are based and fire services are based in the Roundthorn area.
It is a busy, bustling, suburb.
Tramlines have been built and plans are to expand these. Manchester International Airport as based within the boundaries with its 2 runways and 3 terminals, the M60 and M56 motorways as well as the A560, plus the network of roads aid the transportation of people and goods.
Wythenshawe was the outdoor filming location for the Channel 4 series Shameless, which showed various shots of the local tower-blocks, housing estates and other architecture unique to this area.
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