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Title: Handforth  
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Subject: WikiProject Cheshire/Cleanup listing, Cheadle Hulme, Handforth railway station, Pets at Home, Doves (band)
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Peter Herd's in The Paddock (Handforth Precinct)
Handforth is located in Cheshire
 Handforth shown within Cheshire
Population 9,139 (2011)
OS grid reference
Civil parish Handforth
Unitary authority Cheshire East
Ceremonial county Cheshire
Region North West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Wilmslow
Postcode district SK9
Dialling code 01625
Police Cheshire
Fire Cheshire
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament Tatton
List of places

Handforth is a suburban town between Wilmslow, Heald Green and Styal in Cheshire, England.[1] In the 1960s and 1970s, two overspill housing estates were built to re-house people from inner city Manchester, Spath Lane in Handforth[2] and Colshaw Farm nearby in Wilmslow.[3]


  • History 1
    • Administrative history 1.1
  • Geography 2
    • Climate 2.1
  • Governance 3
  • Demography 4
    • Population 4.1
    • Ethnicity 4.2
    • Religion 4.3
      • Places of Worship 4.3.1
  • Transport 5
  • Economy 6
  • Public Services 7
    • Health 7.1
    • Schools 7.2
    • Police 7.3
    • Fire 7.4
  • Facilities 8
    • Parks 8.1
  • External links 9
  • References 10


Handforth, township and hamlet with ry. sta., Cheadle par., E. Cheshire, 5 miles SW. of Stockport, 1311 ac., pop. 736; P.O., T.O.
— John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887, [4]

Handforth's original name was Handforth cum-Bosden, and was for many years in the parish of Cheadle. The name "Handforth" is believed to originate from the Saxon Hanna's Ford, when there was such a crossing on the River Dean. The first mention of Handforth was in a charter which is dated between 1233 and 1236.

During the Crusades, Handforth acquired its own Coat of Arms, which displays the Honford Star. The Honford Star originated from Henry de Honford who, while fighting in the Crusades, painted a silver star on his black shield after seeing a star fall from the sky during a night attack on the Saracens.[5] The town was referred to as Honford in John Speede's map of the area in 1611,[6] after the local feudal family known as the de Honford's.

The oldest building in Handforth is Handforth Hall, a typically Tudor-styled black and white timber building built by Sir Urian Brereton in 1562. It was originally named Honford Hall after the de Honford's. Sir Urian was escheator of Cheshire, one of the privy grooms to King Henry and knighted in 1544 at Leith during an attack on Edinburgh. Sir Urian Brereton died at Handforth Hall on 19 March 1577 and is thought to be buried in a chapel at St Mary's Church, Cheadle. In the south chapel are three recumbent effigies. Two are in alabaster and are thought to represent members of the Hondford (or Handford) family, Sir John, who died in 1461 and his son, also named John. The third is in sandstone and represents Sir Thomas Brereton who died in 1673.[7] The most famous resident of Handforth is Sir Urian's great grandson, the Parliamentary General, Sir William Bereton, who fought in the Civil War.[8]

During the Second World War Handforth, along with Cheadle Hulme, was home to large parts of RAF Handforth. This was a maintenance unit, classed as a 'Universal stores' depot and had the official Royal Air Force name, "RAF Handforth No 61 M.U. (Maintenance unit)". The depot opened in 1939 and closed in 1958–59 and covered large areas of land in both Handforth and neighbouring Cheadle Hulme.

Greyhound Inn, Handforth c.1905

The depot stored and dispatched every conceivable item that the RAF would use in wartime. Everything from knives and forks to aircraft engines were stored and dispatched from RAF Handforth. The site was served by a large, internal railway system which left the Manchester to Crewe mainline prior to Handforth railway station. The site of the exchange sidings and junction is at the rear of the 'Pets at home' offices on Epsom Avenue. The depot had its own shunting locomotives, which were stored in an engine shed that stood at the Wilmslow bound exit slip road for the Handforth Dean shopping centre.

The only surviving buildings of RAF Handforth are the government pay offices adjacent to the 'Total Fitness' gym on Dairyhouse Lane. These buildings were the Headquarters of the depot and have survived in military/MoD use to this day.

Administrative history

Handforth-cum-Bosden was part of the Stockport Registration District between 1837 to 1877, until it was divided onto the separate parishes of Handforth and Bosden. Handforth continued to be part of the Stockport Registration District from 1877 to 1936 when it was then incorporated into the parishes of Wilmslow and Cheadle and Gatley. The parish of Bosden was abolished in 1900 and incorporated into the parish of Hazel Grove and Bramhall.[9]

Due to being part of Wilmslow, Handforth along with other towns such as Whitworth, Poynton and Alderley Edge successfully objected from being part of the metropolitan county of Greater Manchester when it was formed in 1974, as a result of plans laid out in the Local Government Act 1972,[10] although the area does form part of the Greater Manchester Urban Area.[11] From 1974 until the changes in local government which occurred in 2009, Handforth was administered by both the Macclesfield Borough Council and also the Cheshire County Council. On 1 April 2009 it became part of the Cheshire East unitary authority.[12]


Handforth borders Heald Green to the north and Wilmslow to the south, between the Cheshire Plain and the Pennines.[13] The area lies near the River Dean, a tributary of the River Bollin that flows north–west and eventually joins the River Mersey near Lymm. The local geology is mostly glacial clay, as well as glacial sands and gravel.[14][15]

The majority of buildings in the area are houses which date from the 20th or 21st centuries. However, there are a few buildings in the area that are earlier than that and date back to before the 20th century and as far as the 16th century (such as Handforth Hall).


Handforth experiences a temperate maritime climate, like much of the British Isles, with relatively cool summers and mild winters.

Climate data for Handforth
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 15
Average high °C (°F) 8
Average low °C (°F) −2
Record low °C (°F) −8
Average precipitation mm (inches) 69
Source: My Weather 2[16]


Handforth is situated in [17] The area is also represented in the European Parliament by being part of the North West England constituency.[18]



The historic population of Handforth was 650 in 1851, and 911 in 1901.[19] According to the United Kingdom Census 2011, the Handforth Ward has a population of 9,139 people.[20] This is an increase from the data in the 2001 Census, when the Handforth Ward had a population of 8,014 people. The gender composition of Handforth is made up of 4,640 females (50.8%) and 4,499 males (49.2%).[21][22][23]

Handforth Compared
2011 UK Census Handforth Cheshire East England
Total population 9,138 370,127 53,012,456
White 91.6% 96.7% 85.5%
Asian 4.7% 1.6% 7.7%
Black 0.8% 0.4% 3.4%


According to the 2011 Census, ethnic white groups (British, Irish, other) account for 8,375 (91.6%) of the population, against 96.8% in the previous 2001 census, with 8.4% (764 people) being in ethnic groups other than white.

Of the 8.4% (764 people) in non-white ethnic groups:


A breakdown of religious groups and denominations (2011 vs 2001):

  • Christian - 63.5% (5,805 people) against 79.2% (6345 people)
  • No religion - 24.5% (2,244 people) against 12.8% (1,026 people)
  • Muslim - 2.7% (250 people) against 1% (82 people)
  • Hindu - 0.9% (78 people) against 0.4% (31 people)
  • Religion not stated - 6.8% (621 people) against 5.9% (473 people)
  • Sikh -0.5% (43 people) against 0.1% (8 people)
  • Jewish - 0.4% (36 people) against 0.3% (27 people)
  • Other religions - 0.4% (34 people) against 0.1% (10 people)
  • Buddhist - 0.3% (28 people) against 0.2% (12 people)[25]

Places of Worship

There are three churches in Handforth:

Methodist: St. Mary's Methodist Church was built in 1872, however Methodism was present in the Handforth and Wilmslow area long before this. It is recorded that John Wesley preached at nearby Finney Green on 1 September 1748.[26]

Roman Catholic: St. Benedict's Roman Catholic Church, part of the Diocese of Shrewsbury.[27]



Handforth railway station is on a double-track electrified line that runs from Manchester Piccadilly to Crewe via Levenshulme, Cheadle Hulme, Stockport and Wilmslow.[31] The A34 bypass from Salford to Winchester is situated to the east.[32] The main thoroughfare is Wilmslow Road (B5358).[33] Manchester Airport lies just 3.5miles (6 km) to the north west, but Handforth lies away from the approach and departure routes and therefore suffers only slightly from aircraft noise.[34]


Handforth Dean is a retail park that houses shops such as Tesco, Marks & Spencer and BHS, and is situated by the A34 bypass.[35] Pets at Home has its headquarters based in Handforth.[36]

Public Services


Handforth Health Centre, purpose built in 1975, was purchased from the Health Authority by the GPs in 1992 and completely refurbished.[37]


Handforth is served by three primary schools: Wilmslow Grange, Dean Oaks Primary and St. Benedict's RC Primary.


Handforth is served by Cheshire Constabulary, with the closest branch being based in Wilmslow.[38]


Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service is the fire service that caters for Handforth, with the nearest fire station being located in Wilmslow.[39]



Meriton Road Park, opened in 1935, covers an area of 3.4 hectares (9 acres)[40] and is situated to the rear of the Paddock Shopping Centre. Until the mid-1980s the park was the site for the Handforth Gala. Current attractions in the park include a multi-sport court, tennis courts and a miniature railway which is operated by Handforth Model Engineering Society.

External links

  • Friends of Handforth Station
  • Handforth Model Engineering Society
  • Handforth Hall
  • Saint Benedict's Roman Catholic Church
  • Saint Chad's Parish Church of England
  • Handforth News Twitter feed
  • Handforth
  • Handforth on Google Maps


  1. ^ "HANDFORTH : latitude, longitude, map and postcode / zip code of Handforth SK9 in United Kingdom". Retrieved 2014-08-11. 
  2. ^ Google Maps: Handforth (Retrieved 29 November 2014)
  3. ^ Google Maps: Colshaw Farm (Retrieved 29 November 2014)
  4. ^ "History of Handforth, in Macclesfield and Cheshire | Map and description". 1887. Retrieved 29 November 2014. 
  5. ^ Graham Rollason, Handforth (Retrieved 4 December 2014)
  6. ^ Map of Cheshire, by John Speed, Published By Basset & Chiswell, 1676 (Retrieved 29 November 2014)
  7. ^ Richards, Raymond (1947), Old Cheshire Churches, London: Batsford, pp. 91–93 
  8. ^ "Cheshire Magazine". Cheshire Magazine. Retrieved 2014-08-11. 
  9. ^ "Stockport Registration District". Retrieved 2014-08-11. 
  10. ^ Local Government Act 1972 (Retrieved 29 November 2014)
  11. ^ "2011 Census - ONS". 2011-03-27. Retrieved 2014-08-11. 
  12. ^ a b [6]
  13. ^ Macchi, L. (1990). "A Field Guide to the Continental Permo-Triassic Rocks of Cumbria and Northwest Cheshire". Liverpool Geological Society, Liverpool: 88 pages.
  14. ^ Taylor, B.; Price R., and Trotter F. (1963). "The geology of the Country around Stockport and Knutsford". Memoir of the Geological Survey GB: pp 20–22.
  15. ^ British Geological Survey 1:50K map series sheets 96-98, 108-110, 122,123 and accompanying memoirs
  16. ^ "December Climate History for Handforth | Local | Cheshire, United Kingdom". Retrieved 2014-08-11. 
  17. ^ a b "George Osborne | MP for Tatton". Retrieved 2014-08-11. 
  18. ^ "European Election 2009, North West Results". BBC News. 19 April 2009. 
  19. ^ a b "Cheshire Towns & Parishes : Handforth". Retrieved 2014-08-11. 
  20. ^ Office for National Statistics (Retrieved 29 November 2014)
  21. ^ Office for National Statistics (Retrieved 30 November 2014)
  22. ^ Office for National Statistics, Neighbourhood Statistics (Retrieved 30 November 2014)
  23. ^ Office for National Statistics, Neighbourhood Statistics: Lead View Table (Retrieved 30 November 2014)
  24. ^ Office For National Statistics, Neighbourhood Statistics - Ethnic Group, 2011 (Retrieved 2014-08-11)
  25. ^ Office For National Statistics, Neighbourhood Statistics - Religion, 2001 (UV15) (Retrieved 4 December 2014)
  26. ^ [7]
  27. ^ "Useful Links". St. Benedict's Catholic Primary School. Retrieved 30 November 2014. 
  28. ^ SRM © 2006. "St Chad's Parish Church, Handforth, Cheshire". Retrieved 2014-08-11. 
  29. ^ Church of England: Diocese of Chester (Retrieved 30 November 2013)
  30. ^ RC Diocese of Shrewsbury (Retrieved 30 November 2013)
  31. ^ [8]
  32. ^ AA Road Book of England and Wales, 4th edition (1953)
  33. ^ B5358, Roader's Digest (Retrieved 30 November 2013)
  34. ^ Manchester (Handforth) Hotel , Premier Inn Official website (Retrieved 30 November 2014)
  35. ^ Handforth Dean: That bit of Handforth that's sort of in Wilmslow..., The Wilmslow Website (Retrieved 30 November 2013)
  36. ^ [9]
  37. ^ Handforth Health Centre Official Website (Retrieved 30 November 2014)
  38. ^ Cheshire Constabulary: Eastern BCU (Retrieved 30 November 2014)
  39. ^ Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service (Retrieved 30 November 2014)
  40. ^ [10]

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