New Cross – one of Manchester’s lost locations.

New Cross

New Cross was a centre of production for penny broadsides in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, with several printers based around Swan Street.   Some of the building around Chadderton Street and Cable Street date from this time, but none of the printers businesses survive. However, ask most Mancunians aged under 60 where the area of New Cross is, and the only reaction you are likely to get is a blank stare.

Until the 1960’s, the area around the junction of Tib Street, Swan Street and Oldham Street was a well known, and quite distinct, district of Manchester called New Cross. The original Victorian trams stopped here on the way out of the city centre towards Oldham, and the name would have been as familiar s Ancoats, Beswick or Ardwick. Historic maps of the area show that Swan Street was originally named New Cross Street, and that there was a physical cross, perhaps even an old market cross – although this is unclear – located in the centre of the junction opposite the Frog and Bucket and the Historic Crown and Kettle pub. The records show that there was a pub on the corner as early as 1734.

The New Cross name is perhaps best associated nowadays with the shop on Tib Street that sells ex-army gear, a ‘destination shop’ for several generations of Mancunians looking to buy their first pair of docs, or maybe some waterproof clothing for a festival. There is also the nearby New Cross Dental Surgery, and it is often the case that when place names that have otherwise fallen out of use, they live on in the names of nearby buildings or businesses.

Although the area is currently overshadowed by its better known neighbours Ancoats, Shudehill and Collyhurst, New Cross may yet see a revival, both as an area of commerce and as a name. Manchester City Council has announced plans to develop the area north of Swan Street, between Rochdale Road and Oldham Street, referring to it as the ‘final piece of the jigsaw’ in the redevelopment of the city centre ( M.E.N. 2015)

David Jennings



32 thoughts on “New Cross – one of Manchester’s lost locations.

  1. John fraser

    Didn’t know that the area to north of swan street was up for development so that should be interesting to see. Really liked background to new cross

  2. Neil Gibbs

    Many thanks for this interesting page. I am trying to find information on a Victorian music shop, Howard’s, which was at 2-4, Swan St. I saw that there was a bank on this site by 1888 but wonder whether you have any information about the buildings before this date?
    Many thanks,

    1. Gavin Sharp Post author

      Hi Neil. I don’t know of it at the moment, but I will look into it and see if maybe David Jennings, who is the Social Archeologist who has worked on the project with us, can unearth anything.

  3. Carole Cooper

    I was brought up in New Cross from the 1940s and loved it.

    Outside of the Crown and kettle was a horsetrough and public toilets that you went underneath to use.

  4. Yigit Usenmez

    Hi guys, my family owns the last pet shop on Tib St cornering with Swan St. I have had numerous customers come in saying 50 years back it was all petshops etc.. Im trying to track down the history of us, but also Tib St with a focus on the petshops…any ideas?

    1. Gavin Sharp Post author

      Hi Yigit. I am over at Band on the Wall so will check with the researchers and pop in and let you know what we have. Best Gavin

    2. Peter

      Hi Yigit
      I grew up in New Cross in the 60’s, lived on Cross Keys Street until I was seven then moved to New Moston. Spent plenty of time on Tib Street in the pet shops. There were two I remember well. Bob Groves on the corner of Tib St and Whittle St and Walter Smiths which was a little further down on the right hand side next door to the chippy on the corner. Walter Smiths had a “magic tap” in the window with water flowing out of it but was not connected to anything. Brilliant!

    3. peter

      There were two pet shops on Tib street, Bob Groves on the left hand side at the corner of Warwick St and Walter Smiths on the opposite side next door to the corner fish and chip shop.

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  6. Stephen O’Loughlin

    I was brought up in Victoria Square (on Oldham Road), New Cross in the 1950’s. I have a ration book and clothing coupon book from WW2 giving the address as New Cross, so the ‘official’ name for the area was clearly regarded as New Cross, not Ancoats – which we regarded as beginning on the eastern side of the Rochdale canal. The name of the electoral ward we were in, was also New Cross, this persisted until boundary changes abolished it in the 1970s.
    The Daily Express printing works was on nearby Great Ancoats St ; on Saturday nights street sellers used to stream out of the building, with the early edition papers under their arm, and fan out into the surrounding streets shouting ‘Empire News’, ‘Empire News’….that being a popular Sunday newspaper of the time. It was always a pleasure reading the football results in the Sunday paper on a Saturday night !

  7. Carole Cooper

    i was born and lived in New Cross until I was aged 12 but always have very fond memories of the place. I remember to horse water trough at the top of Oldham Street. I went to George Leigh Street School (the one with the playground on the roof). my family all came from Ancoats. I just loved it and still go back to visit and feel so much nostalgia. Watching the Italians walk at whit week what a magnificent sight wonderful

    1. Ged taylor

      I lived on naylor St miles planting and went to George Leigh St school in the early sixties played football on the roof rafting on the canal near the royle bridge and playing on our bogies on Oldham Road I also helped the express milkman remember the tenements at new cross we were a lot of happy kids.

  8. Diane

    Could someone please comment and explain the 2 photos that are shown here? One is a painting and one a photo of the same street? Description and dates would be great. Some of the buildings look the same in the recent photo.

    1. Gavin Sharp Post author

      Hi Diane
      Yes, the photo is a relatively recent shot of the intersection of Oldham St, Oldham Rd and Swan Street, now all on Manchester’s Inner Ring Road, vs an older sketch. This cross roads was originally called New Cross and was traditionally a place where people would assemble to protest or for public gatherings or speeches. The name New Cross is now being used as a title for the redevelopment zone which is currently seeing great changes as part of the City Councils re-development strategy immediately adjacent to the cross roads. This area once contained the gravel pits which were mentioned by Marx & Engels in Das Capital and was where the printer owned by a Mr Person was based who first had the idea of employing a song writer to write news in verse (allegedly)

  9. peter

    Ex longsight lad played for the New Cross Labour club football team in the seventies, a great time a great team we rarely lost, run by the great Vinny Schiavo.

    1. colin

      New Cross were one of the strongest sides in the region – Gorton Sunday League if I remember rightly – and Vinny was a real character.

    2. Philip Hardman

      I knew a player that played for New Cross Labour club in the 70’s called Billy Lunt a really good centre half in the day.

  10. Pauly

    I can remember a shop called New Cross Electronics (or similar). Right where the apartments are, before you reach the Crown and Kettle.

  11. Alan Pilkington

    Used to go to new cross labour every sunday afternoon. They had auditions for up and coming artist. Then we would go home for Sunday dinner. Have a nap. Up and out at seven and back to the club. Great times…

  12. Audrey Kelly

    Where was New Town, having read the Billy Hopkins books, as a kid for a time he mentions living in New Town Collyhurst

  13. Mark Gagan

    I lived in Thompson street on the early 1960s up near the potato wharf. Grandad and Dad used to drink in the Red Bull and Hat and Feathers, Dad also used the Weavers further down Rochdale Road Burgos favourite was the George ( known as the little George) just before Miller St. There was also the Cross Keys pub near us. Area was known as New Cross and we moved to Anita St opposite Victoria Dwellings ( the Dwellings) I remember “ Jack’s” shop on Oldham Rd where we used to buy hot glasses of Vimto after Mass on Sunday as a treat. I used to go to St Michael’s school and church. Many happy memories of the Whit Walks ( I think we walked on Whit Friday ) with the Madonna and lead on by the Kerry pipers.

  14. Beth

    Has anyone got a map or photos of Ward Street, New Cross as my ancestors lived there.
    Many thanks in advance.


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