Sunday 9 November 2014

Tyldesley, Greater Manchester

What do you do on a grey Saturday afternoon in Greater Manchester when you don’t want to go far?  Bizarrely we decided to go to Tyldesley.

Tyldesley is tucked away off the East Lancs Road (A580) about 12 miles west from Manchester city centre.  It’s well signposted and easy to find, although they do have a one way system to cope with the traffic.  The traffic was particularly bad through the town as it seemed to be the main route to nearby Atherton.  We parked in a free car park off Elliott Street which was handy, although the nearby Morrisons is another good place to park.

We’d been to Tyldesley previously for a meal at the Spring Deer Chinese Restaurant (fine by the way) and had a drink at the Railway pub on Wareing Street (nice and had a jukebox, but we sat in a loud spot so not good for conversation).  I liked the fact the local taxi firm is in a local shop, so you can shelter from the elements whilst waiting for a taxi.

On this second visit, whilst Tyldesley appears to be an unassuming town, there seemed to be a touch more going on than in nearby Hindley which we visited a couple of months or so before.  However the weather was rather changeable and there weren’t too many people about.

Architecturally, Tyldesley is nothing to write home about.  In the 19th century and early 20th century Tyldesley was known for textiles and coal mining.  The town centre red brick buildings seem to date from the 19th century.  The pubs seem to be the most interesting buildings, although I did love the stone built bank on Elliott Street and the Top Chapel was a Grade II listed building.
Obviously I did check on Yell and there appeared to be three charity shops in the town, but I think there were actually four.  However the Wigan and Leigh Hospice shop closes at 12.30pm and we missed out on that one, which was a real shame as that seemed to have the most interesting stuff from the window display.  Neil had a stroke of luck with one of the charity shops and found some obscure chart hit single for one of his customers at Kingbee Records.  It only cost 20p, although to be honest it’s not worth much more than that as it’s more for people who are Top 40 singles chart completists.  

One thing for sure in Tyldesley is that you won’t go short of a drink with the number of pubs in this place.  I’d heard from Neil’s Mum that Tyldesley is locally known as a good night out.  From all the Soul Music posters dotted across the town, I couldn’t help but think there is a soul music community in these parts.  I guess with the close proximity of Wigan, birth place of Northern Soul, there probably is a thriving community.   

I did notice that there were a good range of specialist shops here.  If you like model railways there is “JPL Models”.  Want a hi-vis jacket? Then go to “LDH Clothing.”  If you like riding, there’s the bizarrely named shop called “Mares R Back” - must be a pun on something to do with horses.  However I loved the sign for “Billys Cheap as Chips” cycle shop, which was so bright, basic and to the point. It was also great that the fitness clubs (Dance and Fitness Centre, the Centurions Boxing Club and Wing Chun Kung Fu) were right on the high street too rather than hidden away in a leisure centre or some industrial estate as it really gives a sense of community.

I found Tyldesley an unassuming but practical town, which seemed to serve the local community needs well.  Not exactly a thrilling day out, but handy for those specialist things you can always get in mainstream places. However there was a bit of a Saturday half day going on as some of the shops closed early, so it’s best to visit here on Saturday mornings.  In the main it seemed to be quite a traditional town, far enough from Manchester to not be caught up in the 21st century pace of life, but near enough not to be completely isolated.  

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