An interactive version of this map can be found at www.manchester2002-uk.com/maps/postcodes-map.html.
The Ten Boroughs
Greater Manchester Metropolitan County was invented in 1974 as an administrative entity. It contains 10 boroughs, all of which have their own council.
Six are towns and their surrounding areas: Wigan, Bolton, Bury, Rochdale and Oldham to the north, and Stockport to the south. Their councils’ websites are:
And two boroughs are not named after settlements.
Tameside, named after the river Tame, brings together nine towns under one council: www.tameside.gov.uk/;
Trafford, named after the land-owning De Trafford family, comprises ten local towns and districts: www.trafford.gov.uk/.
The original settlement lay where the River Medlock meets the River Irwell.
Historically, most of the city was a part of Lancashire, although areas south of the River Mersey were in Cheshire. As the result of an early-19th century factory building boom, Manchester was transformed from a township into a major mill town, borough and was granted city status in 1853.
Before the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries, Salford was a more important commercial and cultural centre than Manchester. The Salford “Hundreds” (districts) originally included most of modern Manchester, as far as Heaton Mersey in the south, Bolton and Bury to the north, Oldham and Rochdale to the east, and Warrington and Wigan to the west.
Salford was granted city status in 1926, having previously been a county borough.
The boundaries of the borough of Salford were set in line with the Local Government Act of 1972; Salford borough is separated from Manchester by the River Irwell and from Trafford by the Manchester Ship Canal. The administrative centre is Salford Civic Centre in Swinton.
Wigan town stands on the River Douglas and is the largest settlement in Wigan borough. It was a mill town and a mining town, but also had traditions of porcelain and clock making.
Bolton town stands close to the West Pennine Moors and is the largest settlement in Bolton borough. It was a mill town specialising in textiles manufacture.
Bury town stands on the River Irwell and is the largest settlement in Bury borough. It was a mill town specialising in textiles manufacture.
Rochdale town is the largest settlement in the Rochdale borough. It stands in the Pennine foothills on the River Roch. It was historically a market town which became a mill town in the Industrial Revolution.
Oldham town is the largest settlement in Oldham borough. It lies in the Pennines on high ground between the River Irk and the River Medlock. It was a mill town.
Stockport town is the largest settlement in Stockport borough. It lies on elevated ground where the River Goyt meets the River Tame and the two rivers flow together to form the River Mersey. In the 16th and 17th centuries Stockport was a centre of hemp cultivation and rope-making. In the 18th century it was a centre of silk manufacture. In the 19th century it was involved in the cotton industry and in hat-making.
Stockport town is dominated by the Stockport Viaduct which was built in 1840 to carry the mainline railways from Manchester to Birmingham and London over the River Mersey
Tameside was named after the River Tame and the Tame Valley which cuts through the borough; it contains Ashton-under-Lyne. Hyde, Audenshaw, Droylsden, Dukinfield, Denton, Stalybridge, Mossley and Longdendale.
Trafford was named after the De Trafford family who originally owned most of the land. Ten towns were joined to make the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford. They are : Altrincham, Bowden, Carrington, Dunham Massey, Hale, Partington, Sale, Stretford, Urmston and Warburton. North Trafford originally lay in Lancashire and South Trafford was in Cheshire.