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Irlam, Manchester - - 1553.jpg
St. John's Church
Grid reference: SJ725945
Location: 53°26’42"N, 2°25’19"W
Population: 19,933  (2011)
Post town: Manchester
Postcode: M44
Dialling code: 0161
Local Government
Council: Salford
Worsley and Eccles South

Irlam is a town in south-eastern Lancashire which has become a suburb of the City of Salford. In 2011 it had a recorded population of 19,933.

Irlam stands on flat ground on the south side of the M62 motorway and the north bank of the Manchester Ship Canal, and is six and a half miles west-south-west of Salford, and seven and a half miles west of Manchester. It forms a continuous urban area with Cadishead to the south-west, and is divided from Flixton to the south-east by the Manchester Ship Canal. The main road through Irlam linking it to Cadishead and Eccles is the A57.

Irlam was anciently known as Irwellham, and was an outlying area of Chat Moss, a large peat bog which straddled the River Irwell. Work was carried out during the 19th century to reclaim large areas of Chat Moss to enable the completion of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1829. In 1894 the Irwell was adjusted so that its waters were united with the Manchester Ship Canal, stimulating the growth of Irlam as an inland port.

Irlam's geography is varied; the northern half continues to exist as moss land, enabling the area to have the largest farming community in the Manchester conurbation. The southern half is predominantly residential, and has a major employment source at the Northbank Industrial Estate.


Irlam is situated on the north bank of the River Irwell, from which it almost certainly takes its name, being known in the 13th century as Irwellham.[1] Until around the time of the arrival of the Cheshire Lines Committee railway and the opening of Irlam railway station, in 1873, Irlam remained a largely undeveloped village, on the southern edge of the peat bog known as Chat Moss.[2]

From at least the beginning of the 13th century, Irlam was held by the Irlam family, whose seat was Irlam Hall. By 1688 Irlam Hall had become the home of Thomas Latham, who played an important part in bringing William of Orange to the thrones of Britain in 1688.[3]

Irlam Urban District was created in 1894, the same year that the Manchester Ship Canal opened. A pair of locks and a ship coaling berth were constructed here. The subsequent industrial development of Irlam owed much to the construction of the canal, which effectively rendered the River Irwell navigable to large ocean-going ships up to Manchester Docks. The Latham family's importance to the local area was acknowledged when their features were incorporated into the arms of Irlam's former urban district council.[2]

Council-owned housing passed to the City West Housing Trust. It was while renovating some of these properties at 7:00 am on 2 November 2010, that there was a large gas explosion. Four houses were destroyed, 15 people were injured and 80 families were subsequently evacuated. There were no fatalities.[4]


Steel manufacture was a major source of employment in Irlam for a large part of the 20th century. The Partington Steel and Iron Company opened the first steelworks in Irlam, in 1910. It subsequently became a part of the Lancashire Steel Corporation, and later British Steel Corporation. Rationalisation and the concentration of steel manufacture into fewer, larger sites, meant that by 1979, all steel production in Irlam had ceased.[5] The former steelworks are now the site of Northbank Industrial Estate.

Kingsland Wine & Spirits, Britain's largest independent wine bottler, operates from a 35-acre site in Irlam, formerly a soapworks established in 1895. The company employs 300 people.


  • Football: Irlam F.C.
  • Rugby league: Irlam Hornets Rugby League Club

The town has a leisure centre known as Fit City, with a swimming pool and fitness gym.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Irlam)


  • Cooper, Glynis: 'Salford: An Illustrated History' (The Breedon Books Publishing Company, 2005) ISBN 1-85983-455-8