Walkden Town Centre, loking towards Little Hulton, c1950.


1850 - 1900
During this period Walkden grew from a collection of hamlets into a town. The arrival of the railways had tremendous impact, by the end of the 1880’s Walkden was surrounded by a network of both passenger and colliery lines.
Legal changes eased restrictions on the Bridgewater Trust, the development of deep mines and the establishment of cotton mills meant a rapid increase in population and a housing boom that started in the 1860’s and continued apace. Rows of terraced houses were built along the lines of or just off the main roads, on land leased from the Bridgewater Trust who allocated the street names. The Co-op began house building in 1878 with five houses in Wardley Street, Mayfield Avenue was built in 1888 as part of their Central Buildings development.
This rapid growth created public health problems, in 1866 an outbreak of cholera killed about thirty people and in 1869 typhoid claimed nearly fifty lives. In the early 1870’s several newspaper articles detailed the poor conditions; polluted wells, open sewers, manure heaps and overflowing cess and ash pits that must have made life unpleasant, especially in summer. Conditions did gradually improve; the gas supply arrived in 1868, piped water in 1876. In 1894 the Local Government Act forced the election of a district council, the Bridgewater Trust has previously resisted any attempt to introduce elected government. The new council took responsibility for local services and housing.

1900 - 1939
Most of the housing development during this period was to be to the south of Manchester Road. The Co-op built their Chilham Road, Blantyre and Holly Avenue development before 1910. Starting in 1919 Worsley Council provided much needed accommodation with the Birch Road estate, the Brackley Street area and to the east of Worsley Road North.
In 1906 Worsley Council acquired 8 acres of land from the 3rd Earl of Ellesmere for a nominal sum and Parr Fold Park was laid out.
The East Lancashire Road (A580), opened in 1934, was the first, new major road to be built through the area and effectively divided Walkden and Worsley.

Postwar Years
From 1945 there was rapid expansion of housing stock. Worsley U.D.C. extended the Birch Road estate to Old Clough Lane and built new estates to the north of Manchester Road, bordered bySharp Street and Moss Lane. Private development between Newearth Road, Walkden Road and Old Clough Lane has “joined” Walkden to Worsley.
From 2000 developments of “luxury apartments” have sprung up, a trend likely to be ended by the credit crunch and “recession” of 2008.