Prestwich is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Bury, in Greater Manchester, England. It lies close to the River Irwell, 3.3 miles (5.3 km) north of Manchester city centre, 3.1 miles (5 km) north of Salford and 4.7 miles (7.6 km) south of Bury. Historically a part of Lancashire, Prestwich’s early history is marked by its status as the seat of the ancient parish of Prestwich-cum-Oldham, in the hundred of Salfordshire. The Church of St Mary the Virgin – a Grade I listed building has lain at the centre of the community for centuries.
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The oldest part of Prestwich developed around Bury New Road and is known as “Prestwich Village”. There is a large Jewish community in Prestwich and Whitefield, neighbouring Broughton Park in Salford and parts of Cheetham Hill and Crumpsall, which forms the second-largest Jewish community in the United Kingdom.
Prestwich is possibly of Old English origin, derived from preost and wic, which translates to the priest’s farm. Another possible derivation is priest’s retreat. Wic was a place-name element derived from the Latin vicus, place. Its most common meaning is dairy-farm. The township was variously recorded as Prestwich in 1194, Prestwic in 1202 and Prestewic in 1203.
From the 1991 census the population of Prestwich was estimated at 33,047. An estimated 19% of the population of Prestwich and Whitefield are Jewish and are part of the second largest Jewish community in the UK outside London, which also reaches over the border into Salford’s Broughton and Manchester’s districts of Crumpsall and Cheetham Hill.
The area in the south of Prestwich known as Sedgley Park has a sizeable Jewish population and is served by five synagogues. There are many Jewish businesses, specialist shops and delicatessens along King’s Road, Bury New Road and Bury Old Road.
Prestwich Forest Park consists of 200 hectares of land on the western side of Prestwich incorporating, Philips Park, Prestwich Clough, Mere Clough, Waterdale Meadow and Drinkwater Park.
Much of the area of the park was industrialised during the 18th and 19th centuries but has been reclaimed with extensive woodlands, reservoirs and grasslands. While this area has become a haven for wildlife there are still remnants of the area’s industrial past. Philips Park has been designated as a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) and Prestwich Clough as a Site of Biological Importance (SBI) due to the important contribution they make to the wildlife heritage of Greater Manchester. The Irwell Sculpture Trail, the Irwell Valley Way and aNational Cycle Route all pass through the park. The “Friends of Prestwich Forest Park” and the BTCV coordinate volunteer activities and events such as the Prestwich Clough Centenary Celebrations. The BTCV has a permanent base in the renovated Philips Park Barn, which has become a major environmental education and countryside centre for the borough.
Amateur football teams representing Prestwich are Prestwich Heys AFC and Prestwich FC. Prestwich Heys, formed in 1938, played at Grimshaw’s off Heys Road but moved to Sandgate Road in Whitefield in 1992. The ground has been redeveloped to include concrete fencing, a car park and club facilities. Prestwich Heys currently play in the Manchester Football League. Formed in 2005, Prestwich FC originally played in the Bury & District Sunday League. In 2009 the club expanded into open-aged Saturday football and introduced a junior section. As of the 2011–12 season, the first team play in the Lancashire Amateur League Premier Division. The club, officially the football section of Prestwich Cricket, Tennis & Bowling Club, play home games on Grimshaw’s, Drinkwater Park and Heaton Park. Other local sides include Bury Amateurs who play at Drinkwater Park and Prestwich Marauders. These teams are in the North Bury League or the Bury and Radcliffe League.
Prestwich Cricket, Tennis & Bowling Club is located between Prestwich Metrolink station and Grimshaw’s playing fields off Heys Road. Prestwich CTBC has cricket, crown green bowling, tennis and football facilities and a clubhouse. Prestwich CC First Team are 2011 champions of the Lancashire County Cricket League.
Crown green bowling is played in the area, with teams composed of veterans, ladies, men and mixed teams in different leagues. The Salford League is mixed, the Middleton Sunday Morning and Tuesday evening Leagues, together with the Prestwich and District League are for men, the Prestwich Ladies league is played on Thursday evenings and the Prestwich Veterans League takes place on Tuesday and Friday afternoons. St Mary’s Park to the south of PrestwichVillage reopened two greens and regular competitions take place on them throughout the winter. There are flat green bowling facilities in HeatonPark which were built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
The Prestwich and District Snooker League compete on Thursdays and occasionally on Tuesdays. Golf is played at Prestwich Golf Club
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