wElcOMe To The eXHuLME Website
oLd Hulme, Manchester


Number 80 bus driving down Bonsall St early 70's Hulme

Hulme (pronounced hyoom) is an ex-industrial suburb to the south of the City of Manchester, England. It is known chiefly for its social and economic decline in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, and its subsequent redevelopment in the 1990s, as part of one of Europe's biggest urban regeneration projects. The area received its name from the Danish expression for a small island surrounded by water or marshland which, in fact, it probably was when it was first settled by Norse invaders from Scandinavia. It was evidenced as a separate community south of the River Medlock from Manchester in 15th century map prints. Until the 18th century it remained a solely a farming area, and pictures from the time show an idyllic scene of crops, sunshine and country life. The area remained entirely rural until the Bridgewater Canal was cut and the Industrial Revolution swept economic change through the neighbouring district of Castlefield where the Dukes' canal terminated, and containerised transportation of coal and goods rose as an industry to support the growing textile industries of Manchester. It was this supply of cheap coal from the Dukes' mines at Worsley that allowed the textile industry of Manchester to grow. The Industrial Revolution eventually brought development to the area, and jobs to the urban poor in Hulme carrying coal from the 'Starvationer' (very narrow canal boats), to be carted off along Deansgate. Many factories (known locally as mills) and a railway link to Hulme soon followed, and thousands of people came to work in the rapidly expanding mills in the city. Housing therefore had to be built rapidly, and space was limited. Hulme's growth in many ways was a "victim of its' own success", with hastily built, low-quality housing interspersed with the myriad smoking chimneys of the mills and the railway, resulting in an extremely low quality of life for residents. Reports of the time suggest that even in an extremely residential area such as Hulme, at times air quality became so low that poisonous fumes and smoke literally "blocked out the sun" for long periods. The number of people living in Hulme went up 50-fold in the first half of the 19th century and the rapid building of housing to accommodate the population explosion meant the living conditions were of extremely low standard, with sanitation non-existent and rampant spread of disease. By 1844, the situation had grown so serious that Manchester Borough Council (now Manchester City Council) had to pass a law banning further building. However, the thousands of "slum" homes that were already built continued to be lived in, and many were still in use into the first half of the 20th century.

Arial View of Hulme

In 1904, two businessmen known as Henry Royce and Charles Stewart Rolls created a business partnership after meeting at Manchester's Midland Hotel and decided to start to build their own versions of the relatively new invention of the motor car - and chose Hulme for their first Rolls-Royce factory, though moving to Derby shortly afterwards. Many street names in the current Hulme commemorate this little piece of history, such as Royce Road and Rolls Crescent, though the Royce public house, a popular drinking establishment with a distinctive ceramic historical 'mural' was razed for the creation of modern flats, in the 1990s regeneration of Hulme. At the end of World War II, Britain had a dramatically high need for quality housing, with a rapidly increasing "baby boomer" population increasingly becoming unhappy with the prewar and wartime "austerity" of their lives, and indeed, their living space. By the start of the 1960s England had begun to remove many of the 19th century 'slums' and consequently, most of the slum areas of Hulme were demolished. The modernist and brutalist architectural style of the period, as well as practicalities of speed and cost of construction dictated high rise "modular" living in tower blocks and "cities in the sky" consisting of deck-access apartments and terraces.

Some images of Hulme before the regeneration of the 1960's

Ridings - stretford Road, Hulme 1953


The Junction Pub 1955 merged with 2010 - notice how the pub had 3 floors
anyone know why the top floor was taken off ?

A happy community - Hulme street 1960's


Old Hulme part 1- Kevin-G - Youtube

Aerial view of the Crescents Hulme - 1970's

Old Hulme part 2- Kevin-G - Youtube

Hulme Crescents 1978 - World in Action

Hulme crescents in the winter 1990's


Hulme crescents mid 90's

High rised balconies, top floor of the crescents


The Eagle pub run by famous 70's wrestler Honeyboy Zimba R.I.P





welcome to Hulme 5 - John Nash Crescent behind the Sir Henry Royce


Crescent view towards The Spinners arms - photo courtesy of adamtburton.com


The Spinner's Arms pub (closed)


In Hulme, a new and (at the time) innovative design for deck access and tower living was attempted, whereby curved rows of low-rise flats with deck access far above the streets was created, known as the 'Crescents' (which were, ironically, architecturally based on terraced housing in Bath). In this arrangement, motor vehicles remained on ground level with pedestrians on concrete walkways overhead, above the smoke and fumes of the street. High-density housing was balanced with large green spaces and trees below, and the pedestrian had priority on the ground over cars. At the time, the 'Crescents' won several design awards and had some notable first occupants, such as Nico and Alain Delon. However, what eventually turned out be recognised as poor design, workmanship, and maintenance meant that the crescents introduced their own problems. Design flaws and unreliable "system build" construction methods, as well as the 1970s Oil Crisis meant that heating the poorly insulated homes became too expensive for its low income residents, and the crescents soon became notorious for being cold, damp and riddled with cockroaches and other vermin. Reports from local residents of the period also suggest that at this time, a combination of increasing economic hardship, poor maintenance and the Housing Act meant that many tenants who had maintained a sense of civic pride in the area left, as standards went into free fall as a result of the Act. The auspices of the Act allowed anyone claiming state benefits the right to a Council home. As a result, the now notoriously unpopular properties became a "dumping ground" for many of the city's poorest, most deprived, and indeed, anti-social members of society.

rubbish left on walkway after flat fire - crescent walkways


Proud to Deviate -Clopton Walk shops

Proud to Deviate

Burntout stolen car dumped outside Zion centre mid 90's

Burntout Car

Hulme Streetfight - photo courtesy of adamtburton.com


Hulme subways - kELzO ICIE 1985


As a result, rates of drug addiction and crime soared in the neighbourhood. Local reports suggest that the City Council at one point almost completely lost control of the properties on the estate, and was reduced to handing out keys to properties to anyone who would take them, in order to ensure the use of empty properties. This resulted in a "black market" exchange of properties between squatters, eliminating any possibility of meaningful management of the properties by the council. Local commentators noted that the "neighbourliness" of the previously cramped housing conditions had been eliminated, and due to the "impersonality" of the crescent development any local "sense of community" had also been eliminated. An eventual overspill, and the need for quality housing of the existing communities, meant that large numbers of families were relocated across Greater Manchester, though a many were sent to Wythenshawe, a large "overspill" estate.

Sir Henry Royce pub - mid 80's