Until the arrival of the railway in the middle of the 19th century, Cheadle Hulme, now a thriving and highly desirable suburb south of Stockport and neighbour of Bramhall, comprised of just a few farms and silk weavers’ cottages.
But once the line from Manchester to Crewe and the branch to Macclesfield opened, everything changed and Cheadle Hulme became classic commuter country.
In the early years of the 20th century, when Hill Top Avenue cut through the orchards between Swann Lane and Church Road, the local population grew 100 per cent in 30 years.
And so the story continues. Many of the office blocks that were developed around the junction station in the centre of the village are now being converted into sought-after apartments and a raft of new restaurants and bars are opening to serve a population that’s still growing.
Transport and travel
The railway, with three trains an hour in each direction between Manchester – 20 minutes away – Macclesfield and Crewe remains central to Cheadle Hulme’s connectivity.
From Stockport, one stop away, you can travel virtually anywhere in the UK, including London in less than two hours.
But the opening of the A34 Cheadle and Wilmslow by-pass and more recently, the A555, which both skirt Cheadle Hulme, has also provided much improved road links. The latter puts Manchester Airport a mere 10 minutes away and provides easy access to the M56. And the link from “Roscoe’s roundabout” at the bottom of Councillor Lane leads directly to the M60.
Manchester is reached by bus via Didsbury Village by the snails-pace 42B which finishes in the early evening. There are more frequent services to Stockport.
Pubs and restaurants
While neighbouring Bramhall village only has one, Cheadle Hulme has always been blessed with plenty of popular pubs, almost all of them serving food. Restaurants are fewer.
The Church Inn, next door to the Victorian All Saints Parish Church at the corner of Church Road and Ravenoak Road, is Cheadle Hulme’s oldest pub and Robinson’s first outside the centre of Stockport. Formerly a couple of 18th century cottages, it boasts a low-ceilinged bar with an open fire, oak panelling, an excellent, genuinely home-cooked menu (try the Penang prawns) and a spacious beer garden.
The Hesketh, opposite ancient Hulme Hall, dates from 1864 and in 2005 became the second of Doug Almond’s family pub group, undergoing a major refit in 2017. It successfully blends the traditional with the contemporary and majors on a great value, top quality carvery backed by a wider menu, well kept beers, a good wine list and plenty of outdoor seating.
The John Millington is in busy Station Road but has the atmosphere of a country pub having been converted from Grade II listed Millington Hall, built in 1683, by Manchester brewers Hyde’s in 2004. Attractive inside and out, it offers a menu featuring many pub classics made from excellent ingredients, many locally sourced.
Platform 5 is next door to Cheadle Hulme station and shows live train departures times on a screen. Formerly called The Junction and then The Cheadle Hulme, it’s a huge place with multi rooms, multi screens showing sports, well-kept cask beers from Manchester brewer Joseph Holt and a menu of pub classics, pizza, light bites and children’s meals.
The King’s Tap on Station Road replaced a J D Wetherspoon’s pub in Cheadle Hulme’s 1937-built former King’s Hall dance hall. On offer are a selection of small plates and a good value, eclectic main menu to be washed down with craft beer, real ale, cocktails, a gin selection or wines from a populist list.
The Chiverton Tap, a former draper’s shop in Mellor Road, was opened in 2015 by three like-minded local residents and has since spawned a sister operation, The Mounting Stone, in Bramhall. Tradition rules from the excellent local craft and cask beers – backed by good wines and gin – to the board games. No music: just conversation, free WiFi and a menu limited to nibbles and Titterton’s pork pies and a choice of chutneys.
The Governor’s House in Ravenoak Road was built in 1882 as Oakley Manor and is now owned by Greene King. The spacious bar areas offer well-kept cask ales and at the rear there’s a dining area served by an extensive, reasonably priced menu. The property also features eight en-suite rooms and a large garden.
The Pointing Dog in Grove Lane was developed from the Smithy by Ged Lynch and Neil Lawrence who opened Grinch in Manchester in the 1980s. The £1.5 million reworking produced a striking modern gastropub, since taken over by Marston’s, boasts the biggest al fresco area for miles around.
Gusto, chic and modern, occupies the ground floor of an office block that once housed the Automobile Association in Station Road. Part of the popular chain, it offers a menu of Italian favourites and an outside seating area.
Tang’s in Church Road is an authentic, neighbourhood, mainly Cantonese restaurant that fills the gap left by Wing’s after it moved to Lincoln Square in Manchester city centre.
Rainbow 88 is a much bigger Chinese restaurant with 100 covers in Cheadle Hulme’s shopping precinct. The menu features Cantonese and Pan-Asian dishes and the restaurant organises many charity events.
The Garam Masala, Station Road and the Barinda on Gill Bent Road are both popular with fans of Indian food, while down home traditionalists head for the highly regarded Whittaker’s Fish Bar on Station Road, which has its own eat-in restaurant.
Pimlott’s on Station Road is a high quality butcher’s founded by Joseph Pimlott in Gorton in 1869 and is now run by his great-grandson Richard. Sir Alex Ferguson has been known to join the queue to pick up his Christmas turkey.
Waterhouse’s Quality Food Market in Mellor Road has been a traditional family-run greengrocer and fishmonger since 1921. Alongside top notch vegetables and fruit, they also sell a range of specialist products including gluten free, Dunsters dairy and loose frozen fruits for home-made recipes.
Waitrose on Station Road is the place to shop and be seen. Enough said.
Snape & Sons on Church Road, a “traditional ironmongers with modern values”, has been supplying Cheadle Hulme and surrounding areas with everything for home and garden for more than 60 years and recently opened a large extension.
Crissan, a thriving women’s wear shop next door to Snape’s, has been providing affordable fashion for almost 30 years, despite the close proximity of Marks and Spencer and Next at Handforth Dean and John Lewis at Cheadle Royal.
Parks and recreation
Cheadle Hulme has its own village centre “park” in Oak Meadow off Station Road and in South Park, next to Manchester Rugby Club in Grove Lane, model engineers operate miniature train rides every Sunday.
But then Cheadle Hulme is also sandwiched between two important open spaces – Bramhall Park off Manor Road and Bruntwood Park off School’s Hill.
Two websites – ilovecheadlehulme.com and cheadlehulme.net – boast significant community followings and help maintain Cheadle Hulme’s village image.
The ever-popular local theatre company Chads was founded just after the Great War as the Cheadle Hulme Amateur Dramatic Society and since 1952 has had its own purpose-built auditorium staging seven main plays per season.
One of the world’s oldest rugby clubs, Manchester RUFC, founded in 1860, shares Grove Park with 130 year-old Cheadle Hulme Cricket Club and Cheadle Hulme Squash Club, since it moved from Kersal Moor at the end of the 1960s.
And Bramhall Park Golf Club straddles the Cheadle Hulme – Bramhall boundary in Manor Road.
Homes in Hill Top Avenue – where a five-bed semi is currently up for sale for £725,000 – have topped £1 million, as have houses in Manor Road.
But the ongoing conversion of offices into apartments is providing affordable homes close to the village centre. The Pointe, former offices in Mellor converted into 22 apartments and penthouses, has a two-bed apartment on sale for £242,000.
Meanwhile the Fabrik development, the conversion of a six-storey former office block close to the train station into 184 modern “micro” apartments, has seen 30 sq metre one-bedders on sale for £138,950 and 57 sq metre two-bedders for £210,000.
Zoopla puts the average house price in Cheadle Hulme at £326,974.
This is the Place is the name of a poem by Tony Walsh commissioned by Forever Manchester, the only charity that raises money to fund and support community activity across Greater Manchester. And they can’t do it without your help. Donate what you can because investing in your local community to help it thrive can be a hugely rewarding experience. There’s a unique sense of satisfaction in knowing that you are making a real difference to the lives of others, especially to those close to home.
Photos: Stephen Cottrill