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Dukinfield Town Hall front.jpg
Dukinfield Town Hall
Grid reference: SJ945975
Location: 53°28’26"N, 2°4’58"W
Population: 18,885  (2001)
Post town: Dukinfield
Postcode: SK16
Dialling code: 0161
Local Government
Council: Tameside
Denton and Reddish

Dukinfield is a small town in Cheshire. It stands on the south bank of the River Tame, opposite Ashton-under-Lyne, and is six miles east of the city of Manchester. At the time of the 2001 census it had a population of 18,885.

The town is a product of the Industrial Revolution which swept the Cheshire Plain as it did neighbouring South Lancashire. The growth of Dunkinfield was accelerated by the growth of coal mining and the cotton industry.


Early history

The earliest evidence of human activity around Dukinfield comes from a collection of four flints from the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age. The artefacts were discovered on the site of Dukinfield Hall and have been taken as evidence of a prehistoric settlement on the site.[1] There is no further evidence of activity in the area until the Roman period. A 3rd-century bronze Roman coin was discovered in the town.[2]

Dukinfield is plain Old English: ducan feld means "ducks' field".[3]

Early records show the township was included in the fee of Dunham Massey. It was held by Matthew de Bramhall in about 1190 and after that by a family who took the name "De Dokenfeld". The family lived at the moated Dukinfield Old Hall which originated from after the Norman Conquest and was rebuilt in the Tudor era remaining the home of the Dukinfields till the18th century after which it became derelict.[4] During the Civil War, Colonel Robert Duckenfield[5] of Dukinfield Hall was a noted commander in the New Model Army.[6] The baronetcy, Dukinfield baronets|Dukinfield of Dukinfield, Cheshire was created in 1665 for Robert Dukinfield, son of Colonel Robert Dukinfield. The Dukinfields held the manor for five centuries until the widow of Sir William Dukinfield Daniel married the artist John Astley in 1767. In 1848 his descendant, colliery owner Francis Dukinfield P. Astley, was the lord of the manor. Dukinfield Lodge was built by the Astleys on a hill overlooking the River Tame.[4]

Industrial Revolution

Industrialisation - particularly the cotton trade - helped shape the town, but its rapid development destroyed its former pasture and meadow land. Two cotton mills were built before 1794 and by 1825 there were seven.[4] The industry continued to expand and by the end of the 19th century 14 spinning mills of varying sizes were in operation. The largest mills were built in brick during the 1890s with four or five storeys, large windows, ornamental towers, engine houses and tall brick built chimneys. They included Tower, Tame Valley, River, Park Road and Queen Mills.[7] Most of the cotton mills have now been demolished, but some have been preserved and converted into apartments.

Dukinfield Colliery

Coal pits exploiting the underlying coal measures to the south of the Lancashire Coalfield were a major part of Dukinfield's industrial history, one pithead was located on Birch Lane, now the site of All Saints' Catholic College, with another near the northern border with Ashton-under-Lyne. Francis Dukinfield Astley developed two collieries in the town, Dukinfield and Astley Deep Pit, and both had explosions killing many workers. Dukinfield Colliery (also known as Lakes Pit or Victoria Colliery) was owned by Astley's Dukinfield Colliery Company. The colliery had two shafts, the downcast was 340 yards deep to the Black mine (coal seam) and was connected to the upcast ventilation shaft. On 4 June 1867, 38 men and boys died of suffocation following an explosion caused by a faulty safety lamp.[8]

Astley Deep Pit was off King's Street opposite Brownlea Avenue was developed by Astley but by 1874 was owned by Benjamin Ashton. The colliery's downcast shaft was 686 yards deep and its workings extended over a mile to the south and about 1,300 yards to the north of the shaft.[9] This colliery was reported to be at one time, the deepest coal mine in the world, at 2,100 feet and had three shafts.[10] On 14 April 1874 an underground gas explosion killed 54 men.[11] After the pit closed in 1901 the shafts were filled in and left to stand for many years before being built on. It is now the site of a development of houses comprising Angel Close, Oval Drive and Silver Close.

Samuel Robinson a Unitarian, industrialist and scholar founded the village library in 1833 and was dubbed the "foremost promoter of education in the district" before his death in 1884. Daniel Adamson a mechanical engineer became the first chairman of the Manchester Ship Canal Company. He owned an engineering works producing Lancashire boilers at Newton Wood beside the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway.[7] He died on 13 January 1890. The Adamson Military Band, named after Adamson is based in Dukinfield.[12]

Dukinfield and its surrounding towns were major centres of civil revolt during the 19th century and briefly the area was a hotbed of Chartism, the popular movement calling for universal suffrage by a "People's Charter". Chartist leader the Reverend Joseph Rayner Stephens is buried in St John's Church cemetery.


The town is at the edge of the Cheshire Plain where it meets the Pennines, and Dukinfield is the first town on the hill. The park is situated approximately a quarter of a mile from the Town Hall along King Street towards Hyde in the South. Because of the quite steep rise out of the plain, the park is terraced and is over 90 feet higher at the top. The hill flattens out slightly before rising steeply again towards the East, where the library is situated. The Town Hall is also at the base of the same hill with Astley Street rising steeply along its shorter Southern side before climbing some 120 feet to the crest of the ridge. The local soil is mainly clayey with some alluvial deposits.[13]


The underlying geology is the middle coal measures, which run north–south under the towns hereabouts. The layers of shale and coal are laid on top of each other in bands, only 20 or 30 feet thick. The coal deposits fall away at a 20 degree or so angle, and runs eight or nine miles from the base of the hill out under the plain. The coal deposits are known as the Dukinfield Marine Band and form a V shape running out from here towards Stockport in the south and Ashton Moss in the north east. Dukinfield had several mines of which Astley Deep Pit had the best coal. There are many seams or mines of coal found here. Dukinfield coal was known to be the best for heating and steam generation. Only a mile to the south along Hyde Road is another large mine, the Dewsnap Colliery, which was of a lower quality and so was not in as much demand.

The Dukinfield Marine Band outcrops at Dukinfield, and continues up the hill towards the top of the ridge, some 140 feet above the level of the plain where it flattens out and a third mine was situated.

Dukinfield grew from a small village just south of Ashton-under-Lyne with open land to the south and east, the gap between it and the surrounding towns of Hyde and Matley being a semicircle around 1½ miles wide, to fill the gap entirely by the late 1940s. In its early days from 1801, and previously, the population was small but boomed during the days of the cotton industry and later the coal industry with its major rail junction adding to its prosperity and growth.

The industries which sustained it died out by the turn of the 1900s, leaving only the Daniel Adamson Ltd works but it managed to maintain its population and has only declined by 2000 since 1921. One reason is that it has a central location on the main road from Stockport to Ashton-under-Lyne and is within easy commuting distance of Manchester.

Sights of the town

Dukinfield town hall was built in the late 1890s and opened in 1901. It was built by raising funds from the inception of the Borough of Dukinfield. The park was also made and cost the same amount of money as the town hall. There is an 80 ft difference between the King Street lower side and the rear of the park, being the first hill off the Cheshire plain, and on a clear day it is possible to stand at the top of the steps and see Manchester city centre.

Old Hall Chapel is an old historic church, claiming to be the first independent church in the 17th century. It was built during the late 15th century but is unfortunately partially derelict due to fire in the 1970s which destroyed much of the superstructure of the roof.


  • Cricket: Dukinfield Cricket Club, founded in 1870
  • Football: Dukinfield Town AFC, founded in 1948
  • Rugby: Dukinfield Rugby Union Football Club


  1. Nevell (1992), pp. 37–38.
  2. Nevell (1992), p. 69.
  3. Dodgson (1970a), p. 276.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Lewis, Samuel (1848), "Dukinfield", A Topographical Dictionary of England (British History Online): pp. 96–102, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=50929#s13, retrieved 24 February 2011 
  5. "Colonel Dukinfield Civil war commander". [1]. 23 June 1964. http://duckenfield.org/uk/articles/colonal%20robert.htm. 
  6. "Blue Plaque - Robert Dukenfield". [2]. 12 September 2007. http://www.tameside.gov.uk/blueplaque/robertduckenfield. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Ashmore (1982), p. 92.
  8. (PDF) Dukinfield Colliery, cmhrc.co.uk, p. 5, http://www.cmhrc.co.uk/cms/document/1867_69.pdf, retrieved 24 February 2011 
  9. (PDF) Astley Deep Pit, cmhrc.co.uk, p. 10, http://www.cmhrc.co.uk/cms/document/1873_75.pdf, retrieved 24 February 2011 
  10. "Dukinfield Facts and Figures". [3]. 2 August 2008. http://www.tameside.gov.uk/dukinfield/facts. 
  11. "Blue Plaque - The Astley Deep pit disaster". [4]. 12 September 2007. http://www.tameside.gov.uk/blueplaque/astleypit. 
  12. "Adamsons band history". [5]. 1 January 2009. http://www.adamsonband.co.uk/History.htm. 
  13. Nevell (1992), pp. 8, 10.


  • Ashmore, Owen (1982). The Industrial archaeology of North-west England. Manchester University Press. ISBN 0-7190-0820-4. 
  • Dodgson, J. McN. (1970a). The place-names of Cheshire. Part one: County name, regional- & forest names, river-names, road-names, the place-names of Macclesfield Hundred. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-07703-6. 
  • Hickey, JE (1924). Dukinfield Past and Present. Whittacker & Sons. 
  • Nevell, Mike (1992). Tameside Before 1066. Tameside Metropolitan Borough and Greater Manchester Archaeological Unit. ISBN 1-871324-07-6. 
  • Nevell, Mike (1993). Tameside 1700–1930. Tameside Metropolitan Borough and University of Manchester Archaeological Unit. ISBN 1-871324-08-4. 
  • Pavasovic, Mike (1984). No Mean City – A History of Dukinfield. Neil Richardson. ISBN 0-907511-60-0.